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Title: Lady Daisy and Other Stories
Author: Stewart, Caroline
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Lady Daisy and Other Stories" ***

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



Lady Daisy
and Other Stories

BY CAROLINE STEWART

Author of "A Kitten's Adventures" &c.

[Illustration]

BLACKIE AND SON LIMITED
LONDON GLASGOW DUBLIN BOMBAY



CONTENTS.

                            Page
"LADY DAISY,"                  7
PAPA'S CHRISTMAS STORY,       26
STORY OF A GLOWWORM,          52



"LADY DAISY."

A DOLL STORY.


Little Flora's father gave her a small china doll on her fourth
birthday. It was only a little one, but Flora's father said that his
little girl was very small too, and he thought she could not carry a
big doll yet. When Flora was five years old her father gave her a
larger one, and when she was six her father presented her with a
beautiful baby doll in long clothes, that was almost as tall as Baby
Henry, her brother, in the nursery. Nurse even said the dollie's long
gowns would fit Baby if they were only wider, for, of course, Baby
Henry was much heavier and fatter than Dollie, though Dollie was
almost as tall. Now came the question of a name. Nurse said that in
the last house where she lived the little girl had had a doll called
Lady Sarah Maria, but Flora said she was not going to call her doll by
that name, because the funny old lady who lived opposite was Miss
Sarah Maria Higginson, and her doll was far too pretty to be like that
old lady. Miss Higginson had once looked very angrily at Flora when
her ball had happened to bounce over the wall into her precious
flower-garden, so Flora did not like her. Perhaps the old lady did not
like Flora for spoiling her flowers! Well, at last, after much
thinking, the doll had a name given to it. It was called Lady Emily
Mary Julia Gwendoline. Nurse thought it was too long, but Flora
reminded her that Emily was after her eldest sister, Mary after the
parlour-maid, whom Flora liked very much, Julia after Flora's Aunt
Julia, and Gwendoline after Flora's little sister; so that her doll
was like them all in something, of course, or she would not have given
her so many names. She had Emily's blue eyes, and Mary's pink cheeks,
and Aunt Julia's sweet smile, and Gwendoline's pretty light hair.

"And, Nurse, I do think she has fingers like yours, rather stumpy at
the ends!" exclaimed Flora, after a pause.

"No, no!" cried Nurse. "I won't have her called Ruth after me, that I
won't; and you're a very rude little girl Miss Flora!"

So Flora contented herself with four names, and wrote them in her
copy-book lest she should forget them. After a while she grew tired of
calling her doll by four names, and changed them all to Daisy, for
short, she said; though Nurse said that Daisy was the short name for
Margaret, and not for Emily.

Lady Daisy went out for many a long walk in the tender arms of her
little mother. Flora hardly ever let her out of her sight, except
while she went to dinner and breakfast. At tea-time Lady Daisy always
sat on a chair by her little mother, and was quite content to look at
her bread and honey without wanting any of it.

The doll led a very happy life till one day when the whole family set
off to the seaside, and then her misfortunes began. Flora thought that
she was as careful as ever of her dear Lady Daisy, but I am afraid she
had grown a little tired of looking after her as much as before. At
first she had carefully kept her out of Baby Henry's reach, because he
pulled about everything till it was torn or spoiled; and also Snip,
the terrier, had such a way of worrying anything that he was never
allowed to go near Lady Daisy's cradle. Therefore, when the whole
party set off for the seaside the doll was as fresh and beautiful as
at first. But, alas, a change came! Little Flora was so excited about
going to the seaside, that after she had put her favourite on the
cushion of the railway carriage she forgot all about her in the
delight of looking out of the window. When they at last came to a
large station where the train was going to stop for ten minutes, half
the party got out of the carriage to go and have some tea in the
refreshment rooms. Little Flora begged to be allowed to go too; and
though her mother meant her to stay with Nurse, Charlie, and Baby in
the carriage, she let her come as a great treat for once in a way. So
Flora jumped out in the highest spirits, and quite forgot Lady Daisy
in her hurry.

Nurse put Baby Henry on the cushion, as she wanted to untie the basket
that held a bottle of milk and some biscuits. While she was busy doing
this Baby Henry looked about him. He soon spied Lady Daisy sitting
bolt upright against the cushions, staring with her blue eyes at
Charlie. He stretched out his little hand and took her by the arm.
Charlie looked up at this moment and saw him do it, and though Charlie
was only a little boy himself he felt he ought to look after Baby
Henry.

"Give Dollie to me, Baby," he said sharply. "You're not to have her,
bad boy!"

But Baby only clasped Lady Daisy tighter by the arm.

Charlie stretched out his hand and caught hold of Dollie by the hair
and tried to pull her away from Baby. Charlie pulled and Baby pulled.
They pulled and pulled, till poor Lady Daisy's hair came off in
Charlie's hand and her arm broke off in Baby's hand, and then she
tumbled right down on to the floor!

"Oh, Nurse, see how naughty Baby has been!" cried Charlie.

Nurse turned round, and when she saw the mischief that they had both
done she gave Charlie a good shaking that made him cry, and scolded
Baby Henry well till he roared out loudly.

"Now, stop that noise, you bad children!" said Nurse angrily. "I can't
do anything for a minute but directly my back is turned you behave as
bad as bad can be. And now, what Miss Flora will say when she comes
back I don't know. I think I had better hide away Dollie till we get
to the seaside, and then we can get her mended, and trust to Miss
Flora forgetting all about her till then."

So Nurse picked up the bits of arm and all the small pieces of yellow
hair, and stuffed them all together, with Lady Daisy, under the
cushion of the railway carriage; and then she looked out of the window
and said, "Here they all come back again. Ah, Master Charlie, you may
well look ashamed!"

Charlie was very much frightened at what he and Baby had done; but,
of course, he thought it was all Baby's fault, being like so many
people who prefer to put the blame on others, instead of bravely
bearing a share of it themselves. He did so hope Nurse wouldn't tell.
I think he ought to have told himself; don't you? But he did not. Just
then Flora came running up to the carriage door with a huge Bath bun
in her hand.

"Oh, Charlie, it's so nice out here!" she cried; "and I've had a lot
of refreshment. And, oh, I've bought you a big bun with my own money!"

Charlie was just putting out his hand for the bun when his conscience
pricked him, and told him he hardly deserved to take Flora's gift
after what had happened.

He suddenly withdrew his hand and said, "I'm not hungry, Flo, thank
you."

"Oh, but do take it!" cried Flora. "It cost twopence."

Charlie put out his hand slowly and took the bun; but it tasted heavy
to him, as he was not happy. Soon the rest of the party were settled
back in their former seats, and the engine steamed on again. And poor
Lady Daisy was quite forgotten! One by one the children dropped off to
sleep, and only once did little Flora murmur her doll's name in her
dreams. At last they came to the end of their journey, and everyone
had to bustle out so quickly. Nurse had to carry the sleepy children
into the waiting-room whilst the luggage was being got out, and in
five minutes the engine gave a puff and a shriek and the train rolled
on somewhere else, with Lady Daisy crushed under one of the cushions
of a carriage. Nurse had quite forgotten her!

Poor thing, she hardly deserved such a fate! I think we must follow
her on her journey, for somebody must look after her. Well, at the
next station an old gentleman got into that very carriage, and he sat
down at the end by the window and began to curl himself up comfortably
in the corner. But somehow something prevented him. He thought the
cushion edged up-hill very oddly, and the seat seemed very hard. So he
threw off his travelling rug again, in which he had wrapped himself,
and stood up to search, thinking it might be crackers or squibs or
something horrid. When he pulled up the seat and found poor Lady Daisy
he was very angry.

"I'll speak to the guard!" he muttered to himself, while he held the
battered, crushed doll at arm's length. "Some wretched child has left
this here for I don't know how long, and they never take the trouble
to settle the cushions properly, these railway people. Lazy set!"

By which remark he did the hard-working railway people a great
injustice, so I am glad there was no one in the carriage to hear.

He threw the doll roughly down on the opposite side, and composed
himself once more to rest. When people are angry they are very often
unjust. _We_ know--you and I--that it was not the guard's fault nor
the porter's fault that poor Lady Daisy disturbed the rest of this
grumbling old gentleman. _We_ know that she had only been left in that
carriage ten minutes by herself. However, at the next station the
guard was called to the door and shown the poor battered doll, and
angrily asked why the cushions were not made smooth before the train
started on its journey?

The guard said he was sorry for any discomfort the gentleman might
have had, but explained that he remembered a party of children had
only just got out at the last station, so he was sure they must have
left it there. In the meantime he would take "Miss Doll," as he
called her, into his own van; and he lifted her up, and picked up the
broken arm and all the yellow hair and rolled them into a big bundle,
and went off to his part of the train.

"It'll do for my little Polly," thought the guard to himself.

All this while what was Flora doing? Hard-hearted little girl, she was
thinking how hungry she was as they rolled along the streets in a cab
to their lodgings. When the family were all seated at tea, and Flora
was busy with a plateful of bread and jam, Nurse suddenly came into
the room looking rather sad, and she whispered something to Flora's
mother. Flora heard some of the words. They were, "Break it to her,
please, ma'am; I'm afraid."

All at once, like a flash, Flora remembered Lady Daisy. She darted up
from her chair, crying out, "Oh, Nurse, where _is_ my doll? I've left
her in the train! Oh, Mother, please send to the station and ask them
for her! Oh, Mother, how could Nurse forget her? Nurse, Nurse, are you
sure you haven't got her? I heard you say you were afraid! I know
you've left her behind!" And thus Flora ran on--now accusing Nurse,
now mourning the loss of her doll, now asking her mother to send for
her--till her mother drew her calmly to herself, and said, "Flora,
dear, do not blame Nurse for forgetting your doll when she had a
hundred other things to think of. If you forgot her, don't accuse
others of it. I am afraid my little girl forgot her Lady Daisy for
many hours, too, in the train. Nurse tells me you left your dollie all
alone when you got out of the train at B---- Station, and that Charlie
and Baby Henry got hold of her, and pulled her very much about, so
that she had to put the poor broken thing under the seat lest you
should see it, and it would grieve you. She meant to act kindly to
you, and it was hardly her fault if, when we got out, she should
forget Lady Daisy was still there, since Lady Daisy's own mistress, my
little Flora, never missed her at all; was it?"

Flora hung her head. "No, Mother," she whispered. "But I _did_ love
her."

"Then my little girl must be more thoughtful," said her mother; "and I
am afraid, as the train has gone on a long way, that Lady Daisy must
have gone too, so she won't be at the station. But think of this:
perhaps some other little girl may find her, and take care of her, and
love her too."

At which Flora burst into a flood of tears, and it took a long time
for her to get over the idea that Lady Daisy was lost for ever!

They stayed at the seaside for six weeks, and one day Nurse packed up
all their things and said they were going home again. Flora watched
her fastening all the boxes and bags. She had a sorrowful look on her
face. Even now she had not forgotten Lady Daisy.

"Nurse, I've nothing to carry in my hands _this_ time," she said, and
then turned away to look out of the window. She did not try to blame
anyone else now for her forgetfulness of her poor Lady Daisy. She saw
it was her own fault having left her, alone and forgotten, so long
that day when they first came to the sea.

When they got to the station they had to cross over to the other side
of the railway. There was a train just coming up, and they waited till
it should go by. However, it was going to stop there altogether, and
the guard got out and was walking towards them, when suddenly Nurse
recognized his face as being that of the same man who had been with
them in the train when they came down to the sea. She remembered faces
very well, and as she was still sorry for poor Flora, she ran up to
him, and said hastily:

"Please, sir, did you happen to find a doll in your train some six
weeks ago? My little lady's doll, that was!"

The guard stood still with a puzzled face for a moment, then suddenly
a smile lit up his face, and he answered quite briskly:

"Oh! are _you_ the party as got out of my train about that time and
left a doll under the seat?"

"Yes, sure enough!" exclaimed Nurse.

"Ah! I see _'twas_ you now!" replied the guard. "You know where it
was; and there is the little missy, too, whom I remembers lifting out
dead-asleep in my arms that day. Yes, yes. I found it right enough;
not but what it were a bit crushed through an old party sitting on it
at the next station; but, bless you, I took it home all right, and
give it to my poor Poll in hospital. Not afore I'd mended it, though.
I'm a good hand at carpentering, though sticking on the yellow hair
was a bit of a puzzle." And he laughed loud.

Flora had ran up to her nurse at this moment.

"Dollie's found," said Nurse, quickly turning round to her.

"Did you find her, please, guard?" inquired Flora rather shyly.

"Yes, missy; and if I'd known where you lived I'd have fetched her
back to you. As it is, my Poll's had a lot of fun out of her; but you
shall have her back--you shall have her back."

As Flora's mother just then came out of the ticket-office and joined
the group, she heard the whole history. The end of it was that she
gave the guard sixpence to send Lady Daisy back by parcel post, as he
declared he wouldn't let his Polly keep her a day longer, no, "not if
the lady wished it ever so." I think he had seen Flora's sorrowful
face turn quite joyful when he had mentioned Lady Daisy.

"And, Mother," whispered Flora, "if he so kindly sends dear Daisy
back, will you take my four-and-sixpence out of my money-box and buy
Polly another great big doll instead. You see, it won't matter to
_her_ losing Daisy as it mattered to me, and if I buy her another doll
she will be just as happy; don't you think so? You see, she didn't
have her _always_, as I did."

And so it was settled; and when poor little Poll in the hospital with
the broken leg one day received a lovely new doll by the post, she
said wonderingly to her father:

"I can't think, Father, why that little lady liked that battered old
thing instead of keeping this here lovely new one!"

But you and I know why. We all like our old favourites best, don't we?
And so Lady Daisy came back after all safe and sound to her first
home at the Grange, and you may be sure Flora never lost sight of her
again.



PAPA'S CHRISTMAS STORY.


"Papa, do please tell us one of your nice stories," said Clement
Percival to his father, as the family drew their chairs round the fire
after dinner one bitterly cold winter's evening just before Christmas
Day.

"Oh, do, do!" struck in a chorus of youthful voices.

"I should like a funny tale," said Clement.

"I don't mind rather a sad one," said Lucy. "I mean one about naughty
children."

"I like just what Papa likes to tell," said George, who had set
himself down on a footstool at his father's feet.

"Mamma, dear," said little Nelly, the youngest of the party, "do
please shut your eyes and go to sleep, that you mayn't be able to say,
'Nelly, it's time for you to go to bed' _just_ in the middle."

"Well," said Mr. Percival laughing, "I will try what I can do to
please you all. Let me think a minute. Oh, I know!

"Once upon a time--"

"_Once upon a time!_ That is the way you _always_ begin, Papa," said
Lucy.

"Well, then, will this do for you, young lady?"

       *       *       *       *       *

It was getting dusk on a September evening when a young traveller
entered the village of Seely. Foot-sore and weary, he sank upon a
grassy bank to rest.

He had not been there long before a strange sound met his ears. At
first it seemed to be nothing but one continued buzz. He listened
closely.

What could it be?

The noise came from behind a garden wall at his back. He rose quietly,
and climbing up into an oak-tree from which he could look over into
that garden, he seated himself safely amongst the branches and held
his breath, for--the fruit-trees and vegetables were talking! and he
wished to hear what they could be saying.

"It is no use asking me this evening," said a portly Cauliflower. "My
head is so heavy I cannot take my turn. Ask the Scarlet-runner."

"Me!" said the Scarlet-runner. "Don't ask me! I've been running all
day, and have got to run all night, to get up to the top of these
sticks. You may see by the colour of my flowers how hot and tired I
am! Try the Parsley."

"I'm sure _I_ have not a moment to tell a tale," said the Parsley.
"I'm _so_ busy curling my leaves ready to make the dishes to-morrow,
for I heard the gardener tell the cook I should have a place on the
table, and I like to be pretty."

"Vain creature!" said the Cauliflower. "Black Currant! what say you to
taking your turn now?"

"Better not ask me," drawled the Black Currant. "You see by my dress
how dismal my story would be, and as for my sisters Red and White, the
birds have been pecking at them all day, till there is nothing but
their stalks left. It is no use to ask _them_."

"I _would_ take my turn," said a large Pear hanging against the brick
wall, "but I'm _so_ sleepy I am sure I should fall down with the
exertion."

"I am longing to speak," cried a Potato from under the ground, "but I
can't make my voice heard through the mould. There are many wonderful
things going on down here which I, with eyes about me, can see, that
you have no idea of, but I must wait till I am dug up to take my
turn."

"You are all very tiresome to-night," said the Cauliflower. "I _would_
ask the Cabbage, because I know it has a good heart, but I heard the
Fig-tree say the other day it wouldn't give a fig for its stories,
they are so vulgar. Who is that coughing?"

"I," said the Artichoke. "I was thinking I might be the speaker
to-night; but you see I could only get half through what I had to say
before I was stopped by coughing, so it's no use _my_ trying."

"French Bean! could not _you_ oblige us?"

"If so, I must speak in French," said the French Bean.

"Oh, that will never do!" cried several voices at once; "we cannot
understand that language."

The French Bean hung its head and was silent.

"Did I not see a head peeping from that tall red pot?" said the
Cauliflower. "Sea-kale! is that you? Come! it is really your turn
to-night."

"No, no!" said the Sea-kale. "The gardener can force me to grow; but
you can't force me to tell a story. My stories are only fit for the
shells and fishes to listen to. None of you land creatures would
understand them."

"_I_ could, for I--I have relations amongst the shells," said the
Crab-apple proudly.

"And I'm sure I'm _well_ known to one of the fishes," said the Fennel,
"for whenever the Mackerel comes to dinner I'm always asked to meet
him."

"I see we must fall back upon the Mustard and Cress," said the
Cauliflower.

"Us, indeed!" cried hot angry voices from a box in a corner, "what
could _we_ tell of, who live only for a few days, and can never look
over the wall? Surely the old Apple-tree who has lived for so many
years, and can stretch out its branches far enough to see what is
going on outside, is the one to tell us something worth listening to."

"Yes! yes! the Apple-tree!" cried all the vegetables at once, making a
very loud confused noise.

"My friend," said the Apple-tree, "my fruit is blushing rosy red with
the compliment you pay me. What the Mustard and Cress say is quite
true. I _can_ see the world beyond, and I have a tale to tell. It is
not a merry one; but if you like to hear it you shall."

"I'm quite ready to cry," said the Onion, "so pray begin."

The Apple-tree shook off a few dead leaves and two over-ripe apples,
and began as follows:--

"The earliest thing that I can remember is standing in a neat row of
young apple-trees in a nursery-garden. An old gentleman came and
bought me, carried me off in his carriage and had me planted here. He
lived in the house you see over the wall. No, by the by, you can
hardly any of you see the house till your heads are cut off and the
gardener carries you through the gate; but there _is_ a house, and I
will tell you what it is like.

"It is a large white house, with a roof of gray slates. There are only
three windows on this side, but then this is not the grand side. I
only saw the other sides once, and that was when I was taken out of
the carriage and brought round here, and I passed plenty of windows
and a large house-door then. Well, for many a long year I lived a dull
quiet life, seeing nobody but the gardener. When first I had apples,
beautiful rosy apples, I was in hopes the old gentleman would come and
see them, but no--as soon as they were ripe the gardener took them all
from me, or else they fell upon the grass below, and the slugs came
and ate them. At last the old gentleman died.

"I heard the gardener tell the bees this one fine morning, and he
wiped the corner of his eyes with his coat sleeve as he did so, which
showed he had been a good master to him. After this the place looked
very lonely, with the windows of the house closed and not a creature
to be seen about except the gardener, and he seldom appeared.

"A fine battle with the wind now and then was the only fun I had. It
would come gently at first and rock me to and fro as if it would lull
me to sleep, then, suddenly it would rush at me in all its fury and
try to tear me to pieces; but although it used to bend me down almost
to touch the ground, I would start up again as if I didn't mind it a
bit. Somehow or other I always gained the victory, for the poor wind
died away while I was the stronger and better for the fight.

"In course of time I became so stout and firm it couldn't shake me at
all. When it did rise up and try to do its worst, it could only
whistle round me and make my branches dance. Late one evening I was
surprised by seeing a small head peering over the wall. At first there
was only a pair of eyes, presently the whole head, and then the body
of a small boy, who scrambled over and crept up to me.

"He got up into my branches and filled his pockets as full as they
could hold. Then he slid down and climbed back over the wall by which
he came.

"The next day the gardener happened to pay me a visit."

"'Holloa! who's been here?' he said; 'this won't do!' and he went to
his toolhouse and took out something which he laid in the grass at my
roots, and went away.

"When night came the same small head appeared again, and the boy was
close upon me, when suddenly he was brought to a stand-still, and
uttered a loud cry. He had been caught in a trap, and the harder he
tried to get out the faster he was held, and there he stayed till the
gardener came and gave him a good thrashing. You may be sure I never
saw that little boy again!

"Autumn, winter, and spring, all passed away very quietly, and then
came a stir in the place. Windows were opened; workmen began to hammer
and paint; the gardener made the walks and borders all so neat and
trim; and one fine afternoon a carriage covered with boxes drove up to
the door. Then the bustle was greater than ever. Servants ran about,
horses clattered in the yard, dogs barked, and children's voices were
louder than all. The next morning the garden gate opened and a lady
and gentleman walked in, arm in arm, followed by two fine-grown lads.

"They paced round the gravel walks, then came up to me and admired my
beautiful blossoms. Then and there the gentleman told the boys they
should each have a garden of their own, and he pointed to the piece of
ground by the Sweet-brier, and made the gardener divide it into two
equal portions. After this the boys seemed to live out of doors.

"I soon found out that their names were 'Richard' and 'Joe,' although
they called one another 'Dick' and 'Joey.' They dug, and planted, and
sowed, and watered from morning till evening. The poor little
trembling plants did not know what to be about. If they came above the
ground, as often as not they were plucked up and thrown upon the
dirt-heap as weeds. If they stayed below, the mould was grubbed up to
see why they were so long coming. These boys often quarrelled, but
their quarrels did not last long. They would begin with hard words,
then go on to throwing mud and stones upon one another's ground; at
last it would come to fighting, till Joey burst out crying, when they
made up and were good friends again.

"What I did feel pity for was that poor old Pump at the end of the
terrace walk. She was _once_ a tidy-looking, green-coloured, upright
Pump, with a stone basin to catch the water.

"See what she is now--a broken-down, good-for-nothing ruin! The boys
were for ever filling their watering-pots and soaking their
flower-beds with water. Then they must needs sink wells made of large
flower-pots with the hole at the bottom stopped up with clay. These
they filled and refilled till they overflowed and made the gravel-walk
a pond.

"The gardener often got angry with them, and they begged pardon, but
went on the same as ever.

"At last the weather became very hot and sultry, and the Pump would
only give a thin stream of water and that only with hard pumping. The
boys couldn't stand this. They got upon the stone basin, lifted off
her head, and threw a stone down to hear how much water there was in
the well. The sound of the splash was so charming to their ears that
nothing would satisfy them but that they must needs go on throwing in
stone after stone, till the poor thing was quite choked and could only
give a drop at a time, and that with a gurgle.

"And then, what do you think they did? Why, they lifted up her handle
as high as it could go and let it fall again with a sudden jerk. That
almost shook the poor thing to pieces. At last, her arm slipped quite
out of its socket, and dropped down useless!

"No wonder that the Willow sprang up by her side to cry over her, and
has been weeping there ever since, for she has never been pumped
again.

"The gardener became furious, and I think he must have had the boys
punished, for it was weeks before they came to work in their little
gardens again, and the weeds had a fine time of it then. They ran in
and out, and up and down, and round and round about the plants just as
they liked.

"The Sweet-brier was of no sort of use in keeping them in order. She
only looked down, and smiled to see them so wild.

"As the boys grew bigger I saw less of them. They went away for long
seasons, and only came home now and then.

"I must say they always let me know directly they did return. I think
they liked me the best of all the trees in the garden."

"You think so," said a voice from behind a netting on the wall; "but
that is because we wall-fruit are so rich and rare, young fingers are
forbidden to touch us, while they are allowed to play with you; and
besides, we keep a large army of wasps, in bright yellow uniforms, to
protect us against thieves. Late one evening Master Richard came into
the garden. He crept up to me and stared me full in the face. 'I know
what you want, my young man,' thought I; and I gently dropped one of
my very ripest to the ground. He looked round to see that no one was
watching, then he made a dart forward; but no sooner had he picked it
up than a wasp flew out and stung his hand so sharply he let it fall,
and went back yelling into the house. But I beg your pardon,
Apple-tree. Pray, go on with your story, for we are much interested in
all you are telling us."

"Yes, I must make haste," said the Apple-tree, "for the night is
passing away very rapidly. Well, one bright afternoon the boys came
with their books in their hands and threw themselves on the grass
under me to learn their holiday tasks, which I heard them say must be
perfect before they left home the next day.

"They had not been there long before two splendid blackbirds flew up
into the tree at the bottom of the garden. Every now and then they
dived down into the gooseberry bushes and then flew back again,
chattering to one another in a language which I did not understand,
but which sounded very pretty and joyous.

"'Oh!' exclaimed Dick, 'how I should like to have a shot at those
birds! Wouldn't they be nice in a pie?'

"'I'll set a trap,' said Joe.

"'A trap?' said Dick. 'They won't be caught in a trap at this time of
year. If I had only a gun I could pick them off so easily,' and he
made as though he was holding a gun and pointing at them.

"'I say, Joey, I'll go and get father's gun and have a shot,' he
added.

"'You mustn't,' said Joe. 'Father said we were never to touch his gun,
or go out shooting without him.'

"'Why, he taught me to shoot,' said Dick; 'and he says I'm a very good
shot. I'm not a child now. I understand all about a gun, and I'm very
careful. Besides, father is out for the whole day, and he won't know
anything about it, if you don't tell, for I can load it again and put
it back just as it was before. Oh, I _must_ have those birds!' and
saying this he got up.

"'Pray, pray, don't!' said Joe.

"But Richard did go, and came back with the loaded gun.

"'Now, Joe,' said he, 'keep out of the way. Get behind the tree and
you'll be quite safe.'

"Joe ran behind me, and Dick fired. One of the blackbirds fell into
the bushes.

"'Here, Joe,' said Dick, 'just hold the gun while I go and look for
the bird. Wasn't it a fine shot! Take care, for the other barrel is
loaded! Don't move an inch for fear you should pull the trigger, and
I'll be back in one minute!' Joe came forward and took the gun from
his brother. Away ran Dick, and there sat poor Joe, afraid almost to
breathe for fear of what might happen. Presently Dick appeared at the
end of the walk holding up the unfortunate blackbird by its extended
wings.

"Joe jumped up and went down to meet him. I couldn't see how it
happened, but as they met there was a loud report, and I heard Dick
call out, 'Oh, Joey, you have killed me!'

"Joe threw away the gun which he had been carrying, and ran screaming
into the house.

"Then there _was_ a hubbub! All the servants ran out. The gardener
picked up Dick, the footman picked up the gun, the housekeeper scolded
at the pitch of her voice, and the housemaid shrieked, while Joe
himself shed bitter tears of grief and wrung his hands in despair.

"They all passed through the gate. If you remember, I told you there
were three windows on this side of the house. Well, one of the rooms
seemed seldom used; but now I saw people moving about in it till the
housekeeper came and drew down the blind.

"Then there was such a clattering of horses in the yard; the groom
rode off in one direction, the coachman put the horses to and drove
off in another, and then they all came back, and another carriage
stood for ever so long at the door. I could just see the tips of the
wheels round the corner till it got dusk.

"Then lights appeared in the room, and figures passed and repassed
behind the blind.

"Now, the other windows belonged to the boys' rooms, and I thought I
would just stretch out my highest branch and see if I could look into
them. Richard's room was empty, but Joe was sitting in his.

"There he was, poor fellow, with his arms upon the table and his head
resting upon them. A plate was near him, but he didn't seem to have
tasted the food.

"While I was watching the door opened, and his mother came in. She
leant over him and pointed to the bed. Then, putting down a candle,
she left the room. Joe undressed and got into bed, but he seemed so
restless he could not keep still for a minute. When the clock in the
old church-tower struck ten I think he must have fallen asleep, for
his mother crept in again softly, went up to him, and pushing back the
hair from his forehead, gave him a kiss, and he didn't seem to notice
it.

"The clock in the old church-tower struck eleven, and everything about
the house was so quiet.

"The only light was in the room with the blind down, and on that blind
the figure of the mother, sitting watching all through the long hours
of the night, might be clearly seen.

"The clock in the old church-tower struck twelve! The glimmering of a
light in Joe's room drew my attention. I peeped in again. He was out
of bed, had lit his candle, and was putting on his clothes! As soon as
he was dressed, he went to his chest of drawers, took out a
pocket-handkerchief, and spread it upon the table. Into this
handkerchief he put a pair of boots, a brush and comb, and a clean
shirt; then he tied it up with two knots, and proceeded to take down a
desk from a shelf. Out of this he took some money, counted it, and put
it into his purse."

"I wonder how much he put in!" exclaimed the Mint from its bed of
herbs.

"As much as he had got, and no more, you may be sure," answered the
Sage.

"I hope it was not all silver," said the Pennyroyal.

"Oh, pray, don't interrupt!" cried the Thyme, "for the moments are
flying, the minutes are running so fast, and the half-hours declare
the hours are about to strike! Do, please, go on, Apple-tree!"

"Well, having put his purse in his pocket, Joe went to the fireplace,
and unhooking a small picture from the wall, he wrapt it in a clean
handkerchief and put it in another pocket. Then he came to the window,
drew it gently up, and looked out. First, he threw his bundle down on
the flower-border below, then he scrambled out upon the trellis-work
and crept down by his hands and feet till he reached the ground.
Picking up his bundle, he passed quietly through the gate into the
yard, and going up to a rabbit-hutch, he took out a most beautiful
large white rabbit. This he hugged in his arms and talked to, but I
couldn't hear what he said. He rubbed his cheek several times up and
down against its soft fur, then put it back, and taking his bundle
under his arm, unlatched the gate leading into the fields, and set off
running as fast as his legs could carry him.

"When he came to the stile he jumped over, and stood still to take one
long last look at the old white house standing out so clear in the
bright moonshine.

"I saw him kiss his hand towards it, then turn round and set off
running again. He was soon quite out of sight, and from that day to
this he has never been seen here again. And he needn't have gone after
all. I heard the groom tell the gardener the foolish servants had
frightened him by telling him 'he had murdered his brother, and must
take the consequences.' But Dick wasn't killed. He got all right
again, although he was ill for a very long time, and never looked the
same bright lad he was before he lost his brother. But, hark! I hear a
human being near--silence all!"

At that moment there was a crash as of a bough of a tree snapping, and
the young traveller was over the wall with a bound.

"Tell me, tell me!" he cried, "are they all alive?"

There was a dead silence.

He stamped his foot, and implored the voices to speak once more, but
no answer came.

"Can I," he said, striking his forehead with his hand--"can I have
been dreaming?"

He rushed to the garden gate, passed through, and shut it with such a
slam that the poor sleepy Pear fell at once to the ground.

A very short time after, the sun came laughing up from behind the
horizon, the birds began to sing, smoke danced merrily out of the
kitchen chimney, the church-bells rang out a merry peal, and all to
celebrate Joey's return to his home!

That afternoon there was a grand feast in the old white house, to
which all the fruit and vegetables were invited.

       *       *       *       *       *

"What a very strange story, Papa!" exclaimed Clement.

"It is a very nice one," said Lucy; "only I suppose it isn't quite
true."

"I wish I had got Joey's soft white rabbit," murmured George.

No words fell from little Nelly's lips, for she had fallen fast asleep
on her mother's lap.



STORY OF A GLOWWORM.


Did you ever see a glowworm? There are plenty of them shining on the
grass during the long nights of June and July. Shall we come out on to
the lawn one evening and see them? Look! there they are! shining like
little fairy lamps all over the grass. If you try to disturb them they
will hide their light, for they like to keep quiet. Now you cannot
find them, for they are all dark again. I do not think a glowworm is a
pretty insect when it has no light. Shall we catch one very quietly
while it is shining and place it on a leaf? In the morning you will
see it is a rather long insect, with brown scales over its back and
it has some tiny legs, in front. You must give it some lettuce leaf,
and a few of those little dead flies we found on the window-sill this
morning. Do you want to keep it altogether? I think you had better not
do so, it would soon die. It can feed itself better than you can. And
now, shall I tell you the story of a glowworm while you put this one
carefully on a lettuce leaf which I have placed in a pot?

Many years ago, when I was a little girl, I was very fond of pets of
all sorts. I was a funny little girl, for I did not even dislike
spiders! and I often wished I could catch and tame a little mouse for
my very own. There were plenty of them behind the wainscot in our
large London house; but the cat would eat them one by one, so that I
never got a chance of keeping one to myself. Indeed I do not think old
nurse would have let me do so. She hated all such horrid creepy
things, she said; but I told her I was sure a mouse was anything but
horrid, because I had just been watching one come out of his hole that
the carpenter had forgot to stop up.

"And indeed, Nurse," I said, "he ran so prettily about the room, and
got into your basket of work. I was so happy to think he had found a
warm snug corner this windy day, but directly you came in again he ran
away."

You may be sure old nurse looked very frightened on hearing about the
mouse in her basket, and the carpenter had no peace till he had
brought his tools and put a board neatly across the hole. So I never
saw my little mouse again. And it had such a soft little coat of fur
too! When I grumbled to Nurse she told me not to be a tiresome little
girl; that mousey was all very well to look at, but he was very, very
mischievous, and would eat up everything in the cupboard if we would
let him.

Well, to return to my story, one evening my eldest brother, who was a
great tall fellow fresh from school, and much older than I was, came
to the foot of the stairs and called out, "Elsie! I've brought
something for you."

Now, I knew he had just returned from a cricket match in the country,
where he had gone that morning by train, and I thought it very kind of
him to think of me at all.

"What is it, George?" I asked eagerly as I bounded down the nursery
stairs.

George stood under the gas-lamp of the second landing waiting for me,
and now he pulled out a pocket-handkerchief. Out of the handkerchief
he drew a little cardboard box, with air holes pricked in it, and when
he opened the lid I stood on tiptoe and looked into it.

"Why, George, you've only brought me a caterpillar!" I said not quite
pleased.

"No, it isn't," replied George, "it's a glowworm. After the cricket
match we went to supper at the squire's, and on the lawn there were
hundreds of these pretty things, so I brought you one."

"But I thought a glowworm had fire in its tail?" said I.

"You are quite right," replied George. "It has; but then you can only
see it in the dark, and there is the gas-lamp burning over us. Suppose
we take it into the dark greenhouse and put it in a pot?"

I thanked George very much for his trouble in bringing me such a
treasure, and we hastened to a sort of glass place we had built out
over an extra room, and in which my mother placed all her favourite
plants. We put the little creature on to a flower-pot, and true enough
when it was left quite quiet it began to shine.

"What is that light for?" I asked George.

"I believe it is a lamp for it to see its food by in the dark as it
crawls over the grass. And another thing, nightingales are fond of
glowworms, and nightingales too must live, so you see they can easily
spy them out, can't they?"

"I'm glad, George, you saved this one from the nightingale," I said.
"Now it will shine here every night like a little fairy lamp, and when
we give my party it will be of great use, won't it?"

George laughed at me, and said he thought the glowworm would have to
grow a good deal larger before it could do that. Nurse now called me
to bed, so after we had put some leaves close to the glowworm we left
it shining brightly.

The next morning I ran to see if my glowworm was pretty or ugly by
daylight, but it was gone!

I looked in every pot, but I could not find anything like a
caterpillar.

"Of course it had crawled away somewhere!" said Nurse, and she gave a
shudder as she felt sure it would come up to her bed-room. I was very
unhappy at my loss. However, nothing could be done. But what was my
surprise and delight when, that same evening, as it grew dark, my
mother called to me as she was passing the greenhouse, "Elsie! Elsie!
is not this your fairy lamp on the floor?"

I ran down quickly, and found my dear little glowworm shining merrily
on the stone pavement of the greenhouse. It was walking across to the
other side of the wall, "only just to take an airing," as I said to
mother.

She said, "Look, it has saved itself because of its light, otherwise I
would have put my foot on it when I came to shut the windows." I
quickly got a leaf and put "Glowy" back again into the pot till I had
got something else.

"You are not going to run away again, my little dear," said I. "No,
no, you must go into a cage now." So I got an old tumbler with a chip
in it and put some leaves in it, and then tumbled my glowworm in,
head-foremost, and covered up the top with a piece of paper.

But my mother said that would not do, as there was no air; so she
pricked the paper full of holes as I remembered George had done to his
box, and we put on the lid again. The next morning I found my pet
quite alive; but it had not eaten any of the lettuce leaf, and I was
very sorry. Still it was alive, which was a great deal. I gave "Glowy"
some fresh leaves and left it there. George said he thought "Glowy"
would not like so much hot sun beating down upon him through the glass
roof; but I reminded George that glowworms liked hot countries, for
Uncle Bob told me he had seen splendid ones abroad when he went on
voyages.

That was all very well, said George, but did I not know that they
came out when it was quite cool in the evenings? Still I had my way,
and left my little friend in the blue glass tumbler, because he would
look so pretty shining through it at night. I was so afraid he would
run away again. When evening came there he was crawling on a leaf and
shining so brightly. I gave him some mustard and cress to eat, for a
change, and felt quite delighted.

The next day I found he had not eaten anything. Perhaps he did not
like the green food. I resolved to try him with flies; but after
hunting I could not find any that were dead, so he had to go without.
The next day I found little "Glowy" all curled up at the bottom of the
glass as if he was going to faint. "Oh, George," I said, "I quite
forgot he had no water to drink!" and I ran to fetch a few drops in a
cup.

"You'll drown him in all that," laughed George; but I was very
careful and only dropped a few drops close to him on the leaf. But he
would not move. I was so afraid he would get ill that I took him out
and placed him on a pot of Virginian creeper to see if he would
recover. To my delight he began to crawl again, so I left him to roam
about.

I knew I should find him again in the evening by his light, as I did
before. But when I came in from my afternoon walk with Miss Smith, our
governess, Nurse told me that John the man-servant had been watering
all the plants that afternoon, and she hoped there was an end to my
funny fancies.

Oh, how silly I was not to tell everybody where "Glowy" was! for, of
course, Nurse hoped he was drowned; but John wouldn't have done it if
he had known. I hunted by daylight in vain for him; but when evening
came to my joy I found him feebly shining, and perched on the edge of
the earthenware saucer in which the Virginian creeper pot stood. The
saucer was full of water, so I don't know how he had got across; I
wondered if glowworms could swim. I pushed little "Glowy" gently on to
a leaf with a piece of stick, and put the whole on an orange plant for
him to get dry again.

Alas, the next morning poor "Glowy" looked very ill--at least George
said he must be, because he had not moved from the spot, and glowworms
always like to crawl about in search of food. I looked forward to the
evening to see if he would shine again; but no, poor "Glowy" was quite
still and would not shine. George said he was dead because I did not
feed him properly; but it was not my fault, it was John's for watering
him. I was very sorry, because I had had a little pet for a week, and
now I did not know where to find another one so pretty. But George
after a while showed me it was my fault. You see I had not let the
glowworm roam about in the back garden to look for his own food,
because I thought I could feed him much better. But it was not so much
that; it was the glass cage into which I put poor "Glowy" that he did
not like. It was too hot in the greenhouse. So I made a mistake. We
learn to do better by experience--we learn that we are often in the
wrong. But I would not believe it when George told me so; when I lost
my little glowworm I had to believe it, but it was too late, and my
fairy lamp had gone out.

George told me he had also learnt the same thing by experience, when
he caught three very young blackbirds once. We were living in the
country then. He thought he could feed them, though the gardener said
they would die, because, while they could not feed themselves, the old
blackbird could do it best and not George. So they did die one by one.
The bread and milk George gave them was not enough to keep them alive.
So I think now, it is very cruel of boys when they take little birds
out of their nest, and besides it makes the mother-bird so unhappy.

Well, I had lost my little glowworm. It was an ugly little insect in
itself, but you get fond of a thing you have taken care of, and I felt
quite sorry when I had no fairy lamp left.

Now that is the end of my story. So, shall we profit by it and take
this little one you have found and put it on the lawn again? If we
want it to go on shining, night after night, we had better leave it to
feed itself. In hot countries they are far more brilliant than in
England. I remember them in India, where they are perfectly beautiful;
but I never tried to catch one there, as I recalled my experience when
I was a little girl in England.


THE END.



BLACKIE AND SON'S

BOOKS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE


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EXCELSIOR SERIES

All the books of the _Excelsior Series_ contain inspiriting examples
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In the Days of Prince Hal.      By H. ELRINGTON.
Tales of Daring and Danger.     By G. A. HENTY.
Yarns on the Beach.             By G. A. HENTY.
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Town Mice in the Country.       By M. E. FRANCIS.
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The Late Miss Hollingford.        By ROSA MULHOLLAND (Lady Gilbert).
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Our Frank.                      By AMY WALTON.
Phil and his Father.            By ISMAY THORN.
A Soldier's Son.                By ANNETTE LYSTER.
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[Illustration: Reduced from an Illustration in "BLACKIE'S NATURE STORY
PICTURE-BOOKS"]


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_Each book contains 128 pages, Illustrated_
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Holidays at Sunnycroft.         By A. S. SWAN.
Elsie Wins.                     By E. DAVENPORT ADAMS.
At Lathom's Siege.              By SARAH TYTLER.
Fleckie.                        By BESSIE MARCHANT.
A Saxon Maid.                   By ELIZA F. POLLARD.
Uncle Bob.                      By MEREDITH FLETCHER.
Bears and Dacoits.              By G. A. HENTY.
Crusoes of the Frozen North.    By G. STABLES.
Miss Mary's Little Maid.        By E. D. ADAMS.
Betty the Bold.                 By E. DAVENPORT ADAMS.
Jack of Both Sides.             By FLORENCE COOMBE.
The Skipper.                    By E. CUTHELL.
Do Your Duty.                   By G. A. HENTY.
Terry.                          By ROSA MULHOLLAND (Lady Gilbert).
The Choir School.               By FREDERICK HARRISON.
What Mother Said.               By L. E. TIDDEMAN.
Little Miss Vanity.             By Mrs. HENRY CLARKE.
Two Girls and a Dog.            By JENNIE CHAPPELL.
Tony's Pains and Gains.         By W. L. ROOPER.
Jack's Victory.
The Lost Dog.                   By ASCOTT R. HOPE.
Rambles of Three Children.      By G. MOCKLER.
Red Umbrella.                   By E. KING HALL.
Arthur's Temptation.            By EMMA LESLIE.
Eric Sinclair's Luck.           By A. B. ROMNEY.
Cynthia's Holiday.              By S. E. BRAINE.
Little Aunt Dorothy.            By JENNIE CHAPPELL.
Our Little Nan.                 By EMMA LESLIE.
A Gipsy Against Her Will.       By EMMA LESLIE.
Only a Shilling.                M. CORBET-SEYMOUR.
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Nell, Edie, and Toby.           By GERALDINE MOCKLER.
Jack's Two Sovereigns.          By ANNIE S. FENN.
Missy.                          By F. B. HARRISON.
A Boy Musician.
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Piecrust Promises.              By W. L. ROOPER.
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Just Like a Girl.               By PENELOPE LESLIE.
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Jon of Iceland: A True Story.
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Gladys.                         By EDITH JOHNSTONE.
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Tommy's Trek.                   By BESSIE MARCHANT.
That Boy Jim.                   By Mrs. HENRY CLARKE.
The Adventures of Carlo.        By K. TYNAN.
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What Hilda Saw.                 By PENELOPE LESLIE.
Sylvia Brooke.                  By H. M. CAPES.
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Tom in a Tangle.                By T. SPARROW.
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Patty's Ideas.                  By L. E. TIDDEMAN.
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Little Miss Masterful.          By L. E. TIDDEMAN.
Bright Little Pair.             By L. E. TIDDEMAN.
Things will Take a Turn.        By B. HARRADEN.
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Rita's Triumph.                 By ISMAY THORN.
Hi-tum, Ti-tum, and Scrub.      By J. CHAPPELL.
Edie's Adventure.               By GERALDINE MOCKLER.
Two Little Crusoes.             By A. B. ROMNEY.
The Lost Doll.                  By JENNIE CHAPPELL.
Bunny and Furry.                By GERALDINE MOCKLER.
Bravest of All.                 By MABEL MACKNESS.
The Secret in the Loft.         By MABEL MACKNESS.
Winnie's White Frock.           By JENNIE CHAPPELL.
Lost Toby.                      By M. S. HAYCRAFT.
Travels of Fuzz and Buzz.       By G. MOCKLER.
A Boy Cousin.                   By GERALDINE MOCKLER.
Sahib's Birthday.               By L. E. TIDDEMAN.
Tony's Pets.                    By A. B. ROMNEY.
Two Little Friends.             By JENNIE CHAPPELL.
Andy's Trust.                   By EDITH KING HALL.
Teddy's Adventures.             By MRS. H. CLARKE.
Fairy Stories: told by PENELOPE.
Tales from a Farmyard.          By E. KING HALL.
Her New Kitten.                 By GERALDINE MOCKLER.
Flix and Flox.                  By MRS. STATHAM.
The Kitchen Cat.                By AMY WALTON.
A New Friend.                   By GERALDINE MOCKLER.
A Long Chase.                   By GERALDINE MOCKLER.
Two is Company.                 By L. E. TIDDEMAN.
From Over the Sea.              By L. E. TIDDEMAN.
King's Castle.                  By HILDA B. LEATHAM.
Six in a Doll's House.          By E. M. WATERWORTH.
Big Brother Dick.               By HILDA B. LEATHAM.
Lady Patience.                  By F. S. HOLLINGS.
Kitty's Cousin.                 By HANNAH B. MACKENZIE.
Daisy's Visit to Uncle Jack.    By GRACE MARA.
Mrs. Holland's Peaches.         By PENELOPE LESLIE.
Top Brick off the Chimney.      By J. CHAPPELL.
Jake's Birthday Present.        By G. MOCKLER.
Mischievous Jack.               By ALICE CORKRAN.
Millie's Silk-Worms.            By PENELOPE LESLIE.
Nobody's Pet.                   By AIMEE DE VENOIX DAWSON.
Lady Daisy.                     By CAROLINE STEWART.
Little Dolly Forbes.            By A. S. FENN.
Mother's Little Lady.           By EDITH KING HALL.
Verta and Jaunette.             By WYNYARD THORP.
Chris's Old Violin.             By J. LOCKHART.
A New Year's Tale.              By M. A. CURRIE.
Jim: a Story of Child Life.     By C. BURKE.
The Twins.                      By L. E. TIDDEMAN.
Little Neighbours.              By ANNIE S. FENN.
Uncle Ben the Whaler.
Little Mop.                     By MRS. BRAY.
Little Eric: a Story of Honesty.
Wild Marsh Marigolds.           By DARLEY DALE.
Charcoal-Burner: or, Kindness Repaid.
Year with Nellie.               By A. S. FENN.
Royal Eagle.                    By LOUISA THOMPSON.
Pet's Project.                  By CORA LANGTON.
Dew.                            By H. MARY WILSON.


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Tales and Talks about Animals.
The Little Ones' Book of Bible Stories.
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_THE BEST ANNUAL PUBLISHED_

BLACKIE'S CHILDREN'S ANNUAL

All the authors and artists who are most popular with
children are among the contributors. Special features
of this volume are stories by Evelyn Sharp, E. Nesbit,
Alice Talwin Morris, May Byron, A. G. Herbertson, &c.;
verses by Florence Harrison, W. Gurney Benham, Felix
Leigh, &c. Such names as John Hassall, R.I., Gordon
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Picture boards, 3s. 6d.; cloth, gilt edges, 5s.


LONDON: BLACKIE & SON, LIMITED, GLASGOW AND DUBLIN



       *       *       *       *       *



[Transcriber's Note: The following typographical errors present in the
original book have been corrected. In "Papa's Christmas Story", "None
of you land creatures would understand then" was changed to "None of
you land creatures would understand them". In the advertisements,
"Litttle Hero" was changed to "Little Hero".]





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