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´╗┐Title: Some Little People
Author: Kringle, George
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.

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SOME LITTLE PEOPLE

by

GEORGE KRINGLE

Illustrated


[Illustration]



New York
Dodd, Mead & Company
Publishers

Copyright, 1881,
by
Dodd, Mead & Company.



SOME LITTLE PEOPLE.

CHAPTER I.


'Lisbeth Lillibun lived a hundred miles from London. If she had not
lived a hundred miles from London, it is likely you would never have
heard of her. She would have liked it better had somebody else lived
where she did instead of herself. 'Lisbeth was a very little girl when
she found out that she lived a hundred miles from London. So was Dickon,
her brother, very little when he found it out, but he did not care so
much about it; indeed I think he did not care at all.

'Lisbeth always remembered the day upon which she found it out. She
could not quite count a hundred herself at the time; she could count
ten, but had not learned to count a hundred. She had heard Gorham count
a hundred, and knew that it was a great many more than ten. She thought
that ten was a great many. She knew that ten miles must be a great way;
she had several times walked a mile. She had walked a mile the day she
discovered that it was a hundred miles to London. A hundred miles, she
knew, was a very great way.

'Lisbeth had concluded that she would like to live in London; that she
would live in London; that London was the only proper place for any body
to live. This was why she did not like to discover that London was a
hundred miles away. But how she came to know anything about London, or
to think it was the only proper place to live, I shall not pretend to
say.

She had gone a long way from home, that day, with Dickon; as I said, she
had gone a mile. It was a pleasant mile, straight across the fields, but
they should not have gone so far. Mother was at the mill; Gorham had
gone to school; Trotty was asleep. Dickon and 'Lisbeth wanted to do
something, or see something, so they wandered over the fields for a
mile. If they had not gone so far, 'Lisbeth would not have heard about
the distance to London; she would have been more happy had she not gone
so far; she would not have heard the men, with the packs on their backs,
reading the mile-stone. She should not have gone so far from home; we
generally come to some grief when we do something which is not quite
right. 'Lisbeth did.

Dickon wished to show her the flowers blooming by the way; he wished to
show her the bees buzzing in the flowers; he wished to show her the bird
warbling on the post, but she was looking at the two men with the packs
on their backs; she was looking at them plodding along the way. They
grew smaller and smaller to her eyes. They became but specks. They
disappeared.

She thought she would see them again in London. She would ask them how
they got there, and how they liked it. So Dickon watched the bees, a
long while, by himself, and looked at the pretty flower-hearts; and the
bird warbled on the post, but 'Lisbeth knew not a thing about it.

Everything looked more happy than 'Lisbeth; the grass that grew under
foot, and the contented little weeds that nodded and dozed in the sun,
and the flowers that hung just where they grew, with the most
comfortable little faces, and the bird that warbled on the post.

Indeed, as to the bird, it might have been thought that he did not
admire 'Lisbeth's serious face, that he was too happy himself to be
looking at any one who was not as happy as he was, for, though at first,
with head turned toward her, he ruffled his throat, and swayed from side
to side as he sung and sung, he suddenly grew mute, eyed 'Lisbeth with
one eye and then with the other, and like a bird who had made up his
mind, turned his back upon her, still standing on the post, and lifted
his head, and ruffled his throat, and filled the air with his sweet
notes, without so much as turning an eye toward 'Lisbeth as she stood.

Everything looked more comfortable than 'Lisbeth. Do you know why
'Lisbeth did not look comfortable? If you cannot think why it was
to-day, perhaps you may be able to do so to-morrow. If you cannot think
why it was this morning, perhaps you may be able to do so by this
evening. Indeed, I think you will know without waiting to think a
minute.

Dickon filled her hands with flowers--they were such sweet flowers, with
such pretty tender faces; every one had something on its lips to say as
it looked up. Did you ever guess what the flowers were trying to say
loud enough for you to hear? I think they all say something to us; some
of us cannot hear what they say, some of us cannot guess what they say.
The flowers looked brightly up at 'Lisbeth; they did not look
discontented, even though they were broken; they did not complain as she
carried them away; they did not even turn to look reproachfully at
Dickon who had broken them from their stems. They were very bright
flowers.

'Lisbeth wished many times to know if Dickon thought the men with the
packs had reached London. She asked him so many times, that at length he
laughed quite aloud, and yet she knew well enough that the men had to
walk a hundred miles; she and Dickon had walked but one. So she laughed
too, when Dickon laughed, and they both began chasing the butterflies
that waved their beautiful wings over the field, their wings beautiful
as the faces of the flowers; the wings which changed colors as they
fanned them in the sun; the pretty wings which changed color every
moment and which shone like flower petals sprinkled with gold.

When they were tired of chasing butterflies they remembered that Trotty
might be awake; that Gorham might have come home; that mother might have
come from the mill, and have been looking for them; so they began
chasing each other instead of chasing the butterflies, and it seemed to
be much the best thing to do, for as they chased each other they came
nearer to the door at home. Indeed they should have thought of this
before, for as they came bounding around the house, startling the
swallows under the eaves, Trotty was tumbling from the cradle, and
mother was hastening toward the door.



CHAPTER II.


'Lisbeth did not forget that it was a hundred miles to London; she never
forgot it. She did not forget the two men with the packs on their backs.
At the same time she could not forget that a hundred was a great many.
'Lisbeth told her mother that they could all put packs on their backs
and go to London, that she wanted to live in London; but her mother only
laughed, she did not want to go to London to live at that time; she did
not want to walk a hundred miles with a pack on her back.

After this 'Lisbeth felt very much discouraged; she had believed that
everybody would like to live in London; she did not know how to manage.
If 'Lisbeth had been more like the flowers she would have been contented
to grow just where she found herself; but she was not like the flowers;
she was not like them at all. She thought a great deal about getting to
London. I am not sure that 'Lisbeth thought enough about it to find out
how she would like getting to London if mother did not go along; that
is a part which I am almost sure that 'Lisbeth did not think about, but
she was very determined about getting there.

She invited Gorham to go with her, but Gorham knew better than to try to
do that; he knew that London was a great way off; that he could not go
unless mother went too; he knew that 'Lisbeth was very silly indeed. But
'Lisbeth did not believe Gorham when he told her all this; she had an
opinion of her own. She and Dickon used to play "going to London" every
day, but this did not suit 'Lisbeth.

There were five mothers who went to the mill every day. 'Lisbeth
concluded to ask the little boys and girls belonging to these mothers to
go to London with her. Then she concluded she would only ask the boys;
boys would not get frightened and run away; they would not let anybody
pick her up and put her in a bag; Dickon was a boy; she knew all about
boys; she was afraid the girls would get put in bags. She told the girls
they should not go. She stamped her foot at them; they should not go.
Indeed I do not believe they wanted to go, but the boys did; they
liked it. They all concluded to start at once.

[Illustration]

There were seven of them beside Dickon. Dickon carried a basket, as well
as a stick with a rag upon it which they called a flag. 'Lisbeth carried
a flag too and walked in front. Nobody was ever so proud in starting for
London; nobody was ever so well pleased, or so little afraid of what
might happen on the way, nor at the end of the way, nor at the end of
the whole affair. Nobody who thought so much of going to London, ever
forgot so entirely to think about what was to be done when they got
there; what was to be done for a supper, for a penny, for a roof, for a
bed, for a second dress or pair of trousers, for a mother! Nobody
remembered anything but that they were on the way to London.

They went a mile. They went across the fields, between clover tops and
sweet grasses, and flowers with pleasant faces; they marched, and then
forgot to march. 'Lisbeth knew the way to the mile-stone, she knew which
way the men had turned when they came to the forked road beyond. She
remembered watching them out of sight. 'Lisbeth was sure she knew the
way to London. They went beyond the forks of the road; they went a great
way. The little boys began to find out that they had gone a great way.
They began to look back for the church steeple, but it was gone; they
began to look back for the mill; but there was none. They began to be
afraid. 'Lisbeth was not afraid. She did not expect to see the church
steeple. She did not expect to see the mill; she did not want to see
them. She did want to see London.

'Lisbeth looked so happy that the little boys forgot to march, and all
drew up closer, and closer to 'Lisbeth; they were sure she must have
something to be happy about. Nobody liked to say he did not feel happy,
yet nobody was happy but 'Lisbeth. All these boys usually were very
happy, can you tell me why they did not feel happy now? Dickon was the
first to find out that everybody was keeping very close to 'Lisbeth;
that nobody looked pleased but 'Lisbeth.

"It's a dreadful way to London," said Dickon.

"I s'pose it is, Dickon; but don't be 'scouraged," said 'Lisbeth,
striding on faster and faster. If she had seen a church spire ahead she
would have believed she saw a London spire.

"S'pose we don't go to London," said Dickon, coming to a halt.

"Well, s'pose we don't!" said almost all the voices, some high and some
low; but 'Lisbeth almost gasped, "We will! we must! We've gone a
dreadful way, we cannot go back any more."

But the little boys were bigger than 'Lisbeth; they knew now that she
had made a mistake; they thought she might make a mistake about getting
to London; they began to think they had made a mistake themselves.

'Lisbeth stood stamping in the road; she stood stamping and crying as
hard as she could, but even Dickon began running toward the mile-stone,
and what could she do but turn around and run too? She could do nothing
else. She ran as fast as her feet would take her, but her feet were
tired. The boys' feet were not as tired; the most of them were bigger
than hers; they were bigger and not so tired, so they ran faster.

'Lisbeth was left somewhere, I do not know where; left away off on the
road carrying her flag, and trotting along at a great rate by herself.
This was what she got by taking the boys. She sighed over her mistake,
and she concluded that even Dickon would not have cared had she been
packed in a bag, and, indeed, it seemed he did not.

To be sure Dickon remembered her after a while, and ran as fast as he
could to find her, and see that she was all safe and give her a kiss
under her funny little hat to make it all right. But 'Lisbeth felt
herself hurt beyond measure, as well she might; only, if people will
make mistakes they must take the consequences. If people will choose the
boys when they should choose the girls, what can they expect; and if
they will want to grow in London instead of wanting to grow where God
put them, what can they expect? If we want to be very comfortable we
must be contented where we find ourselves.



CHAPTER III.


The boys did not run very, very long before they saw the mill, and the
steeple; they chased along the path in high glee after that, and did a
great many things beside chasing along the path. But they all got home
so long before the mothers came from the mill, that the mothers never
knew that they had ever started for London until they were told. You may
be sure they were glad that their boys had at length remembered what a
naughty, foolish thing they were doing.

But how the girls laughed! You may well know that the girls were pleased
enough to see the boys come back. They laughed because the boys had been
silly enough to start, and they laughed because they pretended to be
amused at their coming back after they had started, but you and I know
that they were glad enough that they did come back.

As to 'Lisbeth, she held her head very high when the girls met her. She
did not like being laughed at. They asked her a great many questions
about London, and asked her why she did not stay, and how she liked the
boys for company. It was very trying. Anybody but 'Lisbeth would have
cried, or flown in a passion, but 'Lisbeth did not do either. So then
the girls stopped laughing at her, and talked of something else.
'Lisbeth would not talk of anything else. She was not contented enough
in the place where she grew to talk of anything else yet. She believed
the girls would have done better than the boys; that she had made a
mistake.

Everybody liked 'Lisbeth. She was not always doing naughty, foolish
things like going to London, so the girls were ready to listen to her.
She told them how the boys had behaved, and what she thought of them,
and how determined she was to go to London, and how she believed that
the girls would have behaved better, and invited them to start with her
the very next day; and if there ever was a silly little girl in all the
world, it was 'Lisbeth.

[Illustration]

The girls talked to their mothers that night about 'Lisbeth's
invitation, which was just the proper thing to do. The mothers were
sorry that 'Lisbeth was not better contented in the place where she
found herself; they were so sorry that they concluded to try to make her
better contented, so they told the big girls that they might go, but the
very little ones must stay at home. A couple of little ones stole away
with the rest and came to great trouble afterward, but the larger girls
went with 'Lisbeth.

'Lisbeth was delighted the next day when the girls said that they would
go; she had been thinking so much about it that she was unhappy.

You should have seen them the next day when they started. They were a
pretty party. 'Lisbeth carried no stick this time, but a little basket,
and generally managed to keep in front. There were ten of them. I think
the old mile-stone would have laughed if it could, when it saw so many
sweet faces bend over it to read about the miles, but then, of course,
it could not.

'Lisbeth had walked so far, and run so much the day before, that she was
tired a little soon; she was even very tired indeed, by the time she
reached the mile-stone. No one else thought of being tired, they had
been quietly playing at home the day before. 'Lisbeth did not say that
she was tired, yet she really was.

The girls' hands were full of flowers, their baskets and arms were full
of flowers; they made balls of flowers and played with them as they
walked. They left the mile-stone far away; they left the mill and the
steeple far out of sight; they came to fields which were new to them.
'Lisbeth grew more tired at every step.

"We must hurry and get there," said 'Lisbeth, and they all hurried; but
they could every one hurry faster than 'Lisbeth without getting so
tired; all except the little naughty ones who stole away, but even they
were not as tired as 'Lisbeth, they had not walked so far and been so
tired the day before.

"I know we've come a dreadful long way," said 'Lisbeth; but nobody
seemed to think so, they all went on as fast as they could. 'Lisbeth
went on as fast as she could.

"I 'most think we've come a hundred miles," said 'Lisbeth.

"Oh no, we have not come many miles at all; it will take us all
to-night, and to-morrow, and the next night, and more days and nights
besides," said one of the girls, and the rest were all sure it would.

"A hundred miles won't take that many days."

"Yes they will; they will take longer," said one girl, and the rest said
so too.

"But we will want supper."

"We cannot have any."

'Lisbeth was not pleased.

"We must have some."

"We cannot have any till we get to London."

'Lisbeth was sure they must have some, but could not think in such a
minute how to get it.

"We will fish some up," said 'Lisbeth, looking at the water.

But nobody had any fish-hooks, though there was the water and perhaps
the fish.

"We will flim in and catch some," but nobody would allow 'Lisbeth to
swim in and catch some.

"We will get some supper from a house."

"We have no money."

'Lisbeth looked down as she walked. She was perplexed.

"We cannot have supper to-night, nor to-morrow night, nor the next
night; nor breakfast, nor dinner." 'Lisbeth looked up and smiled; she
thought they were making sport about it, but the girls' faces were quite
serious; besides, she began to wonder herself where supper and dinner
would come from.

"We must hurry most dreadful; the sun is skimming down low," said
'Lisbeth; indeed it began to look late.

"Oh we will walk all night, and all day, and to-morrow night, and the
next day and night and--"

"I won't," said 'Lisbeth, very decidedly.

"You must."

"I won't; I'm most dreadful tired now."

"There's no house to sleep in; no, not even in London."

'Lisbeth looked up at the girl in distress, then off in the distance.

"Not even in London!" repeated 'Lisbeth; "not even in London."

'Lisbeth wanted to stand still.

"Come along!" said several voices; but 'Lisbeth did not wish to come
along, and the little girls who were naughty and stole away were crying
as hard as they could cry.

"You must; you wanted to go, and we started, and you must go."

"But I'm tired; I want to think a minute."

"The sun is almost down."

"I want to go home," said 'Lisbeth.

"We want to go to London, and if you do not go now you can never go."

'Lisbeth stood up very tall. She was very grave. She looked straight
ahead of her.

"I will go back; I will never go," said 'Lisbeth.

Then they all went back, and 'Lisbeth never knew how pleasant home was,
how good supper was, how dear mother was, how long a hundred miles must
be, till she had managed to get back and fly into mother's arms, and eat
mother's supper, and go to bed in the nice comfortable place where she
belonged.

'Lisbeth was very sick and very sore, and very uncomfortable for many
days after trying to get to London, and did not forget very soon how far
a hundred miles must be.



CHAPTER IV.


'Lisbeth did not talk any more about London for a great while after
that. She may have thought about it, but she did not do any more. She
talked about other things. And she grew tall much faster, I have no
doubt, than she would have done in London. The country air was good, and
made her grow fast. You will see in the picture that she looks taller
than she did when she stood thinking by the mile-stone. As she stood
there, that day, she was listening to Philip McGreagor, a little boy who
lived down the road, and Dickon was listening too.

Dickon and 'Lisbeth were dressed in their very best clothes. 'Lisbeth's
dress was quite new. A very pretty blue with dark speckles. Dickon was
sorry they had on their best clothes after listening to Philip. Philip
was going to be rich. He had found a pearl in a mussel in a brook; why
should he not find a million?

Why could not 'Lisbeth find a million?

'Lisbeth thought she could find a million; she thought she might be
as rich as Philip; then she could go to London.

[Illustration]

'Lisbeth and Dickon had been told not to go beyond the roller which laid
on the pathway at a little distance from the house. Mother was home. It
was a holiday. She wanted her children under her eyes. Besides, she had
dressed them in their very best clothes. She bought those clothes; she
had made them; she was a little bit proud of them.

'Lisbeth forgot the roller; forgot the mother home from the mill; forgot
the very best clothes; forgot everything but the mussels and the brook,
and Dickon forgot them too. There must be mussels in the brook, and
pearls in the mussels. They would wade for them; they could see them at
the bottom of the stream. They ran along the road to the woods; along
the wood's path to the brook. Dickon took off his shoes. 'Lisbeth forgot
to take off her shoes. They waded along in the water.

'Lisbeth at first held the blue dress out of the water; then she forgot
to hold it out of the water; then she slipped on a stone, and fell in,
and Dickon slipped, and splashed in the water in trying to keep her up;
and the water, which had been clear as crystal, threw up its mud in
indignation. They climbed out of the mud upon the grass, and looked at
each other.

'Lisbeth had lost her shoes. Dickon looked at his own. They were all he
had of his very best rig. How could they ever get home? Dickon tried to
wipe the mud off, to wring it out, but 'Lisbeth would not be wrung out;
she said she did not mind. But she did mind, because she would not walk
or sit down, or do anything for a few minutes but stand and look. Then
she told Dickon to come with her. He came, and they went down to
Dillon's cottage.

"Please, Mr. Dillon, put me in the wheelbarrow," said 'Lisbeth. But
Dillon only stopped smoking his pipe to laugh.

"Please, Mr. Dillon, very fast put me in a wheelbarrow," said 'Lisbeth,
growing excited, "and roll me home." And Mr. Dillon did.

'Lisbeth's mother looked from the door. She saw the wheelbarrow; she saw
Dillon's coat over something in the wheelbarrow. And other people
looked from their doors and saw them too. 'Lisbeth's mother was not
pleased when she saw what was in the wheelbarrow, and 'Lisbeth was no
nearer getting to London than she had been before, because they were
poorer instead of richer. 'Lisbeth's mother cried over the spoiled
clothes. 'Lisbeth felt very badly about them, so did Dickon, but feeling
badly did not bring them back. They were nothing, from that time, but
stained, and washed, and faded clothes instead of brand new ones.

'Lisbeth thought about the clothes so much that she concluded she should
try to do something to buy more. She began to think she was getting big
enough. She contrived a great many ways, but she could not seem to
decide upon anything.

There was an old hogshead under the walnut tree, very high and old. When
she had anything very important to think about she liked to climb up and
sit on the top of the hogshead. She never allowed anybody to sit there
with her. She climbed up on the hogshead and sat very still, thinking
how to manage about the new clothes.

Suddenly she had a pleasant thought; she believed she had a thought
that would answer. She jumped up and down so suddenly and so hard that
the hogshead tried to move its head out of the way. It was scarcely
polite for 'Lisbeth to jump so hard on its head. It did move its
head--or a part of it--and 'Lisbeth sat inside the hogshead instead of
outside of it.

The mother found her there when she came home. Had 'Lisbeth picked the
beans, as mother had told her to do, instead of trying to think about
doing something else, she would not have been obliged to sit in the
hogshead's mouth, nor to have eaten her porridge without beans.



CHAPTER V.


'Lisbeth was awake bright and early next day; she had business to attend
to.

Mother told her to be a good girl and take care of Trotty. 'Lisbeth said
she would. I suppose she thought she would, but she forgot Trotty very
soon, for she saw neighbor Gilham across the hill driving his sheep.

Away she went running and skipping. She could scarcely wait to get to
neighbor Gilham; but she was obliged to wait, for the path across the
field and up to the hill was quite winding; she was obliged to follow
the path.

"Good morning," said 'Lisbeth, at length coming near neighbor Gilham.

"Good morning," said he; "what brought you so far from home?"

"I came on business," said 'Lisbeth; "very important."

"Indeed! where are you going?"

"Nowhere. I'm going to be a sheep-boy. I made up my mind to 't
yesterday, only I got in the hogshead."

"And whose sheep are you going to mind?"

"Yours. I want to get money to buy a new dress, because I tumbled in the
mud and spoiled my blue speckled, and I want to get rich to go to
London."

"Hi! hi! that is it; and you are going to be a sheep-boy?"

"Yes, sir, please go home."

"I cannot have a sheep-boy with skirts, he must have pants; the sheep
would not like a sheep-boy with skirts."

'Lisbeth hung down her head; she began pulling some berries which grew
among the brambles. She did not say another word to Mr. Gilham; she only
ran down the path. Mr. Gilham giggled a little to see her go. Mr. Gilham
fell asleep; fell, rather into a doze. It did not seem to him many
minutes from the time when he saw her run down the path, till he heard
her say: "Please go home, sir."

"Who are you?" said Mr. Gilham, rousing up.

"I'm the sheep-boy 'Lisbeth Lillibun."

[Illustration]

"I cannot have a sheep-boy in borrowed trousers," said Mr. Gilham, very
decidedly; "it would not do."

"Yes it would! Dickon said I might borrow 'm; yes it would do very much
indeed."

Mr. Gilham was so positive that it would not do that 'Lisbeth began to
cry.

"Sheep-boys never cry, never," said Mr. Gilham, and 'Lisbeth wiped her
eyes as fast as she could.

"Please to go home very fast," said 'Lisbeth, but Mr. Gilham only
laughed, which made 'Lisbeth very uncomfortable.

"Please to don't laugh so much," said 'Lisbeth; "more people 'n me tend
to business."

"Sheep-boys must keep big dogs away; they would kill the sheep."

"Yes, when I see 'm coming."

"Sheep-boys must drive away men; they would steal the sheep."

"Yes; of course," said 'Lisbeth, trying to look very tall.

"Sheep-boys must keep away lions, and tigers, and bears."

"Did you ever drive away any tigers and lions and bears, Mr. Gilham?"
inquired 'Lisbeth, looking straight in his eyes.

"I never did, but my sheep-boy must; that is what I want a sheep-boy
for."

"He can't if there are none," said 'Lisbeth, looking very wise.

"But there might be."

"I don't think there might be."

"But if there should be?"

"I'll--run and tell you," said 'Lisbeth.

Neighbor Gilham decided that this would never do, and 'Lisbeth thought
him unreasonable enough, but she felt half inclined to stamp her foot at
him, and tell him to go home, but he looked so big and idle; he looked
too big and idle to get home. She thought it was a pretty business, and
so it was. She concluded that she had gone into the hogshead's mouth for
nothing, and so she had.

She had much better been picking beans that afternoon, to put in her own
mouth, but people who are not contented with doing the right thing in
the right place, often fall into worse places than the hogshead's
mouth, and get into more business than they care to find.

"Please to tell me what I'm going to do?" inquired 'Lisbeth.

"You are going to run home and mind Trotty," replied neighbor Gilham.

'Lisbeth was indignant enough.

"Dickon can mind Trotty; he's mind'n her now. I'm not a minder."

"I thought you did not look like a minder. Sheep-boys are all minders,
every one of them, so run home."

'Lisbeth stood looking at him over her shoulder. She was too indignant
for words.

"If you want to grow rich," said neighbor Gilham, a little bit sorry for
her--a little bit sorry not to help her in getting into business--"if
you want to get rich, go hunt in all the flowers between here and home;
maybe you'll find one with a gold heart."

'Lisbeth looked over her shoulder at him again very fiercely, and did
not say a word; then she walked down the path. She would not let
neighbor Gilham see her hold up the flower cups and look in, or unroll
the buds to peep toward the heart; she would not let him see her, but
she did it for all that.

When she began she did not know when to stop. She hunted and hunted and
looked and looked. She found the sweetest bells among the grass, but she
never knew that they were sweet at all, she was only looking in every
bell for gold. She found the brightest flower faces looking up at her,
but never knew that they were bright. She tossed them away from her. She
found neither pence nor pounds. She found the prettiest flower-lips
trying to speak to her, as she bent over them, but she heard nothing
that they said, she heard not a breath; she scarcely saw that the lips
were pretty at all. Had she heard they would have told her to be content
with the flower hearts, just as she found them; that they would give her
themselves with their bright faces and patient hearts, which were better
than hard hearts of gold. They would have told her to be content with
growing where she was, and never to think about the world beyond the
mile-stone, for contentment is better than gold itself. They would have
told her to mind Trotty, and pick beans, and help mother, which was the
dearest, best, and happiest work she could ever find; but 'Lisbeth would
not hear, she would not hear at all.

She did not know that neighbor Gilham could see her from the hill. She
forgot all about Gilham; she forgot all about mother and Trotty; forgot
everything which she should have remembered, though she found no gold.
Neighbor Gilham should never have sent her hunting for what he knew she
could not find, he should not have told her to hunt for gold in the
flower-hearts; he should have rather told her to listen to the lesson of
the flowers and be content.

But neighbor Gilham did not tell her this, and she did not think of it,
and though she came home no richer, she was hustled to bed before
twilight and for her supper had neither porridge with nor porridge
without the beans.



CHAPTER VI.


When 'Lisbeth's mother came home from the mill and found out how matters
were going; when 'Lisbeth came home in Dickon's suit, from hunting for
gold, she felt very certain that 'Lisbeth was not as good as many little
girls were, and this made her sigh very deeply. Then she tried to think
how to make her better; she scarcely knew how to begin, but she thought
the best way, perhaps, would be to send her to school with Gorham, and
let Dickon, who was a better "minder" than 'Lisbeth, take care of
Trotty.

'Lisbeth was not pleased at all. She did not think she would like to go
to school, but her mother did not ask her opinion; it was not worth
while.

'Lisbeth went to school the next morning. The school teacher smiled at
'Lisbeth when she came in. 'Lisbeth did not smile; she looked very
serious indeed.

"How do you do, my dear?" said the teacher.

"I do what I like, ma'am, most times," said 'Lisbeth. This was very
improper, but 'Lisbeth did not know it; she believed she had answered
correctly.

[Illustration]

Miss Pritchet was not pleased, she only said, "Sit down, my dear," and
'Lisbeth sat down.

By and by Miss Pritchet told 'Lisbeth to come stand by her, and 'Lisbeth
came.

"What have you been learning, little girl?" inquired Miss Pritchet.

"I've been learning the way all around the country, and how to spike
minnows in the mill race, and--"

"Tut, tut!" said Miss Pritchet. "I mean have you been learning to read
and write and spell?"

"No 'm, I never learned those at all, only to spell."

"Then you will like to learn I know; you will like to learn lessons."

"Is there anything about London in 'm?"

"About London?"

"Yes 'm. London is a hundred miles away. I learned that a time ago."

"When you can read you can learn more about London if you wish to; you
will find it in the books."

"Yes 'm I want to," said Lisbeth. "I wish to live there."

"You must learn to be satisfied where you are," said Miss Pritchet; "you
must not want to go to London."

"I mean to."

"I thought you were a good little girl; good little girls are satisfied
here."

"Are they?"

"Yes, they are; you must be satisfied here."

"But I don't mean to be."

"Oh!" said Miss Pritchet.

"I mean to get to London very fast," continued 'Lisbeth.

"Little girls who do not like to live where they find themselves often
come to great trouble," said Miss Pritchet, with the corners of her
mouth all drawn down.

"Maybe I may like to grow where I find myself when I get to London,"
said 'Lisbeth a little despairingly.

"You are not a very good little girl, I am afraid," said Miss Pritchet,
but 'Lisbeth could not think why Miss Pritchet said such a thing.

"Get your book now and come spell."

"Yes 'm," said 'Lisbeth, like the best little girl that ever was.

"Can you spell?"

"Yes 'm. Is London in this book? it begins with an L."

"Tut! tut!" said Miss Pritchet, "let me hear you spell that line."

'Lisbeth spelled, she spelled better than Miss Pritchet had imagined.

"That is a nice little girl. Now take your book and go learn this next
line."

'Lisbeth took the book and sat down to spell. She got along nicely for a
little way; then she came to the word aisle. She did not like the
appearance of it. She did not like it at all. She ran up to Miss
Pritchet's desk.

"What does this spell?" she inquired.

"That is aisle," said Miss Pritchet.

"Aisle!" repeated 'Lisbeth; "I do not like spelling aisle with a i s l
e; I like i l e."

"Hush, my dear."

"But I don't like it," persisted 'Lisbeth. "If I don't like it I don't."

"Go and sit down at once," commanded Miss Pritchet.

'Lisbeth went and sat down. She learned every word but aisle. 'Lisbeth
was a very foolish little girl not to learn aisle.

"Come here, my dear," said Miss Pritchet; she gave 'Lisbeth the words.
'Lisbeth spelled them very well. Then said Miss Pritchet, "aisle--"

"I did not learn it," said 'Lisbeth. "I said I did not like it and I
don't."

"But you must learn it, if you like it or not."

"I must?" said 'Lisbeth, in astonishment.

"Of course you must; we all must do a great many things which we do not
like."

"I don't mean to," said 'Lisbeth.

Miss Pritchet was astonished.

"You must."

"What must I do beside learning to spell aisle?"

"Nothing now!"

"Oh," said 'Lisbeth, reassured; "I thought you said we must all do a
great many things."

"Go sit down this minute," commanded Miss Pritchet, and 'Lisbeth sat
down, and she learned aisle, but she did not get home until very late,
because Miss Pritchet said that such a very improperly behaved child
should never go home at a proper time, from her school; but 'Lisbeth
could not see, with all her trying, what she had been improper about.
Had she learned aisle, though she did not want to? Certainly she had.

Besides being perplexed about this, she was a little vexed with Miss
Pritchet about something else. She had been given to understand that
there was something about London in the books. She had been spelling
words half the day and had not come to London. She spelled and spelled,
but did not come to London. She felt herself imposed upon; she felt
herself very much imposed upon.

"Please find London," asked 'Lisbeth at length of Miss Pritchet.

"London indeed? Not for such an improper little girl. You must stop
thinking about London, I say. You will be sorry if you do not stop. You
must."

"I must?" said 'Lisbeth, a little meekly. "I must, must I?"

But as she said it her voice sounded very much as though it said, "If I
cannot, how can I?"

"Yes, you must;" and 'Lisbeth went and sat down to think about it.

This was 'Lisbeth's first day at school and she had a great many more
days at school, and learned a great many things every day, but one thing
she did not manage to learn at all--to stop thinking about London.



CHAPTER VII.


'Lisbeth did not find any word in her lesson the next day which she did
not like. She spelled them over, and concluded that she liked them all
pretty well. One word she looked at quite hard before she concluded that
she liked them all, but she found out that she did not object to it. She
spelled them so nicely that Miss Pritchet was quite pleased, and
'Lisbeth had a little more time than she had the day before, to look
around and find out what next was to be done.

Jemmy Jenkins sat next to her; he was older than 'Lisbeth, but that did
not make any matter; he whispered to 'Lisbeth behind his slate. She
thought after this that she knew Jemmy Jenkins better than anybody else.

At recess she and Jemmy Jenkins had a great deal of fun and jumped over
Miss Pritchet's garden plot seventeen times each, without getting in the
middle of it more than twice.

"Say, Jemmy," said 'Lisbeth, "I think this flower plot would look nice
with its roots stuck up."

"How?" inquired Jemmy, ready for anything new and agreeable.

"This way," replied 'Lisbeth, and she seized a pretty marguerite in
bloom, dug it up with a stick, and planted it upside down; the stick to
which it was tied for support she propped under it to keep the roots in
the air, for the marguerites have little tender stems.

Nobody happened to see. Jemmy thought this would be very nice. He ran
and got the spade, and took out his knife to cut sticks, and they soon
turned Miss Pritchet's plants upside down, with the flowers in the
ground, and the roots in the air, and nobody caught them at it. They
washed off the mud at the pump, and then the bell rang and they all went
in to school.

[Illustration]

Miss Pritchet looked from the window; she caught a glimpse of the garden
plot; she caught a glimpse of the roots in the air; she gave a little
cry and ran to the door.

'Lisbeth had forgotten the marguerites. She was trying to squeeze a
big knot through the little hole in her shoe.

"Who did this?" Miss Pritchet almost screamed.

"I don't know 'm!" replied everybody in a minute, seeing something had
happened. 'Lisbeth called, "Don't know 'm!" together with the rest,
without knowing what the confusion was about. When she found out what it
was about, she only said "oh!"

Miss Pritchet looked at her. She looked at Miss Pritchet.

"Did you do that?" inquired Miss Pritchet, pointing to the marguerites.

"Do what?" inquired 'Lisbeth as politely as she could.

"Uproot my flowers."

"Were they yours?"

"Did you do it?"

"Yes 'm," replied 'Lisbeth, trying to look as though nothing had
happened. "I didn't think anybody tended 'm."

"What did you do it for?"

"To give 'm air," replied 'Lisbeth. "Please 'm may Susan Jordan put
this string in my shoe, it won't never go in?"

"Come here this moment, you improper child!" said Miss Pritchet.

'Lisbeth dropped her shoe-string and cowered up to Miss Pritchet like a
startled dove.

"Didn't you know better?"

"No 'm, I never did."

"You will!"

"Will I? I want to know as much as I can," said 'Lisbeth.

Need I say that Miss Pritchet taught her at once what it was to put the
roots of marguerites to air? I need not tell you, I know. But one thing
I will tell you, 'Lisbeth bore her punishment by herself, and never told
on Jemmy Jenkins; but Jemmy Jenkins was man enough to tell on himself,
which was much the best way, and pleased Miss Pritchet so much that she
broke off both punishments clear in the middle, and told 'Lisbeth and
Jemmy Jenkins that she would try not to remember about the marguerites
at all, if they would try never to do so any more.

Yet when 'Lisbeth, upon starting for home, told her that she had
learned one thing that day, she had learned not to put the roots of
marguerites to air, Miss Pritchet looked very stern, for which 'Lisbeth
could not account at all.

Gorham felt very much ashamed in having his sister treat Miss Pritchet's
marguerites in such an unfeeling manner; he felt very much ashamed
indeed. Gorham was a very proper boy; he did not like to have his sister
called an improper child. He would like to have told Miss Pritchet so,
only that would have been improper. He was not pleased with Miss
Pritchet; he was not pleased with 'Lisbeth; he was not pleased with
Jemmy Jenkins.

After school he told Jemmy Jenkins what he thought of it; that it was
not proper to treat anybody's marguerites in such a manner; that he was
older and bigger and wiser than 'Lisbeth, and should have told her
better; and Jemmy Jenkins sat on a log rubbing his fingers together and
thinking that Gorham was not making any mistakes at all, though he,
himself, had made a great mistake when he helped 'Lisbeth plant the
marguerites with the roots up.

Jemmy Jenkins felt very much ashamed of himself, very much ashamed
indeed, which was the very best way for him to feel, as he would not be
likely, after feeling so much ashamed of himself, to do so again.

'Lisbeth told her mother that she was learning a great deal at school;
then the mother smiled, but when she heard about the marguerites she did
not smile, she looked as stern as she could, and 'Lisbeth thought this
was beyond bearing, for everybody to look stern when she was learning
and improving.

But 'Lisbeth did improve, she improved a great deal, only after she had
been at school with Miss Pritchet a couple of years it turned out that
'Lisbeth could not stay any longer with Miss Pritchet, could not stay
any longer where she grew, but must go to a new place, and go a great
way to get to it; in fact, after a great deal of talking, and a great
deal of thinking, and a great deal of planning, 'Lisbeth's mother found
that she must--she could not help it, she could do nothing better--she
must go to live in London.



CHAPTER VIII.


Now 'Lisbeth had never given up counting the miles to London. She had
counted them up by tens many a time; she had counted them up by
twenties; she had counted them up every way there was to count them, but
they continued to be a great many miles. When she learned that she was
going to grow in a new place, she believed that nothing would ever
trouble her any more; that the world would be made over new.

'Lisbeth could not help in getting ready; if she had done less in
getting ready she might have helped her mother more. But mother helped
herself. She sold a great many things, and she left a great many things
to be sent after her, and she carried a great many things with her.

Mother cried when she left the old house, but 'Lisbeth did not cry, she
danced about on the points of her toes, till she laughed herself quite
red in the face. 'Lisbeth had always been a little foolish about
London.

'Lisbeth had wished a great while to go to London. She might have been a
great deal happier in the beautiful place where she grew if she had not
wished so hard; she had wished very hard and she got there. She had
always believed that London was delightful; now she knew it was. She had
lived in a dear little mite of a house, now she would live in a tall
one. She had lived next and near to a great many people, now she would
live under the roof with a great many people. She had lived on a lane,
now she would live on a--well, a street which was too little and short
and narrow to be called a street.

'Lisbeth knew she had come to London because she was poorer, instead of
because she was richer, but that did not make any difference. At the end
of the street too little to be called a street, was a real, true, broad
street, with fine houses packed together from one end to the other end
of it.

'Lisbeth slipped down the stairs, and along the little street to the
corner. She threw up her hands in admiration. She looked up and down in
delight. It was a fine thing to live in London, a very great and fine
thing indeed. She ran quite out of the little street to look up and
down the greater one.

She saw the windows in rows, blazing with lights. She clapped her hands;
she was delighted. She heard children's voices from an open window. She
climbed stealthily up to the window and looked in. Six children appeared
before her, with very sweet faces, and pretty clothes, and the lights
flashed down upon them from overhead.

They were playing with dolls. They were playing so hard that they did
not see 'Lisbeth clinging to the sill. They were pretending that the
dolls were talking to each other, that the one was the man and the other
the mistress. The mistress was telling the man to take off his hat; but
he was a stubborn man, he would not take off his hat. Then the children
all laughed, and 'Lisbeth laughed so much harder than anybody else, that
they all looked up and saw her hanging to the sill; then she dropped
suddenly, and forgot that she had to drop so far, and had she not caught
by her skirt and hung to the iron railing of the area, nobody knows how
she might have been broken and battered and bruised by falling down the
area before she had been in London over night.

But she caught to the spikes and her dress was strong; and the children
all ran and saw her hanging to the spikes, and somebody lifted her over
and stood her on her feet and turned her around to see what she looked
like, and then she ran home as soon as she could find out which way to
run.

She found out that the big street was nicer than the little one; that
the people on the big street were different from the people on the
little one. She found out that all the houses and streets in London were
not just alike, and she found this out before she had gone to sleep the
first night, in the little black room, in the big dirty house, in the
little black street. But she was not sorry she had come to London.

She wondered if everybody who lived in London had such lovely dolls as
the mistress, such wonderful dolls as the man she had seen. She wondered
if there were many children in London who wore such pretty clothes, and
who played under such flashing lights, and who had such shining
glasses, and tables, and chairs, and wonderful furniture of all kinds in
the rooms where they played, and she concluded there must be; this time
she did not make a mistake, for there were.

[Illustration]

'Lisbeth noticed that her mother, and Gorham, and Dickon, and Trotty did
not go in any rooms of the tall house but two; she found that these two
were at the top of the house, and that they had nothing to do with those
underneath; she found out that there was a great clatter in the house,
and in the next houses, as though the whole town were talking; she
wondered how she liked it; but she concluded that she liked it very
much; she was living in London, how could she help liking it?

Mother looked solemn, and the rooms looked black, and the things were
tumbled upside down, and the air was hot, and the noise kept everybody
awake, and everybody was half tired to death, and nothing was as bright
as it might have been--not even the tallow candle--but they were in
London, a hundred miles from the mile-stone; a hundred miles from the
church steeple, and the mill, and the dear bit of a house where they had
all grown, and rolled, and tumbled; and from the meadows with the
flowers sleeping side by side; but they were in London, what did it
matter?

Yet if they really were in London, while they slept they dreamed they
were playing, and walking and talking under the shadow of the church
steeple, and by the mill, and chasing butterflies over the meadows where
the flowers were fast asleep, and forgot that the rooms were black, and
the air hot, and that things were not as they had been.



CHAPTER IX.


'Lisbeth learned a great many things very soon, though she was not at
school. A very great many things indeed; and they were not always
pleasant things. She learned, for one thing, that they grew poorer every
day, instead of growing richer. She learned that the dirty little
street, too little to be a real street, was not as pleasant to look upon
as the garden plot at home, and the green of the fields over the way.
She learned that mother grew thinner, and that the boys grew dirtier and
crosser, and the people down stairs, she found out, were not like the
mill hands at home, the mill hands and the little children.

She saw a great many fine sights; she saw shops which made her open her
eyes; and houses which astonished her to behold, and carriages which
took her breath away, and people who overcame her altogether. She saw
sights and shows such as she had never dreamed of; she saw a wax figure
at the corner, with a fine curled wig, a figure which turned from side
to side; she saw sights on every side to please her fancy, to delight
her eyes, but only to make her remember afterward that she lived among a
lot of dirty people, in two miserable old rooms, in a dirty little
street; that she was really happier in the place where she grew first
than in the place where she grew last; that made her wonder why she had
ever sighed, and sighed, and wished to get a hundred miles away from
that precious old mile-stone.

She was not contented in London a bit more than she had been contented
playing in the shadow of the steeple and of the mill. She was not
contented at all. Had she learned to be contented under the shadow of
the mill and the steeple, under the walnut tree, and among the flowers
around the mile-stone, she might have smiled brighter smiles in the dark
little room in the dirty old house, in the dirty little street in
London. A bright, contented flower says the same sweet words in the
fresh green fields, and in a little flower pot up in a London window; a
contented little flower always wears a bright face. A contented heart is
always cheerful.

'Lisbeth had never been contented. She was always wishing to be
somewhere else. She was not contented before she went to London, that
was the reason why she was not contented when she reached there.

'Lisbeth tried to find some nice little London girl to talk to; she
tried first to find a great many, then she tried to find one; she tried
to find some nice little London boys; then she tried to find one nice
little London boy; but the boys and the girls had not been taught to be
very nice, in the dirty old house in the dirty little street, and though
some of them had good enough faces, they had not pleasant ways, nor
pleasant words.

When Gorham and Dickon wanted to play they found nobody but boys who
were not comfortable boys to play with; at first they did not play with
those uncomfortable boys at all; then they played with them a little,
and then they played with them more, so that Dickon and Gorham became
after a time not as good and pleasant themselves as they once were.

One day there were some new people came to live in a room down stairs; a
mother and father and three little boys. They looked as though they had
never lived in such a dirty street before. They were good little boys,
with pleasant ways, and pleasant words, and very pleasant faces.

'Lisbeth liked to peep in and help them play; she liked to play with
them very much; they made her feel happier. 'Lisbeth had come to London,
but she was not very happy; she did not say so, but it was true just the
same.

These little boys had no toys to play with, but they were good and
contented just the same. They played with whatever came in their way;
they were as happy in playing with the old chairs as many boys are with
their rocking-horses. They were contented little boys. But they were
very poor; 'Lisbeth knew they were; she was very sorry that they were so
poor, but they were not. They did not care at all. She was sorry that
the mother and father had to leave them so much alone; perhaps they may
have been sorry themselves about this, I do not know.

How 'Lisbeth laughed when she saw them playing with the brooms. They
made a procession, that is they all walked in a line; the tallest at the
head, and the little one coming last, and each one carried a brush or
broom with a long handle, and if soldiers were ever proud of their guns,
so were these little boys proud. Perhaps they were more proud than
soldiers with guns.

[Illustration]

'Lisbeth knew that these little boys were alone a great deal, because
their mother and father were so poor, and were obliged to go and earn
all they could, and she used to run in very often to see how they
managed. But these were contented little boys; they were contented where
they found themselves, and that was the reason why they got along so
well.

If they had been discontented they would have gone out of their mother's
rooms into other rooms in the house, and then into the street, and into
the gutter. Then they would have become soiled and spoiled, and changed
altogether, but they were contented with their mother's rooms, and her
chairs and tables, and frying pans, and brooms, and all the things which
they found there; so they did not get soiled or spoiled or changed, but
kept good and bright, pleasant little pictures as you would find in a
day's walk.

'Lisbeth found, after she came to London, that there was a great deal
to be done besides play; she had to learn to sew and help mother earn
some money, but she was not very big and could not do much, only try.

At first 'Lisbeth believed she could make a great deal of money. She
knew people must make money in London; she had heard so. Besides, people
seemed to spend so much that there must be some way of getting it.
'Lisbeth was sure there was. She tried to make money in several ways.
This was a mistake; she should have been content with trying to help all
she could at home, and then mother would have had more time, and so
could have made more money, which would have helped them all. But this
was not 'Lisbeth's way of doing. She tried to make a way of her own.

One day 'Lisbeth saw a little boy sweeping a street crossing; she had
seen boys do this before, but had never thought anything about it. This
time she thought about it because she saw some gentleman drop a little
coin in the little boy's hand. This was a revelation to 'Lisbeth; it
taught her something which she did not know before.

In another hour 'Lisbeth was sweeping a very dirty crossing, and she
swept it and swept it over again; she swept until there really was not
another speck to sweep, and the people, by the dozens and scores and
hundreds walked over that crossing, and carried to it more mud for
'Lisbeth to sweep away, but nobody put an atom of anything in 'Lisbeth's
hand for sweeping it, though she stood there the whole long day; and she
found out still another time that money was hard to pick up even in
London, and if she stopped that day, in passing, as she generally did to
look at the wax figure in the curled wig, at the corner of the street,
she did not care a fig about it.



CHAPTER X.


'Lisbeth was quite down-hearted that day after sweeping the crossing;
she was discouraged enough, especially as her mother was greatly grieved
at her going away and staying so long, and reproved her very severely.
She felt very much discouraged indeed, but could not help believing in
spite of it all that something would turn up, which would be bright and
pleasant in such a fine city; she could not believe anything else.

As she came home that day she popped her head in the door of the room on
the lower floor, to see how matters were getting on there. She shut the
door again carefully, without saying a word. On the floor were scattered
many things, and in the corner, like so many leaves blown together, were
the three little boys fast asleep.

How tired they must have been; how hard they had played; indeed they had
played too hard, for near them on the floor lay the remnants of mother's
good sweeping brush which they had played quite to destruction. They
were tired completely, and never knew that 'Lisbeth had looked in
upon them to find out how they were getting along.

[Illustration]

I wonder what they were dreaming of as they slept; I believe they must
have been pleasant dreams, unless they were dreaming about the broken
brush--they were such comfortable-looking little faces, and they had
such comfortable hearts, because they were good, and comfortable hearts
help bring bright dreams.

When the mother came home I think she must have smiled to see them
heaped in the corner fast asleep, but I suppose she had found them
heaped in a corner asleep many a time. I hope she did not scold very
hard about the broken brush, and I am almost sure she did not.

'Lisbeth, as I said before, felt very much discouraged that evening. She
even felt dull the next morning, and the next afternoon. The mother had
gone out that afternoon to take home some sewing; the boys were playing
outside. 'Lisbeth had nobody to talk to. She concluded to talk to
herself.

She got up on a high three-legged stool in the corner, and sat with her
face to the wall; she wanted to think. She could not think if she was
looking out of the window, or around the room, or if she sat in
every-day fashion on a chair or on the floor. She sat in the darkest
corner she could find.

"'Lisbeth Lillibun," she said to herself, "you have done nothing for
yourself yet by coming to London; you have done nothing for yourself
yet;" and it seemed that all the glasses and crockery on the table, and
on the shelf, and even the coffee pot turned up on the stove to dry,
jingled and rattled and laughed; but, of course, they did not.

"You must be up and a-doing, 'Lisbeth; it is time;" then the tin tea
pot, and the coffee pot, and the candlestick turned up on the stove to
melt the old candle out, and the spider and the skillet and the dipper
seemed, every one of them, to be giggling, and 'Lisbeth looked around at
them; but of course it was only a fancy.

"You have been making a goose of yourself, and most of all in sweeping a
crossing dry for people to spatter with mud; you should be ashamed of
yourself to be such a silly, and sitting where you are instead of being
sitting somewhere else," and the tongs did clap together, and the poker
did roll over, and the gridiron did give a clink against the wall, but I
think the wind must have blown down the chimney.

'Lisbeth was insulted, however; she did not believe in the tins and
tongs making fun of her. She got down from the stool, and put her bonnet
on, and then changed it for her hat with a ribbon tied around it, and
then she went out where there were no tongs to clap at her; but of
course it was only a fancy of 'Lisbeth's about the tongs, for how could
a tongs clap unless it was clapped? It was wrong for 'Lisbeth to go out;
her place was in the house.

But she thought that it happened just as well that she did go out, for
as she went down stairs she thought a thought, which she might never
have thought had she remained sitting upon the stool.

She went down stairs and along the little street to the corner, and
opened the door of the store in the window of which stood the wax figure
with its wig, which was standing still just then, instead of turning
gracefully from side to side. She opened the door and went in.

"What do you want, Sissy?" inquired a pleasant little man.

"I want to stay, sir, and make wigs."

"You want to stay and make wigs!"

"Yes, sir, I do," replied 'Lisbeth.

"Bless me!" exclaimed the pleasant little man, "this will not do."

"Oh, yes, it will, sir," replied 'Lisbeth, untying the knot in the
strings of her hat, "it will do very well. I have not been able to think
of any thing that would do before."

"But bless me!"

"Indeed I will, sir, if that is all," said 'Lisbeth, wondering how to do
it, but taking off her hat.

"I don't want any wigs!"

"You don't?" replied 'Lisbeth, filled with astonishment.

"No, I don't; I really don't!"

'Lisbeth saw that he had plenty of hair, and as he rubbed his head she
supposed he was remembering this.

"Other people do," said 'Lisbeth, reassured; "I see a good many of 'm
every day who do; you can sell 'm."

"Sell 'm? I do sell 'm. I sell 'm when I can; but bless me!"

"Where shall I get the hair to make 'm of?" inquired 'Lisbeth, preparing
to go to work.

"But I don't want 'm!"

"Oh!" replied 'Lisbeth, not a word else; but the pleasant little man
snapped his fingers at her and beckoned her around the counter, and
under the shelf of the beautiful big window, and made her screw herself
up into a button which nobody could see, and pulled a curtain down over
her, and showed her, before he pulled the curtain down, how to pull a
wire very gently and tenderly to make the wax figure in the curled wig
turn from side to side, and she did it.

She pulled it this way, and she pulled it that way. She heard the people
outside tramping up to the window and tramping away; she remembered how
she had tramped up and tramped away. She laughed to hear them tramping,
because she knew that a great many of them had their mouths open as
well as their eyes, as they saw the wax figure, in a wig, turning from
side to side. She would never open her mouth as well as her eyes again,
when she saw a wax figure turning from side to side. She was certain she
never would.



CHAPTER XI.


How long 'Lisbeth might have sat under the shelf, and under the curtain,
earning pence and pulling wires, and forgetting that her mother was
looking for her, had she not fallen into a doze, I cannot say. She might
have been there till now; she might have been there ten years to come;
but she did doze and she did wake up; she had swept the crossing hard
enough the day before to be tired, and she was; she was tired, and it
was coming night, and she did doze, and she did wake up, and she did
wake up with a start which broke the wire, and twisted the head of the
wax figure clear out of place, so that it looked in the shop instead of
out of it, and made a confusion inside, and outside, and on all sides,
seldom made by any wax figure in any wig since the beginning of time.

'Lisbeth told the pleasant little man that she could not help it, and he
told her that he could not help it, and 'Lisbeth went home--to be sure
seven pence richer, but a good deal flustered and disappointed, and
with the determination never again, while she lived and breathed, to
have anything to do with, or even so much as to look at any wax figures
or any wigs.

'Lisbeth's mother told her that had she waited, and asked her advice,
instead of leaving her to such distress in looking for her, she would
have told her, in the beginning, to have nothing to do in the matter of
wigs, with which she was not acquainted, and reproved her for staying
away till the candle was lighted on the shelf; and 'Lisbeth, if she was
no more unhappy than she had been when she stood by the mile-stone, was
certainly no more happy.

To be sure she was richer. Though she had broken the wire, the pleasant
little man had given her seven pence, though she had gained nothing
more; but the bother, now, was to know what to do with it. Had it been
seven thousand pence she might, perhaps, have known better what to do
with it; but seven pence were of so much more consequence; being a
little it had to go a great way. There was no trifling to be done about
it. She knew the importance of it. She was awake half the night
considering how to spend it, and the other half she was dreaming of
losing and finding it, until by morning her head was almost split in
two.

Had 'Lisbeth run home and given the seven pence to her mother to buy a
nice platted loaf or a piece of bacon, her head had not almost split in
two; but 'Lisbeth was always making trouble for herself. Though the
thoughts and worry about the pence almost split her head, she was not in
a condition in the morning to know what to do with the pence. She had
her own pence and her own plan, had she had less of her own she would
have been more comfortable. But 'Lisbeth was 'Lisbeth, and if her mother
sighed about it, she could not see any way of making her anybody else.

When breakfast was over that morning the mother went to carry some
sewing home, and while she was gone 'Lisbeth thought she would go out
too. This was very wrong; very wrong indeed, but 'Lisbeth did not wait
to think about that. She took a basket when she went out, and she took
her seven pence. She felt herself very important indeed, though really
she was nobody but a disobedient little girl. She came to a cake shop
where all kinds of cakes were to be bought.

"I'm going to keep store," said 'Lisbeth to the shopman, "and I want
some wonderful nice cakes."

"You do, do you?" said the shopman; "let me see your money."

"Seven pence," said 'Lisbeth, displaying it on the counter; "I want to
spend it all."

"You do, do you? Where's your store?"

"In my basket," said 'Lisbeth, but there was nothing in her basket but a
bit of brown paper.

"What would you like to buy with your seven pence?" asked the shopman.

"A great many things," said 'Lisbeth; "but I think I will buy some of
these cakes."

"Humph," said the shopman; "pick out nine of 'm."

'Lisbeth picked them out. They were cakes of different shapes; quite a
stock for seven pence, and no mistake.

'Lisbeth arranged the cakes along the bottom of the basket in two rows;
four in one row and five in the other. Then she started off. She never
was more pleased in her life. She was more sure than ever that she was
somebody, that she was somebody important. She expected that every one
of those cakes would be gone before she had time to look around. She was
surprised to find that instead of everybody stopping to look at them,
nobody stopped to look at them at all. She was surprised to find
everybody going by as though there was a pot of gold, at the other end
of the street, which they were hurrying on to get, while they did not so
much as glance at her, or at the cakes in her basket. This would never
do. She would walk up and ask them to buy. So she walked up and asked
them, but they did not hear her, or did not want to hear her, and did
not stop walking as fast as they could, except one lady with two little
girls who bought two for two pence.

'Lisbeth thought these were nice little girls; she wished afterward she
had asked them to buy four for four pence. Nobody else bought any. She
walked and walked, and stood; and the mother came home and wondered
where she was, and looked out of the window, and out of the door, and
listened on the stairs, but could make nothing of it at all; and the
fact was, that when the mother was listening on the stairs, and looking
out of the doors, and sighing to herself about ever having come to
London, 'Lisbeth was sound asleep, at the corner of the street, seated
on the sidewalk with her back against the wall, and her basket standing
beside her, and the mother might as well have listened for her feet as
for the buzzing of a china bumble-bee with glass legs.

[Illustration]



CHAPTER XII.


'Lisbeth was asleep. She was tired enough to sleep well. She was better
off asleep than awake; had you asked her she would have told you so. As
she slept she dreamed, and as she dreamed the forms in the basket became
living things, and the pence in her pocket changed to pounds, and things
which were not became to her as though they were.

In fact 'Lisbeth doubted that she was 'Lisbeth, and who knows but had
she dreamed long enough she might have been the queen herself?

The bird, in the basket, stood on its gingerbread legs, which were
changed to real bird's legs, and it sung to her sweeter than the bird at
the mile-stone sung on the post. The little dog forgot that it was
gingerbread, and barked and sprung about, and shone like satin in its
pretty black coat; it barked in a charming fashion. The cat? it was
beautiful as only cats in dreams can be, as it sat on the handle of the
basket; it was a beautiful picture to behold.

But what amused and delighted her more than the bird or the cat or the
dog, was the real live elephant which floated in the air without wings,
and the two charming little angels, with little brass crowns, who sung
sweeter than the bird itself, and blew about like thistle-down, and
astonished her more than all the shows of London. But the most
delightful gingerbread of all was the gingerbread parrot, which was no
more a gingerbread, but a real, true, live, green and gold parrot which
tapped at her hat and called, "Come, Lady 'Lisbeth, here is a coach and
four, to ride to your door."

Then 'Lisbeth woke up, and when she saw that the parrot and the angels
and the elephant, and the dog and cat, and even the bird, which had been
singing on the bottom of the basket were all gingerbread, she flew up in
a passion and threw them all to the ground, and had them all to pick up
again.

[Illustration]

When she went home she told her mother everything that had happened, and
the mother told her something that was going to happen, and they had a
great deal to say to each other. I think I would have said more to
her than her mother did, but she said all she wanted to, which was
possibly enough. But when she told 'Lisbeth what was going to happen,
she expected to see 'Lisbeth fly up in a great passion; instead of this,
however, 'Lisbeth began laughing, and laughed so hard that her mother
had to pat her on the back to make her stop.

In fact, when the mother was living with her children in the old home,
and suddenly grew poorer, she had concluded to go to London, where she
might sew, she thought, for large prices, and so get rich faster, but
when, after she got to London, she found the prices were little, and her
money was growing less, and her boys were getting spoiled, and 'Lisbeth
was getting to do so many things she should not do, she wished she had
never seen London.

Then she began thinking that it would be just as easy not to see it any
more, as it had been to come a hundred miles to see it. Then she
concluded not to see it any more, and this was what she told 'Lisbeth
when they both had so much to say to each other.

The next morning 'Lisbeth awoke with the impression that something very
pleasant had happened, or was about to happen.

She forgot to help her mother clear away the breakfast dishes, and sat
on the three-legged stool in the corner quite by herself, with her face
to the wall. The mother saw her sitting there as she popped her head in
the door, but she would not call her; she began to think she was
grieving about leaving London, yet she might have known better by the
delight of her morning embrace, if by nothing else. At any rate she
would let her alone; she would let her think it out. So she cleared up
the dishes and brushed up the floor, and put in the stitches, and packed
her parcel and said "good-by" to 'Lisbeth, for she was going to the
shop.

'Lisbeth was yet on the stool when her mother went out of the door.

"Bother!" she exclaimed, twirling about as she found herself alone.
"'Lisbeth Lillibun you are a humbug, you are indeed. You are a humbug
and no mistake; here you have been to London all this time and made only
two pence, and seven gingerbreads, and here is your mother troubled for
a bit of money to get back to the old place. Why is it you cannot help
her?"

Had 'Lisbeth remained sitting on the stool she would have continued
talking to herself, which might have resulted in no harm, and might have
kept her quiet and good, like a pleasant, dutiful child till the mother
came, but 'Lisbeth leaped off of the stool as a thought came into her
mind which might never have come there had she not leaped the moment she
did.

There was one trait in 'Lisbeth which is not in everybody. When 'Lisbeth
concluded to do a thing she did it; she did not wait until the next week
or the next month, she did not even wait until the next day. You will
say this was very clever and nice of 'Lisbeth to be so much in earnest;
and so it might have been had she mixed the earnestness with the right
kind of consideration for her mother's wishes. Indeed, in that case she
would have been such a very fine girl that ten chances to one there
would never have been any story about her at all; but she did not mix
her earnestness with anything but her own judgment, and she made just
as real a mistake as you would make should you mix your lemonade with
salt, instead of sugar--it was the wrong kind of mixture altogether.

When I say of 'Lisbeth that when she had a thing to do, she did it, that
she did not wait until the next week, or next month, or next year, you
will say: "How very delightful; how very much nicer and better 'Lisbeth
must have been than most other people;" but when I tell you that she
thought she knew what was best to be done so much better than anybody
else, that she did what she thought best without asking her mother, you
will know in a minute that 'Lisbeth was not as "nice" as a great many
other people. How could she be? Why, she could not be at all.

Well when 'Lisbeth thought the thought as she leaped off the stool, she
did not wait until the next day to do what she thought about doing, nor
till the next hour. She did not wait to consult her mother. As usual,
she mixed her own judgment with her earnestness, instead of making use
of her mother's judgment, and that was the cause of the confusion.
Children's earnestness directed by the mother's judgment is a very
different thing from children's earnestness directed by the children's
judgment; there is as much difference between the two as there is
between lemonade mixed with sugar and lemonade mixed with salt.

'Lisbeth thought it would be pleasant to get everything pulled down, and
turned inside out, and packed up ready to leave London; it would be that
much done toward starting, it would be a great help, it would be
delightful. Had she waited for mother's judgment she would have learned
that mother would not get off from London for two months at any rate,
that the things must not be pulled down until it was time to pack them
up, that it would not be time to pack them up until just before they
started. But 'Lisbeth mixed her earnestness with her own judgment.



CHAPTER XIII.


'Lisbeth said to herself: "Who knows but we shall go to-day or
to-morrow, if mother gets the money; she said she would go when she got
the money."

'Lisbeth had found something to do at last.

Gorham had gone with the mother to help carry her parcel, and Dickon was
playing outside. Dickon's two feet had come in, but they had gone out
again. They so often went out after they had come in that this was
nothing uncommon. At first 'Lisbeth did not care about it; it made no
difference to her that they had gone out, she began work by herself. She
was a fast worker, an earnest worker, a worker who made things fly when
she set about making them fly. I do not mean that she made them really
fly up with wings, but she made them get from one place to another so
fast that we may say she made them fly.

She made the dishes fly out of the closets; the platters, the pots, and
the patty pans; the stewpans, and spiders, and skillets; the boilers
and broilers, and dippers; the glass jars, the stone jars, the basins;
the boxes and bundles and baskets; a pretty job she was making of it,
and, in the middle of it all, her face shone like a young sun, she was
so delightfully busy.

Suddenly 'Lisbeth remembered that she was working very hard, that Dickon
was not working hard, that he was doing nothing but playing on the
stairs; this was not pleasant to remember.

"Do come here, Dickon," called 'Lisbeth, over the railing, and Dickon
came.

"Pull down everything very fast," commanded 'Lisbeth; "mother is going
from London dreadful quick, the minute she gets the money; I shall pack
things and get ready."

Dickon did not like to pull them down; he did not approve of packing, he
wanted to play.

"You are a miserable boy, Dickon, worse than most any boy to leave me
here by my lone self."

Dickon looked around and began to think so too.

"P'haps mother don't want to be packed."

"Yes, she does; she does very much indeed; bring the things here,
Dickon; pull'm all down here."

Dickon did not like to pull them down; he was not sure even yet that
mother wanted to be packed.

"Pile'm down, Dickon!" commanded 'Lisbeth, and Dickon piled them down.

"Hadn't you better fix some before you get more?"

"I'll fix 'm when I get 'm all down here."

"What? are you going to get all the dishes and--"

"Go on I tell you, Dickon Lillibun! will you go on?"

Dickon went on; so did 'Lisbeth.

There was no place to walk, there was no place to sit down, there was
scarcely place to stand; there was no place to put anything, there was
scarcely anything more to put. Everything was pulled out, and heaped
about, and 'Lisbeth stood in the middle of them.

"Now, Dickon, this does look like doing something, don't it?"

Dickon thought it did, Dickon capered over everything and started for
the door.

"Do not go!" commanded 'Lisbeth. "Do not go! do not dare to go!"

But Dickon was gone.

"Dickon!" called 'Lisbeth over the railings, "Dickon!" But Dickon was
out of sight and hearing.

"Oh that dreadful Dickon!" moaned 'Lisbeth, as she fluttered down the
stairs to bring him back.

Had Dickon never stopped work, had Dickon never run away, had 'Lisbeth
never fluttered after him, things might have been different. I say they
might have been, because, as I explained before, nobody could be quite
sure as to what might or might not have been concerning 'Lisbeth; I say
therefore that they might have been different. As it was Dickon did run
away, and 'Lisbeth did flutter after him, and, as she went, she thought
of a plan she had not been able to think of while sitting on the
three-legged stool with her face to the wall--she thought of a plan to
get money.

'Lisbeth forgot that she was fluttering after Dickon; she forgot that
Dickon had gone at all; she forgot everything but that she had thought
of a plan to get money. She forgot about Dickon, but kept on running
faster and faster until she was red in the face and out of breath.

"Please, sir," said 'Lisbeth, gasping for breath, and rushing up to a
little spare man in a little spare coat, who lived in the dirty old
cellar of the sixth house from 'Lisbeth's, and bought paper and rags;
"please, sir, come dreadful quick!"

"How?" screamed the little man; "how?"

He meant to say "What for? please tell me what is the matter?" but he
said "How?"

"With your feet! Fast, dreadful fast," gasped 'Lisbeth. No wonder she
gasped for breath, she had come faster and faster from the top of the
house to the cellar of the sixth house below, without even taking time
to think; she did not stop afterward to think.

"My feet? My feet?"

"Please to come! oh, please to come!" pleaded 'Lisbeth, fairly dancing
up and down.

"My hat, my hat! oh, my hat!" pleaded the little man, turning and
twisting all about; "my hat! my hat!"

"Please to come! never mind no hat!" begged 'Lisbeth, half going, half
staying, and still trying to catch her breath.

"Oh, my head, my head!" almost sobbed the little man, holding his two
hands over his head as he ran after 'Lisbeth, going faster and faster
with every step.

"My! my! oh my!" gasped the poor little man, still holding his head with
his two hands, and taking hard, short breaths, as he went up one flight
of stairs after another, and bobbed himself forward to try to catch a
glimpse of 'Lisbeth and see that he was really following the right way
and getting in the right door.

"My! my! oh my!"

He said it over again when he had bobbed his head in the right door.
"Vat has happened? vat has happened? oh my! my! vat has happened?"

"It has not happened at all; it would a' happened if you had waited for
a hat."

"Vat? vat?--my! my! my!--vat?"

"Mother would a' come, and then she mightn't let me sold her pots and
kettles and dishes 'stead of packing 'm up," said 'Lisbeth, puffing hard
for breath. "Please to buy 'm quicker 'n anything."

The little man did not choke; he only looked as if he was going to.
'Lisbeth flew toward him and gave him a crack on the back, she thought
that might do him good, but it did not help the matter at all; he
looked more like choking than ever. 'Lisbeth seized a dipper; she did
not mean to do anything unmannerly, she did not indeed, but she gave him
a mouthful of water so suddenly and quickly that the little man choked,
and perhaps it was best he should.

I shall always think it was best he should, not that the little man was
bad, or thinking about being bad, only that he was in danger of getting
to be bad if he had never been so before; he was in danger of doing a
wrong thing; in danger of buying a very great deal for a very little
price. I did not say he was bad enough to do it, only it was best he
choked, and kept choked long enough for 'Lisbeth's mother to come
tripping up stairs with a new bundle and a little money, and a light
heart, considering all things--for was she not going to begin right away
to save up and to get back to the old house, the old home, in a month or
two?

As the little man stayed choked until after 'Lisbeth's mother had
tripped to the door, and tossed away her bundle, and held up her hands,
and implored to be told what was the matter, I shall never be able to
say certainly that he was an honest little man, but I shall always
believe that he was, and that it had been the thought of so much
wickedness that almost choked him before he had the crack on the back or
the mouthful from the dipper. You would have choked, or almost choked,
of course you would. The astonishing part was that 'Lisbeth did not
choke herself, but she never thought of such a thing, she only said,
when her mother asked her what was the matter, "Nothing's the matter at
all; but I'm most dreadful sorry you come just at this important minute;
I was going to s'prise you with some cash straight off short, and the
man must just fall to choking before I could get a living thing sold."

Another surprising thing is that the mother did not choke, but she did
not. Perhaps the reason was because she did not want to; the little man
looked uncomfortable and he had been choking. At any rate she did not
choke.

If the little man had not looked so uncomfortable, and ready to get
away, the mother might have fastened the door, and shouted fire, and
armed with the tongs, and screamed for help, and startled the house,
and frightened the street, and added confusion to confusion, but she
only pulled the door open on a bigger crack to let him run out and down
the stairs, holding his hands over his head and gasping, "My! my! my! my
head!"



CHAPTER XIV.


All that the mother did after the little man was gone I shall not
pretend to say. I was not there at the time. Had I been there I would
have been obliged to stand with my feet outside and my head within; how
could I have had both head and feet within when there was no room to
stand? But I was not there, and never have been sorry that I was not.
You are not sorry that you were not there? Of course you are not.

'Lisbeth would have been glad not to have been there, I suppose; the
mother herself would have been more comfortable somewhere else, even if
it had been in the street tugging home her bundle of clothes to be
sewed. I was not there at the time, but I am certain that, by the next
morning, the dishes stood in rows, the pans hung on the hooks; the jars
and jams, and pots and kettles, and skillets, and spiders, and spoons,
and dippers, and rollers, and beaters, and boilers, and broilers, and
bundles, and boxes, and baskets, and things of all names and all sizes
were sleeping as sweetly as such necessities ever sleep, in the
cupboards and closets and dangling from the hooks, and the mother was
putting in her needle and pulling it out, and nobody would have imagined
that things had ever been otherwise.

Yet things had been otherwise; we all know they had. Things might have
been otherwise still had not 'Lisbeth's mother been a very decided
mother; a mother who knew how things should be and how they should not
be, and how little children should do and how they should not do, and
how to get disordered things back into order as they should be, and
children who were doing as they should not, for a little while at least,
to do as they should.

She said to 'Lisbeth, as she stood with her two feet on the two places
where the little man had stood: "'Lisbeth, you are a very hindering
child!"

Had she said anything else, anything else at all, 'Lisbeth would not
have felt it so much, she would not have been so entirely lifted out of
herself, out of her own opinion, and made to see herself where her
mother put her, back in the right place where every naughty child
should be put as soon as possible.

'Lisbeth gasped for breath. She looked fiercely up at her mother, and
down at the floor; she looked within herself, and at the ugly picture of
herself which her mother had just showed her. She saw that the picture
was like her, that she was "a hindering child." It was a blow she was
not prepared for. Had her mother said anything more immediately 'Lisbeth
would not have seen so well that the mother's words were true; but she
did not say any more immediately. She stood perfectly still with her
feet in the two places where the little man's feet had been.

'Lisbeth was very uncomfortable when she heard those words repeated;
indeed she was very angry; she looked just as naughty as naughty could
be; she looked like a girl who was cross because somebody was doing
something very wrong to her. Then she did not look as naughty as naughty
could be, she looked disappointed and sorry, and repentant, and humble,
and this was because she saw that she was "a hindering child."

At first she believed that she was a helping, comforting child, now she
saw that she was not. She saw it as we sometimes see a flash of
lightning. 'Lisbeth did not mean to be "a hindering child," but she was
one.

"Why am I a hindering child?" inquired 'Lisbeth when she could catch her
breath.

"Because you work by your own head instead of by mine," said the mother
as she put one foot and then the other forward among the pots and
kettles. But 'Lisbeth stood still in the middle of the floor considering
what her mother meant, and if what she said was true, and if she was
always to work the wrong way instead of the right way, like an engine
which will run back instead of forward; and how long she might have
stood considering, and how long she might have worn such a troubled
face, and how long she might have felt such a lump in her throat, had
not her mother come and stood before her, clearing a place for her feet
as she came, I shall never pretend to say.

But the mother did come and stand before her, and 'Lisbeth put her two
hands in her mother's two hands, and looked up in her mother's face,
into her mother's troubled eyes, and her mother knew that whatever else
she might do, in days to come, she would never again try to move her
before the time. The mother knew this as well as I do, but I know this
and more beside.

As I said before, I do not know exactly all that was done that
afternoon, before the rooms and the mother and 'Lisbeth all grew quiet,
and in place and comfortable, but I know something more important than
this; I know that 'Lisbeth, after she had settled other matters began to
settle her own mind as to the true meaning of her mother's words about
her making use of the wrong head.

She was obliged to think a great deal about it before she was able to
settle it in her mind. It took a very great deal of thinking. How could
she use her mother's head? How can you and I use our mothers' heads? Of
course you know we could do it, how 'Lisbeth could have done it, but
Lisbeth had to think hard about it before she knew. When she had made it
quite sure in her own mind how it was to be done, she came to another
trouble, she was not quite sure that she would like to do it.

She thought a great while as to what she was to do about it; she
thought a great while about it while seated on the three-legged stool
with her face to the wall, and when she had finished thinking about it
she got down from the stool and went and stood before her mother, and
her mother looked up to see what she was standing there for, and then
'Lisbeth said:

"I'm going to try most dreadful hard to use your head; I've made up my
mind to it."

When 'Lisbeth made up her mind to a thing it was made up.

'Lisbeth tried very hard from this time to use the mother's head; and
though the mother used it too it did not get worn out half as fast as it
had done before; it began to look newer--I mean younger--and to look as
though use did it a great deal of good; and 'Lisbeth's head looked the
better for it too--I mean her face looked the better for it--it looked
rested; perhaps I should say it looked better contented than it did
before, it looked more comfortable. In fact, by using the mother's head
very frequently instead of her own, 'Lisbeth improved inside of a week,
and in the two months while they yet remained in London she began to
look like a helping child instead of a hindering one.

When the time came for the packing up to be done 'Lisbeth really helped.
She did; nobody need be astonished. She helped a great deal, and
everybody seemed so happy that the mother laughed a dozen times just in
packing up. This was such a remarkable thing to happen that every one
was astonished; they could not help being astonished.

Mother had not laughed for a great while. It seemed a very strange thing
for her to do. Nobody could quite tell what she was laughing at either
by thinking over it or by inquiring. Dickon inquired, but Dickon could
not understand it any better after he had inquired.

Gorham thought over it. He was older than Dickon, and perhaps should
have been able to understand by thinking over it, but he did not. Gorham
had been in London for some time, and had become accustomed to the two
little rooms at the top of the house, where the walls were so black, and
to the hubbub of voices above and below, and to the tatters on the
little children, and to the dirt and tatters on the grown people; and
had become accustomed to the little boys who were not very nice, or very
comfortable to play with; Gorham had become accustomed to all this and
did not dislike it all as much as he did when he first came to London.

Indeed Gorham was growing a little bit like these little boys; just a
little like them, not very much; I am glad to be able to say that it was
not very much. But at any rate, Gorham could not see why his mother was
laughing when she had not laughed for such a long time; laughing over
her cracked crockery, broken-nosed teapots, and black old crocks. It
never entered his mind that she was laughing because, though she seemed
to be looking at the old crockery, she was looking over and past them
with her mind's eye, to the clover tufts on the dear old fields, and to
the paths winding about the mill, to the spire of the white wooden
church; to the market-place where the mill-hands used to gather together
and chat and talk. Yet she was looking at these and at many things
beside, and not at all at the broken-nosed pots.

'Lisbeth knew better than Gorham or Dickon why it was the mother
laughed. I think she knew a great deal better. I think when she would
put her face down close beside her mother's, and they would both smile
so pleasantly, glancing toward each other and looking away, I think they
were then seeing the same things, the very same things, though they were
both a hundred miles away from the things themselves.

This was very comfortable; so comfortable that Dickon and Gorham smiled
too, though only looking at their two faces and at the iron pots, and
broken noses, and the rubbish which the mother had gathered up. And
indeed, though they could not tell why, they laughed themselves when the
mother laughed, and who knows but perhaps after all they did, without
knowing it, catch glimpses of the far-away things which 'Lisbeth and her
mother were seeing.

Everything was very comfortable all this packing-up time, in fact much
of the two months before it.

Now I do not intend you to suppose, when I say that everything was very
comfortable, that everything was in order in those two rooms, that
everything was fixed up; that the iron pots were full of cookies or of
all kinds of cookeries; that the crockery was full of good things; that
the black walls had been whitened; not a bit of it. Things had changed;
things had changed very much. The faces had changed.

The mother's face and 'Lisbeth's had altered more than Dickon's and
Gorham's, but their being altered I think had changed Dickon's and
Gorham's too. Do you know what had changed them? Why, 'Lisbeth had made
up her mind to try to be contented and to use her mother's head. She was
so much more pleasant looking that you would have been surprised at the
change.

You have seen her before this, with your mind's eye, I know; that is,
you have imagined how she might have looked, and you have always seen
her looking as though she was dissatisfied; as though she was wishing
for something she had not; as though she was trying to think of
something to do, or somewhere to go, as though she was about to make use
of her own head contrary to that of her mother. But now she looked more
cheerful and comfortable; indeed like a different girl entirely. You
see she made up her mind to be a different girl entirely, and to try to
work by her mother's head, and when 'Lisbeth made up her mind about
anything we know that it was made up.

'Lisbeth had improved very much. Yet she was 'Lisbeth; 'Lisbeth working
a great deal by her mother's head instead of by her own.

Beside this 'Lisbeth had a pleasant prospect before her; a very pleasant
prospect indeed. She did not very often lose sight of this prospect; I
mean the prospect of going a hundred miles from London. She looked so
much more pleasant than formerly that you would not think, at sight of
her, "there is a girl who is not satisfied in the place where she is
growing, or with the things she finds around her; she looks
uncomfortable."

I think that 'Lisbeth was better contented the last weeks she lived in
London than during any week of her life, except the week before she came
to London. Her contentment had changed everything very much; as I said,
it had changed the faces; the faces were changed because everybody felt
happier. Things were very different in those two rooms because 'Lisbeth
was different.

For two whole months they were getting ready to go away; they were
working and saving and wondering and smiling and laughing and hoping
before they left the dreadful old rooms, but then they were such
different months from all the others spent there that they were short
months; that is, they seemed short.

The boys were happier when their mother and 'Lisbeth were bright and
happy; their mother was happy when her children were good and wore
bright faces. 'Lisbeth wore a bright face when she tried to be content
with things as she found them, and did not run about the streets of
London trying to sell gingerbread cats and dogs and doll-babies, trying
to earn pence with sweeping streets or pulling wires, or making wigs. So
as everybody was happier than they had been the months seemed short.

Who cared that the walls were black and the rooms little and the street
too little to be called a street? Nobody.

All the difference came by 'Lisbeth's having made up her mind to be
contented to help mother in mother's way instead of her own way; by
'Lisbeth's having made up her mind to mix her earnestness with her
mother's judgment.

They left the little dark rooms, in the dirty old house, and all the
shows, and people, and carriages and houses of London, and went back
where they first grew, back to the very house under the walnut tree
where the bits of the hogshead still blew about--the hogshead which had
once opened its mouth.

The mother went again to work at the mill, and the children all went to
Miss Pritchet's school, and 'Lisbeth picked beans, and helped take care
of Trotty, and of the house, and helped mother so much, that mother
began to look bright and happy and smiling like somebody else. In fact,
'Lisbeth looked bright and happy, and smiling, herself, like somebody
else, and when she would sit on the mile-stone she would smile more than
ever in thinking what a little goose she had been ever to want to go so
many miles away; and, indeed, so happy and contented did she become
with the work she found to do in the place in which she grew, that you
would never have known her to be 'Lisbeth.



      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber's note:

Obvious punctuation errors have been corrected.

Blank pages have been removed.

On page 42 "unreasonble" has been changed to "unreasonable"
   (... thought him unreasonable enough, ...)

On page 50 "disparingly" has been changed to "dispairingly" (... said
   'Lisbeth a little despairingly.)

On page 84 "a doing" has been changed to "a-doing". (You must be up
   and a-doing, ..)

On page 27 the word "flim" has been retained.





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