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´╗┐Title: Terry - Or, She ought to have been a Boy
Author: Mulholland, Rosa, 1841-1921
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 "Terry - Or, She ought to have been a Boy" ***

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[Illustration: "Vulcan, Vulcan, let me tie your cap-strings."]



TERRY

or, She ought to have been a Boy

BY

ROSA MULHOLLAND

(LADY GILBERT)

Author of "Girls of Banshee Castle" "Four Little Mischiefs" "Giannetta"
"Cynthia's Bonnet-shop" &c.

_ILLUSTRATED BY E. A. CUBITT_

BLACKIE AND SON LIMITED

LONDON GLASGOW AND DUBLIN



CONTENTS

    CHAP.                                                   Page

    I. "I HOPE SHE WILL BE CHANGED!"                           5

    II. "ONLY MISS TERRY COME BACK TO US!"                    11

    III. A WET DAY                                            20

    IV. DREADFULLY GOOD                                       34

    V. "BAD AGAIN!"                                           41

    VI. A BRASS HELMET                                        61

    VII. UP THE CHIMNEY                                       76

    VIII. THE RUNAWAY BOAT                                    93



TERRY



CHAPTER I

"I HOPE SHE WILL BE CHANGED!"


"Think of what it was to manage her in the summer months!" said dear old
Madam Trimleston, looking wistfully at Nurse Nancy. "What could we do with
her this winter weather? I do hope she will be changed. Don't you think it
likely that school will have done something for her?"

"Of course I do, madam. What else did we break our hearts sendin' her there
for? And little Turly, that would ha' been content to stay here peaceable
if she would ha' let him alone! Sure it's often I say to myself that it's
Terry ought to have been the boy."

"The same idea has occurred to me, Nancy. Not that we ought to criticise
the arrangements of Providence."

"Well, madam," said Nurse Nancy, "I don't agree that Providence has
anything to do with it. Providence doesn't make many mistakes, I'm
thinkin'? It's ourselves mostly that steps behind His work an' puts things
asthray on Him."

"You are right, and yet I do not perceive in what way we made mischief in
the matter of poor Terry. Her mother and father and myself have always done
our best for her."

"Except when you gave her an unnatural name, if I may make bold to say it
to you, madam. She was born all right, God bless her; but when you put a
man's name on her, somethin' got into her, poor lamb, somethin' that'll
take a good while to work out of her."

"That's a very queer idea, Nancy. You know well that she was named after a
brave ancestor. It was hoped she would have been a boy, and her father gave
her the name he had intended for a boy; only we softened it, Nancy,
softened and changed Terence into Terencia."

A smile lighted up Nurse Nancy's wrinkled face.

"Well now, madam, as if anybody couldn't see through that little thrick! To
call her for a fightin' ould warrior that bet Cromwell an' held his own in
spite of him! An' her havin' to grow up a young lady with nothin' but
niceness in her! Ah, then now, madam, why didn't ye call her Mary, the same
as her grandmother before her?"

"We did, Nancy; you forget that we did," urged Madam mildly. "We named her
Terencia Mary."

"Then ye put the cart before the horse, madam," said Nancy, shaking her
head grimly, "an' the ould warrior has got the foreway in her over the holy
lady that has the best right in her, in regard of her sex. But don't fret
now, madam, for it's my belief that the Mary is in her still, an' she'll be
the gentlest yet that iver walked of the name. Only it's us that'll have a
han'ful of her until the ould warrior has done with her."

Madam smiled indulgently. Nurse Nancy would occasionally put forth a
fantastic notion like this, but in the main she was a patient, prudent,
wise creature who had well earned her honours in the family by long and
faithful friendship as well as service. During her latter lonely years old
Madam had drawn Nurse Nancy very close to her. While she smiled now she
said:

"We must remember that until a year ago Terry was brought up in Africa, was
accustomed to perfect freedom, to long rides with her father, and all kinds
of adventures."

"And so was little Turly, madam. Not that he isn't as brave as anything,
little darlin'; he'd follow Terry through thick an' thin, if it was
through the fire. But still an' all it never does be him that sets the
mischief goin'."

"But Turlough is only eight years old. Terry is ten, and two years of a
bush life at that age make a great deal more difference than the count of
the days," said Madam musingly.

Madam Trimleston was a pretty old lady who had soft white hair and sweet
blue eyes, and wore handsome lace caps with peachy ribbons in them; and she
usually sat in a high-backed arm-chair either at the fire or the window in
her own room with Nurse Nancy attending on her. For Madam was very
delicate, and since she had been left alone in old Trimleston House she
rarely went down into the great rooms below.

"It would make you cry," Nancy would say, "to see her sittin' there all by
herself, afther the family she rared, an' them all scatthered about over
the four corners of the earth; an' the rest o' them in heaven!"

It is true that Madam had sons holding posts in different lands, but her
daughters had "all died on her", as Nancy lamented. However, though old
Trimleston House stood in a lonely part of Ireland, between the hills and
the sea, yet Madam was not so desolate as might have been supposed, for she
was beloved by all the "neighbours" for twenty miles around, and poor and
rich made their sympathy felt by her. And everyone was glad when her
favourite son in Africa sent home his two children to her care; no one so
glad as the dear old granny herself, unless it might be Nurse Nancy.

To tell how the grandmother and nurse, whose hands had once been so full
and were now so long empty, went into the deserted nurseries and furbished
them up till everything looked as good as new would require a chapter to
itself. A handy man was sent for to come two miles and paint up the old
rocking-horse which had been standing for years with its nose in a corner
of a closet and its sides all blistered with damp; and nine-pins, tops, and
marbles were hunted out of drawers and cupboards.

"Mercy me! Look here, madam! If this isn't the dog that Misther Jack broke
the ear off knockin' its head against the wall one day and him in a
passion!" said Nurse Nancy.

She was afraid to bring forth the dolls, with their associations, but the
mother herself went to look for them.

"We are getting a little girl, Nancy," she said, "and we can't have nothing
but boys' toys for her to play with."

Nancy nodded her head, but Madam went boldly to the drawer, looked at the
dolls with their faded cheeks and glassy eyes, shook out their gay frocks,
and laid them back in their place. Nancy said nothing, but when Madam
remarked that evening:

"I am writing for one or two new ones. They will be fresher. And you might
lock up the old ones and leave them where they are," Nancy knew exactly
what her mistress was thinking of.

But that was more than a year ago. The story of how the girl and boy came,
and how the two old women, who had many years ago been so clever in the
management of children, failed utterly with the "young African savages", as
a lady neighbour twenty miles distant described Terry and Turly, need not
be told. There had been utter dismay in Trimleston House: and after much
struggling with difficulties, Madam had been obliged to yield to the
decision of their father and to send them to school.

There had been a summer vacation, the recollection of which made Madam and
Nurse Nancy tremble; hence the serious expectation with which they are
awaiting at the present moment the arrival of the children for the
Christmas holidays.



CHAPTER II

"ONLY MISS TERRY COME BACK TO US!"


"Yes," continued Madam; "from what the good schoolmistress has written to
me, and from the child's own letters, I am hoping to find my granddaughter
grown into quite a gentle little lady."

A shout from somewhere below the windows interrupted her, a shout so
unusual and peculiar that Madam and Nurse Nancy were silenced, and sat
listening and looking at one another. More cries followed, astonished,
admiring, and then a sound from a little distance of wild, shrill cheering
began to come nearer.

Madam and Nurse Nancy stood up and hurried to a window overlooking the
drive in front of the house, and then to another through which they could
see the avenue approaching it.

There was a hint of dusk in the air, yet enough light to show a strange
sight, a horse and car flying along between the trees towards the house,
and followed by a little rabble of boys and girls, all clapping their hands
and cheering in the wildest delight. The cause of their excitement was
easily seen. In the driver's seat sat a small figure with a yellow curly
head, her hat blown off and hanging on her shoulders by the strings round
her neck, her hands grasping the reins, and her feet planted determinedly
against the dash-board.

"Heavens!" cried Madam. "What is the meaning of this?"

"Don't be puttin' yourself out, madam," said Nancy. "It's only Miss Terry
come back to us! Sure the ould warrior hasn't done with her yet awhile.
Good saints! to see the grip that the little bits of hands of her has on
the reins!"

"It will kill me, Nancy, it will kill me. Can you see if there is anyone on
the car besides herself? What has become of Lally?"

"Oh, goodness knows!" said Nancy. "He's not to be seen; but Turly's with
her safe enough, houldin' on for his bare life, one clutch on the rail of
the seat, and the other on the well o' the car. Goodness knows how much
longer he could stick to it. But she's bringin' all up to the hall-door
splendid, an' I declare you would think the ould horse was laughin' at the
joke!"

"I hope she hasn't killed Lally and lost the luggage about the roads,"
groaned Madam. "And where has she picked up all that crowd of wild
creatures that are screaming round the car?"

"Sure, out of ivery place as they came along," said Nancy. "Now, I'll just
go down, madam, and bring the childher up to you, an' you're to sit there
and not to stir, for you're shakin' all over like the ould weather-cock on
a day whin the wind does be blowin' from ivery side."

[Illustration]

Meanwhile Terry had brought the car in triumph to the door and jumped down
from her perch, her yellow curls on end in the wind, her hat flapping on
her back, and the fur capes of her little coat standing up straight round
her ears. She threw away the reins and ran to the horse's head, putting her
cheek against his nose, petting him with her hands, and pouring out
flatteries enough to turn any animal's brain.

"You darling, you angel, how lovely you did run for me! Has anybody got a
lump of sugar? No, well it is a shame. But I'll come to you to-morrow with
lots of it."

"Miss Terry! Miss Terry! Welcome home, Miss Terry!" shrieked a chorus of
shrill young voices. "Sure we run a lot of the ways with ye, Miss Terry,
darlin'!"

"So you did!" cried Terry. "Wasn't it splendid?" Her little purse was in
her hand in a moment. "Here is all I've got!" and she flung its contents of
shillings, sixpences, and coppers among the dancing youngsters, who
scrambled and wrangled for them, and finally disappeared in a headlong
scamper down the avenue.

By this time Turly had got down from the car, disdaining the assistance of
the women who came to moan over him.

"It's well you didn't kill your brother, Miss Terry," said Nurse Nancy
severely, "and your gran'ma is anxious to know whereabouts on the road you
murdhered Misther Lally."

Terry stared at her with her big blue eyes, and then burst out laughing.

"Oh, you dear, funny old Nurse!" she said; "I'm sure Granny never thought
of such a thing. Why, here is Lally, dear old slowcoach! Got off to pick me
some moss, and got left behind. And to think that Turly didn't know how to
hold on to a car! But please take me to Gran'ma, Nursey dear, I do so want
to see her!"

Granny was sitting very erect in her chair, with a face that was intended
to be severe, but was only sad and frightened. The door opened and Nurse
Nancy appeared with the children. Terry flew forward, but Granny waved her
off, and began to address her seriously.

"Terencia Mary" (Granny's voice quavered), "what is the meaning of your
behaving in this extraordinary manner?"

"Oh, Granny dear, I didn't behave, I assure you I didn't. We had such a
glorious drive home, and I am so glad to see you. But oh, Granny dear, I'm
afraid you are sick; you look so pale."

"No wonder if I am sick and pale at your conduct. Do they allow you to sit
in the driver's seat and drive the cars at Miss Goodchild's?"

"They couldn't, Granny dear," said Terry, shaking back her bright curls,
and fixing her clear eyes on the old lady's face. "They have no cars, only
an omnibus to take us to the station. And I couldn't drive an omnibus, now
could I, Granny?"

"And do you think----" but Terry's arms were round her Granny's neck, and
the kisses of her fresh young lips were sweet on the wrinkled cheeks.

"There, there, Terry, my darling, we must talk about it another time. You
won't do it again, will you, Terry?"

"I won't indeed, Granny, not if you don't like it. But do give me a huge,
gigantic hug, Granny darling! And only look at Turly. Hasn't he grown fat
and big! Come close up, Turly dear; Granny wants to hug you."

The hugs were given in plentiful measure and then Turly, who had been
standing aside, looking rather abashed, plucked up courage and remained by
Gran'ma's knee. He was a sturdily-built little fellow, with large, dark
eyes and a square forehead, ordinarily rather silent and slow in his
movements. The contrast between him and the light-limbed, quick-speaking
Terry was remarkable, and to no one more obvious than to Turly himself, who
had the most adoring admiration of his lively sister.

"Are they to have their tea in the nursery, madam?" asked Nurse Nancy, who
had been standing by, a witness of Granny's attempt and failure to scold.

"No, Nancy; no! Terencia is going to be good. They must have tea with me
here. Just put them into their evening clothes and bring them back to me."

After half an hour's manipulation from Nurse Nancy the children returned to
Granny, who in the meanwhile had dozed in her chair, quite worn out with
the fatigues of expectation, and the necessity for being angry. Nothing
remained of the afternoon's excitement to Madam but the touch of fresh
young lips on her cheeks, and of warm, young arms clasping her round the
neck. When she opened her eyes they rested on a meek-looking little
gentlewoman in a white frock, with a blue silk work-bag hanging by long
blue ribbons from her arm.

"Miss Goodchild taught me to make it, Granny, and she said you would like
me to have it; and I have worked you such a pretty linen cover for your
prayer-book; Nancy is going to unpack it after tea. And doesn't Turly look
sweet in his velvet knickers? The pockets of his other things are all gone
in holes with marbles. And oh, Turly, only see what a lovely tea Granny is
going to give us! Honey, jam, brown bread, hot tea-cakes! Turly is so fond
of sweeties, you know, Gran'ma."

"Rather," said Turly, which was the first word he had uttered since he
escaped with his life from the car.

The candles and lamps were now lighted in Granny's handsome sitting-room,
and a huge turf fire burned on the hearth, for it was a wintry evening. The
tea-table had been placed to one side, near Granny's chair, and as Madam
laughed heartily at Terencia's prattle no one could have suggested that the
coming of this bright little creature had been as a nightmare to the old
lady for many weeks past.

But after the children were gone to bed Madam Trimleston said to Nancy:

"I must say a few words to Lally. Ask him to come up here and speak to me."

Very soon heavy footsteps were heard ascending the stair, and Michael
Lally, the coachman, was seen standing in the doorway.

"God bless ye and good evenin' to ye, madam! It's glad I am to see you
lookin' so well, madam."

"Thank you, Lally!" It was hard to begin to find fault after so genial a
greeting. "But I want to ask you a question, Lally. How am I to entrust my
children to your care after what happened this afternoon?"

Lally passed his big hand over the back of his head and looked puzzled,
while a little smile lurked in the corners of his mouth.

"Is it in the regard of Miss Terry dhrivin' home with herself in the car,
madam?" he said. "Sure I declare to your honour, madam, that I won't be
the better of it for this month to come."

"The idea of your letting that child seize the reins--"

"Well now, madam, she didn't. Says she in her coaxin' way: 'Lally,' says
she, 'just let me sit on your seat and hold the reins, and you can be
watchin' me,' says she. 'Sure,' says she, 'many's the time I drove my
pappy,' says she, 'when I was over there in Africa,' says she, 'and he did
used to be delighted with me, seein' me at it,' says she. An' I couldn't
stand her coaxin', and I just pleased her, till all of a suddent she took a
fancy to some moss that was growin' in the dyke. And nothin' would do her
but I was to get down and gather it for her, and the next thing was she had
jaunted off with herself and was lookin' back laughin' at me."

"I know; I know her way," said Madam. "Lally, I intended to give you such a
scolding as you could never forget, but I see it's no use. I can only
implore of you not to give in to Miss Terry's coaxing again, no matter what
the consequences." And then Granny paused, remembering those kisses on her
cheek and those arms round her neck.

"We must try to control her," she said, "or her wild daring will cost us
her life."

"God forbid, madam!" said Lally.

"You have had a long, cold journey to-day. Have you had a good supper,
Lally?"

"Sorra bit could I ate, madam, till I had a word with yourself. But anyhow
I'll go and ate it now."



CHAPTER III

A WET DAY


Terry and Turly were snugly lodged on the same flat with Granny's bedroom
and sitting-room. Nurse Nancy's room stood between the two pretty little
chambers given to the children, and the big day nursery was close by.
Everything was very nicely arranged for the comfort of the little visitors
and for the maintaining of a proper control over them by Madam and Nurse
Nancy; Here they were to be safe night and day under the eyes of their
elders, except when allowed to go out with proper escort. The gate at the
back stairs, which gave on the landing and had been placed there years ago
for the protection of little children long since able to take care of
themselves, was as strong as ever and shut with as clever a snap, so that
there was no danger by that way. There were also guards on all the fires,
and an ornamental bar across each window to prevent little rash creatures
from throwing themselves out.

"What mischief can she do?" Granny had asked Nancy after surveying all
these safeguards before the coming of the children; and Nancy's hearty
answer, "'t will puzzle her, madam," had been soothing to the anxious old
mother.

When Terry wakened on the morning after her arrival she got up and put her
face to the window-pane.

"Wet!" she said. "Mountains all wrapped up in white sheets with just their
heads out. Rain pouring. And I did so want to be out everywhere till
bed-time again!"

She had taken her bath and dressed before Nancy had done with Turly and
came to look for her.

"Now, Miss Terry, it's too much in your own hands you are entirely, Miss,"
said Nancy. "You had a right to stay quiet till I came to give you leave to
get up."

"But, Nancy dear, what would be the use in my lying there to be a trouble
to you when I have got a pair of hands of my own? But oh, Nursey, will you
put in a few buttons up my back for me? Now didn't I save up something to
be a bother to you?"

"If that's all the bother you give me it won't be heavy on me," said Nancy,
giving her a few finishing touches before she brought her into tho nursery
to breakfast.

After breakfast the children were told that Granny was not very well, a
result of the excitement of yesterday and the wet weather which affected
her. She could not have Terry and Turly with her until afternoon tea time,
except just for a minute to bid her good-morning.

Terry was greatly distressed at this news until she had seen Granny
looking, to her eyes, just the same as ever, after which she was quite
contented. Only, how was the day to be spent?

There was a little excitement about the unpacking of her things and setting
out the little presents she had got for Granny. Nurse Nancy too had to be
surprised and delighted at the gift of a nice, large, white lawn kerchief,
hemmed by Terencia, such as Nancy was accustomed to wear folded round her
neck and across her breast, and which was so becoming to her dear old black
eyes and brown face. And after that gratifying presentation how could Nurse
Nancy be exceedingly strict and distrustful on that particularly wet and
dark December morning? On the contrary, she was in her most amiable and
indulgent humour.

"I've got such a fine lot of toys for good children," she said, and began
opening the cupboards and drawers. "Here's dolls and soldiers, and bricks
and all sorts of what-not. And you'll amuse yourselves with them like good
childher, for I'm goin' to be an hour or so in there, attendin' on your
gran'ma. Or will I send up Bridget to be lookin' afther ye?"

"Oh no, please!" said Terry, "we can look after ourselves till you come
back. Now, can't we, Turly?"

Turly, who was riding from Kimberley to Pretoria on the newly-painted
rocking-horse, waved an assent, and Nurse Nancy left the nursery without
misgiving.

She was not long gone before Terry began to get impatient with the new
dolls. She had inspected them inside and outside, found what they were made
of, satisfied herself as to whether or not their clothes came off and on,
tossed up their curls and smoothed them down again, shaken them up and told
them to stand up straight, which they promptly refused to do. At last it
seemed that there was nothing more to be done with them.

"Oh, you _are_ stupid!" she exclaimed; "staring with your glassy eyes,
always your same pink cheeks, and never saying a word."

"Dolls don't talk," said Turly, who was now solemnly engaged in making a
play on the floor with a box of soldiers.

"Of course they don't," said Terry. "That's just what it is. I hate playing
with things that have got no life in them!"

"Soldiers aren't alive," said Turly, as one tumbled over and he set it up
again, "but I'm having a splendid battle."

"Oh, Turly, how can you? Oh, I do so want things to be alive! Now, do just
come over to the window and look down into the yard at Vulcan sitting in
his kennel, poor dear, when he is longing to be running all over the world!
Oh, I declare, he sees us, and is wagging his tail! Just look at his big
eyes and his nose pointed up at us. Now, that is the kind of creature I
want to play with. But there he is shut up in his cage, and we--"

"Can't we go down to him?" said Turly.

"It's too wet. Nurse would be in such a fuss if we played in the yard. But
I don't see why we mightn't bring him up. He's the watch-dog, and
watch-dogs are only wanted there at night. It couldn't be any harm to have
him up here only for half an hour or so. I'll wipe his paws on the mat so
that he sha'n't make any mess. And he doesn't bark much unless he hears a
noise at night, so I am sure he wouldn't disturb Grandma."

Turly had swept away his soldiers, and stood up ready for the adventure.

"I won that battle," he said; "so now, come on!"

"Take my hand, Turly. They sha'n't say I led you into mischief this time,"
said Terry. "I'll take care you don't fall down the back stairs."

[Illustration]

"I can take care of that myself," said Turly.

"No, you can't. You are not as old as I am, so hold on to me well in case
the stairs are slippy."

They went out on the landing very quietly, "not to make any fuss", as Terry
said, and made for the gate at the top of the stairs. Terry knew the trick
of the hasp and it was quickly opened, and away they went, down flight
after flight, into the yard.

"Oh, I say, it _is_ wet!" said Turly, as they paddled across the yard with
the rain pouring on them.

"Hush!" said Terry, "or someone will hear you and come running to prevent
us. And it can't be any harm. It will be such a delightful treat for poor
old Vulcan!"

Turly said no more, and the two children stood with the rain drenching
their hair and clothes, and almost blinding them, as in silence they
unfastened the chain that held Vulcan to his kennel. The dog was scarcely
able to believe his senses when he felt the little soft hands pawing at his
neck, and as soon as he was free he jumped on them wildly, embracing them
with his hairy arms and covering them with mud.

"Quiet, now, Vulcan!" said Terry softly. "You must be very good, or we
sha'n't be able to take you up to the nursery. Come along, old fellow, and
pick your steps over the sloppy places."

They got safely across the yard, gained the door, and went up the stone
stair, leaving streams of muddy water on all the steps behind them.

Arrived at the top, Terry looked round for a mat, but there was nothing
just at that spot except the carpet, so she took out her
pocket-handkerchief and wiped Vulcan's feet with it.

"It makes no difference to his wetness," she said, "but that does not
matter. His feet will get dry by degrees."

"We have made a mess on the stairs," said Turly, looking back.

"Yes, I don't know how we ever got so wet," said Terry; "but stone stairs
dry up so quickly. Come along now, Vulcan, you are not to bark a word or
you may frighten your grandma!"

Vulcan was quite in the spirit of the adventure, and trotted quietly along
with the children into the nursery.

Then the door was shut and the merriment began.

First of all the children took each one of his fore-paws and danced with
him many times round the room. Vulcan enjoyed the dance for a time, and
bore it patiently for another time, but at last he conveyed by a short
significant bark that he had had enough of it.

"Is he getting cross?" said Turly.

"No, but I'll tell you what it is," said Terry. "He gets tired sooner than
we do because we are accustomed to have only two legs to go with and he is
used to four. And we have taken away two of his legs. We have been making
arms of them."

"Yes indeed," said Turly, dropping the dog's paw.

"There now, Vulcan," said Terry, "you have got back all your legs, so don't
be grumbling. And don't let me hear you give that bark again or there will
be a fuss."

"What are you going to do with him now?" said Turly. "If he can't dance
about or bark what's the good of him?"

"I'll show you," said Terry. "Now, Vulcan, darling, you are going to sit
down in this nice large basket-chair, Nursey's chair, you know, and I'm
going to change you into such a dear old woman. You can't have a nursery,
you know, without a nurse, and you're going to be our nurse. Mind him,
Turly, until I get a few things. Here is Nurse Nancy's gown, not her best
stuff, nor her clean cotton, but the cotton she had on yesterday morning.
And here's her cap, the one she has put away for the wash, and yet it's
nice enough. Now sit up, Vulcan, and let me dress you!"

"You are taking away two of his legs again, and he won't like it," said
Turly.

"Oh! he won't care now, because he is sitting. He doesn't want four legs to
sit with. Dancing was different. Now, Vulcan, hold yourself straight, old
fellow! There, doesn't the dress fit him nicely, at least when I turn up
the sleeves over his paws and tie an apron round his body to make him a
waist? Dear old Nursey hasn't got much of a waist neither; now, has she,
Turly? Vulcan, Vulcan, let me tie your cap-strings!"

Vulcan, who was more disturbed by his head-dress than by any other part of
his costume, made a great effort to be patient while his shaggy ears were
covered up in a forest of muslin frills. At last he was completely dressed,
and licked the end of Terry's little nose as she bent over him to put the
finishing touches to her work.

"Now, it's all right except the spectacles. Turly, Turly, look about for
Nurse's spectacles. Oh, there they are on the chimney-piece! Take them out
of the case quick, and give them to me."

The next minute Vulcan's patience met with its severest trial, when Terry
insisted on adjusting the spectacles on his eyes and nose regardless of his
growls of remonstrance.

"Now, Vulcan, darling, you know you couldn't be a proper nurse without your
glasses. How could you read the newspaper or your prayer-book, or sew on
the buttons? It is a pity your nose is so wide at the top, and your eyes go
so far round the corners, but it can't be helped. I'm afraid I shall have
to tie them on--"

At this moment the door opened and Nurse Nancy appeared.

"Oh, Nursey, isn't he lovely? Look at him!" cried Terry, running to her.

But Vulcan seemed to know he was now to be put in the wrong. He jumped up,
floundering about in Nurse Nancy's cotton gown, which had got caught from
the front so as to enable him to run.

Once out of the room, he vaulted over the little gate, and tumbled down the
first flight of stairs, the children hurrying after him in spite of Nurse
Nancy's imploring appeals.

Nurse herself was obliged to follow, and, descending, saw him rolling
along, tearing her gown into holes in his efforts to get on, the children
pursuing him with peals of delighted laughter.

Finally, the excited dog escaped through the open back-door into the yard,
where he flopped across, the paving-stones flowing with rain, dragging
Nurse's skirts behind him and buffeting her cap with his paws till he got
rid of it by rending it into a hundred fragments.

At last Vulcan settled himself back in his kennel with the drenched and
ragged remains of Nurse's gown and apron rolled around him, and with an air
of thankfulness for his escape from persecution.

The children had followed him to the kennel, and stood dancing round him in
the pouring rain. Nurse Nancy stood at the door exhorting them to come back
to her.

"You bad childher, you dreadful childher! Miss Terry, I command you to come
in out o' the pours of rain."

"It doesn't hurt, Nursey dear; indeed it doesn't," said Terry, as soon as
her excitement allowed her to hear the voice; and she came running
obediently across the yard.

"Hurt!" cried Nurse angrily, and seized a hand of each of the dripping
children, marching them up the stairs in silence and into the nursery,
where she deposited them on two chairs and stood looking at them in
speechless indignation.

Turly looked defiant; Terry gazed at Nurse with dismay and bewilderment.

"You wicked little girl! I know it was you that did it. Turly would never
have dared to."

"Yes, I would!" said Turly.

"No, indeed, he wouldn't, Nurse. It was all me. But you don't mean that
I've been really wicked. Nurse, do you?"

"Don't I indeed? And my good gown in rags, and my cap in smithereens!"

"I'm very sorry about that, Nursey dear, indeed I am. I couldn't have
believed Vulcan could be so stupid as to end it all that way. He just got
in a fright when he saw you coming in. And I thought you would have been so
delighted with the fun. And Gran'ma will get you a new gown and a new cap
when I tell her all about it."

Nurse took no notice of her protests.

"Both of you drenched to the skin! Let me feel your things! Every stitch on
you sopping with wet! I'll have to get a warm bath ready for you, and put
you in bed. And it's well if I can let you up to see your gran'mama at
tea-time."

"Oh, Nurse, and I did so want to show her the things I worked for her! She
wouldn't be angry; not if I told her myself. I know it would make her
laugh--"

"'Deed, and you sha'n't tell her a word of it, Miss Terry. If she was
asleep and didn't hear the scrimmage, we'll just leave her in peace about
it."

"Oh, is it as bad as that?" said Terry. "So bad that I am not to tell
Gran'ma?"

"It is as bad as bad--as that it couldn't be badder!" cried Nurse Nancy.
"My gown and cap ruinated, my nursery spattered with mud, the back stairs
like a street with clay an' rain, yourselves drenched an' drownded, an'
your clothes spoiled. And into the bargain," added Nancy, with a quaver in
her voice, "my spectacles broken into smash, an' I without e'er another
pair to see my way about the house with!"

[Illustration]

"Your spectacles!" cried Terry, now at last stricken with remorse. "Oh,
Nursey, do you really mean that your spectacles are broken?"

Nurse Nancy answered by holding up an empty rim from which all trace of
glasses had departed.

Then Terry said no more, but crept meekly into her little bed, burrowed
into the pillows, and wept.



CHAPTER IV

DREADFULLY GOOD


The destruction of Nurse Nancy's spectacles was a real tragedy. Between the
hills and the sea spectacles are not found growing like limpets on the
rocks, or shaking on the wind like the bog-flowers. The rule in Trimleston
House with regard to these necessary articles was that Granny's cast-off
spectacles fell to Nancy, who was younger than her mistress, and who was
nicely suited by glasses that had ceased to be powerful enough for Madam.

"Has Granny none to give you, Nursey?" asked Terry, with repentant eyes
fixed on Nancy's small brown orbs so deeply set in wrinkles.

"No, child, no. She got her new ones from Dublin only a week ago. And
myself got the ould ones. Suited me nicely, they did. And now I may sit
down and wait till Madam's eyes require another new pair."

"But can't we write for some for you, Nursey, as Granny did?"

"Well, now! Just as if they had my name and my number in Dublin, same as
your gran'mama's, an' her a great lady! Sure, poor people do have to walk
into a shop, and just try and try till they get a pair to fit them."

Terry sat on the old woman's knee, and threw her arms round her neck.

"I'll darn the stockings, and sew on the strings and buttons, and read your
prayer-book to you, and read the newspaper to you after Grandma has done
with it. Is there anything else I can do for you, Nursey darling?"

"Nothing in the world, except try to be good an' keep out of mischief, Miss
Terry."

"But I do so want to be good always, Nancy. And I never would be in
mischief if I knew it was mischief. It looks so right while I'm doing it,
and I don't know how it can be that all of a sudden it goes wrong--"

"Not all of a suddent, Miss Terry. It's always wrong from the beginning
with you. If you would only stop and ask your elders at first 'Is this
wrong?' before you go at it--"

"But I couldn't do that, unless I had an idea that it was going to be
wrong, even perhaps. It always seems to me the rightest, sweetest,
loveliest thing in the world--"

"Now, Terry, how can you look me in the face and say you thought it was
right to take a big, wet, lumbering watch-dog out of his kennel on a wet
day and bring him upstairs to your nursery, dripping his wet over
everything, and then dress him up--"

"Oh, Nancy!" cried Terry, splitting into laughter and putting her hands
before her face. "Oh, now, wasn't it simply deliciously funny? If you had
only been there before he jumped! His eyes were so sweet under your frills,
and his paws were so enchanting coming out of your sleeves. And if it
hadn't been for your spectacles--Now, tell me a story, Nancy, till it is
time to go to Gran'ma."

Terry was so true to her word, did so much reading and stitching and
searching about for little things that were lost, that Granny and Nancy
agreed to think her real conversion had begun through the breaking of the
spectacles. For Nancy had allowed Terry to confess to having broken the
glasses, though she would not have dear old Madam disturbed by a
description of the pranks with the dog. So long as Nursey had to go groping
about as if in the dark, putting her nose to the carpet in search of the
dressing-comb she had dropped out of her hand, feeling all over the
pin-cushion for a pin, and shaking out the newspaper with an expression on
her face which told that it was a perfectly blank sheet to her: while this
state of things went on, Terry had no time to think of fresh adventures, so
eager was she to come to Nursey's relief with her sharp young eyes and her
quick little fingers.

However, a more thorough relief was at hand, and it happened in this way.

Walsh, the old steward at Trimleston, was the same age as Nancy, and the
same kind of spectacles suited him. He sometimes went a journey to a town
about thirty miles away to pay bills for Madam, and to order things that
were wanted about the place. Granny suddenly discovered that he might as
well take the journey now as wait for the spring. She gave him a long list
of matters to be attended to for her, and then she said:

"And you had better go to the optician's, Walsh, and choose a pair of
spectacles to suit yourself, and bring them to me for Nurse Nancy."

As soon as Terry saw Nursey's keen brown eyes looking at her through the
familiar little glass windows once more, she felt her remorse slip away
from her, and her liberty return.

"Nursey is able to take care of herself now," she thought, "and I have
nothing to do. I wish I cared about reading, but I don't. I like people to
tell me stories, but nobody has more than a few, and you get to know them
all off by heart. The books always say such a lot between the happening
parts, and if you skip too much you lose part of the story. The story
people all sit down and fold their hands, and wait till the close thick
pages of prosy prosy are over, and when they get up again and go on they
have forgotten their parts. Pappy says I shall like reading when I'm older;
but I'm not older, and I don't like it. I just like to be doing something,
and oh, dear, there is nothing to do!"

Terry was sitting at the nursery fire waiting to be summoned to Granny's
sitting-room. She had on her pretty white frock, her gold curls were all
brushed up into a thousand shining rings, and her blue silk work-bag was
hanging by its ribbons from her arms. She had been extremely good and quiet
all day, and she was intending to behave nicely to Gran'ma during the
evening. She knew exactly all that would happen. There would be a good tea;
oh, yes, Granny did give such good teas, dear old Gran'ma! And then Terry
would sit on a stool beside her, and embroider a letter on one of Granny's
new cambric pocket-handkerchiefs. After that Terry would read aloud, poetry
such as Gran'ma liked, and Terry did not much object to that, for she
loved musical rhythm, only Granny always chose and marked the pieces, and
Terry would rather have tossed over the leaves till she found a poem that
she could make a favourite of for herself. She hoped it would be Longfellow
to-night. She liked that one:

    "A little face at the window
    Peers out into the night".

Oh, yes; she would be as good as good! And Terry heaved a long-drawn sigh.

"Turly," she said suddenly, "do you never get tired lying flat on the
floor, playing with soldiers and bricks, and things?"

"No," said Turly, "I've done such a day's work. I've built a whole city of
streets out of this one brick-box."

"You ridiculous boy! The box only holds enough bricks to build one house
with."

"I know that," said Turly placidly. "I build one house at a time, and I
count the houses I've built till I know there is a street."

"Oh, you silly! You are building the same house every time, and taking it
down again. How can you be so baby as to call that building a street."

"No matter," said Turly, "I have the street in my head. I see all the
houses I built, though they had to come down. It's a grand city."

"Whereabouts is it in the world!" asked Terry, a little interested in spite
of herself.

"Oh, it's a city I read about in the _Arabian Nights_! I think they call it
Ispahan. I intend to go there some day. There are magicians living in it."

"Oh, that's better!" cried Terry. "You must take me with you, Turly."

"Girls don't ever grow up into famous travellers," said Turly, as he packed
his bricks solidly back into their box.

"Oh, you stupid! don't they? As if I couldn't run about as well as a person
who lies on the floor all day and calls it travelling."

"I didn't," said Turly, "I said I intended to go and see that city some
day, and find out all about everything that is in it. I am afraid the
magicians are dead."

But here Granny's tea-bell rang, and the children hastened away to their
honey and tea-cakes. And there they had a delightful surprise, for two
little new kittens, a white Persian and a black velvet creature with yellow
eyes, were curled up on the hearth at Gran'ma's feet.



CHAPTER V

"BAD AGAIN!"


When tea, and reading, and sewing were all over, the children were allowed
to play with the new kittens, and Granny presented a kitten to each child,
Turly choosing the black and Terry the white one. They were each of a very
aristocratic cat race, and had been sent a great many miles as a present to
Madam. Terry named her kitten Snow, and Turly gave his the name of Jet.
Nurse Nancy had provided a ribbon and a little tinkling bell for each. Jet
had a scarlet ribbon and a gold bell, and Snow a blue ribbon and a silver
bell. Nancy also produced two balls of knitting worsted, and it was very
funny to see the kitties frisking about the floor after the dangling balls.
This gave a pleasantly exciting finish to the evening, and the play went on
until Gran'ma began to look tired.

As Nancy was tying the blue ribbon round Snow's white, furry neck, Terry
holding her up by her fore-paws while a pretty knot was being made between
her ears, Terry heard Nancy say to Granny:

"I think you are very tired, madam. I believe you miss your new-laid egg
in the mornings; sure I know you do, madam."

[Illustration]

"Why don't you have your new-laid egg in the mornings, Granny?" asked
Terry, putting Snow down on the floor, and nestling up to her grandmother.

"Because, darling, the hens don't choose to lay, this cold weather."

"Do they never lay in cold weather? Are there no hens who will lay eggs for
Gran'ma, Nursey dear?" urged Terry.

"I believe there's a few down at Connolly's farm," said Nancy; "at least
I've heard so. I've a mind to send down and enquire."

Then Granny went off with Nancy to her bedroom, and the children were left
in the sitting-room playing with the kittens.

"Turly," said Terry, "I want to speak to you. Put the kittens in their
basket and come here."

Turly came directly and they sat on two little stools and looked into the
fire.

"What is it about, Terry?" asked Turly. He was always ready for any
startling plot or plan that Terry might propose to him.

"Did you hear Nancy saying Granny was getting weak for want of her new-laid
eggs, and that the hens wouldn't lay them for her?"

"No," said Turly.

"Well, she did."

"We can't help it," said Turly.

"You can't, dear; but I can. I'm older than you."

"The hens won't do it for you, no matter how old you are," said Turly.

"Oh!" said Terry impatiently, "that is not what I mean! There's a few hens
down at Connolly's farm, and Nancy thinks they lay."

"Where is Connolly's farm?"

"I'm sure I don't know, but there are hens there, real industrious hens,
and I want to get their eggs for Gran'ma."

"You can't," said Turly.

"Wait till you see," said Terry.

Turly looked at his sister admiringly, but went on piling up the
difficulties she was going to surmount.

"You don't know where Connolly's farm is. And when you do, the hens are not
yours. Connolly wants to eat his own eggs. Perhaps he's got a gran'ma."

"No, he hasn't. And he would rather have money than eggs. At least poor
people generally do."

"How do you know he is poor?"

"Oh, Turly, how you do keep contradicting! Now I'll tell you what I am
going to do. I'll just get out the pony quite early in the morning and ride
to Connolly's farm, and be back with the eggs for Gran'ma's breakfast."

Turly opened his eyes wide with admiration, but he was not convinced.

"Somebody will be sure to be angry," he said, "and there will be a row."

"But you know it couldn't be wrong, Turly, because it is for Gran'ma. And
I'm not going to bring the pony up the stairs, and it won't be wet, because
it's just nice frosty weather--"

"Connolly's farm is awfully far away. I'm sure it is," said Turly. "You'll
never get back here for breakfast."

"But I shall start quite, quite early."

"It will be dark."

"There's ever so much moonlight at six," said Terry. "I was awake this
morning, and I saw it. I was just longing to get up and go off for a ride,
and now there will be a real reason for doing it."

"I will go with you," said Turly, suddenly changing his front.

"Oh, no, you couldn't, Turly! There is only one pony. You must stay behind,
and if there's any fuss because I'm a little late or something, you can
tell them I've gone for the eggs and will be back directly."

Nurse came in and took them off to bed, but Terry kept thinking of her
morning adventure. She did not think of it as an adventure, but as a
delightful surprise for Gran'ma.

"She does so much for us," thought Terry, "and we can do so little for her!
And she will find it so nice to have a good fresh egg for breakfast!"

Still Terry felt it would never do to tell Nursey of her intentions. She
would be sure to think that everything would go wrong. Rain would come on,
or Connolly's really wouldn't have any eggs, or the pony would go lame. But
won't she smile up all over when she sees Gran'ma eating her fresh egg at
breakfast-time!

The greatest dread Terry felt was of oversleeping herself. She fell asleep
as soon as her head was on the pillow, but wakened with a start as the
clock was striking three. She could hear Nurse snoring through the wall,
and Nurse Nancy had a most peculiar snore, first a long-drawn note, as of a
horn, and then a little whistle.

"I wonder how she does it," said Terry to herself, and tried to imitate the
sounds. "I couldn't. It's awfully clever of her. And when you see her going
about in the daytime you would never think she could do it."

Terry thought it would be quite easy to lie awake, waiting, for three
hours. However, after listening for about five minutes to Nursey's snoring,
and blowing through her own little nose to try to do the same, she was fast
asleep again.

She wakened again exactly at a quarter to six. The moonlight was now
pouring into the room, and she could see everything as well as if by day.
She got up and went out to the landing to look at the clock, and stood
there in her white night-dress, with her little bare toes on the carpet,
gazing at the solemn white face of the tall brown clock which Granny said
had stood there just as she was for quite two hundred years. It was
impossible not to think of this clock as a personage, and she was
accustomed to change her character very much as Terry changed her moods.
Sometimes she was a cheery old creature, hurrying on the time with her
pleasant chimes, coaxing round the sunshine out of the dark, and bringing
back the cosy bed-time when children were tired. At other times she had the
air of a stern prophetess, with a threat in every "tick, tick", and a hint
of doom in the striking of every hour. As she stood now in her brown cloak
darkened by the moonlight, and her round meaningless face whitened by it,
she recalled to Terry a remark once made by Granny, "Many a life she has
ticked away out of this house, and out of this world, has that old
great-grandfather's clock, my children!"

"She sha'n't tick my life away," thought Terry. "I hope she won't tick away
Gran'ma's and Nursey's! But that is nonsense, of course. Granny couldn't
have meant that she had anything to do with it, for that is only God's
business!"

These ideas just flashed through Terry's little head as she stared at the
clock and heard her give that curious snarl with which she always warned
one that there were but three minutes left of the passing hour. And the
hour hand was at six.

It was just the time for Terry. She dressed quickly, putting on the little
riding-skirt that she had brought from Africa. It was some inches shorter
than it had been then; but never mind, it was all right.

"I don't believe anybody gets up till seven these winter mornings," she
reflected, and certainly the house was quite still as she slipped out, and,
knowing where to find the stable-keys, she was soon in the stable. She put
her own little saddle on the pony and led him from the yard, leaving the
keys in the doors, because it was morning, and there was no more use in
locking up the places.

Away went Terry trotting down the avenue, full of the enthusiasm of her
good intentions. She was soon out on the high-road. There was a crisp,
white frost on the grass, but the middle of the road was not at all slippy.
The pony went at a good pace, and soon carried her a couple of miles away
from home. All this time Terry thought of nothing but the enjoyment of her
ride, and of that basket of eggs she was going to carry home to Gran'ma.

Presently the moon set, and there was scarcely a glimmer of daylight, but
a great deal of frosty fog. Up to this Terry had been allowing the highway
to carry her anywhere it pleased, but now at last she came to four
cross-roads, all seeming to lead into fogland, and she stopped short.

[Illustration]

"Now I wonder where is Connolly's farm!" she said; but the pony only tossed
his head and shook his ears, and was not able to help her.

"I was quite sure it was just about here, because Nursey said 'down at
Connolly's farm', and her head shook in this direction. I thought I saw it
quite plainly when she was speaking. It ought to be here, and yet I can't
see it. This is down, for it has been a little bit downhilly all the way.
I'm sure I could see it if the fog would only get away. There! it is
getting a little more daylight, and I'll just take this road because it
still seems to be going down."

She started off again; but as she went the fog grew thicker and thicker,
and Terry soon became aware that it was freezing hard. The pony began to
stumble, and several times he nearly fell, for Terry found it hard to hold
him up with her little frost-bitten fingers. She worked bravely, but felt
that the road was indeed downhill, and all the more difficult in its
present state of slipperiness. Still there was no house in sight, and so
thick was the fog that unless the door of the farmhouse had been just at
hand, it would not have been visible to her.

The road grew worse and worse to the pony's feet, and at last he made a
great stumble and went crash down on his knees on some sharp stones. Terry
went over his head, but fortunately alighted sitting on the frozen grass
by the roadside.

She was soon on her feet, and so was the pony, but the poor little animal
was bleeding at the knees, and Terry knew that she must not mount him
again. She broke the ice on a pool and bathed his wounds with her
handkerchief. She was crying as she wiped away the blood.

"Oh, Jocko, Jocko, I'm so sorry I hurt you! I never thought of such a thing
as the frost or the fog! Oh dear, what shall I do to make you well, and how
shall I get you home? And oh, Jocko, we haven't got any eggs!"

Kisses and pats on his nose may have been comforting to Jocko, but he could
not give his little mistress any assurance on the subject.

"If I could even see the way to get home!" said Terry; "but it seems as if
the whole world were full of nothing but wool and feathers! And I can't
guess which was the side I came by."

She tore her handkerchief in two and made a wet bandage for each of Jocko's
knees, and then she could do no more, and sat down by him on the roadside
to wait till the fog should clear up a little. Her teeth began to chatter
with cold, and she felt altogether miserable.

"And I meant to be so good, and I thought it would go so well--and oh,
those eggs! How can one ever know what things are going to turn into?"

Suddenly she heard a rumbling sound which she knew must be a cart coming
along the road, though she could not see it. She moved the pony and herself
carefully in against the bank on the roadside, so that they might not be
run over, and then waited anxiously to see what would come out of the fog.

Very soon a horse's head appeared, then his body, and afterwards the cart
he was drawing, and the frosty-red face of the driver who was sitting on a
load of turf on the cart.

"Hullo!" shouted the man. "What on airth are you doin' there in the dyke,
little missy?"

"Oh," cried Terry, "I've broken my pony's knees, and I can't ride him, and
I couldn't see the way to Connolly's farm, and even if I did now I don't
know how to get there with Jocko!"

"Connolly's farm! Would it be Mike Connolly Mac you would be lookin' for?"

"Oh, I suppose it is!" said Terry. "I only just heard it called Connolly's
farm. And Nurse said it was down somewhere, and I came out to look for
fresh eggs to give Gran'ma a surprise for breakfast."

"And now what would be your name, little lady, an' who would be your
gran'ma?"

"My name is Terencia Mary, and my grandmama is Madam Trimleston," said
Terry.

The man gave a whistle of surprise.

"Faith and Missus Nancy might look afther ye betther," he said. "I know
her, and I'll give her a piece of my mind. To send a child like you out for
eggs, ridin' on glassy roads, and in such a fog as this!"

"Oh, she didn't send me! I came myself, and she didn't know anything about
it. I took the pony myself, to give them a surprise."

"Then I think you behaved very bad, miss, an' you deserved to be knocked
about. But the pony did no wrong, and you've hurted him!"

"Bad again!" groaned Terry; "and I felt so good. You are not a kind man,"
she added, looking at him with big tears in her blue eyes. "I'm not going
to ask you to do anything for me. Only, if you would just tell me where
Connolly's farm is perhaps I can get there if the fog would only go. I can
walk Jocko there, and Connolly will take care of him."

"I declare, but you have the pluck for a brigade of soldiers," said the
carter. "But come now, missy, I'm not goin' to lave you in the lurch
thataway. And first an' foremost Connolly's farm is away over yonder, two
miles from Trimleston House in the opposite direction; you took the wrong
road from the first."

"Oh!" groaned Terry; "and must I go home straight with Jocko's knees
broken, and without the eggs?"

"An' thankful you ought to be to get there," said the carter, "you an' the
pony, without any bones broken. But how do you think you're goin' to get
home itself, now, missy?"

"You're the unkindest person I ever knew," said Terry. "I didn't think
there was so unkind a man in the world. Everyone was always kind to me
before."

"It's my notion that they've been too kind to you, little missy. However,
not to be the unkindest in the world, I'll make a try to bring you home
myself. I'll just tie the pony to the back of the cart an' he'll follow,
and you get up here beside myself, and we'll face back to Trimleston."

"But you were going the other way. You'll be late for your own business,"
cried Terry.

"Never mind, missy; business'll have to wait. We can't lave a young lady
and a pony with cut knees foundherin' on the roadside," said the carter.
And so the pony was tied to the cart, and Terry was hoisted to a seat on
the turf beside the carter.

At any other time she would have asked to be allowed to take the reins and
drive the cart, but just now she felt too cold and miserable and crushed,
too unhappy about Jocko, and too utterly defeated in the matter of the
eggs, to do anything but huddle up in her nook among the turf sods and
struggle against a threatened burst of weeping.

[Illustration]

The carter drove on slowly, in silence, looking back now and again to see
that the pony was all right, but taking no further notice of Terry. The fog
was beginning to lift a little, so that one could see here and there a bit
of the roof of a little house, or a thorn bush. At last the carter said:

"Well, missy, what about thim eggs? Were they raly for Gran'ma's
breakfast?"

"Oh, don't talk about them!" cried Terry. "It's the worst of the whole
thing. I thought it wasn't wrong because she misses her eggs so much, and
our hens won't lay, and Nurse said they had some at Connolly's farm--and oh
dear!"

Terry here gave way to her despair, and burst into sobbing and weeping.

"Well now, little missy, cheer up! I wouldn't say but what we might find a
couple of eggs here in one of the houses as we go along."

"Oh, could we? I've got money to pay for them. And it wouldn't be half so
bad if I could only be in time with the eggs for Gran'ma's breakfast."

"Aisy now, aisy!" said the carter as he drew up opposite to a little gray
stone house where some hens were picking about the doorway. "I would bet a
sack of potatoes to a bag of meal that one o' thim very hins is afther
layin' an egg, by the cluck of her!"

He shouted and whistled, and a woman came to the door.

"Do you happen to have any new-laid eggs about the place, ma'am?" asked the
carter.

"Why then, I have three," said the woman, "nice an' warm from the nest.
Would ye be wantin' thim?"

"Oh yes, please!" cried Terry, and pulled out her little purse. "Do pay for
them, thank you," she said to the carter, "and please give her plenty of
money, for I am so glad to get them!"

"Well now, missy, why would ye be trustin' me with this?" said the man,
taking the purse. "Sure maybe I'd be robbin' you."

"Oh no, you wouldn't!" said Terry; "you're a great deal kinder than I
thought you were at first."

The purchase was made. There was no basket, and Terry was glad that she had
three nice, soft pockets in her coat, into each of which she put an egg.
After that the cart jogged on more quickly than before, as the fog had
lifted so far as that Terry could see all around her.

"I see someone awfully like Turly; just there in the distance," said Terry.
"Do you see, Mr.--"

"My name's Reilly," said the carter.

"Thank you, Mr. Reilly. I'm dreadfully afraid it's Turly!"

"Who is Turly, and why are you afraid it's him?"

"Turly is my brother, Turlough Trimleston. I'm afraid because he oughtn't
to be out riding on a donkey this foggy morning."

"No more nor his sister riding on a pony. I hope he hasn't broken the
donkey's knees," said Reilly.

"I hope not. I don't think so, or he wouldn't be riding it. It really is
Turly, and he won't be at home to tell Nurse what has become of me.--Oh,
Turly, Turly, why did you come after me when I told you not to?"

"I said I would come," said Turly.

Reilly had pulled up while Turly was being interviewed. The little boy sat
on a bare-backed donkey, himself looking rather at loose ends, with
evidences of having dressed himself hastily without any finishing-up from
Nurse Nancy.

"How did you ever do it, Turly?"

"How did you do it?" said Turly. "Of course I just walked into the stable
and looked about for a horse. I tried to sit on them all, but I couldn't,
for they were too wide. Then I spied the donkey. There was no saddle for
him, so I took him as he was. And how did you like Connolly's farm, Terry?
And is this Connolly?"

"Oh dear no, Turly! This is Mr. Reilly. Jocko and I were lost in the fog,
and we didn't get at all near Connolly's. And Mr. Reilly found us and got
me some eggs. But oh, Turly, poor Jocko's knees are cut, for he slipped in
the frost and I let him down."

"Never mind! They'll come all right again," said Turly. "Lally will look
after him."

"We may as well hurry up then," said Reilly, "if I'm ever to get on the
road again with my load of turf."

Then they began to move on again, the cart with Terry and Reilly, and Turly
riding the bare-backed donkey behind, side by side with Jocko, who seemed
very glad of their company.

As they turned off the high-road they saw Nurse Nancy standing at the foot
of the avenue, evidently looking out for them in great anxiety. The cart
stopped before her.

"Oh, you terrible childher! You dreadful little girl! I wonder I am alive
since six o'clock this morning!"

"You were sound asleep then, Nursey. I heard you snoring. And you won't
call it dreadful when you see the eggs. The only terrible thing is Jocko's
knees. I'm awfully sorry about that, indeed I am. I'd rather it had been my
own knees!" cried Terry, running to the back of the cart to examine poor
Jocko's injuries.

"The pony's knees!" shrieked Nurse, throwing up her hands and her eyes in
despair.

"I tell you Lally will make him all right!" said Turly. "Ponies and men
don't make a row over a scratch as women do!"

"If Lally cures him I'll give him all my pocket-money for a year," said
Terry, wiping her own eyes and patting Jocko's nose. "Oh, here is Mr.
Lally! Do you think you can cure poor Jocko's knees, Mr. Lally?"

"So you're at your thricks again, Miss Terry! Sorra ever such a young lady
was born in this mortial world before!" said Lally. "Now what will your
gran'ma be sayin' to you this time, Miss Terry?"

"Oh, Gran'ma! I hope she hasn't had her breakfast yet, Nursey. Just look at
the lovely fresh eggs Mr. Reilly got me!"

"An' I scourin' the counthry all round about Connolly's farm lookin' for
ye!" said Michael Lally indignantly, as he examined Jocko's knees.

"And have they really got plenty of eggs at Connolly's?" cried Terry. "For
only three will not last very long, you know."

"Here, Missus Nancy, for all the sakes will you take your childher out o'
my road?" cried Lally. "A nice scoldin' I'll be gettin' over again from
Madam when she hears of it."

"Oh no, she won't! Not when she get's her egg, and I tell her about it,"
said Terry.

And then Reilly gathered up his reins, laughing, and went rattling his cart
of turf down the road. Lally led away the pony, and Nancy and the children
returned to the house.



CHAPTER VI

A BRASS HELMET


Madam's breakfast was ready, and there was just time to cook the new-laid
egg and put it on the tray.

Terry got behind the open door, and great was her delight when she heard
Granny say:

"Why, Nancy, you don't mean to tell me that this is a new-laid egg! Where
can you have got it?"

"A nice little hen laid it for you, madam," said Nancy, "and may be there's
more where it come from."

"That is very good," said Granny. "What are the children doing at present,
Nancy?"

"They're just about goin' to get their breakfast, madam."

"Isn't it rather late for their breakfast?" said Granny.

"Both of them's been out, madam, and have got appetites like young
troopers," said Nancy evasively.

Terry listened with the keenest disappointment. Was Nancy not going to tell
Granny that it was she, Terry, who had got her that egg for her breakfast?
When the nursery meal appeared, Terry rushed forth her grievance.

"Oh, Nursey, you never told Granny who got her that egg! And after all the
trouble I took!"

"The trouble you took was all boldness and disobedience," said Nancy, "and
it's just the way you're to be punished by not letting her know. It isn't
to screen you that I'm not tellin' her the whole of your conduct, but only
just that I won't have her sick about it. It wasn't you at all that got the
eggs, but Misther Reilly; for there you were stuck in the dyke, with the
pony hurted, an you as far off as to-morrow from Connolly's farm."

"It's a worse punishment than if you beat me," said Terry. "And you said I
had an appetite like a trooper, and I haven't, for I can't eat a bit."

"You're a jolly goose, then!" said Turly. "Breakfast's awfully good, I can
tell you."

"If you don't eat, it doesn't matter," said Nurse. "It'll maybe make you
think again before you set off to run into such dangers. If your head had
come against a stone when the pony went down--"

"But it didn't," said Terry. "It wasn't the least bit like that. I just
came sitting on the grass quite comfortably. And I tried to get to
Connolly's, and I didn't want Jocko to be hurt."

"It isn't the least use talking to you," said Nancy; "but I've another
punishment for you. I've been talking to Madam about your practising, and
you've got to begin to it. I told her you'd be forgettin' all your music,
and she said you'd betther go to it afther breakfast this very mornin'."

Now if there was one thing in the world that Terry hated it was her
"practising". To sit hammering out five-finger exercises on a piano in a
lonely room, making a dreary, monotonous noise, trying to turn in her
fingers and thumbs at the right places, and doing the same thing over and
over again, while the hands of the clock crept slowly round; all this meant
a penance which was torture to the active little creature.

However, Terry accepted her sentence in silence. She never thought of
disobeying a direct command like this; for it was true, as she had often
said, that she never did a thing which she believed at the time to be
wrong. It would be clearly wrong to refuse to do her practising when Nurse
and Gran'ma had decreed that it was to be done, and so she recognized that
the hated ordeal must be faced.

She got out her "music", sheets covered with wicked-looking black notes,
having figures and crosses marked above them in pencil to show her where
to put her little fingers, which were always sure to get themselves in the
wrong places. Before descending to the large lonely drawing-room where the
practising had to be done, Terry made one last appeal to fate by opening
the door of Granny's bedroom ever so little and speaking in. Granny might,
after all, not be so severe in this matter as Nurse Nancy.

"Gran'ma, dear," said a little plaintive voice, "do you think I need go to
my practising quite so soon in the holidays?"

"Yes, my darling," answered Madam from among the curtains of her bed. "You
know your mother will expect you to play something pretty for her as soon
as she comes home."

Then Terry strove no more against her doom, but went down to the
drawing-room.

The drawing-room was a handsome old-fashioned apartment, but with that
depressing atmosphere which gathers into rooms, especially large ones,
which have ceased to be much lived in. The curtains drooped sorrowfully,
the carpet had a lonely, untrodden look; the chairs had an air of not
expecting to be sat upon, some Elizabethan portraits on the walls showed
stiff wooden personages, who seemed to have driven all the living persons
out of the room. When the piano was opened, the black and white keys
appeared cold and uninviting to the touch.

"Oh dear! oh dear!" said Terry. "An hour's practising! It is just twelve by
the clock now, and I shall have to strum till one!"

[Illustration]

She spent all the time she could in screwing the music-stool to the right
height for her little figure. It was no sooner up high enough than she
found she wanted it to go down, and then it would go down too low. At last
it was just as right as it could be, and there was nothing more to be done
with it.

Then the first two notes were struck by Terry's two little thumbs. How
strange and audacious they sounded in the silence of the lonely room! Terry
glanced over her shoulder at the pictures, and saw a long-faced man in a
pointed collar looking at her severely.

"Oh, how can I?" she exclaimed, dropping her hands into her lap. "How can I
if he goes on like that?"

She tried again, however, and this time succeeded in running a five-finger
exercise once up and once down.

"I forget how to do it, my fingers are all on the wrong notes. Miss
Goodchild says I have a taste for music. How can I have when I hate a
piano? I love beautiful sounds when I hear them, but these are not
beautiful sounds. I can't make anything but a dismal noise. Even the
long-ago people on the walls object to it. But I must do it again or it
won't be practising;" and this time Terry ran the five-finger exercise up
and down two or three times without stopping before she let her hands drop
again from the keys.

Suddenly a bright idea struck her.

"I wonder what o'clock it is!" she said to herself. "I must have been at
least half an hour in this room."

She got down from the high stool and walked slowly across the long room,
feeling that she was getting rid of a little time by restraining her usual
rapid movements. Arriving at the door she stood with her back to it for a
few moments, gazing all around.

"Could it ever have been a real everyday place to live in, like Granny's
sitting-room upstairs, or the day nursery? Granny says it was a lovely,
comfortable room when she was going about, and everybody was in it every
day. And certainly there are a lot of nice things in it, if they were only
shaken about. But there's nobody to shake them, and it's awfully ghosty,
and I do so feel afraid the ghosts will hear my bad playing and come to me.
Now, I'm sure it must be half an hour, and I may go and look at the clock!"

She slipped out of the door and closed it behind her quickly, as if she
feared invisible hands might catch her unawares to keep her within. Up two
flights of stairs she went, and looked at the clock on the landing.

"Only ten minutes past twelve!" she exclaimed in dismay. "Oh, that dreadful
old clock must have stopped herself on purpose! Now, I will just watch to
see. I don't believe she's moving at all." And Terry put her back against
the wall and fixed her eyes on her enemy.

"No; she's going," said Terry, as the minute-hand made a slight onward
jerk, "but she has gone slow just the very morning I have got to practise."

She went down to the hall, slowly, counting the steps, and stood in the
hall looking at everything as if she had never been there before.

"I wonder if I might curl in behind that door with a story-book," she
thought, "or even with nothing at all; where I could hear the sounds of the
other parts of the house! But no, I couldn't. I know it would be wrong,
because I've got to be a whole hour at my practising. And I don't want to
have two wrongnesses in one day, bad as I am."

She returned at once to the drawing-room, and, seating herself again at the
piano, went steadily up and down a whole scale, trying seriously to turn in
her thumbs at the right places and to put her fingers where they ought to
be when she wanted them. She really worked hard for five minutes, and then
stopped and congratulated herself that the hour must be nearly over.

"But I must play over Gran'ma's little tune," she said to herself.
"Gran'ma's so fond of it, and it is pretty, only I don't like his being
killed. Malbrook was killed, I know he was. Gran'ma told me so."

She got out an old music-book of Madam's young days, and turned to a page
on which were a number of small tunes of a few bars each, and each marked
with a name.

She began to play the old air of Malbrook, very sweetly and plaintively, so
as quite to justify Miss Goodchild's opinion that she had a taste for
music. But at the last bar Terry's little hands fell limp, and she burst
out crying.

"I know he was killed!" she said; "and what with Jocko's knees and
everything I can't bear it. I wonder if Turly would come down and sit with
me; that is if my hour isn't up."

Alas! the pitiless old clock informed her that she had still at least half
an hour of penance to undergo. Perceiving this she stole up softly to the
nursery.

"Turly, dear! Are you there, Turly?"

"Oh yes, I'm here!" said Turly. "Have you done your practising?"

"No, I haven't. I wish I had. And will you come down and sit with me,
Turly? The drawing-room is so lonely, and the time gets on so slow."

"It's silly to be lonely," said Turly. "I'm not a bit lonely here with my
bricks. But of course I'll come with you."

"Oh, thank you, Turly! Is Nursey with Gran'ma?"

"Yes."

"What does she look like, Turly?"

"Like always," said Turly.

"Is her nose long, Turly?"

"Isn't it always the same, Terry?"

"No, it isn't. When Nurse is angry her nose gets long and her mouth goes
down at the corners. And when she's pleased they both shorten up again."

"I didn't look at her as much as that," said Turly.

So Turly came and played in the drawing-room while Terry went on with her
practising. He made a play for himself which was not particularly good for
the furniture. A long train of wagons was constructed of chairs put on
their sides and one or two small old spider tables with their spindle legs
in the air. Turly dressed himself in a few of Granny's best oriental
embroideries, and armed himself with the brass fire-irons.

"It's war, you know!" he explained to Terry. "Play Malbrook again. But I'm
not going to be killed, I can tell you. I'd just like to see anybody trying
to do it."

"Oh, Turly, you must be killed, because you have no helmet! Oh, I know
where I can get you one!"

Terry sprang up and flew to where a small palm was standing, its garden-pot
enclosed in one made of Benares brass. She quickly lifted the palm out of
the brass pot, carried the pot across the floor, and turned it downwards,
like an extinguisher, on Turly's head. It just took his head in, coming
down a little over his eyes.

[Illustration]

"Now you are perfect!" cried Terry, clapping her hands.

"It isn't exactly all right," said Turly. "I should want to see a little
better. Push it a little farther back on me, Terry."

Terry tried to do so, but the pot would not move.

"My head is stuck into it," said Turly. "I'm afraid it will never come
off."

"Oh, Turly!"

"Never mind. I'll go on with the fighting, and perhaps some fellow will
shoot it off. My wagons are running away, and I must run after them."

In this manner the practising got finished, and the children hastened to
restore the furniture to its usual state in the room before the appearance
of Nurse Nancy, who might now be expected to look in at any moment. Two or
three times Turly had tried to remove his helmet, but had failed, and so it
was left on his head till all was in order. At last, however, the children
were confronted with a difficulty. The helmet had to come off Turly's head,
and it wouldn't.

"Oh, Turly, it must come off!" said Terry.

"Says it won't," said Turly. "Got wedged. Wish it was a little bit more up,
that a fellow could see better. Don't bother, Terry, perhaps it'll change
its mind. Won't it be a joke to see Nurse's face?"

The door opened on the moment, and the expected face was seen. Nurse Nancy
stood amazed.

"Turly, what do you mean by using your Gran'ma's nice things in such a
manner? That's one of the beautiful ornaments your uncle sent her from
India. Take it off directly, and put the palm back into it."

"It doesn't like the palm, Nurse. It would rather have me!" cried Turly,
dancing about impishly at the same time, trying to shake the pot off his
head by the movement.

"Do you mean to be disobedient, Turlough?"

"The pot is awfully disobedient," said Turly. "I tell you it won't come
off."

"We'll see about that," said Nurse Nancy, putting her hands to the pot. But
to her consternation it refused to move.

"Shake your head out of it, Turly!"

"I shook and shook, and it only gets tighter on. If I shake any more it
will come down about my neck, and my eyes will be gone up into it, and my
mouth and my nose!"

Here was a state of things. Nurse looked ready to faint, as she thought of
her boy being smothered before her eyes in a Benares pot.

"Oh, Turlough! why did you do anything so wild as putting your head into
that pot?"

"He didn't, Nursey," said Terry, trembling and pale. "It was I who put it
on his head for a helmet."

"I can believe it, Terencia Mary," said Nurse. "You are always the
ringleader. And why did they call you Mary, like your gentle mother and
grandmother? There's no Mary-ness in you, you shocking girl, that couldn't
do your little bit of practising without running after helmets."

Here another attempt was made to dislodge Turly's head, while Terry stood
wringing her hands.

"I say, Nurse," said Turly, "don't you go abusing Terry for nothing. I
dressed myself up as a soldier, and I was taking my wagons to the wars, and
I had everything right but a helmet, and Terry was afraid I might be shot,
so there! she isn't to be blamed for it."

"And your dinner ready, and you not able to take it," said Nurse.

"Oh, am I not? Just you see if I don't make use of my mouth as long as I've
got it."

"Come then," said Nurse; "and I must see about sending to Dublin for a
surgeon, though how I'm to manage all without your Gran'ma knowing, I'm
sure I'm at my wits' ends to guess."

Turly ate his dinner with great vigour, but Terry sat miserable and without
appetite.

"I put the pot on his head," she thought, "and it will require a surgeon
from Dublin to get it off. Will the surgeon have to cut part of his head
away? That is what surgeons do; they cut."

Just as her thoughts had arrived at this excruciating point, the pot
suddenly made a jerk and fell completely over Turly's face, covering his
chin.

Nurse and Terry shrieked, and Turly uttered some unintelligible sounds from
within the pot.

"He'll be smothered!" cried Nurse Nancy.

"What would the surgeon do if he were here?" asked Terry, with tears
streaming, then darted from the room saying: "I'll bring up Michael Lally
and Mr. Walsh!"

These two worthy men were on the scene in a few minutes, and Lally
instantly thought of a plan.

"We'll hang him up by the heels," he said.

So the two men took Turly in their arms and "up-ended" him; the consequence
being that the pot, being now in a straight position on the head, fell off.
Whereupon Turly was re-placed on his feet on the floor.

Then Nurse Nancy sat down and rocked herself and wept.

"I thought it would ha' been either a death or an operation!" she sobbed.
"Will I ever get over it?"



CHAPTER VII

UP THE CHIMNEY


Granny had little idea of what an eventful morning it had been when the
children came to her in the afternoon, looking so nice and well-behaved, as
if they had done nothing but bite their little thumbs in the nursery from
the moment of their getting up till tea-time. Nurse Nancy had persisted in
carrying out her determination to leave her dear mistress in peaceful
ignorance of whatever terrifying episodes might develop during the sojourn
of the children in the house. She had suffered enough from their pranks in
the summer, and she must now be allowed to believe that they were grown as
serious and as quietly-behaved as any old people.

Fortunately the house was big and the walls were thick, and sounds must
needs be very loud indeed to penetrate to Madam's sanctuary, if care were
taken to keep them from reaching her ears.

When Terry appeared as usual in her white frock, with her little blue silk
work-bag, and with what Nurse Nancy called her "Mary" face, Granny said to
herself that the child was a sweet little lady; but remarked that Terry
looked pale. Was her clothing warm enough? Had she eaten a good dinner? No,
said Nancy, she hadn't eaten a good dinner, not to-day; but it was only
once, and for a wonder.

"Wait till you see what a tea she'll make, madam. Myself thinks children
sometimes hides their appetites in their pockets and brings them out again
when they get something they like."

In this way good old Nancy told the truth and didn't tell the truth, all to
save pain to Madam. But Terry hung her head. She was, as usual, longing to
confess everything that had happened, but kept silence through obedience to
Nurse Nancy. However, when she was invited to partake of the good things of
the tea-table, she did not fail to verify Nurse Nancy's prediction as to
the return of her appetite.

Indeed, all the troubles of the morning had been by this time removed so
far away that it seemed as if they must have happened a year ago. Lally had
sent her word that Jocko's knees were nearly all right, and that he
suffered no pain from them. Turly's head was in its usual place, and the
pot, being brass, was not even broken. Her practising had been done, and
Granny would have another fresh egg to-morrow morning for breakfast. So
there was no reason in the world why Terry should not make a good tea, now
was there?

After tea came a rush of joy which quite swept away the recollection of
everything uncomfortable, for Granny informed the children that she had had
a letter from Africa saying that it was probable their father and mother
might come home within a very short time. Dear old Granny had tears in her
eyes while telling this news; and she said that she was rejoiced to think
of what very good children she should be able to present to their parents
when they did arrive at home.

The evening was passed delightfully, trotting about the floor with the
kittens, reciting poetry, reading aloud, and embroidering. Granny told some
pretty stories of when she was a little girl, stories to which the children
always listened with real delight, because Gran'ma evidently had been a
little girl, from the sort of things she told, and the way she told them,
not like some grown-up people who would make their youngers believe that
they never cared for anything but lesson-books and goody-goodiness from the
moment they were christened. Granny even sang them one or two little songs
which she used to sing when she was ever so small, and Terry thought she
never heard anything so sweet as Granny's soft singing, although it did
only whisper sometimes, and now and then her voice would crack off on the
high notes. There was one little ditty which the children liked greatly,
and which Granny said used to be sung to her by her nurse to put her to
sleep. The song began:

    "It's pretty to live in Ballinderry,
    Far prettier to live in Magherlin;
    Far prettier to live in Ram's Island
    And see the little boats sailing in!"

It was altogether an evening which made the children feel completely
absolved for any blunders they had committed, and they got up the next
morning particularly good, not afraid of anything, and quite ready for a
new adventure. There was a snow world outside the windows, and this in
itself was an excitement.

Blackbirds, thrushes, finches, tomtits, came round the doors and windows
begging alms, not to mention crows and magpies, who fought with the little
birds for the crumbs provided for all, and proved themselves intolerable
bullies, much to Terry's disgust.

"The best plan will be," said Turly, "to throw big pieces, and then these
monsters will fly away with them, and leave the little fellows to eat in
peace."

This was done, and the rooks in their sombre cloaks and hoods, and the
magpies in their courtly black satin and white velvet, pounced on the
morsels, and retired with them to the branches of the nearest trees.

"Oh, now," said Terry, "we can give the dear little song-birds their
breakfast! Just see how they are running like little chickens to be fed!"

However, only now was the fighting to begin. The thrushes pecked the
blackbirds, and the blackbirds flew at the thrushes, and both beat back the
little redbreasts and tomtits.

"Rascals!" said Turly; "they are every bit as bad as the crows!"

"Oh!" cried Terry, "to think they can sing so sweetly and behave so
cruelly!"

"I suppose it's only their way," said Turly. "I think birds have to be
cruel, or they couldn't live. See them picking up the worms, and smashing
the snail-shells against the stones!"

"And men are cruel too," said Terry. "They kill the lambs--"

Here their talk was interrupted by an unusual and startling sight. The air
became suddenly darkened by a moving cloud of winging sea-gulls high
overhead, circling above the tops of the trees, ever increasing in number
till their wide wings seemed to be almost laced together.

Each time the great circle they had marked for themselves was travelled
they descended a little lower towards the earth.

"How lovely!" cried Terry. "They are really coming down to us!"

"They are wanting their dinner," said Walsh, the steward, coming to where
the children were standing with their faces turned up to the skies.

"Oh, do you think so?" cried Terry. "And where can we get crumbs enough for
such a number?"

[Illustration]

"But sea-gulls live on fish," said Turly, "and the sea is never frozen. Why
should the frost make the sea-gulls hungry?"

"I think they're river-gulls," said Walsh; "but anyhow it's looking for
something to eat they are, or they'd never be here. I think there's a lot
of damaged grain up somewhere in the lofts, and we'll boil up a pot of it
for them, not to disappoint the creatures!"

"That will be very good," said Terry, "if damaged grain will agree with
them, Mr. Walsh. But do you think they will like to have it damaged?"

Walsh turned away laughing. "Wait till you see them eating it, Miss Terry,"
he called over his shoulder. "Maybe it's green peas and jam tarts you'd
like to be settin' down to them!"

"I don't think they would like jam tarts," said Terry, "but we might give
them some meat;" and away she flew, followed by Turly, to interview the
cook on the subject of a feast for the gulls.

"Oh, yes, Miss Terry, I'll find plenty for them! There's leavings enough.
It's only taking a little from the pigs, fat things that do be always
eating a lot too much!"

The end of it was that a splendid mess was made for the gulls, and spread
in little heaps under the trees, and all about the lawn, and even under the
windows, for Terry and Turly wanted to be able to watch them at their
dinner, and they could not stay out of doors, as gulls are so easily
frightened.

From behind the curtain the children watched them circling, circling
downward. Even when they smelt the hot food, the gulls did not alter their
rhythmical pace and movement, but performed their journey in regular order,
descending with each circle nearer and yet a little nearer to the ground.
At last the first gull ventured a foot upon the territory of man, and
immediately they all dropped on one another, wings falling on wings, and
cries filling the air as the beautiful hungry creatures forgot all their
poetry in their ravening and scrambling for the food.

That was a good evening also, for by the time the gulls had eaten up all
the dinner and flown away it was nearly the hour for going to Gran'ma, and
she had to be informed of the delightful experience of the morning with the
birds. And Granny told them how, when she used to be going about among the
trees and in the garden, the birds would eat out of her hand, and the
little squirrels, who always came to look after the walnuts, were never in
the least bit afraid of her. After all this the children went to bed
feeling even more gentle and harmless than the night before. And when they
awoke next morning, expecting another day of charity to the birds, they
were quite like little ministering angels, and tricks and adventures were
far from them.

But, alas! the snow was gone, the birds were regaling themselves on a
breakfast of worms, and the rain was pouring thickly and quietly, with an
easy intention of going on for ever, as only Irish rain can pour.

Now what was to be done? No good works were possible. Nurse Nancy could
think of nothing more diverting than story-books, and so Terry and Turly
sat each on a stool beside the fire with a book, while Nancy went as usual
to attend to her mistress.

Nurse had said nothing about practising, and, good as she wanted to be,
Terry had not courage to return of her own accord to the melancholy piano
in the deserted drawing-room. If Turly were to come there with her again he
would either go to war, or hunt wild beasts, or do some other disturbing
thing to disagree with the order of the furniture, and she herself, Terry,
would be sure to be in the middle of the worst of it. So she resolutely
held to her book, that Nancy might not be so likely to remember the
practising.

When the children were left alone, however, they soon began to talk.

"I say, Terry," said Turly, "isn't the house awfully quiet? You wouldn't
think there was any kitchen or places downstairs, because they make no
noise. At school you are always hearing things, doors banging and voices
speaking, and you can smell the dinner. It's a very quiet place, Gran'ma's
is. There's no smell, and there's no sound."

"It's very far downstairs here, you know," said Terry sagaciously. "It's a
big house. And we do smell our own dinner when it comes up. Now, don't we,
Turly?"

"Oh, yes!" said Turly, yawning; "but I like to know all that is happening
to everybody. I say, Terry, do you know there's another story of house
above the part we're living in?"

"Two stories," said Terry.

"Have you never been up in them?" said Turly.

"No," said Terry. "I peeped up the stairs once or twice, but it looked
rather lonely, so I didn't care to."

"I think it would be great fun to go up and see what they're like," said
Turly.

"Some of them are servants' bedrooms," said Terry. "But there are other
parts besides, I know."

"Do come up and see, Terry."

"There might be a ghost."

"If there is, I'll soon knock him on the head," said Turly. "I'll take the
poker with me."

"Oh, you silly! The poker would pass through him. They have no bodies."

"Then they couldn't hurt us," said Turly, "so who cares? But there might
be rats, so I'll just take the poker with me."

"I don't like rats," said Terry; "and mind, Turly, it's you this time, if
anything goes wrong."

"Now, I hope you're not going to turn into a common girl, Terry," said
Turly. "You used to be such a brick."

All this made Terry feel that she couldn't possibly be going wrong to-day.
Turly was always said to be good, and he was reproaching her with too much
goodness. They might just go up the stair and take a look around. There
couldn't be any harm in it.

Still, they went very softly for fear of being overheard. It would be so
disappointing if Nursey were just to come out of Gran'ma's room and say
"Come back, children!"

Up the stair they went. On the first floor they came to were bedrooms,
chiefly rooms where servants slept, and one or two lumber rooms with
nothing very interesting about them. So the children decided to go up
higher still. A winding stair led to the topmost story of the big house,
which consisted of a range of attics.

They looked into all, but none of them was attractive. The expedition was
threatening to prove a failure when they arrived at the last door and
pushed it open.

[Illustration]

This place certainly seemed more promising. Large black presses were
standing against the wall, looking as if they were full of everything. It
wasn't exactly a lumber room, but a kind of place where very particular old
things had been put away. A rocking-cradle in a corner caught their eyes.

"I wonder if Granny was rocked in it!" said Terry.

"She would have to be very little," said Turly dubiously.

"Of course she was little. I can quite fancy Gran'ma little. Some people
must have been born grown-up. Miss Goodchild was born grown-up, I know. Of
course she's nice, but she couldn't ever have been little, Turly."

"Nobody could be born grown-up," said Turly. "They've all got to begin
babies. Nursey told me so."

"Now, Turly! As if God couldn't make us big at once if He liked. And He
did. There's Adam. Do you mean to say he wasn't made grown up? And so was
Eve."

But Turly had got away from the cradle and had opened one of the presses.

"Strange-looking things in here," he said. "Hanging up, like people."

"Oh, they're old dresses of course," said Terry. "Very old dresses I'm sure
they must be. Oh, Turly!"

Turly had climbed up and unhooked some things which had caught his fancy.
He carried them to the light and examined them.

"It's a soldier's uniform," he said, "and it must be very old. It's all
stuffy and moth-eaten, and the gold is nearly black. There are green
things on it. I know what it is, Terry. It belonged to Gran'ma's uncle in
the Irish Brigades. He was killed at Fontenoy. They sent home his things.
Nursey told me all about it."

"Oh, do put it away, Turly! Don't try to get into it. You're too small, and
beside he was killed."

"It's too big for me," said Turly. "I wonder if he had it on when he was
killed!"

"Of course he had. Oh, Turly, do hang it up again!"

"I thought it looked like a kill when I saw it hanging there," said Turly.
And he hung it up again and closed the door of that press.

"Now I'm sure this is Gran'ma's wedding-dress," said Terry. "It's white,
you know, though it looks gray, because it's so long ago!"

Many other curious discoveries were made, and at last Turly declared he was
so hungry that he was sure it must be dinner-time.

All the things they had handled were put back in their places, and they ran
to the door. Terry turned the handle and shook it, but it would not open.

"I locked it when we came in," said Turly. "I was trying the lock."

"I can't unlock it," said Terry.

Turly tried, and Terry tried again, but the key was fixed in the lock and
would not move. Turly got tired struggling with it, and began to kick the
door and to call. They listened, and could not hear anybody coming.
Everything was exactly as before.

"It's very high up," said Tarry, "and the door is so thick."

"Perhaps we could get out of the window," said Turly. But the window was
perched up on the roof, and there was no balcony. It was so high that they
could just see the tops of the trees in the distance.

"I shouldn't mind if I weren't so hungry," said Turly. "I suppose they will
find us some time or other."

"They'll never think of looking for us here, I'm afraid," said Terry.

Turly ran over to the grate. "I say," he cried, "this is an awfully short
chimney, and ever so wide. I'm going to get to the top of it and wave a
flag."

"Do you think you could, Turly? Are you sure you would not hurt yourself?"

"Oh, bother hurt!" said Turly. "We want our dinner."

They looked about for something to make a flag of. At last Terry took off
her white petticoat and tore it up to make a long streamer. It was mounted
on a walking-stick which was found in a corner, and then Turly began to
climb the chimney.

Notches in the stone enabled him to plant his feet, and after he had
squeezed himself up some way, he thrust the stick with its white streamer
through the opening above him.

"It's all right!" he shouted down. "It's flying!"

Fortunately there were no chimney-pots on that particular chimney It had a
wide opening, and Turly got his head out at the top.

"Oh!" said Terry, with her head in the grate, "I hope it won't get all wet,
and flop!"

"Rain's over!" shouted Turly. "I've got such a splendid view! Walsh and
Lally and a whole pack of them are running down the avenue; going to look
for us, I suppose. Hullo! If they would only look up! What duffers they
are, with their eyes on the ground! I say, Lally! Hi--h--!"

Terry only heard a word or two of all this, and the people down below none
at all. It was only by accident that Lally turned round and took a look
back at the house.

"Powers above us!" he shouted, "what's up there on the chimbley?"

"Chimbley's on fire!" somebody else shouted, having just caught the word
chimney, and everybody began to run back to the house.

"No, you idiots!" roared Lally; "but, by my sowl, if it isn't Turly's head
that's perked up on the chimbley as if it was Cromwell's head on Newgate!"

Screams followed. Nurse Nancy, who was of the party, dropped on the road,
and Walsh had to stop and hold her.

"Up the chimney!" she groaned. "Heavens! how are we to get him down? There
isn't a ladder long enough!"

"Aisy, ould woman!" said Lally. "We'll get him down the way he got up. It's
an inside job."

And away he trudged to the house with a goodly following, including Nancy
herself, who soon found her feet when she heard that there was a cure for
the catastrophe.

How the rescuing party blundered about the upper story, and at last found
the right room, need not be related.

The door was shaken, battered, assaulted in every possible manner, but the
rusty key had got stuck half-way across the lock and would not stir. In the
end the door had to be taken off the hinges, and when it was removed the
children made a very sooty appearance as the result of their struggle for
liberty.

Turly was like a real sweep from squeezing himself up and down the chimney,
and Terry had got her gold curls sprinkled with soot, the result of
putting them into the grate when she looked up the chimney after Turly.

The men laughed heartily when they heard the children's story of their
adventure, and Nurse, as usual, groaned and scolded at first, but
afterwards relented and gave them a good dinner, having prepared them for
it by a bath and clean clothing.

In spite of Nancy's good intentions, Granny heard the noise and asked what
it meant.

"Oh!" said Nurse, "it was only the children that shut themselves up in the
attic and couldn't get out again, so that Lally had to open the door for
them."

"Poor darlings!" said Granny; "a wet day is very trying for them. And they
have been so wonderfully well-behaved; now haven't they, Nancy?"

"Pretty well, madam, considering," said Nancy.



CHAPTER VIII

THE RUNAWAY BOAT


A week went past, during which there were no particular adventures. The
weather was fine, crisp with light frost, and sunny in the mornings, so
that the children had long rambles out-of-doors in the care of a young
housemaid, who allowed them a good deal of liberty. In this way they worked
off a great deal of energy, and did not get into any serious scrapes.
Bridget told them fairy tales as they trotted along, one on each side of
her, but that was only when they were tired of running and exploring
everything.

Sometimes they went down to the sea-shore and built castles of stones, and
picked up shells washed in by the waves. A few little houses stood just
above the shore, and Bridget had friends in these houses, and while the
children were playing she would often leave them on the beach and go to pay
visits to her friends.

One day when the children had been left alone in this manner they wandered
out of sight of the houses, getting across some rocks and into a little
creek which was quite new to them. They saw some more fishermen's cottages
at a distance, and one or two boats were lying on the shingle. One boat was
rocking on the tide, and Turly immediately went rushing towards it. It was
tied by a rope to a ring fastened in a rock close by.

Turly stood looking at it, and Terry was soon beside him.

"It doesn't look a very busy boat," said Turly. "It has neither sails nor
oars; it looks quite out of practice."

"I suppose it is getting a rest," said Terry.

"Boats don't get tired. I think there must be something the matter with it.
I'll just get in and see what is wrong."

The next moment he was in the boat.

"I don't see anything wrong," said Turly. "It's a very nice boat. Jump in,
Terry! It's awfully good fun to be in a boat."

"It waggles," said Terry, "and if I fall in there will be a fuss. I think
Nurse is tired of changing our clothes. But there, I'll pull it up close by
the rope. All right!" and Terry was also in the boat.

"We can pretend we are on a voyage," said Turly. "What country would you
like to discover? America, or Robinson Crusoe's Island?"

"Oh, those were discovered long ago!" said Terry. "I would rather have
quite a new island. If it wasn't it wouldn't be discovering, you know."

"I want a new continent," said Turly. "If I discover anything it must be a
continent; islands are not up to much."

"But there are no more continents to discover, Turly."

"So they said before America," said Turly.

"But nothing more is on the map; Miss Goodchild says so."

"She'll have to make new maps, then," said Turly, "after we have come back
from our voyages."

They pottered about in the boat for a while, talking make-believe
out-on-the-ocean talk, hauling sails and working the helm. Turly was
captain, and Terry had to be the entire crew. At last Turly said:

"We don't sail a bit; we only joggle. Do you think I might untie the rope?"

"No, no!" cried Terry; "we're only pretending. You know we have neither
oars nor sails."

"I suppose it is better not," said Turly, as a healthy sensation of hunger
reminded him that he could hardly return from discovering a new continent
before dinner.

However, the rope, as if it resented having been interfered with in doing
its duty, now played them an unkind trick. It loosened from the ring of its
own accord, and the boat, with the children in it, drifted away from the
rocks.

The tide was going out, and the even waves carried the little bark far from
land in the course of a very few minutes.

Turly burst out laughing, but Terry turned very white as she realized what
had happened.

"Turly, Turly, don't dance about like that, or you will upset the boat!
We're going out to sea, and we can't get back again!" Turly looked around
and saw that she was right, but did not like to confess so much.

"Of course we're going out to sea," he said, "but why shouldn't we come
back again?"

[Illustration]

"What's to bring us back?" said Terry. "We've no oars or sails, and if we
had we're not big enough to use them."

"The tide is going out," said Turly, "and it's taking us. When it begins to
come in it will bring us back."

"Oh, it won't come back for hours and hours! And how can we tell where we
are going?"

Turly was quiet now, and came to sit with Terry in the bottom of the boat.

"It's the only way to keep it steady," said Terry. "Let us ask God to take
care of us!"

"Of course He will; He walked on the sea. Aren't we silly not to have
thought of that before?"

They both slipped on their knees and cried out loudly:

"God! God! Come to us and bring us back to shore!"

Still the boat kept drifting away outward, while the shore they had left
got farther and farther into the distance.

They were very cold by this time, but fortunately the day remained calm and
clear, and there were still some hours to come of winter daylight.

At last, after a period that seemed to them a whole day long, Turly turned
his head and gave a wild shout of triumph.

"Hurrah!" he cried; "here's my continent."

Terry looked round, and there, truly, was land on the other side of them to
which their backs had been turned while they were straining their eyes
towards home.

"It's an island," said Terry. "Nurse often said there were islands out
here. How are we going to catch on to it?"

"The tide is taking us slap up against it," said Turly. A few minutes later
they went bang into a rock; the boat made a somersault, flung the children
high and dry, and "ran off with itself, laughing", as Turly said
afterwards.

When they were able to pick themselves up, and to look around, they
perceived that the rock on which they were perched was right in the little
harbour of an island. There was still daylight enough to see the houses on
the island and the people walking about the beach. No one noticed them for
some time, and at last they took off their hats and waved them, and
shouted.

Then they saw a man in the dress of a fisherman look up and stand staring
at them as if he did not believe they were human children.

"I suppose he thinks we're mermaids," said Terry. "I hope he won't, because
then he might leave us here all night."

"We haven't got fishes' tails," said Turly; "anyone could see that. I don't
believe he's such a stupid. See, he's pointing us out to another man! Oh,
they'll come for us in a boat! And then it will be fun to have discovered
an island."

"I think it's quite an old island," said Terry. "We haven't discovered
it."

"Now don't you go and spoil things," said Turly. "I mean to discover it."

They soon saw that the fishermen were really coming for them, and not a bit
too soon, for the tide was rising round their rock, and, besides, they were
so cold and hungry that their courage was nearly exhausted.

"Now, will ye tell me where did the pair of ye come from?" said one of the
men. "Is it down out of heaven ye are, or up out of the sea? By my word I'm
not sure at all about takin' the like o' ye into my boat."

"Hold your tongue, man," said the other. "Don't you see the childher's
teeth are chatterin' out of their heads with the cold. Come in here, little
lady and gentleman, and then ye can tell us what bad ship threw you out of
it to where ye are."

"It wasn't a ship; it was a boat," said Turly. "And it was a queer boat.
First it ran away with us, and then it threw us out and made off with
itself."

"We got in to look at it only," said Terry. "It was tied to a rock, and the
rope got loose and the tide carried us away."

"Well then, but some poor body's blessin' was over ye, or ye weren't here,"
said the first man. "It's three miles from main shore, and there's a storm
comin' on."

"We called God," said Terry.

"It's good for ye that ye did," said the man. "Thank Him now that ye've got
your feet on dry land again."

They had scarcely touched the shore when the storm began to whistle, and
soon to roar, and big waves hurled themselves on the island. It was quite
certain they could not return to Trimleston that night. One of the
fishermen took them home to his own cabin, where there was a good fire of
turf, and a kind woman and some little children. They got a good supper of
potatoes and herrings, which, after their long fast, was found to be most
delicious.

The little fisher-children came round them, smiling at them, examining them
all over, touching their clothes. They had never seen anything so nice as
this little lady and gentleman. There were six little fishermen and
fisherwomen, all in red flannel frocks and bare feet. Nonie, the eldest,
who was eight years old, could not cease admiring the strangers.

"Where were ye?" she asked suddenly, after a long, worshipful silence, with
her eyes fixed now on Terry and now on Turly.

"Oh! isn't she sweet?" cried Terry. "What do you mean, Nonie?"

"Where were ye before?" stammered Nonie.

"Oh, miss," said the mother, laughing, "she wants to know where ye live,
for she never seen the like o' ye before!"

"We live over on the other shore, in a big house, Nonie; and I hope you
will come to see us there. I'm sure Gran'ma will want you to come."

And then, when she thought of what Gran'ma at that moment was doing, Terry
broke down and began to cry bitterly.

"Oh, Mrs. O'Neill, you don't know how dreadful it will be when we haven't
come home, and nobody knows what has become of us!"

"Well, dearie, as soon as ever the storm goes down a bit, it's Peter
O'Neill that'll be takin' you home to her."

"It's worse for me, you know, Mrs. O'Neill, because Turly is a boy; and,
besides, I am older. I am always getting into scrapes though I don't mean
it, and I suppose I must have gone wrong this time too."

"No, you didn't," said Turly; "I got into the boat and I made you come to
me."

"I oughtn't to have got in," said Terry, "I ought to have pulled you out."

"Then we should both have been drowned," said Turly, "for I should have
pulled and kicked, I know I should, and the boat would have gone over on
top of us."

"Oh, poor Gran'ma!" cried Terry.

"I tell you Nursey will pretend we're in bed," said Turly; and Terry
grasped at this idea and took a little comfort from it, remembering Nancy's
many successful little plots for screening the children and saving her dear
lady from anxiety and disturbance.

The beds in the fisherman's house were only of straw done up in bags, and
the bed-clothes were very light, but the children slept soundly and found
everything as comfortable as possible. Terry was wakened by a little kid
licking her face, and started up in great astonishment and delight. It was
a pet kid, and had rushed into the house as soon as the door was opened.

The breakfast was potatoes and goat's milk. The little fisher-children ate
with them, and were very merry as they peeled their potatoes and sipped the
milk from their tin mugs. But Terry and Turly could scarcely understand
what they said, even when they spoke English.

"What are they saying, Mrs. O'Neill?" asked Terry, completely puzzled,
while Nonie and her little brothers and sisters chattered to one another.

"Sure it's Irish they're talkin'," said their mother. "It's what we always
talk together, and anything else comes strange to them."

"Irish? But we are Irish too. Why don't we talk Irish?" cried Terry.

Here Peter O'Neill came and said that the weather was looking better, and
the boat was ready, and if the little lady and gentleman would come, he
would take them across that bit of sea home to their Granny.

The children felt it hard to leave the island and their new friends without
having seen more of them, but the thought of Gran'ma's pain of mind and
Nurse Nancy's misery hurried them off, and they were soon in the boat. This
was a very different crossing from the last, seeing that they were cared
for by two stout fishermen, and pulled along by four strong oars.

"But, after all, God did very well for us, now didn't He, Mr. O'Neill?"
said Terry.

"He did the next thing to a miracle," said O'Neill; "but you'd better not
be doin' any more thricks behind your Gran'ma's back, or maybe God would
turn round and punish ye."

"I won't; indeed, indeed, I never will," said Terry.

Meanwhile poor Nurse Nancy had spent a dreadful day and night since Bridget
had rushed home to her with the news that the children had disappeared and
were not to be found. All the evening and through the night men were out
searching for them in every direction. No one noticed the disappearance of
the boat till next morning, and it was feared that the children had fallen
down some steep rocks, and had either been killed by the fall or drowned.
Bridget was nearly out of her senses, knowing that she had neglected the
children; and poor old Nancy was so ill from the shock and fear that she
would perhaps have died, only that she had Madam to think of.

When Granny's tea-time came and the children did not appear, Madam
naturally asked what was delaying them.

"Oh, then, indeed, madam, you mustn't expect to see them to-night! They've
been gettin' into mischief, and I can't bring them here to you."

Gran'ma was shocked.

"Now, Nancy," she said, "are you not too severe upon them, and for the
first fault? They have been doing so beautifully."

"Well, madam, I beg you'll leave them to me," said Nancy, making a great
struggle to speak as if nothing had happened worse than seemed from her
words. "I hope it will be all right with them to-morrow, and then they can
come in and ask your pardon."

"What did they do, Nancy?" asked Madam.

"Oh, they'll tell you themselves, I hope," said poor Nancy, striving to
satisfy her mistress without telling a positive untruth.

So the dear old lady went to sleep that night without having suffered
anything worse on the children's account than a little regret that they
had been punished by having their tea in the nursery, and being sent to bed
early.

Nancy could not rest, but spent the night wandering up and down the avenue
and on the road, watching for the return of messengers, who were continuing
the search about the rocks and all over the country, with the help of
lanterns. But day broke without bringing any sign of the children.

At last, in the dawn, the owner of the runaway boat came down to the beach
and missed his property. In an instant the truth flashed on him. The
children and the boat must have gone away together.

He sent for Walsh and Lally, who had just returned from different quarters,
hoping to hear when they arrived at the house that the children had already
got home.

"They're drowned," said the man. "My boat's gone with them, and where would
it be but to the bottom of the sea in that storm?"

"Then you may go up to the house yourself with that news," said Walsh; "for
it's not me that's goin' to carry it."

"Nor me," said Lally.

The three men stood gazing out to sea with tears in their eyes. Bridget,
looking as white as a ghost, appeared and joined them.

"Nancy has to stay with Madam," she said. "She's at her wits' end to know
what to tell her next. For heaven's sake, is there no news at all from
anywhere?"

The men looked at her. They did not like to say, "It's your fault", so they
only shook their heads.

Presently Walsh said:

"There's a boat missin'."

Bridget screamed, and began to beat her breast and clap her hands.

"Whisht! will you," said the boatman. "We're bad enough without that. Give
us peace to think a bit. If they were drowned they would ha' been washed in
by this. The early tide would ha' brought them, for the boat couldn't carry
them far without upsettin'."

"I'll run away! I'll run away!" shouted Bridget.

"Run then," said Lally. "It isn't you we're thinkin' of, but the poor ould
lady, and the father and mother that's out in Africa."

At this moment a white speck appeared on the sea. A ray of sunlight had
struck across the twilight and made it visible; then something larger and
darker was seen behind it moving with it.

"Would it be a boat?" said Lally, as all eyes were strained watching this
appearances.

"Then you may well ask, for a boat it is!" said the boatman. "If it isn't
the angels that's bringin' them childher home, by my word, I don't know
what it is!"

A few more minutes of eager watching assured them that Terry and Turly were
returning, if not visibly in the custody of angels, at least in the care of
two sturdy oarsmen, who were pulling towards the shore.

As they came near enough to be well seen and heard the children stood up in
the boat and cheered and waved their handkerchiefs to their friends.
Bridget waited for no more, but ran with the good news to the House.

Poor old Nancy had made an excuse to get away from Madam for a few minutes
and was leaning against the door-post, scarcely able to stand, and with a
face of the most intense misery. When she saw Bridget running towards her,
waving her apron, she knew the news must be good.

"They're all right!" screamed Bridget, ever so far away. "They're comin'!
They're comin'!"

Hearing this, Nurse Nancy first of all knelt down in the hall and thanked
God. Next she went back to Madam and told her that she thought the children
had been punished enough, and should be allowed to come to her as usual at
tea-time. She was not a minute too soon with the news, for Granny had
already begun to get a little suspicious and uneasy.

[Illustration]

In a very short time afterwards Terry and Turly came racing up the avenue
and into the house and up the stairs in search of Nurse Nancy, who brought
them into the nursery and cried over them, and was far too happy at seeing
them again to think of scolding them.

The children cried too, and told her their adventures.

"Oh, Nursey, dear," said Terry, "this is really the last time we'll ever do
anything wild! We should have been drowned, only God took care of us. We
will never do wild things again, I assure you."

"Not till the next time," said Nurse Nancy grimly; but this was the nearest
approach she made to scolding.

In the midst of this little scene Granny's bell rang violently, and Nurse
Nancy hastened away to see what was the cause of the unusual sound.

"Nancy!" cried Madam, "let me see the children immediately. I have
wonderful news for them. Their father and mother will be here with us
to-night!"

Very soon Terry and Turly were dancing round Granny in delight, all trouble
forgotten, and nothing thought of but the joy that was in store for them.
All the house was in a bustle of preparation. Fires were lighted in rooms
that had been deserted, and the maids went about making everything look
cheery and pretty. Cook came up to Granny's room to take orders for the
evening dinner, and Terry and Turly were to be permitted to dine with the
grown people.

In due time the father and mother arrived, both quite young people, and
looking more like the grown-up brother and sister of Terry and Turly than
their parents. That was a delightful evening when all were gathered round
the fire in Granny's room, and the children, one on Father's knee and the
other in Mother's arms, listened to stories of many a "happening thing", in
which they seemed to share without getting into disgrace.

It was some time before Mother learned all the curious adventures of her
girl and boy at Trimleston House, only a few of which have been taken note
of and preserved for this book. Terry told her all.

"Well," she said, "I am now going to stay at home and take care of my
children. They shall ride with me, walk with me, play with me, and I will
teach them their lessons myself. I think they are too full of wild life and
spirits to be manageable by either schoolmistress or governess. Give me two
years, Granny, and see what I shall make of them."

"Don't make them too well-behaved, my dear," said good old Madam, looking
wistfully at the little group of happy faces. "I have found them charming
in these holidays. If there was any trouble, Nancy did not tell me."

"Nursey had an awful time with us!" said Terry, shaking her head.

"And oh, Mother," cried Turly, "if we are going to have lessons, will you
have Nonie over from the island to teach us Irish?"

"What island?" asked Granny. "And who is Nonie?"

Then the story of the runaway boat had to be told for the first time to
Granny, who cried a little, but said she would not fret about it now, as
Father and Mother were happily come home.


THE END





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