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´╗┐Title: Lill's Travels in Santa Claus Land - And Other Stories
Author: Pratt, Ella Farman, 1837-1907, Farman, Sophie May, Towne, Ellis
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 "Lill's Travels in Santa Claus Land - And Other Stories" ***

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                       LILL'S TRAVELS
                    IN SANTA CLAUS LAND.

                     AND OTHER STORIES.

                             BY
          ELLIS TOWNE, SOPHIE MAY AND ELLA FARMAN.


                           BOSTON:
                   D. LOTHROP AND COMPANY,
               FRANKLIN ST., CORNER OF HAWLEY.


                        COPYRIGHT BY
                      D. LOTHROP & CO.
                           1878.



LILL'S TRAVELS IN SANTA CLAUS LAND.


Effie had been playing with her dolls one cold December morning, and
Lill had been reading, until both were tired. But it stormed too hard to
go out, and, as Mrs. Pelerine had said they need not do anything for two
hours, their little jaws might have been dislocated by yawning before
they would as much as pick up a pin. Presently Lill said, "Effie, shall
I tell you a story."

"O yes! do!" said Effie, and she climbed up by Lill in the large
rocking-chair in front of the grate. She kept very still, for she knew
Lill's stories were not to be interrupted by a sound, or even a motion.
The first thing Lill did was to fix her eyes on the fire, and rock
backward and forward quite hard for a little while, and then she said,
"Now I am going to tell you about my _thought travels_, and they are apt
to be a little queerer, but O! ever so much nicer, than the other kind!"

As Lill's stories usually had a formal introduction she began: "Once
upon a time, when I was taking a walk through the great field beyond the
orchard, I went way on, 'round where the path turns behind the hill. And
after I had walked a little way, I came to a high wall--built right up
into the sky. At first I thought I had discovered the 'ends of the
earth,' or perhaps I had somehow come to the great wall of China. But
after walking a long way I came to a large gate, and over it was printed
in beautiful gold letters, 'Santa Claus Land,' and the letters were
large enough for a baby to read!"

How large that might be Lill did not stop to explain.

"But the gate was shut tight," she continued, "and though I knocked and
knocked and knocked, as hard as I could, nobody came to open it. I was
dreadfully disappointed, because I felt as if Santa Claus must live here
all of the year except when he went out to pay Christmas visits, and
it would be so lovely to see him in his own home, you know. But what was
I to do? The gate was entirely too high to climb over, and there wasn't
even a crack to peek through!"

Here Lill paused, and Effie drew a long breath, and looked greatly
disappointed. Then Lill went on:

"But you see, as I was poking about, I pressed a bell-spring, and in a
moment--jingle, jingle, jingle, the bells went ringing far and near,
with such a merry sound as was never heard before. While they were still
ringing the gate slowly opened and I walked in. I didn't even stop to
inquire if Santa Claus was at home, for I forgot all about myself and my
manners, it was so lovely. First there was a small paved square like a
court; it was surrounded by rows and rows of dark green trees, with
several avenues opening between them.

"In the centre of the court was a beautiful marble fountain, with
streams of sugar plums and bon-bons tumbling out of it. Funny-looking
little men were filling cornucopias at the fountain, and pretty little
barefoot children, with chubby hands and dimpled shoulders, took them as
soon as they were filled, and ran off with them. They were all too much
occupied to speak to me, but as I came up to the fountain one of the
funny little fellows gave me a cornucopia, and I marched on with the
babies.

"We went down one of the avenues, which would have been very dark only
it was splendidly lighted up with Christmas candles. I saw the babies
were slyly eating a candy or two, so I tasted mine, and they were
delicious--the real Christmas kind. After we had gone a little way, the
trees were smaller and not so close together, and here there were other
funny little fellows who were climbing up on ladders and tying toys and
bon-bons to the trees. The children stopped and delivered their
packages, but I walked on, for there was something in the distance that
I was curious to see. I could see that it was a large garden, that
looked as if it might be well cared for, and had many things growing in
it. But even in the distance it didn't look natural, and when I reached
it I found it was a very uncommon kind of a garden indeed. I could
scarcely believe my eyes, but there were dolls and donkeys and drays and
cars and croquet coming up in long, straight rows, and ever so many
other things beside. In one place the wooden dolls had only just
started; their funny little heads were just above ground, and I thought
they looked very much surprised at their surroundings. Farther on were
china dolls, that looked quite grown up, and I suppose were ready to
pull; and a gardener was hoeing a row of soldiers that didn't look in a
very healthy condition, or as if they had done very well.

"The gardener looked familiar, I thought, and as I approached him he
stopped work and, leaning on his hoe he said, 'How do you do, Lilian? I
am very glad to see you.'

"The moment he raised his face I knew it was Santa Claus, for he looked
exactly like the portrait we have of him. You can easily believe I was
glad then! I ran and put both of my hands in his, fairly shouting that I
was so glad to find him.

"He laughed and said:

"'Why, I am generally to be found here or hereabouts, for I work in the
grounds every day.'

"And I laughed too, because his laugh sounded so funny; like the brook
going over stones, and the wind up in the trees. Two or three times,
when I thought he had done he would burst out again, laughing the vowels
in this way: 'Ha, ha, ha, ha! He, he, he, he, he! Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi!
Ho, ho, ho, h-o-oo!'"

Lill did it very well, and Effie laughed till the tears came to her
eyes; and she could quite believe Lill when she said, "It grew to be so
funny that I couldn't stand, but fell over into one of the little chairs
that were growing in a bed just beyond the soldiers.

"When Santa Claus saw that he stopped suddenly, saying:

"'There, that will do. I take a hearty laugh every day, for the sake of
digestion.'

"Then he added, in a whisper, 'That is the reason I live so long and
don't grow old. I've been the same age ever since the chroniclers began
to take notes, and those who are best able to judge think I'll continue
to be this way for about one thousand eight hundred and seventy-six
years longer,--they probably took a new observation at the Centennial,
and they know exactly.'

"I was greatly delighted to hear this, and I told him so. He nodded and
winked and said it was 'all right,' and then asked if I'd like to see
the place. I said I would, so he threw down the hoe with a sigh, saying,
'I don't believe I shall have more than half a crop of soldiers this
season. They came up well, but the arms and legs seem to be weak. When I
get to town I'll have to send out some girls with glue pots, to stick
them fast.'

"The town was at some distance, and our path took us by flower-beds
where some exquisite little toys were growing, and a hot-bed where new
varieties were being prop--_propagated_. Pretty soon we came to a
plantation of young trees, with rattles, and rubber balls, and ivory
rings growing on the branches, and as we went past they rang and bounded
about in the merriest sort of a way.

"'There's a nice growth,' said Santa Claus, and it _was_ a nice growth
for babies; but just beyond I saw something so perfectly splendid that I
didn't care about the plantation."

"Well," said Lill impressively, seeing that Effie was sufficiently
expectant, "It was a lovely grove. The trees were large, with long
drooping branches, and the branches were just loaded with dolls'
clothes. There were elegant silk dresses, with lovely sashes of every
color--"

Just here Effie couldn't help saying "O!" for she had a weakness for
sashes. Lill looked stern, and put a warning hand over her mouth, and
went on.

"There was everything that the most fashionable doll could want, growing
in the greatest profusion. Some of the clothes had fallen, and there
were funny-looking girls picking them up, and packing them in trunks and
boxes. 'These are all ripe,' said Santa Claus, stopping to shake a tree,
and the clothes came tumbling down so fast that the workers were busier
than ever. The grove was on a hill, so that we had a beautiful view of
the country. First there was a park filled with reindeer, and beyond
that was the town, and at one side a large farm-yard filled with
animals of all sorts.

"But as Santa Claus seemed in a hurry I did not stop long to look. Our
path led through the park, and we stopped to call 'Prancer' and 'Dancer'
and 'Donder' and 'Blitzen,' and Santa Claus fed them with lumps of sugar
from his pocket. He pointed out 'Comet' and 'Cupid' in a distant part of
the park; 'Dasher' and 'Vixen' were nowhere to be seen.

"Here I found most of the houses were Swiss cottages, but there were
some fine churches and public buildings, all of beautifully illustrated
building blocks, and we stopped for a moment at a long depot, in which a
locomotive was just _smashing up_.

"Santa Claus' house stood in the middle of the town. It was an
old-fashioned looking house, very broad and low, with an enormous
chimney. There was a wide step in front of the door, shaded by a
fig-tree and grape-vine, and morning-glories and scarlet beans clambered
by the side of the latticed windows; and there were great round
rose-bushes, with great, round roses, on either side of the walk leading
to the door."

"O! it must have smelled like a party," said Effie, and then subsided,
as she remembered that she was interrupting.

"Inside, the house was just cozy and comfortable, a real grandfatherly
sort of a place. A big chair was drawn up in front of the window, and a
big book was open on a table in front of the chair. A great pack half
made up was on the floor, and Santa Claus stopped to add a few things
from his pocket. Then he went to the kitchen, and brought me a lunch of
milk and strawberries and cookies, for he said I must be tired after my
long walk.

"After I had rested a little while, he said if I liked I might go with
him to the observatory. But just as we were starting a funny little
fellow stopped at the door with a wheelbarrow full of boxes of dishes.
After Santa Claus had taken the boxes out and put them in the pack he
said slowly,--

"'Let me see!'

"He laid his finger beside his nose as he said it, and looked at me
attentively, as if I were a sum in addition, and he was adding me up. I
guess I must have come out right, for he looked satisfied, and said I'd
better go to the mine first, and then join him in the observatory. Now I
am afraid he was not exactly polite not to go with me himself," added
Lill, gravely, "but then he apologized by saying he had some work to do.
So I followed the little fellow with the wheelbarrow, and we soon came
to what looked like the entrance of a cave, but I suppose it was the
mine. I followed my guide to the interior without stopping to look at
the boxes and piles of dishes outside. Here I found other funny little
people, busily at work with picks and shovels, taking out wooden dishes
from the bottom of the cave, and china and glass from the top and sides,
for the dishes hung down just like stalactites in Mammoth Cave."

Here Lill opened the book she had been reading, and showed Effie a
picture of the stalactites.

"It was so curious and so pretty that I should have remained longer,"
said Lill, "only I remembered the observatory and Santa Claus.

"When I went outside I heard his voice calling out, 'Lilian! Lilian!' It
sounded a great way off, and yet somehow it seemed to fill the air just
as the wind does. I only had to look for a moment, for very near by was
a high tower. I wonder I did not see it before; but in these queer
countries you are sure to see something new every time you look about.
Santa Claus was standing up at a window near the top, and I ran to the
entrance and commenced climbing the stairs. It was a long journey, and I
was quite out of breath when I came to the end of it. But here there was
such a cozy, luxurious little room, full of stuffed chairs and lounges,
bird cages and flowers in the windows, and pictures on the wall, that it
was delightful to rest. There was a lady sitting by a golden desk,
writing in a large book, and Santa Claus was looking through a great
telescope, and every once in a while he stopped and put his ear to a
large speaking-tube. While I was resting he went on with his
observations.

"Presently he said to the lady, 'Put down a good mark for Sarah
Buttermilk. I see she is trying to conquer her quick temper.'

"'Two bad ones for Isaac Clappertongue; he'll drive his mother to the
insane asylum yet.'

"'Bad ones all around for the Crossley children,--they quarrel too
much.'

"'A good one for Harry and Alice Pleasure, they are quick to mind.'

"'And give Ruth Olive ten, for she is a peacemaker.'"

Just then he happened to look at me and saw I was rested, so he politely
asked what I thought of the country. I said it was magnificent. He said
he was sorry I didn't stop in the green-house, where he had wax dolls
and other delicate things growing. I was very sorry about that, and then
I said I thought he must be very happy to own so many delightful things.

"'Of course I'm happy,' said Santa Claus, and then he sighed. 'But it is
an awful responsibility to reward so many children according to their
deserts. For I take these observations every day, and I know who is good
and who is bad.'

"I was glad he told me about this, and now, if he would only tell me
what time of day he took the observations, I would have obtained really
valuable information. So I stood up and made my best courtesy and
said,--

"'Please, sir, would you tell me what time of day you usually look?'

"'O,' he answered, carelessly, 'any time from seven in the morning till
ten at night. I am not a bit particular about time. I often go without
my own meals in order to make a record of table manners. For instance:
last evening I saw you turn your spoon over in your mouth, and that's
very unmannerly for a girl nearly fourteen.'

"'O, I didn't know _you_ were looking,' said I, very much ashamed; 'and
I'll never do it again,' I promised.

"Then he said I might look through the telescope, and I looked right
down into our house. There was mother very busy and very tired, and all
of the children teasing. It was queer, for I was there, too, and the
_bad-est_ of any. Pretty soon I ran to a quiet corner with a book, and
in a few minutes mamma had to leave her work and call, 'Lilian,
Lilian, it's time for you to practise.'

"'Yes, mamma,' I answered, 'I'll come right away.'

"As soon as I said this Santa Claus whistled for 'Comet' and 'Cupid,'
and they came tearing up the tower. He put me in a tiny sleigh, and away
we went, over great snow-banks of clouds, and before I had time to think
I was landed in the big chair, and mamma was calling 'Lilian, Lilian,
it's time for you to practise,' just as she is doing now, and I must
go."

So Lill answered, "Yes, mamma," and ran to the piano.

Effie sank back in the chair to think. She wished Lill had found out how
many black marks she had, and whether that lady was Mrs. Santa
Claus--and had, in fact, obtained more accurate information about many
things.

But when she asked about some of them afterwards, Lill said she didn't
know, for the next time she had traveled in that direction she found
Santa Claus Land had moved.



WHAT HAPPENED TO KATHIE AND LU.


It was a very great misfortune, and it must have been a sad affliction
to the friends of the two children, for both were once pretty and
charming.

It came about in this way.

Little Winnie Tennyson--she wasn't the daughter of Mr. Alfred Tennyson,
the poet-laureate of England, but _was_ as sweet as any one of that
gentleman's poems--had been to the city; and she had brought home so
many wondrous improvements that her two little bosom friends, Lu Medway
and Kathie Dysart, were almost struck dumb to behold and to hear what
Winnie said and what Winnie had.

For one thing, there were some wooden blocks, all fluted and grooved,
and Winnie could heat these blocks in the oven, and wet her hair, and
lay it between them, and O! how satin-smooth the waves would
be,--hair-pin-crimps and braid-crimps were nothing to this new and
scientific way.

Winnie also made it a matter of pride to display her overskirts. These
were arranged with ever so many tapes on the inside, and would readily
tie up into the most ravishing bunches and puffs--how Lu and Kathie,
wee-est mites of women though they were, did envy Winnie her tapes!
Their mammas didn't know how to loop a dress--witness their little
skirts pinned back into what Kathie called a "wopse."

She also had brought some tiny parlor skates, and, withal, many airs and
graces which her two young-lady aunties had taught her, among others a
funny little new accent on some of her words,--the word "pretty" in
particular. And, last of all, she had been taught to dance!

"And I can show _you_," Winnie said, eagerly, "'cause it goes by
'steps,' and uncle says I take them as pr-i-tty as Cousin Lily."

Now, in Connaut, little girls don't dance--not _nice_ little girls, nor
nice big girls either, for that matter.

The dimpled mouths opened in astonishment. "That is wicked, Winnie
Ten'son, don't you know?"

"O, but 'tisn't," said Winnie. "My aunties dance, and their mamma, my
grandmamma, was at the party once."

"We shall tell our mothers," said Lu. "I'll bet you've come home a
proud, wicked girl, and you want us to be as bad as you are."

[Illustration: "Winnie already had her class before her."]

Now Winnie was only six years old, about the same age as her virtuous
friends, and she didn't look very wicked. She had pink cheeks, and blue
eyes, and dimples. She stood gazing at her accusers, first at one and
then at the other.

"Luie," said Kathie, gravely, "we mustn't call Winnie wicked till we ask
our mothers if she is."

"No, I don't think I would," said Mrs. Tennyson, looking up from her
sewing, her cheek flushing at the sight of tears in her little Winnie's
gentle eyes.

On the way home, they chanced to see their own minister walking along.
Lu stopped short. "Kathie," said she, "I know it's awful wicked now, or
else we never should have met the minister right here. I'm just going to
tell him about Winnie."

She went up to him, Kathie following shyly.

"Mr. Goodhue, Winnie Ten'son is a nawful wicked girl!"

"She _is!_" said Mr. Goodhue, stopping, and looking down into the little
eager face.

"Yes, sir, she is. She wants us to dance!"

"She _does!_"

"Yes, sir, she does. She wanted us to learn the steps, right down in her
garden this afternoon. Would you dance, Mr. Goodhue?"

"Would I? Perhaps I might, were I as little and spry as you, and Winnie
would teach me steps, and it was down in the garden."

The little girls looked up into his face searchingly. He walked on
laughing, and they went on homeward, to ask further advice.

At home, too, everyone seemed to think it a matter for smiles, and
laughed at the two tender little consciences.

So they both ran back after dinner to Mrs. Tennyson's. But on the way
Kathie said, "They let us, the minister and ev'ry body, but if it is
wicked _ever_, how isn't it wicked _now_?"

"I s'pose 'cause we're children," Lu said wisely.

The logical trouble thus laid, they tripped on.

They were dressed in sweet pink, and their sun-bonnets were as fresh and
crisp as only the sun-bonnets of dear little country school-girls ever
can be. It was a most merry summer day; all nature moving gladsomely to
the full music of life. The leaves were fluttering to each other, the
grasses sweeping up and down, the bobolinks hopping by the meadow path.

Their friend Winnie came out to meet them, looking rather astonished.

"We're going to learn," shouted Lu, "get on your bonnet."

"But you wasn't good to me to-day," said Winnie, thoughtfully.

"We didn't da'st to be," said Kathie, "till we'd asked somebody that
knew."

Mrs. Tennyson was half of the mind to call her little daughter in; yet
she felt it a pity to be less sweet and forgiving than the child.

Winnie already had her class before her. "Now you must do just as I do.
You must hold your dress back so,--not grab it, but hold it back nice,
and you must bend forward so, and you must point your slippers so,--not
stand flat."

Very graceful the little dancing-teacher looked, tip-toeing here,
gliding there, twinkling through a series of pretty steps down the long
garden walk.

But the pupils! Do the best she might, sturdy little Kathie couldn't
manage her dress. She grasped it tightly in either fat little fist.
"Mother Bunch!" Lu giggled behind her back.

Kathie's face got very red over that. It was well enough to be
"Dumpling,"--everybody loves a dumpling; but "Mother Bunch!" So she
bounced and shuffled a little longer, and then she said she was going
home.

But Miss Lu wasn't ready. She greatly liked the new fun, the hopping and
whirling to Winnie's steady "One, two, _three!_ One, two, _three!_"
There was a grown-up, affected smirk on her delicate little face, at
which Mrs. Tennyson laughed every time she looked out. I think Lu would
have hopped and minced up and down the walk until night, if Winnie's
mother hadn't told them it was time to go.

"I don't like her old steps," said Kathie. They were sitting on a daisy
bank near Mr. Medway's.

"Well, I do," said Lu. "And you would, too, if you wasn't so chunked.
You just bounced up and down."

Kathie burst out crying. "I'll bet dancing steps _is_ wicked, for you
never was so mean before in your life, so! And you didn't dance near so
pretty as Winnie, and you needn't think you ever will, for you _never_
will!"

"Oh! I won't, won't I?" said Lu, teasingly.

"No, you won't. I won't be wicked and say you are nice, for you're
horrid."

"_You_'re wicked this minute, Kathie Dysart, for _you_'re mad."

And as she laughed a naughty laugh, and as Kathie glared back at her,
then it was that that which happened began to happen. Lu's delicate,
rosy mouth commenced drawing up at the corners in an ugly fashion, and
her nose commenced drawing down, while her dimpled chin thrust itself
out in a taunting manner; but the horror of it was that she couldn't
straighten her lips, nor could she draw in her chin when she tried.

"You _dis'gree'ble_ thing!" shrieked Kathie, looking at her and feeling
dreadfully, her eyebrows knotting up like two little squirming snakes.
"If I'm a Mother Bunch, you're a bean-pole, and you'll be an ugly old
witch some day, and you'll dry up and you'll blow away."

By this time the two little pink starched sun-bonnets fairly stood on
end at each other.

"Kathie Dysart, I'll tell your Sunday-school teacher, see if I don't."

"Tell her what? you old, _old_, OLD thing!"

[Illustration: "They grew older and uglier each moment."]

Kathie Dysart loved her Sunday-school teacher, and now she _was_ in a
rage. She couldn't begin to scowl as fiercely as she felt; her cheeks
sunk in, her lips drew down, her nose grew sharp and long in the effort.
And, all at once, as the children say, her face "froze" so. Oh! it was
perfectly horrid, that which happened to the two little dears, it was
indeed. They could not possibly look away from each other, and they grew
older and uglier each moment! Why, their very sun-bonnets--those fresh
little pink sun-bonnets--shriveled into old women's caps, and even in
the hearts of the poor little old crones the hardening process was going
on, a fierce fire of hate scorching the last central drop of dew, until
nothing would ever, ever grow and bloom again.

It was all over with Lu and Kathie forever and ever.



All this was long ago, of course--indeed, it happened "once upon a
time." It would be difficult now to verify each point in the account. On
the contrary, I suppose it just possible that there may be a mistake as
to the transformation of the children's clothes--the change of the
sun-bonnets into caps, for instance.

But, as a whole, I see no reason to doubt the story. Often, and quite
recently, too, I have seen little faces in danger of a similar
transformation.

Where anger, envy, spite, and some others of the ill-tempers, gain
control of the nerves and muscles of the human countenance, they pull
and twitch and knot and tie these nerves and muscles, until it is almost
impossible to recognize the face.

Sometimes this change has passed off in a minute; but at other times it
has lasted for hours, and there is _always_ danger that the face will
fail to recover its pleasantness wholly, that traces will remain, like
wrinkles in a ribbon that has been tied, and that, at last, the
transformation will be final and fatal, and the fair child become and
remain "a horrid old witch."

Of one thing we all are certain--that the most gossiping and malicious
person now living was once a fair and innocent child; so who shall say
that this which I have related did _not_ happen to Lu and Kathie?



FLAXIE FRIZZLE.


Her name was Mary Gray, but they called her Flaxie Frizzle. She had
light curly hair, and a curly nose. That is, her nose curled up at the
end a wee bit, just enough to make it look cunning.

What kind of a child was she?

Well, I don't want to tell; but I suppose I shall have to. She wasn't
gentle and timid and sweet like you little darlings, oh, no! not like
you. And Mrs. Willard, who was there visiting from Boston, said she was
"dreadful."

She was always talking at the table, for one thing.

"Mamma," said she, one day, from her high chair, "your littlest one
doesn't like fish; what makes you cook him?"

Mamma shook her head, but Flaxie wouldn't look at it. Mrs. Willard was
saying, "When we go to ride this afternoon we can stop at the
slate-quarry."

_Who_ was going to ride? And would they take the "littlest one" too?
Flaxie meant to find out.

[Illustration: Flaxie Frizzle.]

"Do you love me, mamma?" said she, beating her mug against her red
waiter.

"When you are a good girl, Flaxie."

"Well, look right in my eyes, mamma. Don't you see I _are_ a good girl?
And _mayn't_ I go a-riding?"

"Eat your dinner, Mary Gray, and don't talk."

Her mother never called her Mary Gray except when she was troublesome.

"I want to tell you sumpin, mamma," whispered she, bending forward and
almost scalding herself against the teapot, "I _won't_ talk; I won't
talk _a_ tall."

But it was of no use. Mrs. Willard was not fond of little girls, and
Mrs. Gray would not take Flaxie; she must stay at home with her sister
Ninny.

Now Ninny--or Julia--was almost ten years old, a dear, good, patient
little girl, who bore with Flaxie's naughtiness, and hardly ever
complained. But this afternoon, at four o'clock, her best friend, Eva
Snow, was coming, and Ninny did hope that by that time her mamma would
be at home again!

Mrs. Gray and Mrs. Willard rode off in the carriage; and the moment they
were gone, Flaxie began to frisk like a wild creature.

First she ran out to the gate, and screamed to a man going by,--

"How d'ye do, Mr. Man? You _mustn't_ smoke! My mamma don't like it!"

"Oh, why _did_ you do that?" said Ninny, her face covered with blushes,
as she darted after Flaxie, and brought her into the house.

"Well, then, show me your new picture-book, and I won't."

As long as she was looking at pictures she was out of mischief, and
Ninny turned the leaves very patiently.

But soon the cat came into the room with the new kitten in her mouth,
and then Flaxie screamed with terror. She thought the cat was eating it
up for a mouse; but instead of that she dropped it gently on the sofa,
purring, and looking at the two little girls as if to say,--

"Isn't it a nice baby?"

Flaxie thought it was; you could see that by the way she kissed it. But
when she picked it up and marched about with it, the old cat mewed
fearfully.

"Put it down," said Ninny. "Don't you see how bad you make its mother
feel?"

"No. I's goin' to carry it over the bridge, and show it to my grandma;
she wants to see this kitty."

Ninny looked troubled. She hardly dared say Flaxie must not go, for fear
that would make her want to go all the more.

"What a funny spot kitty has on its face," said she, "white all over;
with a yellow star on its forehead."

"Well," said Flaxie, "I'll wash it off." And away she flew to the
kitchen sink.

"What are you up to now?" said Dora, the housemaid, who stood there with
her bonnet on. "You'll drown that poor little creetur, and squeeze it to
death too! Miss Ninny, why don't you attend to your little sister?"

Dear Ninny! as if she were not doing her best! And here it was
half-past three, and Eva Snow coming at four!

"O Dodo!" said she, "you're not going off?"

"Only just round the corner, Miss Ninny. I'll be right back."

But it was a pity she should go out at all. Mrs. Gray did not suppose
she would leave the house while she was gone.

As soon as "Dodo" was out of sight, Flaxie thought she could have her
own way.

"O Ninny! you're my darlin' sister," said she, with a very sweet smile.
"Will you lem me carry my kitty over to grandma's?"

"Why, no indeed! You mustn't go 'way over the bridge."

"Yes I mus'. 'Twon't hurt me _a_ tall!"

"But I can't let you, Flaxie Frizzle; truly I can't; so don't ask me
again."

Flaxie's lip curled as well as her nose.

"Poh! I haven't got so good a sister as I fought I had. Laugh to me,
Ninny, and get me my pretty new hat, or I'll shut you up in the closet!"

Ninny did laugh, it was so funny to hear that speck of a child talk of
punishing a big girl like her!

"Will you lem me go?" repeated Flaxie.

"No, indeed! What an idea!"

"I've got fi-ive cents, Ninny. I'll buy you anyfing what you want? Now
lem me! 'Twon't hurt me _a_ tall!"

Ninny shook her head, and kept shaking it; and Flaxie began to push her
toward the closet door.

"_Will_ you get my hat, Ninny? 'Cause when I die 'n' go to hebben, then
you won't have no little sister."

"No, I will not get your hat, miss, so there!"

All this while Flaxie was pushing, and Ninny was shaking her head. The
closet-door stood open, and, before Ninny thought much about it, she was
inside.

"There you is!" laughed the baby.

Then rising on her "tippy-toes," Flaxie began to fumble with the key.
Ninny smiled to hear her breathe so hard, but never thought the wee, wee
fingers could do any harm.

At last the key, after clicking for a good while, turned round in the
lock; yes, fairly turned. The door was fastened.

"Let me out! out! out!" cried Ninny, pounding with both hands.

Flaxie was perfectly delighted. She had not known till then that the
door was locked, and if Ninny had been quiet she would probably have
kept fumbling away till she opened it. But now she wouldn't so much as
touch the key, you may be sure. O, Flaxie Frizzle was a big rogue, as
big as she _could_ be, and be so little! There she stood, hopping up and
down, and laughing, with the blind kitty hugged close to her bosom.

"Laugh to me, Ninny!"

"What do I want to laugh for? Let me out, you naughty girl!"

"Well, _you_ needn't laugh, but _I_ shall. Now I's goin' to grandma's,
and carry my white kitty."

"No, no, you mustn't, you mustn't!"

"_You_ can't help it! I _is_ a goin'!"

"Flaxie! Flax-ee!"

Oh! where was Eva Snow? Would she never come? There was a sliding-door
in the wall above the middle shelf, and Ninny climbed up and pushed it
back. It opened into the parlor-closet, where the china dishes stood. If
she could only crawl through that sliding door she might get out by way
of the parlor, if she _did_ break the dishes.

But, oh dear! it wasn't half big enough. She could only put her head in,
and part of one shoulder. What should she do?

It was of no use screaming to that witch of a Frizzle; but she did
scream. She threatened to "whip her," and "tie her," and "box her ears,"
and "burn up her dollies."

But Flaxie knew she wouldn't; so she calmly pulled off her boots and put
on her rubbers.

Then Ninny coaxed. She promised candy and oranges and even wedding-cake,
for she forgot she hadn't a speck of wedding-cake in the world.

But, while she was still screaming, Flaxie was out of sight and hearing.
She hadn't found her hat; but, with her new rubbers on her feet, and the
blind kitty still hugged to her bosom, she was "going to grandma's." She
ran with all her might; for what if somebody should catch her before she
got there!

"The faster I hurry the quicker I can't go," said she, puffing for
breath.

It was a beautiful day. The wind blew over the grass, and the grass
moved in green waves; Flaxie thought it was running away like herself.

It was half a mile to the bridge. By the time she reached Mr. Pratt's
store, which was half way, she thought she would stop to rest.

"'Cause he'll give me some candy," said she, and walked right into the
store, though it was half full of men,--oh fie! Flaxie Frizzle!

Mr. Jones, a lame man, was sitting next the door, and she walked boldly
up to him.

"Mr. _Lame_ Jones, does you want to see my kitty?"

He laughed, and took it in his hands; and another man pinched its tail.
Flaxie screamed out:

"You mustn't hold it by the handle, Mr. Man!"

Then they all laughed more than ever, and clapped their hands; and Mr.
Jones said:

"You're a cunning baby!"

"Well," replied Flaxie, quickly, "what makes you have turn-about feet?"

This wasn't a proper thing to say, and it made Mr. Jones look sober, for
he was sorry to have such feet. Mr. Pratt was afraid Flaxie would talk
more about them; so he frowned at her and said:

"Good little girls don't run away bare-headed, Miss Frizzle! Is your
mamma at home?"

"Guess I'll go now," said Flaxie; "some more folks will want to see my
kitty."

Mr. Pratt's boy ran after her with a stick of candy, but could not catch
her. She called now at all the houses along the road, ringing the bells
so furiously that people rushed to the doors, afraid something dreadful
had happened.

"I fought you'd want to see my kitty," said the runaway, holding up the
little blind bundle; and they always laughed then; how could they help
it?

But somehow nobody thought of sending her home.

When she reached the bridge she was hungry, and told the "bridge-man"
she was "fond of cookies." His wife gave her a caraway-cake shaped like
a leaf.

"I'm fond o' that one," said she, with her mouth full. "Please give me
_two_ ones."

Just fancy it! Begging food at people's houses! Yet her mamma _had_
tried to teach her good manners, little as you may think it.

"I don't believe she has had any supper. It must be she is running
away," said the bridge-man's wife, as Flaxie left her door. "I ought to
have stopped her; but somebody will, of course."

But nobody did. People only laughed at her kitty, and then passed on.

Soon the sun set, and the new moon shone white against the blue sky.
Flaxie had often seen the moon, but it looked larger and rounder than
this. What ailed it now?

"Oh, I know," said she, "God has doubled it up."

She had changed her mind, and did not want to go to her grandmother's.

"Mr. Pratt fought I was bare-headed, and grandma'll fink I'm
bare-headed. Guess I won't go to g'andma's, kitty, I'll go to
preach-man's house; preach-man will want to see you."

On she went till she came to the church. Then she sat down on the big
steps, dreadfully tired.

"Oh, my yubbers ache so! Now go s'eep, Kitty; and when you want to wake
up, call me, and I'll wake you."

This was the last Flaxie remembered. When the postmaster found her, she
was sitting up, fast asleep, with her little tow head against the door,
and the kitty in her arms. The kitty was still alive.

Eva Snow had come and let Ninny out of the closet long ago; and lots of
people had been hunting ever since for Flaxie Frizzle. When the
postmaster and the minister brought her home between them, Mrs. Gray was
so very glad that she laughed and cried. Still she thought Flaxie ought
to be punished.

"O mamma," said Miss Frizzle next morning, very much surprised to find
herself tied by the clothes-line to a knob in the bay-window. "The men
laughed to me, they did! Mr. Lame Jones, he said I was very cunning!"

But for all that, her mamma did not untie her till afternoon; and then
Flaxie promised "honestly," not to run away again.

Would you trust her?



FIVE POUNDS OF CINNAMON.


They don't name girls "Roxy," and "Polly," and "Patty," and "Sally,"
nowadays; but when the little miss who is my heroine was a lady, those
short, funny old names were not at all old-fashioned. "Roxy,"
especially, was considered a very sweet name indeed. All these new
names, "Eva," and "Ada," and "Sadie," and "Lillie," and the rest of the
fanciful "ies" were not in vogue. Then, if a romantic, highflown young
mamma wished to give her tiny girl-baby an unusually fine name, she
selected such as "Sophronia," "Matilda," "Lucretia," or "Ophelia." In
extreme cases, the baby could be called "Victoria Adelaide."

In this instance baby's mother was a plain, quiet woman; and she
thought baby's grandmother's name was quite fine enough for baby; and so
baby was called "Roxy," and, when she was ten years old, you would have
thought little Roxy fully as old-fashioned as her name.

_I think it is her clothes_ that makes her image look so funny as she
rises up before me. She herself had brown hair and eyes, and a good
country complexion of milk and roses--such a nice complexion, girls! You
see she had plenty of bread and milk to eat; and a big chamber, big as
the sitting-room down stairs, to sleep in--all windows--and her bed
stood, neat and cool, in the middle of the floor; and she had to walk
ever so far to get anywhere--it was a respectable little run even out to
the barn for the hens' eggs; and it was half a mile to her cousin
Hannah's, and it was three quarters to school, and just a mile to the
very nearest stick of candy or cluster of raisins. Nuts were a little
nearer; for Roxy's father had a noble butternut orchard, and it was as
much a part of the regular farm-work in the fall to gather the
"but'nuts" as it was to gather the apples.

Don't you see, now, why she had such a nice complexion? But if you think
it don't quite account for such plump, rosy cheeks, why, then, she had
to chase ever so many ways for the strawberries. Not a strawberry was
raised in common folks' gardens in those days. They grew mostly in
farmers' meadows; and very angry those farmers used to be at such girls
as Roxy in "strawberry time"--"strawberry time" comes before "mowing,"
you know--for how they did wallow and trample the grass! Besides, the
raspberries and blackberries, instead of being Doolittle Blackcaps, and
Kittatinnies, and tied up to nice stakes in civilized little
plantations, grew away off upon steep hill-sides, and in the edges of
woods, by old logs, and around stumps; and it took at least three girls,
and half a day, and a lunch-basket, and torn dresses, and such
clambering, and such fun, to get them! _Of course_ Roxy had red cheeks,
and a sweet breath, and plump, firm white flesh--_so_ white wherever it
wasn't browned by the sunshine.

But otherwise she certainly was old-fashioned, almost quaint. Her hair
was braided tight in two long braids, crossed on her neck, and tied with
a bit of black thread; there was a pair of precious little blue ribbons
in the drawer for Sundays and high days. Roxy's mother would have been
awfully shocked at the wavy, flowing hair of you Wide Awake girls, I
assure you!

And Roxy's dress. _You_ never saw a "tow and linen" dress, I dare say.
Roxy's dresses were all "home-made"--not merely cut and sewed at home;
but Roxy's father raised the flax in the field north of the house, and
Roxy's mother spun the flax and tow into thread upon funny little
wheels. Then she colored the thread, part of it indigo blue, and part of
"copperas color," and after that wove it into cloth--not just enough for
a dress, but enough for two dresses for Roxy, two for herself, and some
for the men folks' shirts, besides yards and yards of dreadfully coarse
cloth for "trousers;" and perhaps there was a fine white piece for
sheets and pillowcases. Bless me! how the farmers' wives did work eighty
years ago!

And how that "blue and copperas check" did wear, and how it did shine
when it was freshly washed and ironed! Only it was made up so
ungracefully--just a plain, full skirt, plain, straight waist, and plain
straight sleeves. _You_ never saw a dress made so, because children's
clothes have been cut pretty and cunning for a great many years. Roxy's
dresses were short, and she wore straight, full "pantalets," that came
down to the tops of her shoes; for Mrs. Thomas Gildersleeve would have
thought it dreadful to allow her daughter to show the shape of her round
little legs, as all children do nowadays.

To finish up, Roxy wore a "tie-apron." This was simply a straight
breadth of "store calico," gathered upon a band with long ends, and tied
round her waist. Very important a little girl felt when allowed to leave
off the high apron and don the "tie-apron."

The first day she came to school with it on, her mates would stand one
side and look at her. "O, dear! you feel big--don't you?" they would say
to her. Maybe she would be obliged to "associate by herself" for a day
or so, until they became accustomed to the sight of the "tie-apron," or
until her own good nature got the better of their envy.

A "slat sun-bonnet," made of calico and pasteboard, completed Roxy's
costume on the summer morning of an eventful day in her life. It was
drawn just as far on as could be. It hid her face completely. She was
pacing along slowly, head bent down, to school. It was only eight
o'clock. Why was Roxy so early?

Well, this morning she preferred to be away from her mother. She was
"mad" at both her father and mother. "Stingy things!" she said, with a
great, angry sob.

About that time of every year, June, the children were forbidden to go
indiscriminately any more to the "maple sugar tub." The sweet store
would begin to lessen alarmingly by that time, and the indulgent mother
would begin to economize.

Every day since they "made sugar," Roxy had had the felicity of carrying
a great, brown, irregular, tempting chunk of maple sugar to school. She
had always divided with the girls generously. Her father did not often
give her pennies to buy cinnamon, candy, raisins, and cloves with; so
she used to "treat" with maple sugar in the summer, and with "but'nut
meats" in the winter, in return for the "store goodies" other girls had.

For a week now she had been prohibited the sugar-tub. This morning she
had asked her father for sixpence, to buy cinnamon. She had been
refused. "Stingy things!" she sobbed. "They think a little girl can live
without money just as well as not. O, I am so ashamed! I'd like to see
how mother would like to be invited to tea by the neighbors, and never
ask any of them to _her_ house. I guess she'd feel mean! But they think
because I am a little girl, there's no need of _my_ being polite and
free-hearted! Polly Stedman has given me cinnamon three times, and I
_know_ the girls think I'm stingy! I'm _so_ ashamed!" And Roxy's red
cheeks and shining brown eyes brimmed up and overflowed with tears.

Poor little Roxy! she herself had such a big sweet tooth! It was
absolutely impossible for her to refuse a piece of stick cinnamon or a
peppermint drop. Yesterday she had told the girls she should certainly
bring maple sugar to-day. She meant to, too, even if she "took" it. But
there her mother had stood at the broad shelf all the morning, making
pies and ginger snaps, and the sugar-tub set under the broad shelf.
There was no chance. She finally had asked her mother.

"No, Roxy; the sugar will be gone in less than a month. You children eat
more sugar every year than I use in cooking. It's a wonder you have any
stomachs left."

"I promised the girls some," pleaded Roxy.

"Promised the girls! You've fed these girls ever since the sugar was
made. Off with you! What do you suppose your father'd say?"

Roxy wouldn't have dared tell her father. He was a stirring,
hard-working man, that gave his family all the luxuries and comforts
that could be "raised" on the farm; but bought few, and growled over
what he did buy, and made no "store debts." It was high time, in fact,
that Roxy's indulgent mother should begin to husband the sugar.

Roxy saw there would be no chance to "take" the sugar; so she had
mournfully started off. Is it strange that so generous a girl would have
stolen, if she could? Why, children, I have seen many a man do mean,
wrong, dishonest deeds, in order to be thought generous, and a "royal
good fellow," by his own particular friends; and Roxy would a thousand
times rather have "stolen" than to have faced her mates empty-handed
this morning. She walked on in sorrowful meditation. She thought once of
going back, to see if there were eggs at the barn--she might take them
down to the store, and get candy. But she remembered they were all
brought in last night, and it was too early for the hens to have laid
this morning.

As she pondered ways and means in her little brain, a daring thought
struck her. That thought took away her breath. She turned white and
cold. Then she turned burning red all over. Her little feet shook under
her. But, my! What riches! What a supply to go to! How they would envy
her!

"I don't care--so. They needn't be so stingy with me! And Mrs. Reub uses
so much such things I don't believe it will ever be noticed in the
'account'--and, any way, it'll be six months before he settles up.
Nobody will know it till then, and maybe--_maybe_ I shall be dead by
that time, or the world will burn up!"

With these comforting reflections, Roxy straightened up her little
sun-bonneted head, doubled her little brown fists, and ran as hard as
she could--and Roxy could outrun most of the boys. On she ran, past the
school-house--it was not yet unlocked--right on down to the village. She
slacked up as she struck the sidewalks. She walked slower and slower, to
cool her bounding pulses and burning skin.

Still her cheeks were like two blood-red roses as she walked into the
cool, dark, old stone store; but for some reason, mental, moral, or
physical, while her cheeks remained red, her little legs and arms grew
stone cold and stiff, and spots like blood came before her eyes, and a
great ringing filled her ears, as Mr. Hampshire, the merchant himself,
instead of his clerk, came to wait upon her. "And what will you have,
Miss Roxy--some peppermints?"

"No, sir. If you please, Mrs. Reuben Markham wants two pounds of
raisins, and five pounds of cinnamon, and you are to charge it to Mr.
Markham."

It was strange, but her voice never faltered after she got well begun.
However, for all that, Mr. Hampshire stared at her. "_Five pounds of
cinnamon_, did you say, sis?"

"Yes, sir, if you please," answered Roxy, quietly, "and two pounds of
raisins."

So Mr. Hampshire went back, and weighed out the cinnamon and raisins,
and gave them to her. She was a little startled at the mighty bundle
five pounds of stick cinnamon made; but she took them and went out, and
Mr. Hampshire went back and charged the things to Mr. Reuben Markham.

Miss Roxy went speeding back to the school-house with her aromatic
bundle. Her face was fairly radiant. She had no idea five pounds of
cinnamon were so much. O, _such a lot_! She had made up her mind what to
do with it. She couldn't, of course, carry it home. She had no trunk
that would lock, or any place safe from her mother's eyes. But in the
grove, back of the school-house, there was a tree with a hollow in it.
By hard running she got there before any of the scholars came. She put
her fragrant packages in, first filling her pocket, and then stopped the
remaining space with a couple of innocent-looking stones.

Such a happy day as it was! She found herself a perfect princess among
her mates. She "treated" them royally, I assure you. Everybody was so
obliging to her all day, and it was so nice to be able to make everybody
pleased and grateful! Both the day of judgment and the dying day were
put afar off--at least six months off.

Meantime, during the forenoon, Mr. Hampshire kept referring to the idea
that any one could want _five pounds of cinnamon_ at one time. Still,
little Roxy was Mrs. Reub Markham's next neighbor, and it was
perfectly probable that she should send by her.

Some time in the afternoon Mr. Reuben Markham came down to the store. He
was a wealthy man, jolly, but quick-tempered. Mr. Hampshire and he were
on excellent terms. "How are you, Markham? and what's your wife baking
to-day?"

"My wife baking?"

"Yes. I concluded you were going to have something extra spicy. Five
pounds of cinnamon look rather suspicious. Miss Janet's not going to
step off--is she."

"I'm not in that young person's confidence. I should say not, however.
But what do you mean by your five pounds of cinnamon?"

"Why, Mrs. Gildersleeve's little girl was in here this morning, and said
Mrs. Markham sent for five pounds of cinnamon and two of raisins."

"Mrs. Gildersleeve's girl? I know Mrs. Markham never sent for no such
things. She knew I was coming down myself this afternoon."

He followed Mr. Hampshire down the store to the desk. There it was in
the day-book:--

      "Reub Markham, Dr., per Roxy Gildersleeve.
    To 5 pounds cinnamon, 40c.,                       $2 00
    "  2   "    raisins (layer), 20c.,                   40

That Mr. Reub Markham swore, must also be set down against him. He drove
home in a red rage. Through the open school-house door, little Roxy
Gildersleeve saw him pass; but her merry young heart boded no ill. Her
mouth was tingling pungently with the fine cinnamon, and in her pocket
yet were eight moist, fat, sugary raisins, to be slipped in her mouth
one by one, four during the geography lesson, four during the spelling
lesson.

As it happened, Mr. Gildersleeve was cultivating corn in a field that
fronted the highway. He and his wealthier neighbor were not on the best
of terms. A line fence and an unruly ox had made trouble. Mr.
Gildersleeve had sued Mr. Markham, and beat him; and Mr. Gildersleeve
didn't take any pains now to look up as he saw who was coming.

But Mr. Markham drew up his horses.

"Hello, Gildersleeve!"

"Hello yourself, Mr. Markham!"

"I say, what you sending your young uns down to the store after things,
and charging them to me for? Mighty creditable that, Tom Gildersleeve!"

"Getting things and charging them to you!" Gildersleeve stopped his
horse. "What do you mean, Markham?"

"You better go down and ask Hampshire. If you don't, you may get it
explained in a way you won't fancy!"

He whipped up his horses and drove off, leaving Mr. Gildersleeve
standing there, gazing after him as if he had lost his senses. After a
moment he unhitched his horse from the cultivator, mounted him, and rode
off toward the village.

School was out. Roxy had reached home. She was setting the table, and
whistling like a blackbird. Things had gone so happily at school!
Everything was so neat, and pleasant, and cosy at home! She saw her
father ride into the yard, and go to the barn. She whistled on.

She sat in the big rocking-chair, stoning cherries, and smelling the
roses by the window, when he came into the kitchen.

"Where's Roxy?" she heard him ask.

"In the other room, I guess," said mother.

He came in where she was. She looked up; and her little stained hands
fell back into the pan. She knew the day of judgment had come. O, she
wished it was that other day, the day of death, instead! Her mouth
dropped open, the room turned dark.

Mr. Gildersleeve sank down on a chair. His child's face was too much for
him. He groaned aloud. "That one of _my_ children should ever be talked
about as a thief! What possessed you, Roxy?"

Roxy sat before him, trembling. Not at the prospect of punishment. But
she saw her father's eyes filling up with tears. "Don't, father," she
said, hurriedly, trying not to cry. "I've only eaten a little, and I
will carry it all back. If you will pay for what is gone, I'll sell
berries or something, and pay you back the money. Mr. Hampshire is a
good man; he won't tell, father, if you ask him not."

"You poor, ignorant child!"

He got up and went out, shutting the door after him. Not one word of
punishment; but he left Roxy trembling with a strange terror. She shook
with a presentiment of some unendurable public disgrace. Setting down
the pan of cherries, she crept to the door. She heard her father's
voice, her mother's sharp exclamations. Then her father said, "To think
_our_ girl should sin in such a high-handed way! Mother, I'd rather laid
her in her grave any day! That hot-headed Markham will not rest until
he's published it from Dan to Beersheba. She's only a child, but this
thing will stick to her as long as she lives."

Her mother sobbed. "Our poor Roxy! Tom, if the school children get hold
of it, she will never go another day. The child is so sensitive! I don't
know how to punish her as I ought. I can only think how to save her
from what is before her."

O, how Roxy, standing at the key-hole, trembled to see her mother lean
her head on her father's shoulder and sob, and to see tears on her
father's cheeks! O, what a wicked, wicked girl! It _was_ thieving; in
some way it was even worse than that; as if she had committed a--a
forgery, maybe, Roxy thought. She was conscious she had done something
unusually daring and dreadful.

She stole off up stairs, shut herself in, and cried as hard as she could
cry. Afterward her little brain began to busy itself in many directions.
She tried to fancy herself shamed and pointed at, afraid to go to
school, afraid to go down to the store, ashamed to go to the table, with
no right to laugh, and play, and stay around near her mother, never
again to dare ask her father to ride when he was going off with the
horses.

So lonely and gloomy, she tried to think what it was possible to do. At
last, as in the morning, a daring thought occurred to her suddenly. She
made up her mind in just one minute to do it.

When her mother called, she went down to supper at once. The boys were
gone. Nobody but she and father and mother; and the three had very red
eyes, and said nothing, but passed things to each other in a kind,
quiet way, that seemed to Roxy like folks after a funeral--perhaps it
did to the rest of them. Roxy was fanciful enough to think to herself,
"Yes, it is _my_ funeral. We have just buried my good name."

Silently, one with a white face, the other with a red one, Roxy and her
mother did up the work. Then Roxy went up to her room again. She took a
sheet of foolscap, and made it into four sheets of note paper. She wrote
and printed something on each sheet, and folded all the sheets into
letters. Then she went down stairs. Two of the little letters she handed
to her mother. Then, bonnet in hand, she stole out the front door. At
the gate she looked down the road toward the village, up the road toward
Mr. Markham's. She started toward Mr. Markham's. She got over the road
marvelously; for the child was wild to get the thing over with. She was
going up the path to the house when she saw Mr. Markham hoeing in the
garden. She went to him, thrust a note into his hand, and was off like a
dart.

It was a long, hard, lonely run down to the village. How lonely in the
grove at the hollow tree! How like a thief, with the bundles openly on
her arm! No little girl's pocket would hold them, nothing but a great
Judas-bag. She went straight to the stone store. It was just sunset.
How thankful she was to find nobody in the store but Mr. Hampshire
himself, reading the evening paper. He looked up, and recognized the red
little face. He glanced at the bundles as she threw them, with a letter,
down on the counter, and whisked out through the door. He called after
her, "Here, here, Roxy; here, my dear! Come back. I have some figs for
you!"

But no Roxy came back. He heard her little heels clattering down the
sidewalk fast as they could go. So he got up and read the letter, for it
was directed to himself.

Here are the four notes Roxy wrote:--

    "Dear Father: I Will paye you every Cent if I Live. I shall always
    be a Good Girl, and never hanker after Only what I have Got. Please
    forgive Me, and Not Talk It Over with Mother. It will make her Sick.
                                                                Roxy."

    "Dear Mother: Please love me until I am Bad once More. If I ever,
    Ever, should be Bad again, then you may give me Up. Don't get Sick.
                                                                Roxy."

    "Mr. MarkHam: I have been Very Wicked. I have made father and Mother
    wretched. I am sorry. Please don't be Hard on Me, and Set every
    body against me, because My Mother would settle right down and be
    very Sick. I am only a Little girl, and a Big Man might let me go. I
    have taken the Things back to the Store. Also father has Paid for
    them. _You_ may Want something some day, and do Wrong to get it, and
    Then you will know How good it is.               R. Gildersleeve."

    "Mr. HamPshire: Please Not tell the folks that come into the Store
    what I did. I want a Chance to be good. If you Ever hear of my
    stealing again, Then you can tell, of course.    R. Gildersleeve."

And here is what they said:--

_Mr. Gildersleeve_ (crying). "Here, mother, put this away. Never speak
of it to her. Poor child, I _did_ mean to whip her!"

_Mrs. Gildersleeve_ (crying). "Bless her heart, Tom, this is true
repentance! Our child will not soon forget this lesson. Let us be very
good to her."

_Mr. Markham_ (laughing). "Young saucebox! But there's true grit for
you! Well, I don't think I shall stoop to injure a child. Let it go. I'm
quits with Tom now, and we'll begin again even."

_Mr. Hampshire_ (laughing). "She's a nice little dot, after all. I
don't see what possessed her. I'd like to show this to Maria; guess I
won't, though, for it is partly _my_ business to keep the little name
white."



And none of them ever told. When Roxy was an old woman, she related to
me the story herself. The name was kept white through life. Such a
scrupulous, kindly, charitable old lady! The only strange thing about
her was, that she never could eat anything flavored with cinnamon, or
which had raisins in it.



Transcriber's notes: Obvious spelling/typographical and punctuation
errors have been corrected after careful comparison with other
occurrences within the text and consultation of external sources.

scan 014 line  4: corrected closing double quote to single
scan 014 line 10: corrected "dooping" to "drooping"
scan 024 line -4: corrected "after wards" to "afterwards"
scan 032 Illustration caption: corrected closing single quote to double
scan 047 line -6: "said," inferred
scan 047 line -4: "untie" inferred
scan 047 line -3: "honestly," inferred





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