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´╗┐Title: Naughty Miss Bunny - A Story for Little Children
Author: Mulholland, Clara
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 "Naughty Miss Bunny - A Story for Little Children" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



NAUGHTY MISS BUNNY.


[Illustration: THE BUTLER SURPRISES BUNNY.]


NAUGHTY MISS BUNNY

A STORY
FOR LITTLE CHILDREN.

BY

CLARA MULHOLLAND
Author of "The Little Bog-trotters," &c.

[Illustration: Logo]

LONDON
BLACKIE & SON, LIMITED, 50 OLD BAILEY, E.C.
GLASGOW AND DUBLIN



CONTENTS.


Chap.                                      Page

   I. ONLY FOR FUN,                           9

  II. PLEASANT NEWS FOR BUNNY,               27

 III. BUNNY GETS UP EARLY,                   37

  IV. BUNNY GETS A FRIGHT,                   49

   V. THE LITTLE INDIAN,                     59

  VI. BUNNY FORGETS AGAIN,                   69

 VII. IN MISS KERR'S ROOM,                   83

VIII. BUNNY TRIES TO SHOW OFF,               99

  IX. MISS KERR PROMISES A PRIZE,            125

   X. ON OLIVER'S MOUNT,                    138

  XI. WAS IT CRUEL?                         152

 XII. THE FIREWORKS,                        167

XIII. QUIET TIMES,                          179

 XIV. BUNNY'S IMPROVEMENT. HOME AGAIN,      185



ILLUSTRATIONS.


                                           Page

THE BUTLER SURPRISES BUNNY,   _Frontispiece_ 19

BUNNY WELCOMES HER FATHER,                   50

FRANCIS SAVES BUNNY,                        115



[Illustration: Chapter decoration.]

NAUGHTY MISS BUNNY.

CHAPTER I.

ONLY FOR FUN.


"How nice!" cried Bunny. "Mama has sent for Miss Kerr, so I can do
exactly as I like for a little while. I am very glad papa brought us
up here, for it is so pretty and so cool, and these gardens are so
lovely;" and she gazed about her at the garden and the lawn and then
at the distant sea that lay just beyond them, sparkling and dancing
in the sunshine. "If I had no governess," continued the little girl,
"and no lessons, and no nasty nurse to say, 'Sit still, Miss Bunny,'
and 'Don't make dirty your frock, Miss Bunny,' I think I should be
jolly--yes, that's papa's word, jolly. But, oh dear, big people are
so happy, for they can do what they like, but _chindrel_ must do
everything they are told." And quite forgetting her pretty white
frock and dainty sash, and the many orders she had received not on
any account to soil them, she lay back comfortably upon the grass.

Bunny, whose real name was Ethel Dashwood, was six years old, and
was one of the spoilt "_chindrel_," as she called children. If she
had had brothers and sisters, very likely Bunny would have been kept
in better order, but as she was quite alone no one could bear to
correct her, and so she became very hard to manage indeed. Her papa
indulged her, and thought she could do nothing wrong, whilst her
mama was so delicate that she was very seldom able to look after her
little girl, and left her to the care of a kind-hearted, but foolish
old nurse, who allowed her to have her own way in everything and
never for an instant thought of finding fault with her.

This was all very well so long as Bunny was no more than a baby, but
when she came to be six years old Mr. Dashwood suddenly found that
her little girl was much too naughty, so she resolved to make a
change in the nursery, that would, she hoped, have a good effect in
every way. First of all old nurse was sent away, and a trim French
maid, with a quick sharp manner, was engaged to take her place.

Bunny was sorry to part with nurse, who had always been kind to her,
but Sophie was so amusing, spoke such funny English, and sang such
merry songs that the little girl soon ceased to fret, and became
quite pleased with her new maid.

The change of nurses Bunny bore in a quiet way that surprised
everyone in the house; but when her mother told her that she had
arranged with a young lady to come and live with them and be her
governess, the little girl burst into a passion, and stamping her
foot declared she would have no one to teach her, that she would say
no lessons, and that her mama was very unkind to think of such a
thing.

Mrs. Dashwood was greatly shocked, and unable to understand such
naughtiness, rang the bell and ordered Sophie to take the child
away, and Bunny was carried off weeping bitterly. But this fit of
anger only made her mama more anxious to have some one to look after
her daughter, and in a few days the governess arrived, and Bunny was
set down to learn to read and write.

This was a great change for the neglected child, and had her teacher
been a sensible person Bunny would doubtless have become a good
little girl in time. But unfortunately the governess was very
foolish, and thought it much easier to allow her pupil to have her
own way than to take the trouble to make her do what was right, and
so instead of doing the child good she did her harm, and Bunny
became more and more naughty every day.

This was in June, and as London grew very hot and dusty, Mrs.
Dashwood declared they must all go away to the country, and her
husband, who wished them to have a nice holiday, went off at once
and took a beautiful house at Scarborough.

Bunny was enchanted, and made up her mind to have great fun at the
seaside, and as the very day before they left town, her governess
was obliged to leave in a great hurry on account of a death in her
family, the little girl made up her mind that she was going to have
perfect freedom to do exactly what she liked and to play every day
upon the sea-beach. Sophie did not trouble her much except when she
was cross, and so Bunny set off to Scarborough in very high spirits.

The house her papa had taken for them was a pretty rambling old
place, standing on a height just above the sea, and surrounded by
spreading trees and large gardens full of sweet-scented flowers. A
most charming spot indeed, and to the little girl from hot dusty
London it seemed a perfect paradise.

The first days in the country passed away very happily, and Bunny
was not as wild as might have been expected by those who knew her,
when one day, as she ran through the hall, she stopped in
astonishment before a large trunk, and cried out to the butler, who
was standing near, "Who does that belong to, Ashton? Has a visitor
come to stay with us?"

"A visitor, miss? No, a new governess, miss--she's just gone in to
speak to your mama;" and he hurried away to his pantry.

"Nasty thing!" cried Bunny, stamping her foot and growing very red
and angry. Just when I thought I was going to be happy all by
myself! But I'll be so naughty, and so troublesome, that she'll soon
go away. I'll be ten times as hard to manage as I was before. She'll
not get hold of me to-night any way, and scampering off into the
garden she hid herself among the trees.

But the new governess, Miss Kerr, was a very different person from
the last, and resolved to do her best to make her little pupil a
good well-behaved child. She was a kind, warm-hearted girl, who had
a great many small brothers and sisters of her own, and she never
doubted that in a short time Bunny would become as good and obedient
as they were. She soon found, however, that the task was not as easy
as she had fancied, and when she had been a few days at Holly Lodge
she began to fear that it would be a very long time before her
lectures and advice would have the smallest effect upon the wayward
little child.

She had now been a whole week in charge of the girl, and she feared
that Bunny would never learn to love her.

About half an hour before our story begins, Bunny and her governess
had been seated on the lawn together. Mrs. Dashwood sent to ask Miss
Kerr to go to her for a few moments, and that young lady had
hastened into the house, leaving her little charge upon the grass
with her book.

"Do not stir from here till I return, Bunny," she said; "you can go
over that little lesson again, and I shall not be long."

But as time went on and she did not return the child grew restless,
and feeling very tired of sitting still, began to look about to see
what there was for her to do.

"Governesses are great bothers," she grumbled to herself as she
rolled about on the grass. "And now as Miss Kerr does not seem to be
coming back, I think I will have a climb up that tree--it looks so
easy I'm sure I could go up ever so high. There's nobody looking, so
I'll just see if I can go right away up--as high as that little bird
up there."

Bunny was very quick in her movements, and a minute later her white
frock and blue sash were fluttering about among the leaves and
branches of a fine old tree that grew in the middle of the lawn.

"Oh, dear! How lovely it would be to be a bird--cheep, cheep! If I
only had wings I should just feel like one this minute, perched up
so high," she said with a merry laugh, as she jumped and wriggled
about on the branch.

But she quite forgot that the nursery window overlooked the lawn,
and that Sophie was sure to be sitting there at her work. In a
moment, however, this fact was recalled to her mind by the sound of
a wild shriek from the terrified maid.

"Mademoiselle! Miss Bunny, you want to kill yourself, or tear your
sweet frock. Ah! naughty child, get down this instants, or I will
tell monsieur your papa."

This was the one threat that had any power to move Miss Bunny, so
down she scrambled and ran away as fast as she could over the grass.

There was still no sign of Miss Kerr, so the child wandered about,
wondering what was keeping her governess, and wishing she had
something to do, when all at once her eyes fell on a beautiful
rose-tree, almost weighed down with the quantity of its flowers, and
she flew at it in delight and began to pull off the lovely blossoms
and pin one of them into the front of her frock. But like most
foolish children she broke them off so short that there was no stalk
left with which to fasten them, and so the poor rose fell upon the
ground, and the little girl impatiently snatched at another and
dragged it ruthlessly from the branch. This went on for some time,
and would probably have gone on until not a flower remained upon the
bush, had not Sophie again made herself heard from the nursery
window.

"Miss Bunny, how can you derange the beautiful roses?" she cried
indignantly. "There will be not one left to give to your papa when
he comes home, and you know he loves those sweet flowers so much."

"Oh, I am so sorry," cried Bunny. "But there are some dear little
buds, and I will just leave them for papa. Who knows perhaps they
may be roses by to-morrow evening!" and away she flitted like a
white-winged butterfly in search of some other sweet flowers that
she might make her own, without fear of further interruption from
sharp-tongued Sophie.

At last, when she had such a large bouquet that her little hands
could scarcely hold it, she wearied of her occupation, and stepping
softly to the drawing-room window, she peeped in just to see what
Miss Kerr and her mama could be doing that kept them shut up there
for so long together.

"I'll take mama these flowers," she said to herself, "and I am sure
they will make her headache better. I'll just tap gently at the
window and Miss Kerr will let me in, and I'll be so good and quiet
that mama will not mind me being with her while she talks."

Bunny waited for some minutes, hoping to be admitted to the room,
but no notice was taken of her knocking--for the ladies were too
much absorbed in their own affairs to trouble themselves about her.

Mrs. Dashwood lay on the sofa, and her face had a flushed anxious
expression, as she listened to Miss Kerr, who was seated on a stool
by her side, and seemed to be talking very earnestly, but her voice
was low, and as the window was shut Bunny could not hear a word she
said.

"Oh dear, what a lot Miss Kerr has got to say!" cried the little
girl impatiently. "She seems as if she had forgotten all about me. I
am tired of being out here all alone, so I'll just run in and play
with my dollies."

Now the nearest way into the house was up a flight of steps and in
by the dining-room window, which was like a large glass door, and
always lay open in the most tempting manner possible.

So up these steps went Miss Bunny, her hands full of flowers and her
mind bent on mischief, if she could only meet with anything to do
that would amuse her and give her some fun.

[Illustration: THE BUTLER SURPRISES BUNNY.]

The room into which she stepped was a very pretty one. It was very
nearly round, with many high windows looking out upon the pleasant
grounds and blue sparkling sea. Upon the walls were pictures of fine
thoroughbred horses, some of them with their little foals beside
them, others with a surly-looking old dog or a tiny kitten, their
favourite stable companion and friend. Bunny loved these pictures
and had given the horses pet names of her own, by which she insisted
on calling them, although their own well-known names were printed
under them, for they were all horses that had won a great number of
races during their lives, and so had become celebrated.

The round table in the middle of the room was laid ready for dinner,
and looked very inviting with its prettily arranged flowers,
handsome silver, and shining glass.

"Dear me, how nice it all looks!" said Bunny, as she marched round
the table on tip-toe. "One, two, three, four places. Why, it must be
for company. Well, I hope there will be somebody nice to talk to me.
I must get Sophie to put on my pretty new frock. But oh, dear, what
fun it would be just to put a tiny, little drop of water into every
glass! Wouldn't old Ashton wonder--just when he thinks everything is
nice for dinner? I will! I'll do it! It will be such fun! Oh, I'd
like to see his face; won't he be horribly angry?"

Throwing her flowers on the floor, Bunny sprang to the side-board,
and seizing a water-jug she climbed up on each chair in turn and
poured a few drops of water into every glass all round the
dinner-table.

Just as she came to the last wine-glass and held the jug ready to
let the water fall into it, the door opened suddenly and the
solemn-looking old butler entered the room.

"Miss Bunny!" he exclaimed, and he looked so stern and angry that
the little girl felt frightened, and dropping the jug, scrambled off
the chair, seized her flowers, and ran out of his sight as fast as
she could.

"I only did it for fun, Ashton," she called back from the door. "It
is clean water, so it won't do any harm."

"Harm, indeed!" grumbled Ashton; "just as I thought I had everything
done until dinner time. Now I must begin and rub up all this glass
again;" and he began at once to remove the glasses from the table.
"Little himp that she is, that Miss Bunny! A perfect himp, and if I
had the governessing of her for sometime I'd--I'd--bah! there's that
bell again! Some folks is in a mighty hurry," and full of anger and
indignation against the little girl whom he could not punish for her
naughty trick, Ashton hurried to the hall door, longing for
something upon which he could vent his wrath.

Bunny was skipping merrily in the hall, and the pretty roses that
she had gathered with so much pleasure lay scattered on the ground.
This sight did not tend to put the butler in a better temper, but he
made no remark, and passing by the little girl without a word he
opened the hall door with a jerk. A poor boy with a thin pinched
face stood upon the step.

"If you please, sir, will you give me a bit of bread, for I am very
hungry?" he said in an imploring voice, as he gazed up into the
butler's face.

"There's nothing for you. How dare you come here with your wretched
lies?" cried Ashton fiercely, and he shut the door with a bang.

"That's not true, Ashton," cried Bunny darting forward and opening
the door again. "Wait, little boy, and I will get you something!"
and before the astonished butler knew where he was, she had rushed
into the dining-room, and came back carrying a large loaf and a pat
of butter that she had found upon the side-board.

"You must not give that away, Miss Bunny," cried the man; "that is
in my charge, and I cannot allow you to give it to a beggar;" and he
tried to drag the bread from her hands.

"You nasty man! I will give it to him if I like," she screamed. "My
papa always lets me do what I like, and you are only a servant--and
I will give it;" and she struggled to get away from him. "I only put
the water in your glasses for fun--but I'm very glad I did it--and I
wish I had put dirty water in--and I wish--let me go--I'll tell
papa, and he'll be very angry and--"

"Bunny," said a soft reproachful voice, "my dear child, what is the
matter?" and Miss Kerr laid her hand gently upon the little girl's
shoulder.

"That nasty Ashton won't let me give this loaf to a poor boy who is
there begging," cried Bunny; "he's very hungry and I want--"

"Ashton is quite right, Bunny," said Miss Kerr gently; "give him
back the loaf, dear. It is not yours, so you have no right to give
it away. Have you no money of your own to give the boy?"

"No, I have not," cried Bunny bursting into tears, "and I am sure
papa would not mind my giving the loaf away--he never does. Ashton's
a nasty, cross old thing;" and she flung the loaf on the floor.

"Ashton is only doing his duty, Bunny, and you must not speak in
that way."

"Well, I wish he wouldn't do his duty then," sobbed the little girl;
"it's a great shame of him to do his duty, when I tell him not."

"Come, now, dear, dry your eyes and give this to the poor boy," said
Miss Kerr kindly; "see, I will lend you threepence to give to him,
and when your papa gives you some pocket-money you can repay me. The
boy will like the money better than the bread, I daresay, and you
will feel that you are giving something that is really your own."

"Oh, thank you, thank you!" cried Bunny with delight, her tears
drying up in an instant. "You are good! You are kind!" and throwing
her arms round Miss Kerr's neck she kissed her over and over again;
then seizing the pennies she flew to the door, and handing them to
the boy said in a subdued voice: "Here, boy, a good lady gave me
these pennies for you. I am a greedy little girl and spend all my
own money on sweets, but I'll save up and pay Miss Kerr back very
soon."

"That is enough, Bunny," said the governess, taking the child by the
hand. "I have something to tell you, dear, so come with me now."

"Very well, I will come," answered Bunny quite meekly, and shutting
the door, she followed Miss Kerr down the hall.



[Illustration: Chapter decoration.]

CHAPTER II.

PLEASANT NEWS FOR BUNNY.


"And now, Bunny," said Miss Kerr, as she led the little girl into
the library and took her on her knee, "I am afraid you have been a
very naughty child. I do not like to scold you, you know, but when
children are told to stay in one place they should do so, and not
run about all over the house in the way you seem to have been
doing."

"But you were so long away," replied Bunny, "and I was tired sitting
there all by myself. Sophie kept screaming at me not to touch the
flowers, so I had nothing to do."

"And what about the lesson? Did you learn that?"

"No, I didn't, it was so stupid," said Bunny, "I got quite tired of
it, and all the letters went wrong, so I thought I would go to the
nursery and play with my toys, and then when I went into the
dining-room there was nobody there, and I thought it would be great
fun to tease old Ashton, so I jumped on the chairs and poured water
into all the glasses, and he was so angry; and oh it was fun to see
his face when he cried out, 'Miss Bunny!'" and carried away with
delight at the recollection of her naughty trick, the little girl
clapped her hands and laughed long and merrily.

"But, my dear child, do you not know that that was extremely naughty
conduct?" said Miss Kerr gravely. "It is very wicked to make anyone
angry, and it was very unkind of you to play such a trick upon
Ashton. How would you like if he were to spoil your toys or break
your dolls for you?"

"Oh, I shouldn't like it at all," answered Bunny; "I'd be awfully
cross, and I'd get papa to send him away. That would be a good way
to punish him, I know."

"Well, Bunny, you think you could punish him but he has no way of
punishing you, so you should always be very careful not to annoy or
trouble him. Besides, my child, we should never do anything to other
people that we know we would not like them to do to us. God wishes
us to be good and kind to everyone about us, remember, and to be
unkind is to disobey Him."

"Oh, then, I'm very sorry that I was so naughty," cried Bunny, "for
Sophie told me this morning that God has been good and kind to me
always, for she says He gave me all the nice things I have, and my
papa and mama, so I should not like to vex Him when He has been so
kind to me."

"If my little Bunny will just remember that, whenever she feels
inclined to be naughty she will soon find it easy to be good, and
she will be a much happier child, for then she will know that she is
pleasing God who has been good to her."

"Oh, I will try, dear Miss Kerr, indeed I will," said the little
girl; "I'll be good and kind to God, and you, and papa, and mama,
because you are all so good to me;" and she laid her soft cheek
against Miss Kerr's face.

"That is right, darling," said the governess with a smile; "and now
that I have given you a little lecture, and you have promised to be
good, I have a piece of news to tell you that will, I am sure, give
you great pleasure;" and she smoothed the child's fair hair with her
hand.

"Good news! Oh, dear Miss Kerr, do tell me what it is," cried the
little girl eagerly.

"Well, I have been having a long talk with your mama, Bunny, and--"

"Oh, yes, I know that. I saw you talk, talk, talk, only I couldn't
hear what you were saying, because the window was shut."

"No, I suppose not, dear, but listen. Your mama says you have an
uncle in India who has a little son of seven years old--"

"Oh, I know that, Miss Kerr! Why, that's no news! Of course I know
about Uncle Jim and Cousin Mervyn. I never saw them though, but
still I know they are in India, an awfully hot place it is, Sophie
says."

"Yes, so it is. But would you like to see this Cousin Mervyn, do you
think?"

"Oh, I'd just love to see him--but is he black? Sophie says the
people in those countries are black. Oh, I shouldn't like a black
cousin, Miss Kerr, indeed I should not," cried Bunny in a piteous
voice.

"You little goose, he's not black at all," cried Miss Kerr, laughing
at the little girl's look of consternation; "I have never seen him,
but his papa is supposed to be like your mama, so I daresay he will
have fair hair, blue eyes, and pink cheeks something very like your
own."

"Oh, I'm glad he is like that, for indeed I could not bear a black
cousin. Once I had a black doll given to me for a present, and I
screamed and screamed till nurse put it away out of the nursery."

"It is certainly very lucky that your cousin is not black, for it
would never do to scream at him, would it?" said Miss Kerr, "for he
has arrived in London and is coming here with your papa to-morrow
evening."

"Oh, I am glad! Oh, I am glad!" sang Bunny, dancing round the room
on the points of her toes. "What fun it will be to have a little
cousin to play with! Will he stay long, Miss Kerr?"

"Yes, a long time, Bunny," answered the governess. "It is too hot in
India for him to stay there any longer--indeed they think he has
stayed there too long already, and your mama has promised to take
care of him until he is old enough to go to school."

"Oh, that will be a nice long visit," said the little girl; "he'll
be staying with us just as if it was home, and he was my own
brother."

"Yes, dear, just so. He will be like your brother, I am sure; and he
is to have his lessons with you. I am to teach you both."

"Yes, and I'll lend him my pony and I'll let him play with my
kittens. And oh, Miss Kerr, I'll give him tea out of my own little
tea-set; and we'll have such fun."

"Yes, dear, it will be very nice, and I hope that little Bunny will
be a good child and not make her cousin naughty and teach him
mischievous tricks."

"Oh, I'll be good, indeed, dear Miss Kerr. I won't want to be
naughty so much when I have someone to play with, for it's always
when I feel lonely that I want to play tricks on people."

"Is that so really, you poor mite? Well, you will not be lonely any
more, Bunny, and I hope you will try hard and learn to read soon.
When children can read they do not want a companion so much, because
they can read pretty stories about other children and so amuse
themselves for hours together."

"Oh, I don't want to read stories one bit," said Bunny with a pout.
"Sophie and mama read lots of stories to me, so it doesn't matter
whether I can read them for myself or not."

"And what will you do when you grow up, Bunny? Don't you think you
would feel very much ashamed if you could not read when you had
grown to be a tall lady?"

"Oh, no one would ever know, for I am sure people never ask grown-up
ladies if they can read. Do they, now? No one ever asks you or mama
if you know how to read."

"No, people never ask us if we can read, certainly, Bunny," answered
Miss Kerr laughing, "but they would soon find out if we did not, I
can tell you. People who cannot read seldom learn those things that
everyone should know, and so they are ignorant and stupid. Surely
you would not like Mervyn to beat you at his lessons, would you?"

"Oh, but he's older than me," said Bunny, "and, of course, he knows
a great deal more than me, and----"

"Than _I_, Bunny, say he is older than _I_ am," corrected Miss Kerr.
"Yes, he is older, but I do not think he knows more than you do. His
papa says he has never been taught anything but his letters, and he
can hardly speak English."

"Oh, dear! Does he only speak French then?" said Bunny with a look
of alarm.

"No, Hindustanee. That is the Indian language, you know, and as he
always had a native nurse he does not know English very perfectly.
But we will soon teach him, won't we, dear?"

"Oh, yes, it will be fun, and I'll try very hard to learn to read
well before he does! It will be nice to have a cousin, won't it? I
wonder what he's like. But I'm sure he'll be nice. I know he will.
Don't you think he'll be nice, Miss Kerr?"

"Yes, dear, I think it is very likely, but you will know all about
him to-morrow."

"Oh, I wish to-morrow would come, quick, quick!" cried Bunny; "the
days and the hours go over so slowly, and I do want to see that
little Indian."

"Poor little boy! I daresay he will be very tired and shy when he
arrives. It is a sad thing to leave father and friends and come
among strangers, Bunny," said Miss Kerr, and there were tears in her
eyes as she gazed out over the garden.

"Dear Miss Kerr, why should you feel sorry for Mervyn? I'm so glad
that he is coming here," said Bunny softly, and she put her little
hand into Miss Kerr's. "Why should you cry for him? We will be very
kind to him, you and I, and papa and mama."

"Yes, darling, of course," answered Miss Kerr stroking the little
hand. "But I was not thinking of Mervyn, but of someone I know, who
had to leave her dear home, her father and mother, and brothers and
sisters, to go be governess to a wild little girl, who did not care
to learn her lessons and did not love her at all."

"Why, that's like me and you! But I do love you; oh, I do love you!"
cried the child, and she flung her arms round Miss Kerr's neck.
"You are so good and kind, and I am sorry you had to leave your
little brothers and sisters, and I won't be wild, and I'll love you
very much."

"If you do, Bunny, you will make me very happy, and I think you will
soon be a very good little girl," and Miss Kerr kissed the eager
face over and over again. "But run away now and get ready for tea. I
have some letters to write for the post, and I shall just have time
if you run off at once."

"Very well," said Bunny jumping off Miss Kerr's knee. "I must go to
tell Sophie the news." And away she ran, calling, "Sophie, Sophie,"
as she went up the stairs.

"She has a good little heart, and will become a fine character in
time, if she is properly managed," said Miss Kerr to herself as the
child left the room. "But she has been terribly spoilt and
neglected. If the boy from India is as great a pickle as Miss Bunny,
I shall have my hands very full indeed," and with something between
a sigh and a laugh, Miss Kerr seated herself at the table and began
to write her letters.



[Illustration: Chapter decoration.]

CHAPTER III.

BUNNY GETS UP EARLY.


For a long time after she went to bed that night, Bunny could not go
to sleep, and lay tossing about from side to side, wishing over and
over again that it was morning, that she might get up and put all
her toys and books in order, so that they should look as nice as
possible when she came to show them to the new cousin.

At last she dropped off into a sound sleep, and did not wake again
until the sun was shining brightly into her room. She jumped up and
looked about to see if Sophie had gone to get her bath ready. But
the maid lay fast asleep in her bed at the other side of the room,
and poor Bunny felt sure she would not get up for a very long time
yet. She felt ready to cry at the thoughts of lying there for so
long doing nothing, whilst the sun was shining so brightly over the
sea and dancing so merrily up and down the nursery walls. Suddenly,
however, a happy idea presented itself to her mind, and she sprang
out of her crib with a soft well-pleased little laugh.

"It will be such fun," she whispered to herself, "and Sophie will
get such a start when she sees the crib empty! But I must go about
very gently or she might wake up and send me back to bed."

So the little girl slipped very quietly about the room, and
struggled bravely with buttons and tapes, as she did her best to
dress herself without the assistance of her maid.

"They're all upside down and tied in big knots," she said ruefully,
"but Sophie will just have to do them all over again when she gets
up. Oh, dear, where are my boots, I wonder? I can't see them
anywhere about. Well, I must go out in these, I suppose;" and
sitting down on the floor she put on a pair of dainty Queen Anne
shoes, with satin bows and steel stars, that she had worn the
evening before when she went down to the drawing-room to see her
mama.

At this moment Sophie turned round with a loud snore, and Bunny gave
a start of alarm, as she looked quickly towards the bed. If Sophie
awoke and saw what she was doing, all her fun would surely be
spoiled, and she would be sent back to her crib in disgrace.

Very cautiously then she got up off the floor, seized her hat that
lay on the chest of drawers, and opening the door as softly as
possible, flew along the corridor and away down the stairs.

Not a servant was to be seen about, for it was not yet seven
o'clock, and so Bunny passed on without any interruption into the
dining-room, and stood on tip-toe at the side-board looking
anxiously to see if there was anything there for her to eat. But
there was not even a crust to be seen.

"Nasty old Ashton!" she cried, "he might have left a few pieces of
bread for me; but he wouldn't, I'm sure, even if he had known I was
coming. I must get something for my dear pony, now that I am up, so
I'll go off to the larder and see what I can find there."

So away went Bunny in high glee at her clever thought; but when she
arrived at the larder door she found it locked, and she was about to
turn away sad and disappointed when a sudden jingling of keys was
heard in the passage, the kitchen door opened, and Mrs. Brown, the
cook, appeared upon the scene.

"Miss Bunny, dear, what brings you here at such an hour? And law but
you are dressed queer! But, indeed, them Frenchies are little good
with their new-fangled ways. It's nurse that used to dress you
smart, deary, and as for Sophie, she beats all;" and the good woman
held up her hands in dismay at the child's untidy appearance.

"Oh, Sophie didn't dress me at all!" cried Bunny. "She doesn't even
know I'm up, for she's fast asleep. But I was so tired lying there
listening to Sophie snoring that I thought I would get up and go
out. I want to take my pony a piece of bread, so please give me some
for him and some for myself, Mrs. Brown, for I'm very hungry."

"Bless your heart, of course I will," cried the good-natured woman,
as she unlocked the door, and cutting two large slices of bread and
butter, handed them to the little girl.

"Oh, thank you," said Bunny; "Frisk will like this, I am sure. Good
morning, Mrs. Brown, and mind you don't tell Sophie where I am, if
she comes to look for me."

"Don't be afraid, deary, I won't give her any news of you. I don't
admire her and her stuck-up French airs, so she won't get much out
of me."

But Bunny did not wait to hear the end of the good woman's speech
against poor Sophie; she had got all she wanted, so away she ran to
pay her morning visit to her little pony.

When Frisk heard the stable door opening and a footstep approaching
his stall, he whisked his tail and twisted his head as well as he
could, to see who was coming to visit him at such an early hour. And
when he found it was his little mistress, and heard her voice at his
ear he neighed with delight, and rubbed his velvety nose up and down
her frock.

"Dear old Frisk," she cried, patting his neck, "there's a little
cousin coming all the way from India to stay with us. Sophie is not
glad, but I am, and Miss Kerr is, and you must be glad too, old man.
And he's not black at all, Frisk, oh, no, and it is very, very silly
of you to think so, sir. You must be good to him, dear little pony,
and give him nice rides, and then he'll love you, just as I do, and
we'll all be friends together. So now eat this, little Frisk," she
continued, and breaking off a piece of the bread, she held it up to
the pony's nose.

But suddenly Bunny gave a little shriek, and drew her hand quickly
away; for without intending it, Frisk had actually bitten his kind
little mistress. The bread she offered him was so small, and his
mouth was so big, that the child's fingers got rather far in among
his teeth, and when Frisk's white grinders came down upon the dainty
offered him, they met rather sharply upon poor Bunny's thumb. The
skin was slightly cut, and as a little stream of blood ran down her
finger the child grew frightened and began to cry.

"Oh, Frisk, Frisk, why did you bite? I never thought you would do
such a thing," she cried reproachfully. "I never, never knew you do
such a thing before;" and sinking down on the straw by his side, she
tried to stop the blood by rolling her finger tightly up in the
corner of her pinafore. "Just when I wanted to tell the new cousin
that you were a good, kind pony, you go and bite me--oh dear, oh
dear, I am very sorry, Frisk, I am indeed."

But in spite of the little girl's sorrowful lecture, Frisk did not
in the least know that he had done anything wrong, and poking his
soft nose into Bunny's lap, he carried off the remaining piece of
bread and ate it with much relish.

"You artful old thing," cried Bunny, delighted with his cleverness,
and smiling through her tears, "if you hadn't bit me I'd have said
you were the best and dearest little pony alive;" and forgetting her
anger at him for hurting her, she jumped up and patted and kissed
his soft silky nose.

"Where is Mademoiselle Bunny? Ah! that child will be the death of
me. Jean, have you seen Meess Bunny anywhere about?" cried Sophie,
just outside the stable door; and the little girl knew that her hour
was come and that she was going to get a good scolding.

"Oh, Miss Bunny is in there, talking to Frisk, Mamzelle Sophie,"
answered the groom.

"Little naughty one! Ah, these English children are so dreadful!"
cried Sophie, and in a moment Bunny was dragged out from her seat on
the straw and carried away to the nursery.

"Oh!" she screamed as soon as they were inside the door, "what is
that I see on your dress, mademoiselle? Blood, I declare! Oh, what
will your mama say? She will send away that beast of a pony I am
sure, and then you will not make such early walks to the stable."

"Oh, Sophie, Sophie, don't tell! don't tell!" cried Bunny, "Frisk
did not mean to hurt me I am sure, and it's nearly well now. Look,
it has stopped bleeding already, so don't tell mama, pray don't,"
and the little girl raised her eyes full of tears to the maid's
face.

"Well, I won't tell if you will promise me never to slip out of your
bed and away out of the house again as you have done just now."

"Oh, I never will, I never will, Sophie!" cried Bunny, "but do say
you won't tell. I couldn't bear to see Frisk sent away."

"Well, well, don't cry any more," said Sophie good-naturedly. "Be a
good enfant, and I will say not anything about it."

"Oh! you dear, darling Sophie, I'll be so good, so good!" cried the
little girl, "I'll be so good that you'll never have to scold me any
more."

"Ma foi, what a change that will be!" cried Sophie, "if you get so
good as all that I will send for the doctor."

"For the doctor!" exclaimed Bunny in surprise. "Why would you send
for him?"

"Good gracious, mademoiselle, because I will surely think you are
ill if you get to be an angel like that; but I am very certain I
shall have to scold you many times before this evening comes."

"Very likely, Sophie, but still I'm good now," said Bunny with a
merry little laugh, and as the maid gave the last touch to her
hair, the last pull to her sash, she ran out of the nursery and away
to her mama with whom she always had her breakfast.

Bunny was in a wild state of excitement all that day, and Sophie and
Miss Kerr found it very hard to keep her in order and prevent her
disturbing her mama, who was not well, and could not bear much
noise.

"Oh, dear, how long the day is! How long the day is!" she cried over
and over again. "I don't think evening will ever come, Miss Kerr, I
don't, indeed."

"It will come fast enough, Bunny dear, if you will only have
patience. Try and forget that you are expecting anything to happen."

"I wish I could! I wish I could! But I do so wish to see what Mervyn
is like."

"You impatient little goose, do try and think of something else and
time will go over much faster. But I tell you what, Bun," said Miss
Kerr, when they had finished their early dinner, "we will go and
take a good run on the sands and that will pass the afternoon very
nicely for us."

"But they might come when we are away, and that would be dreadful."

"No, they won't, because they can't," said Miss Kerr with a smile.
"The train does not come in until seven, and it is only three now,
so you see we have plenty of time for a nice walk."



[Illustration: Chapter decoration.]

CHAPTER IV.

BUNNY GETS A FRIGHT.


"Do be quick, Sophie," cried Bunny as she rushed into the nursery
after her walk upon the sands, "Miss Kerr says it is half-past five,
and papa and Mervyn will be here at seven, so do be quick and dress
me as fast as ever you can, for I want to be down in the hall, ready
to jump out at them the minute they come to the door."

"Indeed," said Sophie without moving from her chair at the window.
"What haste we are in, certainly. But you may just keep still, Miss
Bunny, for I am not going to touch you for one half hour. What is
the use for me to dress you now, when long before seven you would be
so black as a sweep again, I know."

"Oh, what a bother!" cried Bunny, stamping her foot and flinging her
pretty white hat upon the floor. "You are a nasty thing, and I wish
you had not come to be my maid at all, for you never do anything I
ask you to do. I wish dear old nurse was back with me again, she
used to be so nice, and always did whatever I wanted."

"Old nurse was an old silly," answered Sophie, stitching away at her
work. "She neg-lect you and make you so naughty, and it is for me to
keep you in order and make you good."

"Well, I won't be kept in order, and I won't be made good--not one
bit," cried Bunny bursting into tears. "It's very unkind of you not
to dress me in time to see my papa, and he'll be very angry with
you."

[Illustration: BUNNY WELCOMES HER FATHER.]

"Come, Miss Bunny, don't be a silly baby," said Sophie, "I'll dress
you soon enough, do not fear that. You had so much best go and make
tidy that doll's house, for the little cousin will be ashamed to see
it in so much of disorder."

"I don't want to tidy my doll's house, and I don't care whether
Mervyn likes it or not, not a bit!" said Bunny, and taking off one
little glove she threw it into the very furthest corner of the room,
and then rolling the other into a ball she threw it at Sophie's head
as she sat bending over her work.

But the maid did not take the slightest notice of the young lady,
and without another word went quietly on with her sewing.

When Bunny saw that Sophie was really determined not to dress her
for some time, she sat down on the floor in silence, and leaning her
head up against the side of her crib, kicked about for some minutes
in a very ill-tempered way indeed. After a while she grew tired of
this conduct, which to her great surprise did not seem to make
Sophie the least bit angry, and not knowing what to do with herself
she sat staring about the room with a very sulky expression on her
little face.

But by degrees the tears dried up, the cross look disappeared, and
jumping suddenly to her feet, she trotted off to the other end of
the room. Pulling open the wide door of the doll's house, she set to
work very industriously to put it in order.

She brushed the carpets, dusted the chairs, shook out the dolls'
dresses and set them out in the drawing-room as if they were waiting
to receive their visitors.

"Now it's tidy, Sophie," she cried with a bright little smile.
"Mervyn will think it a very nice doll's house. Won't he?"

"Yes, my dear enfant, I am sure he will," said Sophie kindly, "and
now as you have been good and quiet for so long, I will begin to
dress you if you like."

"Oh, that is a dear good Sophie. I am so afraid that I shall not be
ready when papa comes."

"You will be ready, never fear," said Sophie, and taking off the
child's frock, she began to wash her face and hands.

"You hurt, Sophie, you hurt," cried Bunny pettishly, as the maid
combed out her long fair hair.

"Bah, no I don't hurt you, mademoiselle, except when you pull your
head aside. But in truth it is hard to comb your hair properly when
you move and fidget about. You are very difficult to manage to-day."

"I tell you, you do hurt me--you pull as hard as anything," cried
Bunny growing very red.

"Very well, miss, if you are in such humour," cried Sophie, "you may
just stand there till you get back to your temper again. I'm going
into the next room to get your frock, and I hope that when I come
back you will be quiet and let me dress your hair like a little
lady," and the maid flounced out of the nursery, leaving Bunny
standing before the glass in her short white petticoat, with one
shoe off and the other on, her hair hanging in disorder about her
shoulders, and her face puckered up in dismay at Sophie's sudden and
unexpected departure.

"Oh, why was I so cross about my hair?" she cried. "Papa and Mervyn
will be here directly, and just look at the state I am in. What
shall I do? What shall I do? Sophie, I'll be good. Do come back, and
get me ready to go down."

But Sophie did not answer, nor did she return, and poor Bunny sat
down on the edge of her crib, and in spite of all the efforts she
made to keep them back, the big tears rolled slowly down her
cheeks.

Suddenly the sound of wheels was heard upon the gravel below, and
brushing away her tears, the little girl started to her feet and ran
over to the window.

A cab covered with luggage was coming in at the big gate, and in a
minute she saw her papa nodding gaily up to his little Bunny, with a
bright well-pleased smile upon his dear face.

Without a moment's thought as to the state she was in, or of what
her papa or the little boy from India might think of her in such a
condition, Bunny dropped the blind, and with a joyful cry of "Papa,
papa, my own dear papa," she rushed out of the nursery and away down
the stairs.

"My little darling! My sweet little Bun," exclaimed Mr. Dashwood, as
the small wild-looking figure came running along the hall and jumped
into his arms. "Why, dear, why did you come out of the nursery
before you were dressed?" he said, as he smoothed back the ruffled
hair and kissed the hot cheeks of the excited child. "You are in a
strange state to receive visitors, Bunny dear, and I am afraid
cousin Mervyn will be shocked at my wild girl, for he is a very
tidy little man, I can tell you. Mervyn, this is your cousin Ethel,
commonly called Bunny, I hope you will be very good friends," and he
put out his hand to a pale gentle-looking boy of about seven years
old, who was clinging shyly to the skirts of an Indian Ayah, as
though afraid to let her go from beside him for an instant.

When Bunny raised her head from her papa's shoulder to look at her
new cousin, her eyes suddenly lighted upon the grinning black face
of the strange foreign-looking woman, and with one wild yell of
terror she turned away, and buried her little face in her father's
coat.

"Oh, send that dreadful thing away!" she cried, "I'm not half so
naughty as I used to be! And I have promised Miss Kerr to be so
good! Oh, papa, papa, don't give your little Bunny to that dreadful
black woman."

"My darling, that is Mervyn's nurse, and he loves her very dearly.
See how he clings to her and begs her to stay with him! Just look
how kind she is to him!"

"Oh, no, no, papa, she's a bogie, I am sure," cried the child,
clinging to him more nervously than ever. "Sophie always tells me a
bogie will come for me if I am naughty, and I was naughty just now
because Sophie pulled my hair, and I was cross, and cried and
stamped my foot and--"

"My poor foolish little girl, she is not a bogie, but a good kind
woman--her face is black, but she can't help that. It was very wrong
of Sophie to frighten you about bogies, very wrong--there is no such
thing in the world."

"Ah, monsieur, monsieur, I'm so sorry Meess Bunny has been so
naughty to run down to you in such a state," cried Sophie running
into the hall with a very angry look on her face. "I just left her
for a minute to get her frock, and when I came back she was gone."

"Oh, Sophie, Sophie, don't scold me, please," cried Bunny, "I'll go
back to the nursery, and let you dress me now. Oh, take me away
quick, for if I see that dreadful face, I shall scream again, I know
I shall;" and with one little hand over her eyes that she might not
see the terrible creature again, Bunny flung herself into Sophie's
arms and was carried off upstairs to have her toilet completed for
dinner.

"Poor little monkey!" said Mr. Dashwood laughing, "I never thought
she would be so easily frightened. Ashton, take the nurse down to
the housekeeper's room, and tell the servants to look after her, and
give her her dinner. Come, Mervyn, my little man, I want to take you
to see your aunt."

"Yes, uncle," answered the little boy in a shy nervous voice, and
looking up into the Ayah's face to see what she wished him to do.

"Go at once," she said in Hindustanee, and then Mervyn went up to
his uncle, and putting his little hand into his, allowed him to lead
him down the passage to the drawing-room.



[Illustration: Chapter decoration.]

CHAPTER V.

THE LITTLE INDIAN.


Mrs Dashwood lay on the sofa in the drawing-room, and Miss Kerr sat
beside her reading aloud.

The two children, Bunny and Mervyn, were seated side by side upon a
large white woolly rug in the bow-window, and they whispered
together in very low tones lest they should disturb the ladies by
their noise.

Bunny was nursing a pretty black kitten, with a red ribbon round its
neck, whilst Mervyn sat with his little hands clasped over his
knees, looking out at the blue sparkling sea, with a well-pleased
expression on his thin pale face.

"What a lovely cool place England is!" he whispered; "it feels so
comfortable and nice here, and that sea is so beautiful to look
at."

"Yes, to look at," answered Bunny, nodding her head; "but, oh!
Mervyn, wouldn't you feel afraid to go into it, and have your face
stuck right under the water, and held there till you had no breath,
and--"

"Oh, that would be horrible!" cried Mervyn with a frightened look;
"my papa would be angry if I were put into the sea in that way. Oh!
I will write and tell him if--"

"Well, I know he wrote to say that bathing would be very good for
you," said Bunny, "and mama told Miss Kerr this very morning she was
sure it would be. But I tell you, Mervyn, it's only Sophie that is
so rough and nasty. One day I went to bathe with Miss Kerr, and it
was lovely! She told me when she was going to dip me, and she let me
play at the edge, and I took dolly in and I dipped her, and it was
such fun."

"Well, then, I will ask Miss Kerr always to bathe me," replied
Mervyn; "I should die, I am sure, if I were pushed under the water
and could not get my breath."

"Oh! I was often and often pushed down that way by Sophie, and I
didn't die at all; but I kicked and screamed most dreadfully," cried
Bunny; "but then, mama says I am very strong, and Sophie said last
night that you were a misserble creature, so thin and white."

"Sophie is very rude!" exclaimed Mervyn with a slight flush; "I am
not a miserable creature; I can't help being white; everyone is in
India, because it's so hot."

"That is funny!" cried the little girl, "for Sophie said all Indians
were black, and I thought you would have a little black face like
Pussy here, only Miss Kerr told me you would be as white as me; but
you're whiter, much whiter," and she laid her small plump pink hand
on Mervyn's thin white one.

"I don't like your Sophie," cried Mervyn impatiently; "she talks in
such a queer way, and she's not half so nice as my dear old Indian
nurse. I do wish she had been able to stay in England with me."

"Oh, I think she was a horrid fright!" cried Bunny, "with her nasty
black face and her dreadful flappy wild dress, and I'm sure nobody
could understand a word she said."

"I could," said Mervyn with a sigh, "and I liked talking Hindustanee
much better than English."

"But it sounds so silly!" cried Bunny; "I think it's a great pity
people shouldn't always speak English everywhere, for that would be
so plain and easy."

"Well, I would much rather everyone would speak Hindustanee, for
that would be much nicer."

"Oh, dear! I don't think so," said Bunny; "and I think you speak
English very well."

"Do you?" said Mervyn, smiling; "papa did not; and do you know, I
can't always think of the right words for things."

"Oh! just ask me and I will tell you," replied Bunny jauntily, "for
I never have to think for my words at all."

"Bunny, dear," said Mrs. Dashwood from her sofa, "I think you have
nursed that kitten quite long enough; the poor little thing looks
very tired. Put it into its basket like a good child."

"Very well, mama," answered Bunny, and, jumping up, she ran over to
a corner of the room where stood a pretty round basket, which was
always used as a snug bed for Miss Puss.

Bunny dropped her pet gently in upon the soft cushion, and after
much stroking and tucking up, she stole away on tip-toe to her
mother's side.

But Pussy was in a playful mood, and as soon as the little girl's
back was turned she sprang lightly out of her bed and went
scampering gaily round the room.

"Naughty, naughty puss!" cried Bunny laughing, and off she went in
pursuit of the runaway.

"Bunny, dear Bunny, I can't bear that noise," cried Mrs. Dashwood,
as her little daughter tumbled over a footstool and knocked down a
chair. "I can't bear it indeed, dear child, so I think you had
better go out. Sophie will take you for a walk, as I want Miss Kerr
to read to me."

"Oh, mama! I like Miss Kerr much better than Sophie," cried Bunny,
"and so does Mervyn. Do let Miss Kerr come."

"But, Bunny, dear," said Miss Kerr, "you would not like poor mama
to have no one to read to her, would you? It is so dull for her all
day on the sofa by herself. You would not ask me to leave her, would
you?"

"Oh! no, no, dear, darling mama, I will not ask Miss Kerr to come,
not for a minute!" cried Bunny as, kneeling beside the sofa, she
threw her arms round her mother's neck and kissed her vehemently. "I
could not bear to think of you being lonely, mamey dear. But do let
us stay here now, and go out in the afternoon with Miss Kerr. Mervyn
can't bear Sophie."

"I am sorry for that, my little man," said Mrs. Dashwood, drawing
the boy towards her; "Sophie is sharp and quick, but she is very
good-natured, I think, so I hope you will try and like her."

"Oh! yes, aunt," answered Mervyn, flushing, "I only meant that I
would rather have my own dear nurse, and that I was very sorry she
had been sent away to India again."

"She was not sent away, dear," answered Mrs. Dashwood; "she went by
her own wish. She was fond of you, Mervyn, but she did not like to
live in England, so she hurried back to India as soon as she could.
It will be better for you to learn English well, and try to pick up
a little French from Sophie, than to be always talking with an
Indian, my child. But the first thing you have to do, Mervyn, is to
get fat and rosy like Bunny here. And you must grow tall, dear boy,
for you are very, very small for your age; you must grow as fast as
you can or this little girl will soon be the tallest," and Mrs.
Dashwood pinched her daughter's plump cheek.

"Oh! but mama, dear, he can't make himself grow," remarked Bunny, as
she stood up to measure herself with her cousin. "He has not got a
key to wind up the works of himself, so he must just wait small till
he begins to grow big."

"You are sharp enough, Miss Pert," said her mother, laughing. "I
wish you would learn to be more steady and to remember what is said
to you."

"Oh! I can remember," cried Bunny gaily; "I've got a splendid
memory, haven't I, Miss Kerr?"

"Yes, I think you have, dear," said Miss Kerr gravely; "but I am
afraid you do not always remember at the right time. Eh! Bunny?"

"No, I don't," said the little girl, hanging her head; "I quite
forgot when I got up and went to feed Frisk. But I don't think God
minded that much; it was not much harm."

"God is always displeased at disobedience, Bunny," said Mrs.
Dashwood very seriously. "The first thing God expects of a little
child is that she should be obedient, and so my Bunny must try and
remember things that she is not allowed to do, and then be very
careful not to do them."

"Yes, mama, I will try," said Bunny in a subdued voice.

"That is right, dear, and I hope little Mervyn will do the same."

"Yes, aunt, I will indeed; papa told me to be very good until he
came home, and I mean to be," he said, drawing himself up in a
determined manner.

"Well, then, I am sure you will do Bunny good and help her to
remember. But now run away like good children and tell Sophie to
take you out for a walk. It is a lovely morning, and a run on the
sands will give you an appetite for your dinner."

"Very well, mama," cried Bunny gaily, and away she darted out of the
room singing and shouting at the top of her voice.

"Good morning, aunt," said Mervyn gently, and he followed his little
cousin in a slow dignified manner, turning quietly to shut the
drawing-room door behind him.

"What a harum-scarum that Bunny is!" said Mrs. Dashwood with a sigh.
"It is very hard to make an impression on her."

"Yes, it is certainly, at least for more than a few minutes at a
time," answered Miss Kerr; "she is always so ready to be good, no
matter what she has done, that it is not easy to scold her much. But
she is a good-hearted child, and I am sure in a short time you will
see a great change in her."

"I hope so, indeed," said Mrs. Dashwood, "for she is a constant
worry at present and extremely hard to manage."



[Illustration: Chapter decoration.]

CHAPTER VI.

BUNNY FORGETS AGAIN.


Out of the gate and down the road went the two little cousins hand
in hand, whilst close behind them walked Sophie, holding up a big
umbrella, and carrying a yellow-covered novel under her arm.

On they went; the little ones laughing and talking pleasantly
together, until they came to the entrance of the Spa, a gay
promenade which the fashionables of the place were in the habit of
frequenting in the morning to inhale the sea breezes, listen to
sweet music and meet their friends.

Sophie liked the Spa, for there she saw much to delight and amuse
her, whilst on the sands she always felt dull and weary.

But Bunny's ideas and those of her maid were not at all the same,
for the little girl loved the sands, and could spend hours there
digging and building castles of all shapes and sizes. Every day
there was an angry dispute between the nurse and child as to where
they should spend their time between breakfast and dinner; sometimes
one came off victorious and sometimes the other. This morning, as
usual, Bunny was quite determined to go on the sands, and Sophie was
equally resolved to go down to the Spa.

"Mama said we were to go on the sands, Sophie, and I hate that old
Spa," cried Bunny, making a rush towards the steps that led down to
the sands; "I've got my spade, and so has Mervyn, and it's very
unkind of you not to come there when it looks so nice and we both
want to go."

"You'll just please to come where I tell you, mademoiselle," said
Sophie, making a dive at the little girl, and dragging her through
the turnstile and on to the bridge that led into the Cliff grounds.

"Don't you think you go to play any of your bad tricks on me. It is
enough difficult minding two of you in here without running all
over the sands for you."

"Never mind, Bunny," said Mervyn gently, as they walked along
together, "Miss Kerr will come on the sands with us after dinner,
perhaps, and then we will have fine fun."

"Yes, indeed," answered the little girl with a toss of her head, and
speaking in a loud voice so that the maid might hear her; "Miss Kerr
always does what I ask her to do, but Sophie is a regular
cross-patch."

"Sit down here, mademoiselle, and try to behave like a lady," cried
Sophie, as she seated herself upon a bench at the top of the cliff,
overlooking the promenade and sea.

"Oh, I don't want to sit down, I want to walk," cried Bunny
tearfully; "why, we have just come out."

"Of course you want to do exactly what I tell you not to do," said
Sophie angrily; "sit down, both of you, when I tell you," and she
lifted first one and then the other, and placed them very roughly
upon the bench.

In a few minutes a friend of Sophie's approached them, and after
some pressing she took a seat beside the maid, and the two children
were pushed away by themselves to the other end of the bench.

"How long an age it is since I've seen you, Kitty!" cried Sophie,
smiling pleasantly upon the new-comer.

"Yes, it is a long time," answered her friend, "and I've lots of
news for you. I've heard of a place--but it might be dangerous to
say much just now," and she glanced at the children.

"Oh, they will not pay attention," cried Sophie, "but it's easy to
get rid of them if you like. Meess Bunny, you can run and play up
and down for a little with your cousin. But do not go very far."

"That is nice!" exclaimed Bunny gaily; "thank you, Sophie, very
much," and jumping off the seat, she took Mervyn by the hand and
dragged him away for a race down the hill.

"What is that, Bunny? What is that?" cried Mervyn suddenly, and he
pointed his finger towards the far end of the Spa. "It's like a
train, at least one carriage of a train, and it's running so fast up
the side of the cliff, and, oh dear! I declare there is another one
just the same coming down past it."

"That is the lift, Mervyn; doesn't it look very funny hanging all
down like that? Do you know, I went in it once with papa and it was
lovely. It went along so smooth and so fast."

"I would like so much to go in it," said Mervyn, "I wonder if uncle
will take me some day."

"Yes, I am sure he will, and me too," cried Bunny, skipping gaily
along. "But I tell you what, Mervyn, wouldn't it be fun to go off
now, all by ourselves."

"Now!" exclaimed Mervyn in surprise, "and what would Sophie say?"

"Oh, she will never know," said Bunny. "We'll go up in the lift and
run down those paths among the trees ever so fast, and get back to
her before she knows we have gone away at all. She always has so
much to say to that friend of hers."

"Yes, but don't you have to pay to go up in the lift?" asked Mervyn,
"and I have no money. Have you?"

"Of course we must pay, but it's only a penny each, I know,"
answered Bunny, "and I have got twopence in my pocket that papa
gave me this morning. I was going to give it to Miss Kerr, but I
won't now."

"To Miss Kerr! Why should you give her your money?"

"Oh, that's a secret of mine. But I don't mind telling you, Mervyn,
only you must not tell anyone, will you now? Promise you won't, like
a good boy."

"I promise," answered Mervyn earnestly; "I would not tell anyone for
the world."

"Well, one day Miss Kerr lent me three pennies to give to a poor
boy, and I said I would pay her back very soon."

"Then I would not spend the pennies," said Mervyn decidedly; "keep
them, Bunny, and give them to Miss Kerr when we go home."

"Oh, no; I would much rather go in the lift," cried Bunny. "Miss
Kerr won't mind, for she said I need not be in a hurry to pay it."

"Still I think it would be better," began Mervyn solemnly, "to pay
Miss--"

"Oh, bother! Never mind thinking, but come along, or we will not
have time to go up in the lift before Sophie wants to go home for
her dinner."

"I should like to go up in it very much," said Mervyn weakly, and
casting longing looks at the distant lift, "but, indeed, Bunny--"

"Oh, you are silly!" cried the little girl. "Come on quick or we
sha'n't have time," and grasping his hand, she hurried him down the
steps, with just one backward glance to make sure that Sophie was
still safe upon her bench. The maid's face was turned away towards
her friend, who seemed to be telling a very interesting story; they
were both completely occupied and quite unaware of what was going on
about them.

"We shall have plenty of time!" said Bunny growing bold at the sight
of the back of Sophie's head. "So come along, Mervyn, and see what
the lift is like."

There was a great crowd of ladies and gentlemen walking up and down
the promenade, and it took the children a long time to make their
way as far as the band-stand, and even then they were at some
distance from the wonderful lift that had attracted the little
stranger so much.

As they hurried along, pushing their way right and left through the
people, the band began to play the "Blue Danube Waltzes," and
Mervyn stopped short in delight.

"Oh, what a lovely waltz!" he cried. "Bunny dear, do let us stay
here and listen to it. I'd much rather hear the music than go up in
the lift, I would, indeed."

"Oh! no, no," cried Bunny, "I'm tired of that old band, it's a
stupid old thing! We can come and listen to it to-morrow if you
like; but do come on now, you can't think how nice it is flying up
the cliff in the lift; besides, I am quite sure that we sha'n't get
a chance to go another day."

"Oh, very well, if you want to go so much; but really, Bunny, I
would far rather stay and hear the music," said Mervyn, "I would
indeed."

"Bother the music! Do come, like a good boy," cried the little girl
impatiently, and catching him by the hand she dragged him away
through the gate that led to the lift.

There was a great crowd of people of all kinds waiting to go up in
the lift, for it was getting near luncheon hour at the hotels, and
many were anxious to be in good time for that pleasant meal.

Our little friends, Bunny and Mervyn, were so small that they were a
good deal knocked about by the crowd, and the lift went off several
times before they managed to push themselves anywhere near the
front. At last the conductor noticed the two mites, and stepping
forward in a kindly way, he took them by the hand, helped them into
the carriage, and seating them side by side, remarked with a smile:

"You're a funny pair to be sure! Where is your nurse?"

"She's on the Spa, at least on a bench just at the top of the
steps," said Bunny gaily as she arranged her short skirts about her
on the seat. "My cousin is a stranger here, so I have brought him to
see what the lift is like."

"Indeed!" said the man with a laugh. "What a kind little lady you
are to be sure;" and then, as the carriage was full, he banged the
door and away they went.

"Isn't it nice, Mervyn? Aren't you glad I brought you?" asked Bunny
in a patronizing tone. "It is much nicer in here than sitting up on
that bench. Isn't it?"

"Yes, I suppose it is," answered Mervyn doubtfully, "but oh, Bunny,
I don't much like it! I have a sort of feeling as if I were in a
ship, and it makes me giddy to look out--indeed it does."

"Don't look out then," said Bunny decisively. "But really, Mervyn, I
think it's lovely--it's so--Oh, dear what is that?" she cried in
alarm, as with a harsh grating noise the lift they were in, came to
a sudden stand-still, and the descending one shot quickly past them.

"Something gone wrong, I expect," grumbled an old gentleman beside
her; "ah, they have to let us go down again! What an awful
nuisance!"

"Oh, please, sir, is there going to be an accident?" cried Bunny in
a voice of terror, and growing very pale. "My cousin is just come
from India, and I am sure he will be frightened," and she put her
little arm round Mervyn as if to protect him from danger.

"No, no, there is not going to be any accident, my little girl,"
answered the old gentleman with a kind smile. "Don't be afraid,
we'll go up again in a minute; but I must say the small cousin from
India doesn't look half so much frightened as you do," and he patted
her on the back. "There, now, off we go, you see, and we'll be at
the top in a minute."

"Oh, I am so glad we are out of that horrid thing! and, Bunny, I am
sure we should never have gone into it," cried Mervyn, as they at
last stepped out of the lift and ran quickly along the cliff towards
the entrance to the Spa grounds. "Just think, there might have been
an accident and we might have been killed! Oh, it would have been so
dreadful if such a thing had happened."

"Yes, it would," answered Bunny, "and Sophie will be angry, for we
have been away such a long time. And oh, Mervyn, now I remember,
mama told me that I should never leave my nurse when I was out with
her, and I quite forgot, and there, I have been disobedient again! I
am so sorry."

"Oh, Bunny, Bunny! why don't you try and remember?" cried Mervyn
reproachfully, "and we promised aunt to be so good just before we
came out," and tears of sorrow stood in the little boy's eyes.

"Never mind, Mervyn, dear," said Bunny kissing him, "it was my
fault. Don't cry--you were not naughty at all. It was all because I
forgot again. Oh, dear, I am afraid Miss Kerr will be angry with me.
But come along quick, there is Sophie. See, she is looking about
everywhere for us."

The two children trotted along at a brisk pace down the steep
winding path that led through the pretty ornamental grounds with
which the cliff, overhanging the Spa, was tastefully laid out. The
trees were high and shady, so the little creatures were not visible
from below as they ran quickly on their way. But soon they came to a
part where there was not even a bush to hide them from view, and as
Sophie walked up and down in despair, her eyes wandering about
wildly in every direction, she suddenly caught sight of Bunny's
white hat and blue sash, and with a shriek of rage, she bounded up
the path, and taking hold of them by the shoulders shook them
angrily as she cried in a hoarse voice:

"Ah, you wicked bad ones, I thought you were lost! I thought the
kidnappers had taken you away for ever."

"Oh, we are too big for that!" cried Bunny, "and you need not be in
such a rage, Sophie, we only went up in the lift, as Mervyn wanted
to see what it was like;" and she walked past the maid with a
scornful toss of her little head.

"I am very sorry, Sophie, indeed I am," said Mervyn gently; "I did
not know we had so far to go. I am sorry you thought we were lost."

"Ah! much I care whether you are sorry or not," cried the angry
maid. "It will be like Mademoiselle Bunny's sorrow--it will last one
minute--and then off to some more naughty things," and with a push
and a slap Sophie drove the two children on before her, over the
bridge and away home to Holly Lodge.

"And now," she cried as they reached the hall door, "I will march
you both up to Miss Kerr, and see what she will do with you. Some
punishment should be given to you, and I don't know what to do."

"Oh, very well!" said Bunny, "we'll go and tell Miss Kerr ourselves.
You need not come with us, we don't want you at all. Come along,
Mervyn;" and taking the little boy by the hand, she dragged him up
the stairs after her.



[Illustration: Chapter decoration.]

CHAPTER VII.

IN MISS KERR'S ROOM.


When the two children reached Miss Kerr's bed-room, they found the
door shut, and feeling quite certain that she was there, they
knocked gently, and then stood very still upon the mat, expecting
every moment to hear her voice calling to them to go in.

"Dear Miss Kerr," said Bunny at last, as, growing impatient at the
delay, she put her little mouth to the key-hole and tried very hard
to make herself heard within the room, "Mervyn and I want to tell
you something, so please, please, open the door and let us in."

But to her surprise she received no answer, and becoming more and
more cross and impatient, she rattled the handle as noisily as
possible in order to attract Miss Kerr's attention.

"I can't make out why she doesn't speak to us," said Mervyn in a
whisper. "I think she must be asleep."

"Asleep!" exclaimed Bunny indignantly. "She isn't a baby, and she
isn't ill, so why should she be asleep at this time of the day?"

"Well, in India people sleep in the day when they're not a bit ill,
just because it's hot--so why shouldn't they here?"

"What a lot of sillies they must be in India then!" cried Bunny
contemptuously. "Why, I have not been asleep in the day for
years--not since I was quite small," and she rattled away more
noisily than ever at the door-handle.

"Miss Kerr is not there, children," said a housemaid who passed
along the passage at that moment, "she has been in the drawing-room
all the morning."

"Has she?" said Bunny, "oh, then, I tell you what, Mervyn, we'll
just go in and wait for her. She will be sure to come up in a few
minutes to wash her hands before dinner, and then we'll tell her."

"Oh, but there is Sophie calling to us to get ready ourselves. She
will be awfully angry if we don't go," said Mervyn. "Listen how she
is screaming."

"Never mind her, the nasty, cross old thing!" cried Bunny, opening
the bed-room door. "Come in, Mervyn, come in! There is Sophie--do be
quick, or she will catch us and drag us off with her--and then
she'll tell Miss Kerr before we do. Come in, come in," and once more
she hurried her cousin along with her, against his own will and
inclination.

"But, Bunny, I do think we ought to go to Sophie, I do indeed," said
Mervyn; "listen, she is asking the housemaid if she has seen us
anywhere. And oh, she is coming here to look for us--she will be
awfully cross! Do let us go into the nursery quietly and take off
our things and get ready for dinner."

"Well, you are a silly, Mervyn! That would spoil all the fun. But I
know what I'll do--I'll lock the door, and then Sophie will not be
able to get us. I can easily open it for Miss Kerr when she comes
up," cried Bunny; and before Mervyn could say a word to prevent
her, the little girl turned the key in the lock, and, clapping her
hands with delight, danced up and down the room singing at the top
of her voice:

    "What a good plan! What a good plan!
     And the dinner is in the frying pan!"

"Indeed, then I wish it was here," grumbled Mervyn, "I'm awfully
hungry, and it would be much better to go down to dinner now, and
tell Miss Kerr afterwards, or at dinner-time, Bunny, indeed it
would."

"Yes, and let Sophie hear her scolding us," cried the little girl.
"I am hungry too, I can tell you, Mervyn; but Miss Kerr won't be
long, I am sure. Hasn't she got a pretty room? and doesn't the sea
and the bridge look nice from the window?"

"Well enough," answered Mervyn crossly, as he rolled about in
an arm-chair that stood away in the furthest corner. "But oh,
it is silly to be sticking up here when the dinner is ready
down-stairs--oh, I smell it, and it does smell nice! and I am so
hungry, and it's very stupid of you to keep me shut up here."

"Well, I thought you were sorry and wanted to tell Miss Kerr so,"
said Bunny complacently, as she shook out her frock and admired
herself in the long glass. "It's very greedy to talk so much about
your dinner."

"Is it?" grumbled Mervyn. "Well, I don't care! I'm sure you're just
as bad twisting about and looking at yourself in the glass, for
that's being vain, and I'd rather be greedy than vain, so I would,
Bunny."

"Would you? Oh, that's because you're a boy. Boys are greedy, but
it's vulgar to be greedy--Sophie says it is, but it's different to
be vain, I--"

"Mademoiselle Bunny, come out this minute. Ah, what a little naughty
one you are! and that cousin of yours he is a wicked bad boy--he
leads you into the mischiefs of all kinds. Come out, I say, the
dinner is ready and Miss Kerr is waiting for you;" and Sophie
rattled the handle and hammered at the door till the whole passage
was filled with the noise and the other servants came running from
all parts of the house to see what could be the matter.

"What is wrong, Sophie?" asked Miss Kerr, as she too hurried
upstairs wondering what was going on in the corridor. "Why are you
making such a dreadful noise?"

"Ah! ma foi! Noise, Miss Kerr! What can I do but make a noise, when
those two children have locked themselves into your room, and will
not come out for their dinner. Is it then a wonder that I make a
noise?" and she began once more to bang the door as if she would
like to break it in.

"That was Miss Kerr's voice, Bunny," whispered Mervyn; "do open the
door and let us go out to her now."

"Is it really? I only heard Sophie. Miss Kerr," she called, "are you
there?"

"Yes, Bunny, I am here. Come out, child, come to your dinner. You
must be starving, both of you."

"Yes, we are," answered Bunny, "and we will go out if you will send
Sophie away. Mervyn and I want to tell you something."

"Ah! what a naughty child!" cried Sophie. "Meess Kerr, they have
both been so very difficult, so wicked! They have run away, they
have gone in the lift, they have just escaped being seized by
kidnappers and--"

"That's a great story, Sophie," cried Bunny through the door, "for
there was not a single kidnapper near us; was there, Mervyn?"

"No, there wasn't," said Mervyn, "not one, Sophie, there wasn't
really."

"Now!" shouted Bunny triumphantly, "you see you are quite wrong,
Sophie."

"Open the door, Bunny, this minute," said Miss Kerr decidedly, "I am
surprised that you should behave in such a naughty way, just when I
thought you were going to be a good girl."

"I'll open it now, indeed I will," cried Bunny, "and please, please
don't be angry with us. We are so sorry we ran away from Sophie,
indeed we are, and that is the reason we came up here, just to tell
you so."

All the time the child was talking she was also working away at the
key, trying her very best to open the door. But no matter how she
turned or pulled it, round it would not go, and at last, hot and
tired with so many violent efforts, she begged Mervyn to try if he
could make it turn.

"No, Bunny, I can't," said the boy sadly, after working patiently
at the key for some time. "It's no use, I can't do it at all."

"Oh dear, oh dear!" cried Bunny in a miserable voice, "what shall we
do? Miss Kerr, dear, we can't open the door, it's locked quite
fast."

"Take the key out of the lock and push it under the door, and I will
try and open it from this side," said Miss Kerr; "it was really very
naughty of you to lock yourselves up in such a way. But be quick and
give me the key."

After a good deal of pulling and tugging, Bunny at last managed to
get the key out of the lock, and kneeling on the floor she tried
with all the strength of her tiny hands to push it out under the
door.

But the key was too large or the door fitted too closely, and the
little girl gave a cry of alarm as she found that it was quite
impossible to get it out into the passage.

"Oh, Mervyn, dear, it won't go out! Oh! Miss Kerr, what shall we
do?" she cried, bursting into tears; "if we can't open the door what
shall we do?"

"And I am so hungry," said Mervyn in a doleful tone. "How nasty it
will be to be stuck in here for ever! Oh, pray open the door! Oh!
pray open the door, Miss Kerr."

"Throw the key out of the window, Bunny," said Miss Kerr, "and I
will go round and pick it up, and let you out in a minute."

"Oh! the window is shut. The window is shut," cried the two children
in despair, "and we cannot reach to open it. What shall we do? What
shall we do?"

"Good gracious!" exclaimed Miss Kerr, "who can have shut the
window?"

"I am sorry to say I did, miss," said the housemaid. "The wind was
so strong upon the window that was open, that I shut it, intending
to open the middle one, but I forgot all about it when I was leaving
the room."

"It is extremely awkward, and has helped to give the poor children a
great fright," said Miss Kerr. "Go and bring me the keys of all the
doors, Sarah, and I will try if any of them will fit the lock. Don't
be uneasy, Bunny; don't cry, little Mervyn. We will get you out some
way or other, you may be quite sure, so don't be afraid. I have sent
for some keys to try if they will open the door, so don't fret. Ah!
here they are."

One after the other the keys were taken and tried, but not one was
of the slightest use. One was too large, and another too small, and
Miss Kerr felt really grieved for the poor little prisoners, whose
sobs were distinctly heard through the door.

"What can I do?" she said. "It is really very hard on them to be
shut in there for such a long, long time! And they are so hungry
too."

"Send for a man to pick the lock, miss," said Sarah. "Ashton will
get some one from one of the shops."

"But that will take such a time!" cried Miss Kerr; "it is a long way
to the town, and the children want their dinner so badly. No, I must
think of some quicker plan than that. Ah, now I know one!" she
exclaimed with a sudden smile; "it is a pity, but it can't be
helped! Bunny, dear, will you take the poker, break a pane of glass
with it, and throw the key out upon the grass. Be very careful not
to cut your fingers."

"I'll do it!" cried Mervyn, jumping up out of the chair, where he
had been rolling about disconsolately. "I'd just like to break a
window, and I'm taller than you, Bunny; do let me, like a good
girl."

"No, no; Miss Kerr told me to do it," cried Bunny, "and I should
like to break a pane too;" and seizing the poker she sent it crash
through the glass.

"Oh, what fun! What a rare smash!" exclaimed Mervyn in delight. "I
will throw the key out;" and he darted across the room, picked up
the key, and flung it with all his strength at the window.

But he did not aim straight, and instead of flying into the garden
the key merely shattered the glass a little more, and fell back
again on to the floor.

"You stupid boy! What a bad shot!" cried Bunny, and taking it up
between her finger and thumb she stepped on a chair, and dropped it
down cleverly upon the grass, just at Miss Kerr's feet.

"That is right," said the governess with a smile, as she stooped to
pick up the key; "and now don't you think it would be a good
punishment for all your naughtiness to keep you both locked up
there for the rest of the afternoon?"

"Oh, no, no, pray do not do that, Miss Kerr, we are so sorry and so
hungry!" and the two little faces, as they were pressed against the
window, looked so utterly miserable and woebegone, that the
kind-hearted governess could not bear to carry out her threat of
punishment, but hurried away as fast as possible to let the poor
children out.

When the door was at last opened and they were told to come forth,
Mervyn hung back and did not dare to raise his eyes to Miss Kerr's
face. Bunny, on the contrary, greeted her with a cry of joy, and
springing into her arms, kissed her heartily over and over again.

"I'm so glad to get out! I'm so glad to get out! Oh, I was afraid we
should have to stay in here all day by ourselves."

"Well, I hope this will be a lesson to you never to shut yourself
into a room again, Bunny," said Miss Kerr severely. "It was a very
foolish thing to do, and I cannot say that I am very sorry that you
got a little fright, for I really think you deserved to suffer
something for your naughtiness. But tell me, little man," she said
to Mervyn, "are you not glad to get out too? You don't look so
cheerful over it as Bunny does."

"I am very glad to get out. But I--I--wanted to tell you," he said
with much difficulty, and clasping his little hands tightly
together. "I want--to tell you--that I am very sorry I was
disobedient and ran away from Sophie."

"I am glad to hear you say you are sorry, dear," answered Miss Kerr.
"I am sure you mean it Mervyn, and that I may trust you not to be
disobedient again."

"Yes, you may trust me, indeed you may," the boy cried with a bright
smile, "I will really try to be good, and make Bunny remember if I
can."

"Naughty little Bun! Why do you always forget as you do?" said Miss
Kerr gently. "I did think you were going to be good to-day, and just
see how you have disappointed me!"

"I'm very sorry," murmured Bunny, hanging her head. "I did want to
be good, and I promise you I won't be naughty again. I'll always
stay as close up to Sophie as ever I can when we go out, I will
indeed."

"Very well, then, I will not say any more about the matter. Run away
now, like good children, and get ready for dinner. And Bunny, dear,
if Sophie is a little cross, be gentle and polite with her, for you
have tormented and tried her temper very much, you know."

"Oh, I will be ever so nice and kind to her, dear, dear Miss Kerr,"
cried Bunny as she gave the governess a bear-like hug and another
loving kiss. "I'll be awfully polite;" and laughing merrily she
jumped off her perch on Miss Kerr's knee, and ran down the passage
to the nursery, waving her hat and singing at the top of her voice.

"Poor little giddy-pate!" said Miss Kerr with a sigh. "I wonder how
long she will keep all those splendid promises. But why don't you go
off and get ready for dinner too, Mervyn?" she asked in surprise as
she saw the little boy lingering at the door in a shy uncertain
manner. "Run along, dear, at once."

"Will you--give me a kiss?" said Mervyn with a deep blush. "I want
to know that you have really forgiven me."

"Of course I have, dear boy," answered Miss Kerr, and she put her
arm round him and kissed him affectionately. "I have quite forgiven
you, Mervyn, and I feel sure that you are going to be a very good
boy."

"I am going to try very hard to be good," replied the boy solemnly,
"and as Bunny is so small perhaps I may make her do the same."

"Very likely, Mervyn, dear, for good example is sure to have a
strong effect upon little Bunny, who is more thoughtless than really
naughty. But run off now, dear, and get your hands washed as quickly
as possible. The dinner will not be fit to eat if we keep it waiting
any longer."

"That is true," said Mervyn with a bright happy smile. "We have kept
it waiting a dreadfully long time, and we are all just dying with
hunger, I'm sure;" and he too went off singing to the nursery.



[Illustration: Chapter decoration.]

CHAPTER VIII.

BUNNY TRIES TO SHOW OFF.


For some time after this there was a marked improvement in little
Bunny's behaviour, and everyone in the house was delighted with the
change, and rejoiced over it in a very open manner.

"It is perfectly wonderful!" said Mrs. Dashwood; "our little
troublesome is becoming quite a well-behaved young person. I feel
very grateful to you, Miss Kerr, for I believe it is all owing to
your tender care and kind good-nature that the child is improving so
much."

"I don't think I have so much to do with the change as little
Mervyn," answered Miss Kerr with a smile. "I have lectured poor
Bunny very often, it is true, but I think a good obedient little
friend does a child more real good than all the scoldings and
lectures in the world."

"Yes, I daresay it is an excellent thing," replied Mrs. Dashwood;
"but still I think your lectures and sermons have improved my poor
darling a great deal. She was very ignorant when you came to look
after her."

"Yes, she was," said Miss Kerr; "she did not know much, poor child,
and what was worse, did not care to learn anything. But lately she
has begun to get on very nicely. And there, again, you see it is
Mervyn who has done her good, for her whole ambition is to do
everything better than he does it."

"The little rogue!" exclaimed Mrs. Dashwood laughing. "Well, it is a
good thing to have found a way to make her work. Where is she now, I
wonder?"

"Mr. Dashwood took her off with him to the stables. Mervyn went too,
as it seems there is a pleasant surprise awaiting them there. They
both went off laden with bread for Frisk."

"I think I can guess what the surprise is," said Mrs. Dashwood with
a smile; "I--"

"Oh, mama, mama! we are glad! we are glad!" cried Bunny bursting
suddenly into the room, followed by Mervyn with a radiant look of
happiness on his little white face. "What do you think? Guess what
has happened. Just guess what papa has given Mervyn."

"Dear aunt, it was so kind of uncle to buy me such a--"

"Let her guess--let her guess, Mervyn. Don't tell her what he bought
you. Miss Kerr, what did papa buy for him? Something living,
something with a tail, something with a nose, a dear velvety nose
and a soft silky coat," cried Bunny, as she danced up and down the
drawing-room in high glee.

"A kitten," said Miss Kerr gravely.

"A kitten! oh, the idea!" exclaimed Bunny, "as if people bought
kittens."

"Something far nicer!" said Mervyn in a voice full of pleasure.
"I'll tell her, Bunny, something to ride--"

"No, no, don't tell, don't tell!" cried the little girl, laying her
hand quickly over his mouth. "Mama, guess, guess."

"A pony, Bun, a little brown pony," said Mrs. Dashwood, smiling
brightly upon the eager excited children.

"You dear clever mamey, that's just what it is," exclaimed Bunny,
giving her mother an affectionate hug. "And Mervyn's so pleased, and
I am so glad, and oh, it will be so nice going out to ride
together!" and jumping up sideways on the arm of the sofa the little
girl began to work herself about as if she were really on Frisk's
back and trotting along a country road.

"My dear Bunny, please don't," cried Mrs. Dashwood, as she felt the
sofa upon which she was lying, shaken up and down by the child's
vigorous antics. "Please don't, dear, you hurt me very much."

"Oh, I am so sorry!" cried Bunny bounding quickly down from her
perch, and holding her face up for a pardoning kiss. "But won't it
be nice, mama? Frisk is so glad to have a friend in the stable with
him, and it will be fun for me to have Mervyn to ride with."

"Yes, it will be very nice, dear. But, Bunny, you talk so much that
Mervyn never gets saying a word. Tell me, my dear, do you really
like your pony?"

"Oh, yes, aunt, I am delighted with him, he is so pretty. It was
very good of uncle to buy him for me."

"And you will not be afraid to ride him, I hope," she said with a
smile.

"No, I think not, at least not if we go along quietly. But Bunny
says she will make Frisk go awfully fast, and then my pony will run
after him, and that she is sure I shall be frightened and hold on by
the mane and--"

"Bunny, Bunny, you must not say such naughty things," cried Mrs.
Dashwood shaking her finger at the mischievous child. "But don't
mind her, Mervyn. She does not ride at all so splendidly herself.
The groom or her papa always holds Frisk by a leading rein, so it
would be quite impossible for her to go on as fast as she likes; so
do not mind her."

"Oh, I don't feel a bit afraid if some one holds my pony by a rein,"
said Mervyn bravely; "not one bit; I think it will be lovely riding
along together."

"That is right," said Mrs. Dashwood. "I am sure you will be a clever
horseman, for your papa was when he was a boy."

"And so he is now, aunt. He has a beautiful horse, and he looks
splendid on it when he goes off to ride," cried Mervyn, smiling
brightly at the recollection; "I used to think he looked grander
than any of the other officers."

"Poor little man," said his aunt gently, as she smoothed back the
hair from his brow. "You are very fond of your papa, Mervyn, and do
you know, I think you will be like him when you grow big and
strong."

"I want to be like him in every way," said Mervyn, "and I mean to be
an officer when I grow up."

"And go away to that nasty, hot India," cried Bunny; "oh, I'd be so
lonely if you went away again--please don't, Mervyn, please don't."

"What is Mervyn not to do, my little woman?" asked Mr. Dashwood, who
entered the room at this moment.

"He's not to go back to India again, because I should be so lonely
without him," cried Bunny catching hold of her papa's hand and
laying her little cheek against it; "you won't let him go, papa,
will you, dear?"

"No, indeed, I couldn't think of such a thing. But I am sure he
won't want to go when he hears that his papa is coming home for
Christmas; eh, my boy?"

"That is good news, uncle," cried Mervyn joyfully; "I never thought
he would come so soon. Not much fear of my wanting to go to India
when he comes home."

"So I thought," said Mr. Dashwood. "And now, children, when are we
to have our first ride?"

"Now, now; to-day, to-day," cried Bunny; "dear papa, let us go off
at once!"

"Very well, my dear. I thought you would like to go soon, so I told
John to get the ponies and horses ready in half an hour. You had
better run and get on your habit--that is, if Miss Kerr will let you
both off with your afternoon lessons. What do you think, Miss Kerr,
do they deserve a ride?"

"Yes, I think they do, for they have both been very good," answered
the governess with a smile; "besides, I really don't think they
look studiously inclined--they are very much excited."

"I couldn't learn a lesson if I tried ever so," cried Bunny, "I
really couldn't, so I am glad you are going to let us off. Good-bye,
Miss Kerr; good-bye, mama I sha'n't be long, papa, dear;" and away
she flew in breathless haste to the nursery.

Sophie had received a message informing her that her young lady was
going out for a ride, and when Bunny went up to be dressed she found
her pretty brown habit and neat felt hat laid all ready for her on
the bed.

"That is a dear good Sophie," she cried, and she was in such good
humour that she allowed the maid to brush her hair and put on her
habit without uttering a single cross word or complaint.

"Thank you very much, that will do nicely," she said politely, as
Sophie put the last finishing touch to her curls; then taking her
little whip with the pretty silver top from the maid's hand, she
gathered up her skirts and ran quickly down to the hall-door.

"What a pleasure it is to dress her when she is so good and polite
as that!" said Sophie to herself as she watched the little figure
running away from her down the passage. "What a pity it is that
children are so often naughty and troublesome!"

When Bunny arrived in the hall she found her papa and Mervyn quite
ready to start for their ride.

"Oh, how nice Brownie looks!" cried the little girl in delight, as
her cousin was lifted on to his new pony; "but I don't think he is
as handsome as you, old Frisk. Is he, papa?"

"I don't know, I am sure, dear," answered her papa, laughing; "but I
suppose you like Frisk best because he is your own."

"Yes, I suppose I do," said Bunny, and placing her little foot on
her papa's hand she sprang nimbly to her saddle. "Good-bye, Miss
Kerr, good-bye."

Mr. Dashwood mounted his horse, the groom jumped on his, and the
whole party rode gaily up the avenue and out of the gate.

"I declare Mervyn sits very well, papa," said Bunny in a patronizing
manner, as she looked back at her cousin, who was following them
with the servant.

"Yes, of course he sits well; why shouldn't he?" asked Mr. Dashwood;
"he wants a few lessons and then he will ride very well, I am sure."

"Yes, I daresay," said Bunny; "but he never rode before, you know,
except just little short rides on Frisk, and he'd be awfully afraid
to go without the leading rein, I know."

"Yes, and quite right too," said her father; "it's only children who
ride very well who should be allowed to go without a leading rein,
and especially on a country road. Supposing the pony took it into
his head to bolt--what do you think would happen then?"

"Oh, he could be pulled up quite tight by his rein. I wouldn't be a
bit afraid to ride all by myself."

"Wouldn't you, indeed, Miss Vanity. Well, I would rather not trust
you," said Mr. Dashwood laughing; "I think it is very likely you
would find Master Frisk rather too much for you without a leading
rein, my dear child."

"No, I shouldn't," answered Bunny, bending over her pony and patting
his neck; "Frisk and I are such friends he would be sure to do what
I told him. Wouldn't you, Friskie?"

"Don't trust him or your own power too much, Miss Bunny," replied
her father with a smile. "But who is that coming down the road
towards us? I think I ought to know him."

"Why, papa, it's Mr. Davis, that nice old gentleman who gave me the
box of sweets; don't you remember? I'm sure it is."

"Yes, so it is," said Mr. Dashwood; "what sharp eyes you have,
little woman! You and Mervyn had better ride on with John, as I want
to say a word to Mr. Davis."

"Very well, papa, but don't be long, pray," said the little girl;
"it's so much nicer talking to you than to John."

"No, I sha'n't be very long, dear. Good morning, Mr. Davis," said
Mr. Dashwood to a tall fine-looking old gentleman who at this moment
rode up to them on a beautiful chestnut horse; "I am very glad to
see you. This little girl of mine knew you a long way off."

"Ha! Miss Bunny and I are great friends," answered Mr. Davis with a
smile, as he bent forward to shake her warmly by the hand.

"Those pretty eyes of yours are a deal sharper than mine, my dear,
for I had not the faintest idea who it was that was coming along the
road. But I am glad I met you, Dashwood, as I want to say a few
words to you about--" and he lowered his voice to a whisper.

"Very well," said Mr. Dashwood; "I'll send these little people on
with the groom, and ride down the road a short way with you. John,"
he called to the servant, "take Miss Bunny's rein and go on up the
hill with the children, turn in at Lady Edith's Drive, and I will
overtake you in a few minutes."

"Yes, sir," said the groom, touching his hat respectfully, and
riding forward he took the rein from his master's hand.

"Ride quietly along and I will be back to you very soon, Bunny,"
said Mr. Dashwood, and then he turned his horse round and walked it
leisurely down the road again with Mr. Davis.

"Oh, what a pretty place!" cried Mervyn, as the riding party trotted
along through a gate and into a cool shady avenue, with tall stately
trees growing closely together on every side.

"This is Lady Edith's Drive," said Bunny; "I think it is the
prettiest place about Scarborough. It is so cool and pleasant, and
then it is so quiet."

"Why is it called Lady Edith's Drive?" asked Mervyn.

"I don't know," answered Bunny. "Do you, John?"

"Well, no, Miss," said John; "I can't exactly say as I do. I suppose
some Lady Edith used to drive here very often."

"I suppose so, indeed," said Bunny, laughing merrily at this
explanation.

"I don't think that tells us much, John," said Mervyn; "anyone might
know that."

"Yes, sir, very likely, sir," replied the groom; "but I never asks
no questions. If I'm told a place is called by a name, I never asks
why or wherefore, but just takes it as the name that it's to be
called by."

"Well, I think you are very foolish then," said Mervyn; "I like
asking questions, and it's a very good way to learn about things, I
can tell you."

"I daresay it is, sir, for a young gentleman like you, sir. But you
see the people about me don't know no more nor I do, so what's the
use of asking them what's this an' what's that, an' showin' them I
don't know nothin' myself."

"I never thought of that," said Mervyn, "but I don't think it
matters about showing that you don't know. Miss Kerr says no one
should be ashamed to ask a question about a thing they don't
understand."

"John, John," cried Bunny suddenly as she pulled very hard at the
leading rein in order to attract the groom's attention, "I want to
ask you something. Stoop down that I may whisper it into your ear."

The man did as she requested; but when he had heard what she wanted
him to do he shook his head in a very determined manner, saying, "I
couldn't on no account, Miss. Your pa would be as angry as
anything."

"No, he wouldn't, John. I told him I could manage Frisk myself, and
he only laughed. Do let me--just for a few minutes. I'll go along
quite quietly, you'll see I will. I want to show Mervyn that I can
ride better than he does, and that I am not afraid to go without a
leading rein."

"Well, it's very quiet here, so I suppose it could not be much
harm," said the man, yielding a little at her pleading voice; "I
really don't think it could be any harm;" and he turned in his
saddle and looked carefully up and down the drive.

"Harm!" exclaimed Bunny, "of course it could do no harm. Oh! pray
take off the rein, John," and she looked up into his face in a most
imploring manner.

"Well, you are a funny little lady, to be sure," he answered with a
good-natured laugh, and, bending forward, he unfastened the leading
rein and put it into his pocket.

"Thank you, John," said the child, sitting up proudly on her pony.
"It feels ever so much nicer without it; it's so silly to be always
led along by a rein like a baby. Mervyn, I am riding all by myself.
Wouldn't you like to ride without a leading rein?" she shouted
across at her cousin, who was trotting along quietly at the other
side of the groom; "it's twice as nice to feel that you can go just
as you like."

"I feel just as nice as I am, Bunny, thank you," said Mervyn; "I
would rather have the rein, thank you."

"I can't hear what you say, so I think I'll go round beside you,
Mervyn," she cried gaily; and, raising her whip, she brought it down
heavily upon poor Frisk's back, and tried to make him go round
beside Brownie. But Frisk was not accustomed to such treatment, and
tossed his head and whisked up his tail, but absolutely refused to
go to the other side of John's horse, no matter what she did to him.

"You naughty pony," she cried, "you must do what I tell you," and
she tugged violently at his mouth, and gave him another sharp blow
with her whip. This was more than the pony could bear; and before
his little mistress knew where she was, he pricked up his ears, and
with an angry toss of his head galloped away down the road as fast
as he could.

"Stop, Miss Bunny, for goodness sake stop," shouted the groom; "you
must not go so fast; come back here at once."

[Illustration: FRANCIS SAVES BUNNY.]

"I can't stop--I can't!" shrieked the little girl in a voice of
terror. "Oh! he's running away--he's running away;" and, completely
overcome with fright, poor Bunny dropped her reins, and, catching
hold of the pony's mane, held on to him with all her strength.

"What a fool I was to let her go!" cried the groom; "what on earth
will my master say to me? Goodness, the silly child has let go her
reins; she'll be off--she'll be off;" and, spurring up his horse, he
rode after the runaway, hoping to overtake him and put a stop to his
mad race.

But the noise of the horses as they clattered down the road after
him seemed only to excite Master Frisk, and on he went faster than
ever.

As the pony reached the end of the drive, and poor little Bunny had
become so weak and faint from terror that she was in great danger of
being thrown to the ground, a young lad of about sixteen jumped up
from the grass where he had been seated, and, dashing forward,
seized Frisk by the head and brought him to a sudden stand-still.

"Poor little girl," said the boy kindly, as he lifted Bunny from her
saddle and laid her gently on the grass. "What a fright you have
had! How did this beggar come to run away? He looks quiet enough."

"I whipped him," answered Bunny in a shaky voice; "and oh! I thought
I was going to fall," and she put her hand to her head as if she
still felt giddy.

"You were certainly very nearly off," said the boy; "but what a fool
that groom of yours was to let a kid like you ride without a leading
rein; he shouldn't have done such a thing."

"Oh! but I begged him so hard that he let me go," said Bunny; "he
didn't want to let me, and--"

"Miss Bunny, I'm ashamed of you," cried John, riding up beside her.
"You promised you'd ride quite quiet beside me, and you broke your
word. I'm very thankful to you, sir, I'm sure," he continued,
turning to the young stranger. "In another minute this little lady
might have been thrown on her head and been killed on the spot."

"Oh, dear! oh, dear! it wasn't my fault," cried Bunny, bursting into
tears; "I only mean't to go round beside Mervyn, and Frisk ran away
and--"

"Don't cry, dear," said the strange lad kindly; "you must not say
another word to her, my man," he continued, turning to the groom;
"she is rather shaken with her fright, and it's best to leave her
alone. Take hold of this pony and I will go and get your young lady
some fresh water; that will do her good."

"Very well, sir," said John, pulling the leading rein once more from
his pocket, and fastening it on to Frisk's bridle with an angry
jerk. "It's not my place to scold, Miss Bunny, but a young lady
should keep her word, and not get a servant into trouble."

"But I didn't mean to break my word, John, indeed I didn't," sobbed
Bunny. "Oh! why did papa leave us? oh, dear! oh, dear!"

"Drink this, you poor little mite," said her new friend as he held a
flask full of fresh water to her lips. "It will do you ever so much
good. I will bathe your face for you, and then you will see how
comfortable you will feel, but you must not cry any more."

"Thank you so much," said Bunny, drinking off the water; "it is very
cool and nice."

"Yes," the boy answered, "it is very refreshing, but this will do
you more good, I am sure;" and, removing her hat, he took a
neatly-folded, perfectly clean handkerchief from his pocket, shook
it out, and, dipping it into the water, bathed the child's face as
tenderly as a girl might have done.

"You are very kind," said Bunny, as she raised her big blue eyes to
his face; "you are a nice good boy," and she raised her face to give
him a kiss.

"That's right," he said smiling; "you are beginning to look more
cheerful," and, stooping, he kissed her gently on the forehead.

At this moment the sound of horses' feet was heard coming along the
road, and Mr. Dashwood soon appeared, riding quickly towards them.

"What is the matter?" he cried in alarm, as, drawing up sharply, he
sprang from his horse and rushed to his little girl's side.

"Oh! papa, papa!" cried the child, running into her father's arms,
"your poor Bunny was nearly killed, only this nice boy stopped Frisk
and took me off his back."

"My poor darling!" cried Mr. Dashwood, lifting her gently from the
ground, and smoothing back her ruffled hair, "I am very thankful to
God that you are not hurt. Thank you, too, my lad, for your kind
and ready assistance," he said to the young stranger, grasping him
warmly by the hand, "and now tell me, sir," he cried with a stern
look, as he turned to the groom, "how it is that the child whom I
left in your care came to be in such danger."

"If you please, sir, Miss Bunny asked--" began John very nervously.

"Yes, papa, I--it was all my fault," interrupted the little girl;
"don't scold John. I wanted to show Mervyn that I could ride better
than he does, and as I could not do so properly with John holding me
by the rein, I begged him to let me go, and I promised to ride
quietly; but I whipped Frisk, and he ran off so fast that I got
frightened, and--"

"It was very wrong of you, John, to allow the child to ride without
a rein, and I am really angry and vexed that you should not have
taken more care of her when she was left in your charge."

"Indeed, sir, I am very sorry, and it shall never happen again,"
said John.

"I hope not," said Mr. Dashwood; "and as for you, Bunny, I am very
much surprised that you should have been so naughty. You know I
told you you could not manage Frisk without a leading rein."

"Yes, I know you did, dear papa," said Bunny, as she rubbed her
little face up and down against her father's cheek, "but don't scold
us any more. We are all very sorry, aren't we, John?"

"Very, Miss," answered the groom; "I'd rather have died than let any
harm come to you, an' I hope master will forgive me for lettin' you
have your own way about the rein."

"I forgive you this time, John," said Mr. Dashwood; "but remember
for the future you are to keep Miss Bunny well to your side when you
take her out to ride on her pony."

"Yes, sir, surely I will," answered the man earnestly; "I will never
do what Miss Bunny asks me to do again, never while I live."

"And now, my dear fellow," said Mr. Dashwood, turning to the young
stranger and shaking him once more by the hand, "I cannot tell you
how grateful I feel to you. May I be permitted to ask your name?"

"My name is Francis Collins; but indeed I did not do much," the boy
answered modestly.

"You have done me a very great service, Master Francis, and one that
I can never repay you," said Mr. Dashwood earnestly. "Do you live
anywhere about here?"

"No, sir; I live in London," replied the lad; "my father is in India
with his regiment, and I am staying up here for a time with my
aunt."

"Is your father a captain? and is he in India now?" asked Mervyn
shyly.

"Yes, little man," answered young Collins with a smile, "he is a
captain in the 45th, and is now stationed at Jublepoore."

"Why, Captain Collins is papa's great friend, and of course he was
my friend too; and Mrs. Collins was so good and kind to me. Oh, I
did love her so much!" cried Mervyn, looking up into the lad's face.
"Are you the Frank she used to talk to me about?"

"Yes, I am the Frank, her only child," said the boy sadly; "poor
mother! it's a whole year and a half since I saw her last;" and
tears came into his eyes as he spoke.

"I have often heard my brother-in-law speak of your father, my dear
boy, and I am very glad to have made your acquaintance," said Mr.
Dashwood as he seated his little daughter upon her pony. "Where are
you staying?"

"I am living with my aunt at a quiet hotel on the West Cliff."

"I am very glad to hear it," said Mr. Dashwood, "for you will be
able to come over and see us. Our name is Dashwood, and we are
staying at Holly Lodge, a house standing in its own grounds and
facing the sea, yonder on the South Cliff. Anyone will point it out
to you; so be sure and pay us a visit some day soon."

"Yes, thank you, I certainly will," the boy replied with a bright
smile; "I must have a talk with this little chap, Mr. Dashwood, and
find out all I can about my father and mother from him. By the by I
suppose you are the Mervyn Hastings she told me she missed so much."

"Yes, I am Mervyn Hastings; and oh, did she miss me?" cried the
little fellow eagerly.

"Most dreadfully! And I don't wonder, for you seem to be a capital
little fellow," said Frank Collins, patting Mervyn on the shoulder.

"Come over and lunch at the children's dinner to-morrow at two
o'clock, and then you and Mervyn can have a long talk together,"
said Mr. Dashwood as he sprang to his horse. "It is rather late now,
so these youngsters must get home as quickly as they can. Remember
we shall all be delighted to see you, if you can spare time for
visiting."

"Oh, do come, do come," said Mervyn, earnestly.

"Mama will be so glad to see you," cried Bunny, "so do come,
please."

"Thank you all very much," answered the lad brightly; "I will be
sure to be at Holly Lodge by two o'clock. Good-bye, Mr. Dashwood;
good-bye, Miss Bunny; good-bye, little Mervyn;" and Frank lifted his
hat politely as the riding party turned and rode away from him down
the drive towards Scarborough.



[Illustration: Chapter decoration.]

CHAPTER IX.

MISS KERR PROMISES A PRIZE.


The next morning was very wet, and as it was quite impossible for
the children to go out, Miss Kerr insisted on their going into the
library to learn their lessons.

Bunny pouted and declared that her papa did not wish them to sit
still all day over their books, and that it would be much nicer to
run about the house and play at "Hide and seek."

"Yes, it would be pleasanter for you, Bunny," said Miss Kerr, "but
you forget that 'Hide and seek' is a very noisy game, and that your
mama's head is aching so much that she could not bear the noise you
would be sure to make. Come now, be good children, and try to learn
your lessons as well as you possibly can."

"I hate lessons! and so does Mervyn," cried the little girl in a
cross voice. "Don't you, Mervyn?"

"No, I don't," answered the boy; "I will go if you like, Miss Kerr,
for I want to learn how to write soon, that I may be able to send
papa a letter."

"You are a good boy, Mervyn," said the governess with a smile as she
took him by the hand, "and I promise you that I will soon let you
write a little letter to your papa. Come, Bun, dear, you are not
going to be naughty, I am sure. Come along and we'll have such a
nice quiet morning over our books;" and she held out her other hand
to the little girl.

"Well, if I am good, will you read us a story after we have said our
lessons?" bargained Miss Bunny; "I just love to hear you read
stories."

"Yes, I will read you a very nice story if you are good, and I have
a pretty box of chocolate here that I will give to the child who
studies the hardest and keeps silence the longest."

"Oh, how nice! Oh, how jolly!" cried Bunny, clapping her hands in
delight. "I'll learn my lessons awfully hard;" and away she ran down
the passage to the library, pulled her spelling-book out of the
drawer, and perching herself on a chair at the table began to shout
out the words at the top of her voice.

"My dear Bunny, how do you think Mervyn can learn his lessons if you
scream yours out in that way?" said Miss Kerr laughing; "repeat
those words quietly to yourself whilst I show your cousin what he is
to do."

"I don't know very much, Miss Kerr," said Mervyn shyly as he took
the book from her hand; "papa says I am a dreadful dunce, but I only
began to learn last year."

"Never mind that, my dear boy. If you give your attention to your
book and feel anxious to learn, you will soon get on. Spell over
these words for me and let me see what you can do."

Mervyn did as he was told, and with much difficulty he managed to
spell down half a column of very easy words.

"Oh, I can do better than that! I can do better than that!" cried
Bunny, wriggling about on her chair; "why, I could spell those words
in a minute. Listen--h-o-u-s-e, d-a-y, m-o-u-s-e."

"Hush! Bunny, I cannot allow you to go on like that," said Miss Kerr
gravely; "you have learned those words over and over again, so of
course you know them well. Now, Mervyn, go and read them over by
yourself and I will hear you say them without the book in a few
minutes. Bunny, come and say your lesson."

The little girl slipped off her chair and came slowly across the
room to Miss Kerr.

"Be quick, Bun, stir yourself," cried the governess; "I want to hear
how beautifully you can spell words that you have never seen before;
come along."

But Bunny still hung back with an obstinate look on her little face,
that showed plainly how very unwilling she was to do as she was
told.

"Come, dear child, be quick, you are wasting all my time;" and Miss
Kerr held out her hand for the spelling-book.

Bunny handed it to her, and then dragging one foot slowly after the
other, she at last stood by Miss Kerr's side.

"Take your finger out of your mouth, Bunny," said the governess, as
she laid the book before the child and pointed to the place. "Now
begin, B--"

"If you please, Miss Kerr," said Ashton, opening the door. "Mrs.
Dashwood wants to see you very particular, miss, in the
drawing-room. She said as she wouldn't keep you long, but you was to
go to her at once."

"Very well, I will go now, Ashton," said Miss Kerr; "and now,
children, I hope you will be good while I am away. Bunny, you can go
over those words by yourself. See here is the box of chocolate. I
will put it in the middle of the table so that you may see what you
have to work for;" and placing a pretty cardboard box upon a pile of
books so that the children might see the gay picture on the lid, she
smiled kindly upon them both, and hurried out of the room.

For a few moments after they were left alone the little people were
very silent and quiet; but soon Bunny raised her head, yawned
noisily, and pushing her book away began to amuse herself by looking
about the room.

"I shall get the prize," said Mervyn, "you are not learning your
lesson, you know."

"No more are you," cried Bunny; "I'll learn mine up in a minute when
Miss Kerr comes back, and you're as slow as an old snail at yours;"
and again she began to mimic his voice and manner of spelling.

"You're very rude," cried Mervyn, getting red, "and I'll just tell
Miss Kerr when she comes back."

"Tell-tale! tell-tale!" sang Bunny; "much I care! If I know my
lesson best I'll get the chocolate and I won't give you one bit."

"You're a greedy thing! But you won't get it. I know my lesson
splendidly, and you don't know yours at all, so I am sure to get the
prize, I can tell you."

"Ha, how grand you are, to be sure!" screamed Bunny, and stretching
out her hand she tried to pull the chocolate box towards her.

"You sha'n't touch it! You sha'n't touch it!" shouted Mervyn; "it
isn't yours, so just leave it alone."

"It isn't yours either," cried Bunny with flaming cheeks, and she
fastened her little fingers more firmly than ever round the box.

"I am sure to get it, so I shall keep it beside me till Miss Kerr
comes back."

"No, you sha'n't," answered Mervyn in an angry voice, and jumping up
on his chair he sprawled over the table and tried to drag the box
from Bunny's hand.

"You nasty boy, let go! I'll tell Miss Kerr! I'll tell mama! You're
a coward! You're a horrid--"

"Who's going to be tell-tale now?" shrieked the boy. "Give it to me,
I say, give it to me," and he gave a vigorous pull at the box.

But the cardboard of which the chocolate box was composed was not
strong enough to stand such pulling, and before the naughty children
knew where they were it suddenly gave way and came to pieces in
their hands. The beautiful prize was completely destroyed, and its
whole contents were strewn all over the place.

"Now, see what you have done!" cried Bunny, bursting into tears;
"you have broken the box--oh dear, oh dear, you cross, nasty, greedy
boy, I--"

"I didn't do it," said Mervyn, but his voice was low and shaky, for
all his anger disappeared when he saw the pretty box torn to pieces
and the chocolate creams lying scattered about all over the table
and floor.

"Yes, you did! If you hadn't pulled so hard it would have been all
right," said Bunny tearfully. "Oh, what will Miss Kerr say? I think
I'll run away to the nursery and hide. I shall be afraid to let her
see me--"

"That would be cowardly," answered Mervyn; "I'm very sorry I pulled
the box, and I'll stay here and tell her so;" and he went down on
his knees and began to gather up the sweetmeats and put them into a
sheet of paper.

"Don't eat any, Mervyn," said Bunny, "they look awfully nice, but--"

"Eat them!" exclaimed the boy indignantly, "I should think not
indeed! I am not so mean as that; I wouldn't--"

"Mean--is it mean?" cried Bunny, rubbing her mouth; "oh, I didn't
know, and I just took one--but Miss Kerr won't mind."

"Well, you are nasty! You tell me not to eat them, and then you go
and take some yourself. Go away, I won't speak to you or be friends
with you any more; you're a mean--"

"Oh, Mervyn, Mervyn, I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry!" cried Bunny,
flinging herself on her knees beside her cousin. "I didn't want to
take the chocolate cream, but it looked so nice, and I just longed
to take it and--"

"Children! what are you doing?" cried Miss Kerr in astonishment as
her eyes fell upon the two kneeling figures and she heard Bunny's
miserable tone of voice; "why are you on the floor? Come back to the
table at once."

"Bunny," whispered Mervyn, "we must tell Miss Kerr now what we have
done;" and springing to his feet he caught the little girl by the
hand and dragged her over to the other side of the room, where the
governess had seated herself, ready to begin lessons again.

"We have been very naughty," he began, looking down at the floor;
"we didn't learn our lessons--and--we--broke--the box--and spilt all
the chocolates--but we are very sorry, indeed we are," and he raised
his blue eyes full of tears to Miss Kerr's face.

"Yes, we are very sorry--and--I eat a chocolate cream--but Mervyn
didn't because it was mean," cried Bunny, and then, overcome with
grief, she buried her face in her pinafore and sobbed aloud.

"I cannot tell you how much surprised and shocked I feel at such
conduct," said Miss Kerr gravely. "I really thought I could trust
you for a few minutes alone. Mervyn, I am very much grieved to think
that you could behave in such a naughty way. Bunny is wild and
giddy, but I thought you were going to show her a good example, by
being good and gentle yourself."

"Yes, and I wanted to," said Mervyn, "but she called me names and
then I got cross, and then--I--"

"Yes, and I got cross too," cried Bunny, putting down her pinafore
for a minute. "I was angry and--"

"And I am afraid you both forgot that God was looking at you, and
that he was greatly displeased at you for giving way to your wicked
passions in such a manner. How did you come to be so naughty?
Mervyn, what began it all?"

The tears were rolling down the little boy's cheeks, but he dried
them with his handkerchief, and choking back those that were still
ready to flow, he tried to tell the story of the torn chocolate box
as well as he could.

"Well, I am glad you have told me all about it," said Miss Kerr,
gently, "and as you both seem so sorry for your conduct, I suppose I
must forgive you. But remember, dear children, that you must tell
God that you are sorry, and ask him to forgive you. Pray to Him that
he may help you to overcome your tempers and become good, gentle
little children. I will not scold you any more, and you have
punished yourselves by breaking the box and spilling the sweetmeats,
for now I cannot allow you to have any of them."

"Oh, I don't mind that!" cried Mervyn quickly. "If you will forgive
me for being naughty, I don't want any sweets."

"I do forgive you, Mervyn, but don't forget what I told you. Say a
prayer to-night before you go to bed and ask God's forgiveness and
help."

"Yes, I will, I will," cried the boy, "and I will try and be ever so
good all day to make up for being so naughty this morning."

"And I'll be good too," said Bunny; "I am sorry you won't give us
any sweets, for they look so nice, but still I--"

"You won't ask for any! That is right, dear. I know you like sweets,
Bun, but I must punish you a little, you know, so I can't give you
any to-day. Come, now, I forgive you both, so let us go back to our
lessons at once; and I hope you will do your best to show me that
you are truly sorry, by working very hard for the next two hours."

"Yes, yes, we will, indeed," cried the children together, and off
they ran to get their books.

"That is right! That looks like real work," said Miss Kerr, as she
wrapped up the chocolate creams in paper, and locked them away in a
drawer. "Come, Bunny, bring your book to me, dear."

Bunny opened her spelling-book briskly, Mervyn began to read his
lesson attentively, and perfect peace reigned once more.



[Illustration: Chapter decoration.]

CHAPTER X.

ON OLIVER'S MOUNT.


The lessons were over about half-past one, and as they had been well
learned and quickly said, Miss Kerr was really pleased with the
children, and rewarded them for their industry and attention by
reading a pretty story, that interested and amused them very much.

This kept them pleasantly occupied until nearly two o'clock, and
then they ran off to the nursery in high spirits, to get themselves
washed and dressed for their early dinner.

"I am so sorry, Miss Kerr," said Bunny, as she took her seat at the
dinner-table, "I'm really dreadfully sorry that nice boy we saw
yesterday has not come to have lunch with us as he promised he
would."

"Yes, dear, so am I, for I should like very much to see him,"
answered Miss Kerr, "but I daresay the rain kept him from coming."

"But it's not raining one drop now," said Mervyn, "and I declare,
there is the sun coming out; I do wish he would come."

"Oh, but it's wet under-foot, Mervyn," remarked Bunny wisely, "and
it's a bad thing to get your feet wet--Sophie screams fearfully at
me if I put my toe out, even long after the rain has stopped."

"Yes, when you go in your thin shoes, of course," cried Mervyn; "but
big boys like Frank Collins are not afraid of wetting their feet.
Are they, Miss Kerr?"

"No, I don't think they are, dear," answered the governess,
laughing, "I know my brothers run out in all kinds of weather."

"Come in, my boy! Here they are at their dinner," said Mr. Dashwood,
opening the door at this moment, and entering the room with young
Collins. "Miss Kerr, this is our young friend who so bravely saved
poor Bunny yesterday," he added as he presented Frank to the
governess.

"I am very glad to see you, Master Collins, and these children have
been longing for you to come," said Miss Kerr; "it was very brave of
you to stop the pony."

"Brave! not at all, Miss Kerr," answered Frank with a bright honest
smile that won the lady's heart at once. "I don't think the pony was
really running away, and if this little girl," and he patted Bunny
on the head, "had not been frightened, but had sat up properly and
kept a good hold of her reins, she would have been all right."

"Oh! Bunny, Bunny, you little coward," cried Miss Kerr, "and so,
after all, it was you who held on by the mane, and not Mervyn, as
you so gaily told him he would do yesterday."

"Did she tell him that?" asked Frank as he took a seat at the table
beside Mervyn. "Well, I think this little chap would be the bravest
of the two in real danger. He would not be so rash, perhaps, but I
think he would keep cool and not lose his head as she did."

"Oh, but I was frightened," sighed Bunny. "I was sure Frisk was
running away;" and she looked so very tearful that her papa kindly
changed the conversation by asking his young guest how he liked
staying at Scarborough.

"Are there many nice walks about?" asked Mr. Dashwood, when they had
all finished their lunch and were preparing to leave the table. "I
mean short walks within easy distance, where these little folks
could go, for instance?"

"Yes, there's the old castle," said Frank, "on the West Cliff, then
there's the people's Park in the valley, which of course you all
know well, and Oliver's Mount, which I think the nicest walk of
any."

"Oliver's Mount! Oh, that is a nice place," said Bunny, who had
quite recovered her gay spirits again. "Sophie says she went up
there one day with some friends, and she had buns and lemonade and
all kinds of things, in a little house, a funny small house, she
says, that is up there on the top. Do take us up Oliver's Mount,
like a dear good papa."

"Yes, I know the little house Sophie means," said Frank; "it is only
a small shed, you can just see it from the window, look, there it
is, right away up on the top of the mount."

"It looks a great height, certainly," said Mr. Dashwood. "I wonder
if these little ones could manage to go such a long way."

"Oh! yes, we could, we could," cried the children together.

"Very well, then, I suppose we had better set off at once," said Mr.
Dashwood; "you have no objection to my taking these small people,
Miss Kerr?"

"Not the slightest," she replied. "I was going to send them with
Sophie, but I am sure they will enjoy going with you much better.
Mrs. Dashwood is not well enough to go out, so I intend to read to
her the best part of the afternoon."

"I am glad to hear that, for I was afraid she might feel dull if we
set off for a long walk," said Mr. Dashwood. "Well, run away,
children, and get ready; the sooner we start the better."

"It will be a long way for their little legs if we go right to the
top," said Frank doubtfully. "Mervyn doesn't look very strong, and
Bunny's legs are very short."

"Indeed they are not," cried Bunny indignantly. "I can walk
splendidly; can't I, Miss Kerr?"

"Yes, dear, you are a very good walker for your age and size."

"There, do you hear that?" cried Bunny, jumping off her chair and
throwing her arms round her father's neck. "Do take us, do take us,
dear darling old papa."

"You little rogue!" cried Mr. Dashwood, "I do believe you could coax
the birds off the bushes."

"No, papa, indeed I couldn't," answered Bunny gravely; "I often
tried, but they would not come; and I tried to put salt on their
tails too, but they flew away and--"

"You dear little goose, that was a great shame; they must have been
very rude birds indeed, my poor Bun," said Mr. Dashwood with a
hearty laugh at the child's simplicity. "You have coaxed me anyway,
dear. I will take you to Oliver's Mount; and I have thought of a
plan that will save your short legs and Mervyn's weak ones a good
deal."

"A plan! Oh! what is it? you dear, darling papa," she cried
joyfully.

"No, I won't tell you, little one. Run off and get dressed, and you
will see what it is when you come back. Away you go!--both of you.
Be quick, or Frank and I will not wait for you."

Bunny and Mervyn were both very curious to know what this wonderful
plan of Mr. Dashwood's could be, and chattered away about it as they
were being dressed by Sophie.

"To the top of Oliver's Mount!" cried the maid, holding up her hands
in astonishment when the children told her where they were going.
"Gracious! is it that monsieur your papa knows how far it is? You
will both be too tired to return home to-night."

"Then we shall sleep in that little house at the top, among the buns
and the lemonade," said Mervyn. "That would be fine fun, wouldn't
it, Bunny?"

"I don't know about that," replied the little girl. "But do not be
frightened, Sophie; papa has a fine plan, so we sha'n't be one bit
tired. Come on, Mervyn," and, laughing merrily, the two children ran
off together down-stairs.

"Papa, papa! where is your plan?" cried Bunny, as they met her
father and young Collins in the hall. "We do so want to know what
your wonderful plan can be."

"Here it is, then, my dear," said Mr. Dashwood, and he threw open
the door, and displayed two steady-looking old donkeys standing
ready saddled at the gate. "You are to ride one of those fellows,
and Mervyn the other. That is my plan; isn't it a good one?"

"Capital! capital! What fun! what fun!" cried the children, clapping
their hands in delight. "But, papa, the donkeys will never go up the
mountain," exclaimed Bunny suddenly; "Sophie says there is a big
stile to get over, so how will they manage that?"

"We won't ask them to go over the stile," said Frank Collins, as he
lifted the little girl and seated her comfortably on the saddle.

"They will carry you up the road to the foot of the Mount, and then
we will leave them there to rest and eat some grass, while we go on
our rambles up to the top."

"Wasn't it a capital plan of papa's, Mervyn, to get us these
donkeys?" asked Bunny, as she and her cousin jogged quietly along
the road on the steady old animals. "These are such nice
well-behaved creatures, and don't run away in a hurry like Master
Frisk."

"No, I should think not," answered Mervyn laughing. "Why, just look
at this fellow," he cried as his donkey came to a sudden stand-still
in the middle of the road. "What can we do to make him go on? Here,
boy, please make him move a little," he shouted to the donkey-boy,
who was loitering behind talking to a comrade.

"Hey up!" screamed the lad, running up quietly from behind, and
bringing his stick down heavily on the poor brute's back; "hey up,
Teddy!" and away trotted the donkey at a rapid pace up the hill.

When Bunny's charger saw his companion starting off so gaily, he
pricked up his ears and followed him as fast as ever he could.

"Your plan was a capital one, uncle," said Mervyn, as he and Bunny
jumped off their donkeys and prepared themselves to climb over the
stile and begin their walk up the mount together.

"I suppose you feel as fresh as a couple of daisies, and not at all
shaken?" said Frank Collins. "Come along and we'll have a race to
the very top;" and away he ran nimbly up the side of the hill.

Bunny and Mervyn struggled bravely after him, and they went so fast
that they soon left Mr. Dashwood behind them, for he declared that
he was too old to run, and that he would follow them at his leisure.

The grass was very slippery after the rain, and the mount was very
steep, and so, although the children went as fast as their little
legs could carry them, yet they could not keep up with their young
friend, who soon appeared a long way above them, waving a
handkerchief, and cheering and shouting at the top of his voice. But
at last they all reached the highest part of the mount, and, puffing
and panting after their fearful exertions, they seated themselves
upon a bench and gazed about them in delight.

"Isn't it jolly up here, Mr. Dashwood?" said Frank. "I think it
would be worth climbing ever so much higher to see such a sight,
don't you?"

"Yes, indeed I do," answered Mr. Dashwood; "and the air is very
fine; it feels so fresh and strong. That is the old castle away over
there, I suppose."

"Yes; and doesn't the old part of the town, with its queer red brick
houses and narrow streets, look pretty? And look at the bay in front
of it, with its ships and barges. Doesn't it all look lovely in the
sunlight?"

"Yes, Frank, it does look pretty," cried Mervyn; "and isn't the sea
a beautiful blue colour?"

"And don't our donkeys look funny little gray fellows, away down
there on the road?" cried Bunny. "Oh, dear! they do look far away."

"Bunny would rather look at her donkey than all the beauties of the
country," said Mr. Dashwood with a smile, as he took his little girl
upon his knee. "But these youngsters must not be defrauded of their
cakes and lemonade, Frank. Would you mind going into that wonderful
shop to see if you can get some?"

"Oh! they have lots of good things in there, I know," answered
Frank. "I hope you will be able to eat a good supply, Bunny?"

"Yes, I feel able to eat several cakes," cried Bunny; "thank you,
dear papa, for thinking of them. I do love buns and lemonade. Don't
you, Mervyn?"

"Yes, Bunny, very much," replied her cousin.

"I am afraid I shall get scolded for letting you have them," said
Mr. Dashwood, as Frank appeared, carrying an armful of cakes and
buns, and followed by a man with glasses and bottles of lemonade.

"If you eat all these you won't be able to take anything at tea, and
then Miss Kerr will be so dreadfully angry."

"Oh! never mind, papa, dear," cried Bunny; "cakes and lemonade are
just as good as tea, but I will eat as much as ever I can when I go
home, and then no one will scold you."

"That's a good, kind little woman," said her father laughing; "but
finish up those cakes now as fast as you can, for I want to get back
to the club for an hour before dinner."

"I will just put this in my pocket for the donkey-boy, papa," said
the little girl, holding up a bun which she could not manage to eat;
"he was very good, and made the donkeys go so well."

"I think we will go round by the road, Frank," said Mr. Dashwood,
rising from the bench; "it is not quite so steep as the mount, and
is very little longer."

"Very well; I daresay it will be the best way to return; it will be
a variety anyway," said Frank. "Mervyn, will you walk with me? I
want to talk to you about India and all our friends there."

"Yes, yes," said the little boy, "that is the very thing I should
like."

"But our donkeys--oh! are we not going home on our donkeys?" cried
Bunny.

"Of course we are, you little grumbler," said her father. "We are
only going to walk round by the road to them instead of tumbling
pell-mell down the hill again. Come along with me, and let these two
boys talk over their affairs together."

Then, taking his little girl by the hand, Mr. Dashwood walked
quickly away with her down the hilly road. Frank and Mervyn
followed them slowly arm-in-arm, and the elder boy, with a look of
yearning love in his eyes, asked his small friend many anxious
questions about the dear father and mother whom he had not seen for
such a long time.



[Illustration: Chapter decoration.]

CHAPTER XI.

WAS IT CRUEL?


One lovely afternoon towards the end of September Mrs. Dashwood and
Miss Kerr sat together on the lawn in front of the house. They were
stitching away at some pretty clothes, that were evidently intended
for a large wax doll, with golden ringlets and blue eyes, that lay
on a table that stood between them on the grass.

Mrs. Dashwood looked pale and delicate still, but there was a
well-pleased smile upon her sweet face as she sat enjoying the sea
breezes. She was comfortably propped up with pillows in a large
wicker chair, and her thin white fingers were busily engaged on her
dainty work. The fresh country air had done her great service, and
she was full of the hope that she should soon return quite strong
and well to town.

Bunny lay curled up in another big chair, and although she knew very
well that the pretty doll was intended for her, she looked very
cross and did not seem to notice what was going on about her.

"Why don't you go and play, Bunny?" said Miss Kerr looking up from
her work. "I do not like to see you tumbling about there with such a
cross look on your face. Go and get a book--or will you have a
needle and thread and try to do some sewing?"

"No, thank you," answered Bunny, "I hate books and I can't sew."

"But you might learn, dear," said her mother gently. "It is a great
pleasure to be able to sew, Bunny. I quite enjoy doing my piece of
work after being obliged to lie on the sofa for such a long time."

"I don't want to learn to sew," cried Bunny. "I want to have a game.
I am tired sitting here, mama. Oh, I do wish Mervyn and Frank would
be quick and come back."

"Well, my dear Bunny, they will soon be here," said Miss Kerr. "They
promised to be back at three and it wants a quarter to three now, so
you won't have very long to wait."

"Oh! I'm so glad!" cried Bunny; "I've spent such a nasty dull day
without them."

"Well, really now!" said her mother laughing; "that's a kind thing
to say. I thought my little girl liked being with me."

"Oh! yes, mama, so I do," answered Bunny quickly; "but Mervyn has
been away such a long time, and I do want him to come back and have
a good game with me. He stayed to lunch with Frank up there at the
hotel, and Miss Kerr wouldn't let me go, and oh, dear! I have been
so lonely all day."

"Poor little girl!" said her mother, "but Miss Kerr was quite right
not to let you go, Bunny; Frank will have quite enough to do to
manage Mervyn. You are very hard to keep in order, for you are very
wild and--"

"Oh! I'm not a bit wild now, mama; I'm as quiet as a lamb--I am
indeed."

"Bunny, Bunny, where are you, I say?--where are you?" called Mervyn,
running up the garden walk and across the lawn.

"Here I am, Mervyn, and oh! I am so glad you have come back," and
the little girl rushed forward eagerly to meet her cousin. "But
where is Frank? I thought he was coming back with you."

"Yes, so he is. He will be here in a minute; and he has something
for you, Bunny."

"Something for me, Mervyn; oh! what is it?" she cried; "do tell me
what it is."

"He'll tell you himself--he'll tell you himself," answered Mervyn,
and going down on the grass, he tumbled heels over head two or three
times in succession.

"You tiresome boy," cried his cousin, "do get up and tell me what
Frank has for me, and where he got it, and--"

"Go and ask Frank himself--there he is," shouted Mervyn, starting
quickly to his feet again, as young Collins appeared suddenly at the
top of the flight of steps that led from the drawing-room into the
garden. His hands were both behind his back, and he laughed merrily
when he saw Bunny's face of excitement and curiosity as she ran
across the lawn to meet him.

"You dear good Frank, Mervyn says you have something for me," she
cried; "do tell me what it is. I do so want to know."

"A bird, Bunny; a young thrush," said Frank gaily, as he drew a
small cage from behind his back and held it up to the little girl.
"I put him in here because it was the only thing I could find; but I
will get you a proper big cage for him to-morrow."

"Oh! never mind the cage; but let me see the bird," cried Bunny.

"He is rather frightened just now, Bun, but I think he will soon sit
up and begin to sing; and thrushes do sing beautifully."

"He is a dear little fellow! a perfect darling! But where did you
get him, Frank?" asked Bunny in delight, as she danced joyfully
round her new treasure. "Did you manage to put salt on his tail?"

"He hasn't got a tail, Bunny," answered Frank, laughing; "he is so
young that he hasn't got one yet. I caught him quite easily in the
hotel garden."

"Mama, Miss Kerr, look at the lovely bird Frank has brought me,"
cried Bunny, running back to her mother's chair.

"A bird, Frank?" said Mrs. Dashwood, looking into the cage in
surprise. "What a pity it was to catch him and put him in prison,
poor little creature; he looks dreadfully frightened."

"In prison, mama!" cried Bunny indignantly. "Why, it's a lovely
cage; and see, he has water, and hard-boiled egg, and bread sopped
in water, and--"

"Yes, dear, I see all those things, but still he is in prison,
Bunny," said Mrs. Dashwood gently, "and I think it would have been
much kinder to have left him to fly about the woods and sing his
sweet songs in happy freedom."

"I am afraid he will never sing again," said Miss Kerr as Frank
placed the cage on the table beside her; "he looks as if he were
going to die, I think; just see how he has gathered himself up into
a ball, and his eyes are shut."

"Oh! I hope he won't die," cried Frank; "I am sorry I caught him,
Mrs. Dashwood. Shall I let him fly away again?"

"No, you sha'n't, Frank; he is my bird, and you must not let him fly
away," cried Bunny; "I want to keep him."

"But, Bunny, your mama thinks he would be glad to get away, so I
would rather let him go. Do say I may send him off."

"No, no, Frank, you sha'n't; I want him; he's mine now," answered
the little girl in an angry voice; "I will have him and keep him;"
and making a dive across the table she seized the cage and ran away
with it down the garden.

"Bunny! Bunny! come back this minute," cried her mother and Miss
Kerr together.

"I'll soon bring her back!" exclaimed Frank, and off he went after
the runaway.

When Bunny heard footsteps behind her she turned her head to see who
it was that was following her, and as she ran along without looking
where she was going, her foot came against a stone, and down she
went, cage and all, upon the gravelled path.

"Oh, you cruel big boy!" she cried, bursting into tears. "Why did
you come after me and make me fall in that way? I'll never speak to
you again--never;" and, gathering herself up from the ground, she
began to rub her knees, and brush the dust and sand off her frock.

"Now, don't be silly, Bunny," said Frank, as he picked up the cage.
"You are not a bit hurt--but, look here! I believe you have killed
the poor bird."

"Oh! no, Frank, dear! oh! I didn't do that!" sobbed the little girl,
coming forward and looking wistfully into the cage.

"Yes, I am afraid he is dead. He was very much frightened before,"
said Frank sadly, "and the shock of the fall, and all the water and
things falling on him have killed him. I am so sorry. I wish, now, I
had left him to sing happily in the garden, Mrs. Dashwood," he said,
going back to where the ladies sat together, carrying the poor dead
thrush in his hand. "You were quite right; it was a great pity to
take the poor bird and put him in a cage. I will never catch a young
bird again--never."

"Poor little creature! I thought it would not live long," said Miss
Kerr; "but, Bunny, you were very naughty to run away with it in that
way; I am sure the fall helped to kill the thrush."

"I didn't mean to kill it!" cried Bunny in a choking voice. "Oh!
mama, I am so sorry!" and she flung herself on the ground beside her
mother's chair, and buried her face in her lap.

"Never mind, Bunny, dear," whispered Mervyn softly, as he stole up
and put his arm round her neck. "Don't cry, dear; I am sure it would
have died very soon anyway. Wouldn't it, Miss Kerr?"

"Yes, dear, I think it would," said the governess gently. "But what
are you going to do with the thrush, Frank?"

"Oh! I suppose I must bury it," answered Frank; "I wish I had a
pretty box to put it in."

"I have one, I have one," cried Bunny, jumping quickly to her feet,
and running off towards the house, mopping up her tears as she went
along. "I've got a dear little one that will just do, Frank."

"We must have a solemn funeral," said young Collins. "Who will write
an epitaph to put at the head of his grave?"

"An epee--what, Frank?" asked Mervyn, with a puzzled look on his
little face. "What do you mean?"

"An epitaph, you little simple Indian; do you not know what that
means?"

"No," said Mervyn gravely, "I don't think people in India ever have
such things."

"Don't they indeed! Bunny, what is an epitaph?" asked Frank,
laughing merrily as he took a pretty bon-bon box from the little
girl's hand.

"I don't know, I'm sure," said Bunny; "I never heard of such a
thing. What is it yourself?"

"Well, you are a clever pair! Why, it's something written on a
tombstone," cried Frank, and, taking a piece of paper out of his
pocket, he scribbled a few words, and then proceeded to read them
aloud. "Listen and learn what an epitaph is, my friends:--

    "Beneath there lies a little thrush,
     Who should have sung on many a bush."

"Capital!" said Miss Kerr, laughing merrily at this brilliant
production. "Why, you are a regular poet!"

"It is very good indeed, Frank," said Mrs. Dashwood with a bright
smile. "Now, Mervyn, I hope you know what an epitaph is?"

"Yes, I think so," said Mervyn slowly; "but no one says bush like
thrush. It doesn't sound at all right."

"Hallo! young Indian, are you going to find fault with my
pronunciation? Isn't it splendid, Miss Bun, bun?"

"I'm not bun, bun, and I think Mervyn is quite right," answered the
little girl with a toss of her head. "It sounds very funny, and all
that, but it isn't the proper way to say the word, I know."

"Of course not, little Miss Wisehead, but we are allowed to say all
kinds of things in poetry," said Frank grandly; "and I can tell you
it's jolly convenient when a fellow wants a rhyme. But now that we
have decided this knotty point, let us go and look for a nice place
where we can bury the little fellow;" and, having placed the thrush
in the box, he went off to look for a suitable burying-place.

"Put him in my little garden," cried Bunny eagerly. "There are
lovely flowers there, and we can make him such a nice grave."

"Where is your garden, monkey?" said Frank. "I did not know you had
such a thing."

"Yes, I have; at least I call it mine," answered Bunny, skipping
gaily along. "It's a dear little flower-bed down there by the
sun-dial, and it will be such a pretty place for the poor dead bird.
Do bury him there, Frank."

"Very well; what pleases you pleases me," and off they went to
Bunny's garden.

Very carefully Frank dug up the earth, and, having placed the bird
within the grave, he filled it in neatly, took a lovely geranium
from a neighbouring flower-bed, and planted it just over the poor
songster's head.

"We must water it," cried Bunny, "or it will not grow," and away she
rushed to the tool-house. Here she found the gardener's
watering-pot, and, unfortunately for them all, it was more than
half-full of water.

"This will make the flowers grow beautifully," she cried; and before
the boys had time to speak or stop her hand, she tilted up the heavy
pot and sent the water flying all over their feet and legs.

"Oh! Bunny, Bunny! just see what you have done," exclaimed Mervyn,
beginning to cry as he felt the cold water soaking in through his
stockings and shoes. "Oh, dear! what shall I do?"

"You little mischief!" cried Frank, shaking himself. "What on earth
made you do that?"

"Oh! I wanted the flower to grow," said Bunny, bursting into tears,
"and I did not mean to wet you and Mervyn at all; and look at my own
pinafore and frock. Oh, dear! what will Sophie say?"

"Sophie will say you are a naughty, wicked little creature," cried
the maid, darting out suddenly from behind a tree. "Come in this
minute and get your things changed. Monsieur Mervyn, go to the
nursery at once."

"I won't go! I won't go a bit!" cried Bunny, stamping her foot
angrily. "The sun will dry me in a minute, and I won't go with you;
so there!"

"Come along, Bunny, like a good girl," said Mervyn, "let us run fast
and see who will get up to the nursery first," and away he went up
the path as fast as he could.

"I won't go, Sophie. I want to stay with Frank," cried Bunny once
more, as she caught the boy's hand and held on to it tightly.

"You ought to go, dear, indeed you ought," said Frank. "See, Mervyn
has gone, and you know you should always do what Sophie tells you."

"No, I won't; she's a nasty thing! and it's twice as nice out here,
so I won't go one bit."

"Your mama and Miss Kerr have returned to the house, and you must
come in and get changed your dress, mademoiselle."

"I won't! I won't," shrieked Bunny, clinging more closely to Frank,
and turning her back upon her nurse in a most impertinent manner.

"We shall see if you do not, you bad, naughty child," cried Sophie
in an angry voice, and running forward she seized the little girl in
her arms, and carried her off screaming and kicking into the house.



[Illustration: Chapter decoration.]

CHAPTER XII.

THE FIREWORKS.


A little before seven o'clock that evening the children stood at the
drawing-room window. All traces of the recent struggle in the garden
had been removed, and in the neat little girl in the dainty cream
lace and muslin frock, with its fluttering pink ribbons, few persons
would have recognized the small fury that Sophie had carried off
wriggling and crying to the nursery a few hours before.

But Miss Bunny had already forgotten that such a scene had ever
taken place, and was making very merry over a big blue-bottle fly
that she and Mervyn were doing their best to catch as it walked up
and down the window-pane.

Frank Collins sat at the piano playing some very lively tunes, and
from time to time Bunny would pause in her pursuit of the fly and
dance lightly over the floor in time to the music.

"Papa, papa," she cried, as Mr. Dashwood entered the room with his
wife upon his arm, "doesn't Frank make lovely tunes?"

"I don't know, dear," answered her father. "Frank does not seem
anxious to let me hear his music, for he has stopped short the
moment I appeared."

"I am afraid Mrs. Dashwood would not care for my music," answered
Frank modestly. "I only play from ear."

"Oh, Frank, how can you say such a thing!" cried Bunny indignantly.
"Why, mama, he plays just like Miss Kerr does. He plays away up in
the treble with two hands, and then he plays pum, pum, pum away down
in the bass; oh, it is most beautiful! Do play again, Frank."

"No, dear, not now," said Frank. "I'll play for you another time,
but don't ask me now;" and he hopped the little girl up on his knee.

"Well, then, ask--you know what," whispered Bunny mysteriously.
"You know you said you would--you promised."

"Oh, yes, of course; I very nearly forgot," said Frank, "and I
suppose Sophie will soon be carrying you off to bed, it's nearly
half-past seven."

"Yes, she will, unless you ask that, and papa and mama say, Yes."

"Mrs. Dashwood," said Frank, "it's a gala night, as they call it, on
the Spa, and there are to be fireworks, so will you let these little
people stay up for them? Please do."

"What! to go out in the night air and into the crowd?" asked Mrs.
Dashwood in a horrified voice. "My dear Frank, I could not think of
allowing such a thing. It is quite impossible!"

"Of course it is, Mrs. Dashwood," answered Frank. "But I did not
mean them to go out at all, I--"

"Oh, no, dear mama," cried Bunny eagerly, "Frank does not want us to
go out, but to sit up and see them from Miss Kerr's window, that is
all."

"Bunny, come here, dear, I want to have a talk with you," said her
mother gravely, and guessing that she was going to receive a
scolding for her naughty conduct in the garden, the child stole
slowly over the floor, and at last stood in rather a shamefaced
manner beside her mother's chair.

"Do you think, Bunny, that a little girl who screamed and kicked as
you did when Sophie took you in out of the garden, deserves to be
allowed to stay up to see the fireworks?"

"No, mama," answered Bunny in a low voice, and two large tears
trickled down her cheeks and fell on her mother's hand.

"Auntie, dear, don't scold poor Bunny, for she is very sorry she was
naughty, and she begged Sophie's pardon before we came down."

"Well, I am glad to hear that, Mervyn," said Mrs. Dashwood, "and I
hope Bunny is sorry; but I don't think she should be allowed to stay
up to see the fireworks, she cannot expect it."

"Why, mama, what is all this about?" said Mr. Dashwood, coming over
and putting his arm round his little daughter. "Why are you scolding
poor Bunny so much?"

"Because I was naughty, papa," said Bunny, creeping up very close to
him. "But I am very sorry, and I promise to be good."

"Oh, well, don't scold her any more, dear," said her papa, stroking
the little golden head, "she can't do more than promise to be a good
child."

"And do forgive her, and let her stay up to see the fireworks,"
whispered Mervyn, "it would be such fun!"

"What is that you are saying, Mervyn? What dreadful plot are you
hatching over there?" cried Mr. Dashwood, "why, the fireworks don't
go off until nine, and your bedtime is at half-past seven, isn't
it?"

"Yes, I know it is, uncle, but we're not a bit sleepy, and we never
saw any fireworks, and this is the last gala night before we leave
Scarborough, and--"

"My dear Mervyn, what a string of reasons!" cried his uncle
laughing; "after such a list, I think we must surely grant your
request. That is, if mama will forgive this poor culprit, and allow
her to stay up."

"Well, as she is sorry, and as Mervyn says it is the last night,
perhaps--"

"That's right! that's right!" said her husband, "and now let us go
in to dinner. This animated discussion has given me quite an
appetite."

And as Ashton at this moment threw open the door, and announced that
dinner was served, Mr. Dashwood offered his arm to his wife, and led
her away to the dining-room.

"What fun! what fun! to be allowed to stay up to see the fireworks,"
cried Bunny, and catching hold of Frank's arm she hurried him off
after her papa and mama.

"Now, you must sit quiet, children," said Mrs. Dashwood; "if you
make a noise I shall have to send you away to the nursery."

"We'll be as quiet as mice," said Bunny, and pulling Mervyn down on
a large woolly mat in the middle window, she began to whisper
joyfully about the treat that was in store for them before the
evening was over.

The first part of the dinner seemed rather long to the two little
ones in their corner, but when at last the dessert was placed on the
table, and Bunny was seated at her papa's elbow, and Mervyn between
his aunt and his dear friend Frank, they all became so merry
together, that the fireworks were for the time completely forgotten.

"Oh, papa, I heard such a funny noise just now," cried
Bunny suddenly, "what can it be? Listen, there it is
again--whizz--whizz--"

"It's the first rocket, I'm sure!" exclaimed Frank, dropping the
nut-crackers, "let us go off to a window somewhere, for I am sure
the fireworks are going to begin."

"How jolly!" cried Mervyn. "Aunt, may we run up to Miss Kerr's
room?"

"Can't we see them from here?" asked Mr. Dashwood, pulling up the
blind and looking out. "What a beautiful dark night it is! Better
stay here, chicks, I think. See, there goes another rocket!"

"Oh, that is lovely!" cried Bunny, clapping her hands. "But, papa,
dear, we can see them much better from Miss Kerr's room, she has
such a nice balcony, and she promised to let us go up to it if mama
would allow us."

"Very well, then, away you go," said her father; "but be quick, or
you will lose all the fun."

"Be sure and wrap yourselves up, dear children, if you go out into
the balcony," said Mrs. Dashwood. "The night air is very sharp."

"Oh, yes, mama, we will make ourselves as warm as toast," cried
Bunny gaily. "Come, Frank, do come up to the balcony with us."

"All right, little woman, jump upon my back and we'll run a race
with Mervyn."

Very much delighted at such an invitation, Bunny sprang from a chair
on to Frank's back, and away they went galloping madly after Mervyn,
up the stairs and along the passage to Miss Kerr's room. There they
found Sophie waiting for them, heavily laden with cloaks and shawls
in which she insisted on wrapping them up till they were nearly
smothered, and shrieked wildly for just one little space through
which they might manage to breathe.

"Very well, you will all catch your deaths of colds," cried Sophie.
"Miss Bunny, you will want the doctor to-morrow, I am quite sure;"
and she flounced out of the room and banged the door after her.

"Good riddance to bad rubbish!" cried Frank, laughing, as he
released poor Mervyn's face from the thick shawl in which the maid
had rolled him up. "She's an awful scold that Sophie."

"But she's jolly kind to us sometimes," said Mervyn stoutly; "and we
torment her dreadfully, don't we, Bunny?"

"Yes, we do indeed," answered the little girl; "and she doesn't
always scold, Master Frank."

"Goodness me! don't be so indignant," cried Frank. "I meant no
offence. I daresay Sophie is a regular angel."

"She's not quite that," said Miss Kerr as she opened the window and
let the young people out upon the balcony. "But I am glad to hear
the children stand up for her, for, as Mervyn says, they do torment
her, and still she is very good-natured and kind to them on the
whole."

"Yes, indeed she is," said Mervyn; "but oh! just look at that, isn't
it exquisite?"

"Lovely!" cried Frank. "It's a regular shower of golden hail! But I
think I like the Roman candles best. Look, Bunny, there's
one--see--those two stars--watch how they change colour--first
they're red--then blue--then--"

"Oh, yes, yes," cried Bunny dancing about. "There they go, right
away over the sea! What lovely things fireworks are!"

"It is a pity we could not have gone down on the Spa to see the set
pieces," said Frank. "I believe they are most beautiful. But then
the crowd is something dreadful."

"Do they send the fireworks up from the Spa?" asked Mervyn; "they
look just as if they were coming from the road up there in front of
the Crown Hotel."

"No, they are sent from a place just over the Spa, up among the
trees there, but a long way below the hotel."

"Oh dear! there goes a splendid rocket," cried Mervyn, "and doesn't
it make a lovely noise?"

"Oh! I can't bear the noise," said Bunny, putting her fingers in her
ears, "it makes me jump."

"Now that is really charming!" said Miss Kerr, as the whole bay with
its ships and boats was suddenly illuminated by a brilliant crimson
light. "How lovely everything looks in that soft, rich colour!"

"Oh! and I declare you can see Oliver's Mount and the dear little
cake shop," cried Bunny. "And, Mervyn, I wonder where our old
donkeys are to-night," and she peered away out in the direction of
the sands where the poor animals usually spent their days.

"At home in their beds, my dear," said Miss Kerr laughing, "and
that's where small people like you should be; it must be near ten
o'clock."

"Oh! not yet, not yet," cried the children; "we must stay and see
the last of the fireworks!"

"That is the last now, I'm sure," said Frank. "That thick yellow
light comes from the grand finale, which we cannot see--ha! there
goes another rocket. Hurrah! the whole thing is at an end."

"Very well, my dears, you must say good-night," said Miss Kerr;
"your poor little eyes are positively blinking with sleep, Bunny,
dear."

"No, they're not," said the little girl, "but they feel funny and
won't go quite straight."

"Are you getting a squint, then?" said Frank. "Come along, old lady,
a few hours' sleep will make them go straight enough;" and putting
one arm round Bunny and the other round Mervyn, he marched them off
to the nursery, where he deposited them one after the other on their
little beds.

The children were really quite tired out with excitement, and the
fatigue of sitting up to such an unusually late hour; so when Frank
left them for the night, they did not utter a word or make a
complaint. They said their prayers, were undressed at once, and,
laying their weary heads upon their pillows, were soon fast asleep.



[Illustration: Chapter decoration.]

CHAPTER XIII.

QUIET TIMES.


It is to be hoped that you see some improvement in Bunny's behaviour
since you first made her acquaintance, though she was very naughty
on the day when the poor thrush was killed.

At all events she had been trying to be good, and when she failed,
or forgot her good resolutions she was so willing to confess her
faults, and was so truly sorry for them, that Miss Kerr and Mama,
and even Sophie, were always ready to forgive her. Miss Kerr had
quite won Bunny's heart by her constant love and gentleness, so that
the child could not bear to give her pain. This made Bunny more
thoughtful, and she soon learned to check her outbreaks of temper
and to keep out of mischief.

Mervyn, who was growing tall and strong, was very much in earnest
when he had promised to try to be docile and obedient. He did not
forget that should he meet his dear mother and father in London they
would ask him whether he had kept his word, and he would not have
told them a falsehood even if he had been ever so naughty, for he
was a truthful boy, and not at all a coward.

Mervyn often helped Bunny to remember her promises too; and it
seemed as though after the night when they had seen the display of
fireworks they had both made up their minds to go on steadily with
their lessons every morning. Miss Kerr was delighted, and Sophie had
really very little to do, for all the afternoon, and sometimes in
the evening also, they were out on the sands, or on the hills, or
seated in the garden. The reason of this was, that as Mr. Dashwood
had given them notice that the holiday was coming to an end, they
had implored their friend Frank Collins to come often to see them,
and as he loved Mervyn and could talk to him about his dear father
and mother, and listen to his descriptions of life in Madras and
Calcutta, he used to come every day to take the children out.

Of this Mr. Dashwood was very glad, for he was pleased that such a
nice manly boy as Frank should give up so much time to these two
young ones, and used to laugh at Miss Kerr and tell her that they
learnt more from their young tutor Frank Collins than they did from
their governess. Miss Kerr often made one of the party when they
went out together and she used to like to listen to Frank too. He
had been to a large school, and was now only waiting for his parents
to return from India before going to another. He had read a great
many books, and could remember several stories and accounts of
voyages and discoveries.

The children would sit under a tree or inside an old boat on the
beach and listen to him as he told them of the adventures of sailors
and travellers; or sometimes they went with him for a ramble in the
country, and he could show them the different kinds of trees and
wild flowers, and point out where the various birds built their
nests.

Mervyn was quite surprised one day when a lark sprang suddenly from
a field of long grass and went soaring up and up in the clear
sunshine till it looked only like a speck, and at last could
scarcely be seen, but yet all the time kept trilling and singing its
beautiful song.

As it sung it floated away to some distance from the place from
which it rose, and then suddenly it seemed to sink from the air and
to drop amidst the grass again.

"Wherever has it gone to?" said Bunny; "there are no trees here, and
where can its nest be?"

"Its nest is on the ground, in the long grass of the field," said
Frank.

"Oh then, it has just dropped into it," cried Mervyn; "couldn't we
go and see?"

"You wouldn't find it except you could trace the way to the spot
where the bird first rose," said Frank. "Directly the artful fellow
heard us coming he sprang out and started his song so that he might
lead us away from the spot where the nest is, and now he has
dropped in the grass a long way off to lead us still further away."

"Oh _do_ let us go and look for it!" said Bunny.

"I think we'd better not," said Mervyn; "remember the thrush, Bunny,
and we might kill some of the little birds."

"Quite right, Mervyn," said Frank Collins; "we should very likely
step upon it or frighten the hen bird so much that she would leave
the nest. It would be like somebody coming and driving us away from
home, you know. When I was as young as you are, I used to rob the
nests of their eggs, but I have left off doing so now, and even if
you should ever collect eggs you should only take one from a nest
and contrive not to frighten the birds. But there are young larks
and not eggs in this nest, so we will let them alone to grow strong
and fly out into the sunshine and sing under the blue sky, won't we,
Bunny?"

You may well believe that the children thought the last part of
their holiday was the pleasantest of all; for beside Frank they had
found another playmate, a great friend of his.

His name was Captain, and he was a grand, black, curly, Newfoundland
dog. Such a fine fellow was seldom to be seen, and he learnt to lie
down in a patch of grass on the hill, just at the place where he
could watch for Bunny and Mervyn when they went out for their
afternoon walk.

He would pretend to be asleep, and when they came quite close to him
would spring up and begin to leap about, leading the way to the
sands, and barking or rolling over and over till Frank or Mervyn
threw a stick as far as ever they could into the sea that he might
dash in after it and fetch it out.

Captain was a splendid swimmer, and had once jumped into the sea
from the end of a pier after a little girl who had fallen into the
water. The child would have been drowned, but Captain seized her by
the frock and held her up till a boat could put out and fetch her,
and then the brave fellow turned and swam ashore.



[Illustration: Chapter decoration.]

CHAPTER XIV.

BUNNY'S IMPROVEMENT. HOME AGAIN.


The time had arrived when the holiday at Scarborough was to come to
an end. The last evening was spent on the cliff. It was while they
were all sitting on the hillside looking out to sea that Frank began
to talk to them about "lighthouses," those tall buildings, having a
strong lantern at the top, the bright light from which can be seen
far out at sea, so that sailors may know to what part of the coast
they are going, and may steer their ships in such a direction as to
avoid danger, or guide them into a place of safety.

Then Miss Kerr told them a story about a lighthouse, and how a brave
and thoughtful little girl was able to save a great ship from being
dashed to pieces on the rocks. This lighthouse was at a very
dangerous part of the coast, and every day the lamps had to be
cleaned and fresh oil put in them, and the great metal "reflectors"
that were behind the lamps and threw the light far out to sea had to
be burnished.

The little girl was the child of the keeper of the lighthouse, and
he often took her with him to stay there. He had a companion, for in
lighthouses there are mostly two men; but one day this companion
slipped off the ladder up which he had to climb to light the lamps
in the great lantern, and broke his leg. At the same time he struck
his head and became insensible, and so the father of the little girl
was obliged to leave her and to fetch a doctor. He meant to come
back very soon, but the doctor was out, and in trying to find him he
was away for many hours, and by the time he could get down to his
boat a great storm had come on, and the waves were breaking over the
shore so that he could not put out to sea again.

Night was coming on, and the poor fellow paced the beach and
wondered what was to be done, for it would soon be time for the
lamps to be lighted, and there was nobody in the lighthouse but the
helpless man and his little girl. The sailors and fishermen all came
round, but it would have been a desperate venture to put out a boat
in such a storm, and with the great waves roaring and leaping on a
long sharp ridge of rocks quite close to where the lighthouse stood,
nobody could have expected to reach it alive.

At last, just as the night was coming on, the poor fellow prepared
to risk his life rather than leave the ships that might be far off
at sea without a guide or a warning; but six strong men dragged a
large boat down to the edge of the shore where the waves were
lowest, and agreed to share his danger. Their hands were on the boat
ready to push her in and then scramble to their places; an old
fisherman was in his seat ready to steer, when he suddenly gave a
shout and pointed towards the lighthouse.

There from the lantern high above the roaring waves shone the
brilliant beams of the lamps, and with a hearty cheer the brave
fellows drew the boat back, and shading their eyes with their hands
stared as though they had never seen the familiar light before.

All night long they watched, till at break of day the storm abated,
the sea grew still, and far far away they could see a great
three-masted ship rolling and tossing, with one of her sails blown
to rags, but still keeping off the shore. The pilot had seen the
lights, and so knowing how to steer had kept her away from the rocky
reefs where she might have been dashed to pieces.

It was not till the sun rose high and they were able to go out in
their boats that the men on shore could take the doctor to the
lighthouse, and then they found the little girl kneeling beside the
injured man and feeding him with some cold tea which had been left
in the teapot. He had come to his senses, and had tried to crawl to
the ladder, when he heard her voice singing softly right up in the
lantern. He contrived to drag himself along the floor of the room,
and could just see a gleam from one of the lamps coming through the
chinks of the wood-work. The child, when she found her father did
not return, had grown afraid; but her great fear was that the lamps
would not be lighted, and as the place grew dark she made up her
mind to try to light them herself. She had seen her father clean the
lamps, and had been with him up the ladder, holding his strong hand;
and she knew too where the match was kept, for she had been shown
everything about the place while she was there on those long days
alone with her father till the other man came on duty in the
evening. So up she went, softly singing a hymn to herself, and after
steadying herself by one of the iron rods that supported the
lantern, put the lighted match to the wick, and was so startled to
see the great yellow glare that shone from the reflector that she
nearly lost her balance. When she reached the bottom of the ladder
she found her friend looking at her quite wide awake; but he could
do nothing to help her, except by telling her how to manage the
light, and also how to move up there in the great glass lantern of
the lighthouse, so that she might reach each lamp in turn.

When her father came up the steep stair, followed by a dozen of his
comrades, she gave a cry of delight and was in his arms in a
moment; and she was soon made such a pet of by the men there that
they all wanted her to accept knives, and rings, and pocket combs,
and even tobacco-boxes, because they had nothing else to offer her;
but she had her father and that was quite enough for her, and as he
held her to his breast she could feel his tears fall upon her head,
and yet he was as brave as any man who lived upon that coast.

"However could she do it?" said Bunny, who had earnestly listened to
this story.

"She forgot all about herself, Bunny, and thought only of other
people and of the duty that was straight before her," said Frank
gently.

Bunny remained very serious all the rest of the evening; perhaps the
story of the child lighting the lamps reminded her of the trick she
had played poor old Ashton when she poured water into his
wine-glasses.

But as we have seen already, Bunny was improving, and her mama was
indeed delighted to notice the change, and quite shared her sorrow
that they were so soon to leave for London.

A day or two before they had begun to pack up Mr. Dashwood brought
the children glorious news. Frank Collins was to go to London and
stay with them till the arrival of his mother, who was on her voyage
home and would be in England in a few days. Then he was to go to
school, and perhaps Mervyn would some day be sent to the same
school, but of course in a lower class.

This last part of it was not very cheering for poor Bunny, and she
was ready to cry; but she looked at Miss Kerr's kind gentle face and
saw the look of joy in Mervyn's eyes, and so she choked back her
tears, and presently when Mervyn said softly, "Of course I can't
help being glad, Bunny, but I shall never be anything but sorry to
be parted from you;" she was ready to say, "And I shall be awfully
sorry, Mervyn dear, but then when the holidays come we shall both
know so much more, and--and--"

Here poor Bunny broke down and hid her face in her pinafore. But the
next day she had recovered her spirits, and she and Mervyn were
talking over their future plans, for it would be some months before
her cousin would know enough to enter even the lowest form. But one
chief reason for their rapid recovery of spirits was that it would
be a whole month or more before Frank himself could begin his
studies, and there were promises of visits to the Zoological
Gardens, the great Palm House at Kew, the old Tower of London, and
other places which would remind them of the stories they had heard,
and of the books which they had yet to learn to read.

They had all these things to talk about when they found themselves
in the train that was to carry them home, and were so full of plans
and expectations that they were many miles upon the journey before
they remembered that they had not waved a good-bye to their old
friend Oliver's Mount, or thought of the sorrow of leaving
Scarborough for smoky, noisy, old London.


THE END.





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