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Title: The Carved Lions
Author: Molesworth, Mrs.  (Mary Louisa), 1839-1921
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Book Cover]










  CHAPTER I.     OLD DAYS                                              1
  CHAPTER II.    A HAPPY EVENING                                      17
  CHAPTER III.   COMING EVENTS                                        33
  CHAPTER IV.    ALL SETTLED                                          48
  CHAPTER V.     AN UNPROMISING BEGINNING                             63
  CHAPTER VI.    A NEW WORLD                                          81
  CHAPTER VII.   GATHERING CLOUDS                                     98
  CHAPTER VIII.  "NOBODY--_NOBODY_"                                  113
  CHAPTER IX.    OUT IN THE RAIN                                     131
  CHAPTER X.     TAKING REFUGE                                       148
  CHAPTER XI.    KIND FRIENDS                                        163
  CHAPTER XII.   GOOD NEWS                                           182


  OUR CONSULTATION TOOK A GOOD WHILE                      _Frontispiece_
  "GOOD-BYE!"                                          _To face page_ 71
  "MY POOR LITTLE GIRL, WHAT _IS_ THE MATTER?"                       108
  THE BROTHER LIONS ROSE INTO THE AIR                                154



It is already a long time since I was a little girl. Sometimes, when I
look out upon the world and see how many changes have come about, how
different many things are from what I can remember them, I could believe
that a still longer time had passed since my childhood than is really
the case. Sometimes, on the contrary, the remembrance of things that
then happened comes over me so very vividly, so very _real_-ly, that I
can scarcely believe myself to be as old as I am.

I can remember things in my little girlhood more clearly than many in
later years. This makes me hope that the story of some part of it may
interest children of to-day, for I know I have not forgotten the
feelings I had as a child. And after all, I believe that in a great many
ways children are very like each other in their hearts and minds, even
though their lives may seem very different and very far apart.

The first years of my childhood were very happy, though there were some
things in my life which many children would not like at all. My parents
were not rich, and the place where we lived was not pretty or pleasant.
It was a rather large town in an ugly part of the country, where great
tall chimneys giving out black smoke, and streams--once clear sparkling
brooks, no doubt--whose water was nearly as black as the smoke, made it
often difficult to believe in bright blue sky or green grass, or any of
the sweet pure country scenes that children love, though perhaps
children that have them do not love them as much as those who have not
got them do.

I think that was the way with me. The country was almost the same as
fairyland to me--the peeps I had of it now and then were a delight I
could not find words to express.

But what matters most to children is not _where_ their home is, but
_what_ it is. And our home was a very sweet and loving one, though it
was only a rather small and dull house in a dull street. Our father and
mother did everything they possibly could to make us happy, and the
trial of living at Great Mexington must have been far worse for them
than for us. For they had both been accustomed to rich homes when they
were young, and father had never expected that he would have to work so
hard or in the sort of way he had to do, after he lost nearly all his

When I say "us," I mean my brother Haddie and I. Haddie--whose real name
was Haddon--was two years older than I, and we two were the whole
family. My name--_was_ I was going to say, for now there are so few
people to call me by my Christian name that it seems hardly mine--my
name is Geraldine. Somehow I never had a "short" for it, though it is a
long name, and Haddie was always Haddie, and "Haddon" scarcely needs
shortening. I think it was because he nearly always called me Sister or

Haddie was between ten and eleven years old and I was nine when the
great change that I am going to tell you about came over our lives. But
I must go back a little farther than that, otherwise you would not
understand all about us, nor the meaning of the odd title I have chosen
for my story.

I had no governess and I did not go to school. My mother taught me
herself, partly, I think, to save expense, and partly because she did
not like the idea of sending me to even a day-school at Great Mexington.
For though many of the families there were very rich, and had large
houses and carriages and horses and beautiful gardens, they were not
always very refined. There were good and kind and unselfish people there
as there are everywhere, but there were some who thought more of being
rich than of anything else--the sort of people that are called "purse
proud." And as children very often take after their parents, my father
and mother did not like the idea of my having such children as my
companions--children who would look down upon me for being poor, and
perhaps treat me unkindly on that account.

"When Geraldine is older she must go to school," my father used to say,
"unless by that time our ship comes in and we can afford a governess.
But when she is older it will not matter so much, as she will have
learnt to value things at their just worth."

I did not then understand what he meant, but I have never forgotten the

I was a very simple child. It never entered my head that there was
anything to be ashamed of in living in a small house and having only two
servants. I thought it would be _nice_ to have more money, so that mamma
would not need to be so busy and could have more pretty dresses, and
above all that we could then live in the country, but I never minded
being poor in any sore or ashamed way. And I often envied Haddie, who
did go to school. I thought it would be nice to have lots of other
little girls to play with. I remember once saying so to mamma, but she
shook her head.

"I don't think you would like it as much as you fancy you would," she
said. "Not at present at least. When you are a few years older I hope to
send you for some classes to Miss Ledbury's school, and by that time you
will enjoy the good teaching. But except for the lessons, I am quite
sure it is better and happier for you to be at home, even though you
find it rather lonely sometimes."

And in his way Haddie said much the same. School was all very well for
boys, he told me. If a fellow tried to bully you, you could bully him
back. But girls weren't like that--they couldn't fight it out. And when
I said to him I didn't want to fight, he still shook his head, and
repeated that I wouldn't like school at all--some of his friends'
sisters were at school and they hated it.

Still, though I did not often speak of it, the wish to go to school, and
the belief that I should find school-life very happy and interesting,
remained in my mind. I often made up fancies about it, and pictured
myself doing lessons with other little girls and reading the same
story-books and playing duets together. I could not believe that I
should not like it. The truth was, I suppose, that I was longing for
companions of my own age.

It was since Haddie went to school that I had felt lonely. I was a great
deal with mamma, but of course there were hours in the day when she was
taken up with other things and could not attend to me. I used to long
then for the holidays to come so that I should have Haddie again to play

My happiest days were Wednesdays and Saturdays, for then he did not go
to school in the afternoon. And mamma very often planned some little
treat for us on those days, such as staying up to have late tea with her
and papa when he came in from his office, or reading aloud some new
story-book, or going a walk with her in the afternoon and buying
whatever we liked for our own tea at the confectioner's.

Very simple treats--but then we were very simple children, as I have
said already.

Our house, though in a street quite filled with houses, was some little
way from the centre of the town, where the best shops were--some years
before, our street had, I suppose, been considered quite in the country.
We were very fond of going to the shops with mamma. We thought them very
grand and beautiful, though they were not nearly as pretty as shops are
nowadays, for they were much smaller and darker, so that the things
could not be spread out in the attractive way they are now, nor were the
things themselves nearly as varied and tempting.

There was one shop which interested us very much. It belonged to the
principal furniture-maker of Mexington. It scarcely looked like a shop,
but was more like a rather gloomy private house very full of heavy dark
cabinets and tables and wardrobes and chairs, mostly of mahogany, and
all extremely good and well made. Yes, furniture, though ugly, really
was very good in those days--I have one or two relics of my old home
still, in the shape of a leather-covered arm-chair and a
beautifully-made chest of drawers. For mamma's godmother had helped to
furnish our house when we came to Mexington, and she was the sort of old
lady who when she _did_ give a present gave it really good of its kind.
She had had furniture herself made by Cranston--that was the
cabinet-maker's name--for her home was in the country only about three
hours' journey from Mexington--and it had been first-rate, so she
ordered what she gave mamma from him also.

But it was not because the furniture was so good that we liked going to
Cranston's. It was for quite another reason. A little way in from the
front entrance to the shop, where there were glass doors to swing open,
stood a pair of huge lions carved in very dark, almost black, wood. They
were nearly, if not quite, as large as life, and the first time I saw
them, when I was only four or five, I was really frightened of them.
They guarded the entrance to the inner part of the shop, which was dark
and gloomy and mysterious-looking, and I remember clutching fast hold of
mamma's hand as we passed them, not feeling at all sure that they would
not suddenly spring forward and catch us. But when mamma saw that I was
frightened, she stopped and made me feel the lions and stroke them to
show me that they were only wooden and could not possibly hurt me. And
after that I grew very fond of them, and was always asking her to take
me to the "lion shop."

Haddie liked them too--his great wish was to climb on one of their backs
and play at going a ride.

I don't think I thought of that. What I liked was to stroke their heavy
manes and fancy to myself what I would do if, all of a sudden, one of
them "came alive," as I called it, and turned his head round and looked
at me. And as I grew older, almost without knowing it, I made up all
sorts of fairy fancies about the lions--I sometimes thought they were
enchanted princes, sometimes that they were real lions who were only
carved wood in the day-time, and at night walked about wherever they

So, for one reason or another, both Haddie and I were always very
pleased when mamma had to look in at Cranston's.

This happened oftener than might have been expected, considering that
our house was small, and that my father and mother were not rich enough
often to buy new furniture. For mamma's godmother seemed to be always
ordering something or other at the cabinet-maker's, and as she knew
mamma was very sensible and careful, she used to write to her to explain
to Cranston about the things she wanted, or to look at them before he
sent them home, to see that they were all right. And Cranston was always
very polite indeed to mamma.

He himself was a stout, red-faced, little, elderly man, with gray
whiskers, which he brushed up in a fierce kind of way that made him look
like a rather angry cat, though he really was a very gentle and kind old
man. I thought him much nicer than his partner, whose name was Berridge,
a tall, thin man, who talked very fast, and made a great show of
scolding any of the clerks or workmen who happened to be about.

Mr. Cranston was very proud of the lions. They had belonged to his
grandfather and then to his father, who had both been in the same sort
of business as he was, and he told mamma they had been carved in "the
East." I didn't know what he meant by the East, and I don't now know
what country he was alluding to--India or China or Japan. And I am not
sure that he knew himself. But "the East" sounded far away and
mysterious--it might do for fairyland or brownieland, and I was quite
satisfied. No doubt, wherever they came from, the lions were very
beautifully carved.

Now I will go on to tell about the changes that came into our lives,
closing the doors of these first happy childish years, when there
scarcely seemed to be ever a cloud on our sky.

One day, when I was a month or two past nine years old, mamma said to me
just as I was finishing my practising--I used to practise half an hour
every other day, and have a music lesson from mamma the between
days--that she was going out to do some shopping that afternoon, and
that, if I liked, I might go with her.

"I hope it will not rain," she added, "though it does look rather
threatening. But perhaps it will hold off till evening."

"And I can take my umbrella in case it rains," I said. I was very proud
of my umbrella. It had been one of my last birthday presents. "Yes,
mamma, I should like to come very much. Will Haddie come too?"

For it was Wednesday--one of his half-holidays.

"To tell the truth," said mamma, "I forgot to ask him this morning if he
would like to come, but he will be home soon--it is nearly luncheon
time. I daresay he will like to come, especially as I have to go to

She smiled a little as she said this. Our love for the carved lions
amused her.

"Oh yes, I am sure he will like to come," I said. "And may we buy
something for tea at Miss Fryer's on our way home?"

Mamma smiled again.

"That will be two treats instead of one," she said, "but I daresay I can
afford two or three pence."

Miss Fryer was our own pet confectioner, or pastry-cook, as we used to
say more frequently then. She was a Quakeress, and her shop was very
near our house, so near that mamma let me go there alone with Haddie.
Miss Fryer was very grave and quiet, but we were not at all afraid of
her, for we knew that she was really very kind. She was always dressed
in pale gray or fawn colour, with a white muslin shawl crossed over her
shoulders, and a white net cap beautifully quilled and fitting tightly
round her face, so that only a very little of her soft gray hair
showed. She always spoke to us as "thou" and "thee," and she was very
particular to give us exactly what we asked for, and also to take the
exact money in payment. But now and then, after the business part had
been all correctly settled, she would choose out a nice bun or
sponge-cake, or two or three biscuits, and would say "I give thee this
as a present." And she did not like us to say, "Thank you, Miss Fryer,"
but "Thank you, friend Susan." I daresay she would have liked us to say,
"Thank _thee_," but neither Haddie nor I had courage for that!

I ran upstairs in high spirits, and five minutes after when Haddie came
in from school he was nearly as pleased as I to hear our plans.

"If only it does not rain," said mamma at luncheon.

Luncheon was, of course, our dinner, and it was often mamma's dinner
really too. Our father was sometimes so late of getting home that he
liked better to have tea than a regular dinner. But mamma always called
it luncheon because it seemed natural to her.

"I don't mind if it does rain," said Haddie, "because of my new

Haddie was very proud of his mackintosh, which father had got him for
going to and from school in rainy weather. Mackintoshes were then a new
invention, and very expensive compared with what they are now. But
Haddie was rather given to catching cold, and at Great Mexington it did
rain very often--much oftener than anywhere else, I am quite sure.

"And Geraldine doesn't mind because of her new umbrella," said mamma.
"So we are proof against the weather, whatever happens."

It may seem strange that I can remember so much of a time now so very
long ago. But I really do--of that day and of those that followed it
especially, because, as I have already said, they were almost the close
of the first part of our childish life.

That afternoon was such a happy one. We set off with mamma, one on each
side of her, hanging on her arms, Haddie trying to keep step with her,
and I skipping along on my tiptoes. When we got to the more crowded
streets we had to separate--that is to say, Haddie had to let go of
mamma's arm, so that he could fall behind when we met more than one
person. For the pavements at Mexington were in some parts narrow and

Mamma had several messages to do, and at some of the shops Haddie and I
waited outside because we did not think they were very interesting. But
at some we were only too ready to go in. One I remember very well. It
was a large grocer's. We thought it a most beautiful shop, though
nowadays it would be considered quite dull and gloomy, compared with the
brilliant places of the kind you see filled with biscuits and dried
fruits and all kinds of groceries tied up with ribbons, or displayed in
boxes of every colour of the rainbow. I must say I think the groceries
themselves were quite as good as they are now, and in some cases better,
but that may be partly my fancy, as I daresay I have a partiality for
old-fashioned things.

Mamma did not buy all our groceries at this grand shop, for it was
considered dear. But certain things, such as tea--which cost five
shillings a pound then--she always ordered there. And the grocer, like
Cranston, was a very polite man. I think he understood that though she
was not rich, and never bought a great deal, mamma was different in
herself from the grandly-dressed Mexington ladies who drove up to his
shop in their carriages, with a long list of all the things they wanted.
And when mamma had finished giving her order, he used always to offer
Haddie and me a gingerbread biscuit of a very particular and delicious
kind. They were large round biscuits, of a nice bright brown colour, and
underneath they had thin white wafer, which we called "eating paper."
They were crisp without being hard. I never see gingerbreads like them

"This is a lucky day, mamma," I said, when we came out of the grocer's.
"Mr. Simeon never forgets to give us gingerbreads when he is there

"No," said mamma, "he is a very kind man. Perhaps he has got Haddies and
Geraldines of his own, and knows what they like."

"And now are we going to Cranston's?" asked my brother.

Mamma looked at the paper in her hand. She was very careful and
methodical in all her ways, and always wrote down what she had to do
before she came out.

"Yes," she said, "I think I have done everything else. But I shall be
some little time at Cranston's. Mrs. Selwood has asked me to settle ever
so many things with him--she is going abroad for the winter, and wants
him to do a good deal of work at Fernley while she is away."



Haddie and I were not at all sorry to hear that mamma's call at
Cranston's was not to be a hurried one.

"We don't mind if you are ever so long," I said; "do we, Haddie?"

"No, of course we don't," Haddie agreed. "I should like to spend a whole
day in those big show-rooms of his. Couldn't we have jolly games of
hide-and-seek, Sis? And then riding the lions! I wish you were rich
enough to buy one of the lions, mamma, and have it for an ornament in
the hall, or in the drawing-room."

"We should need to build a hall or a drawing-room to hold it," said
mamma, laughing. "I'm afraid your lion would turn into a white elephant,
Haddie, if it became ours."

I remember wondering what she meant. How could a lion turn into an
elephant? But I was rather a slow child in some ways. Very often I
thought a thing over a long time in my mind if I did not understand it
before asking any one to explain it. And so before I said anything it
went out of my head, for here we were at Cranston's door.

There was only a young shopman to be seen, but when mamma told him she
particularly wanted to see Mr. Cranston himself, he asked us to step in
and take a seat while he went to fetch him.

We passed between the lions. It seemed quite a long time since we had
seen them, and I thought they looked at us very kindly. I was just
nudging Haddie to whisper this to him when mamma stopped to say to us
that we might stay in the outer room if we liked; she knew it was our
favourite place, and in a few minutes we heard her talking to old Mr.
Cranston, who had come to her in the inner show-room through another

Haddie's head was full of climbing up onto one of the lions to go a
ride. But luckily he could not find anything to climb up with, which was
a very good thing, as he would have been pretty sure to topple over, and
Mr. Cranston would not have been at all pleased if he had scratched the

To keep him quiet I began talking to him about my fancies. I made him
look close into the lions' faces--it was getting late in the afternoon,
and we had noticed before we came in that the sun was setting stormily.
A ray of bright orange-coloured light found its way in through one of
the high-up windows which were at the back of the show-room, and fell
right across the mane of one of the lions and almost into the eyes of
the other. The effect on the dark, almost black, wood of which they were
made was very curious.

"Look, Haddie," I said suddenly, catching his arm, "doesn't it really
look as if they were smiling at us--the one with the light on its face
especially? I really do think there's something funny about them--I
wonder if they are enchanted."

Haddie did not laugh at me. I think in his heart he was fond of fancies
too, though he might not have liked the boys at school to know it. He
sat staring at our queer friends nearly as earnestly as I did myself.
And as the ray of light slowly faded, he turned to me.

"Yes," he said, "their faces do seem to change. But I think they always
look kind."

"They do to _us_," I said confidently, "but sometimes they are quite
fierce. I don't think they looked at us the way they do now the first
time they saw us. And one day one of the men in the shop shoved
something against one of them and his face frowned--I'm sure it did."

"I wonder if he'd frown if I got up on his back," said Haddie.

"Oh, do leave off about climbing on their backs," I said. "It wouldn't
be at all comfortable--they're so broad, you couldn't sit cross-legs,
and they'd be as slippery as anything. It's much nicer to make up
stories about them coming alive in the night, or turning into black
princes and saying magic words to make the doors open like in the
Arabian Nights."

"Well, tell me stories of all they do then," said Haddie

"I will if you'll let me think for a minute," I said. "I wish Aunty Etta
was here--she does know such lovely stories."

"I like yours quite as well," said Haddie encouragingly, "I don't
remember Aunty Etta's; it's such a long time since I saw her. You saw
her last year, you know, but I didn't."

"She told me one about a china parrot, a most beautiful green and gold
parrot, that was really a fairy," I said. "I think I could turn it into
a lion story, if I thought about it."

"No," said Haddie, "you can tell the parrot one another time. I'd rather
hear one of your own stories, new, about the lions. I know you've got
some in your head. Begin, do--I'll help you if you can't get on."

But my story that afternoon was not to be heard. Just as I was beginning
with, "Well, then, there was once an old witch who lived in a very
lonely hut in the middle of a great forest," there came voices behind
us, and in another moment we heard mamma saying,

"Haddie, my boy, Geraldine, I am quite ready."

I was not very sorry. I liked to have more time to make up my stories,
and Haddie sometimes hurried me so. It was Aunty Etta, I think, who had
first put it into my head to make them. She was _so_ clever about it
herself, both in making stories and in remembering those she had read,
and she _had_ read a lot. But she was away in India at the time I am now
writing about; her going so far off was a great sorrow to mamma.

Haddie and I started up at once. We had to be very obedient, what father
called "quickly obedient," and though he was so kind he was very strict

"My children are great admirers of your lions, Mr. Cranston," mamma
said; and the old man smiled.

"They are not singular in their taste, madam," he said. "I own that I am
very proud of them myself, and when my poor daughter was a child there
was nothing pleased her so much as when her mother or I lifted her on to
one of them, and made believe she was going a ride."

Haddie looked triumphant.

"There now you see, Sis," he whispered, nudging me.

But I did not answer him, for I was listening to what mamma was saying.

"Oh, by the bye, Mr. Cranston," she went on, "I was forgetting to ask
how your little grandchild is. Have you seen her lately?"

Old Cranston's face brightened.

"She is very well, madam, I thank you," he replied. "And I am pleased to
say that she is coming to stay with us shortly. We hope to keep her
through the winter. Her stepmother is very kind, but with little
children of her own, it is not always easy for her to give as much
attention as she would like to Myra, and she and Mr. Raby have responded
cordially to our invitation."

"I am very glad to hear it--very glad indeed," said mamma. "I know what
a pleasure it will be to you and Mrs. Cranston. Let me see--how old is
the little girl now--seven, eight?"

"_Nine_, madam, getting on for ten indeed," said Mr. Cranston with

"Dear me," said mamma, "how time passes! I remember seeing her when she
was a baby--before we came to live here, of course, once when I was
staying at Fernley, just after----"

Mamma stopped and hesitated.

"Just after her poor mother died--yes, madam," said the old man quietly.

And then we left, Mr. Cranston respectfully holding the door open.

It was growing quite dark; the street-lamps were lighted and their gleam
was reflected on the pavement, for it had been raining and was still
quite wet underfoot. Mamma looked round her.

"You had better put on your mackintosh, Haddie," she said. "It may rain
again. No, Geraldine dear, there is no use opening your umbrella till it
does rain."

My feelings were divided between pride in my umbrella and some
reluctance to have it wet! I took hold of mamma's arm again, while
Haddie walked at her other side. It was not a very cheerful prospect
before us--the gloomy dirty streets of Mexington were now muddy and
sloppy as well--though on the whole I don't know but that they looked
rather more cheerful by gaslight than in the day. It was chilly too, for
the season was now very late autumn, if not winter. But little did we
care--I don't think there could have been found anywhere two happier
children than my brother and I that dull rainy evening as we trotted
along beside our mother. There was the feeling of _her_ to take care of
us, of our cheerful home waiting for us, with a bright fire and the
tea-table all spread. If I had not been a little tired--for we had
walked a good way--in my heart I was just as ready to skip along on the
tips of my toes as when we first came out.

"We may stop at Miss Fryer's, mayn't we, mamma?" said Haddie.

"Well, yes, I suppose I promised you something for tea," mamma replied.

"How much may we spend?" he asked. "Sixpence--do say sixpence, and then
we can get enough for you to have tea with us too."

"Haddie," I said reproachfully, "as if we wouldn't give mamma something
however little we had!"

"We'd offer it her of course, but you know she wouldn't take it," he
replied. "So it's much better to have really enough for all."

His way of speaking made mamma laugh again.

"Then I suppose it must be sixpence," she said, "and here we are at Miss
Fryer's. Shall we walk on, my little girl, I think you must be tired,
and let Haddie invest in cakes and run after us?"

"Oh no, please mamma, dear," I said, "I like so to choose too."

Half the pleasure of the sixpence would have been gone if Haddie and I
had not spent it together.

"Then I will go on," said mamma, "and you two can come after me

She took out her purse and gave my brother the promised money, and then
with a smile on her dear face--I can see her now as she stood in the
light of the street-lamp just at the old Quakeress's door--she nodded to
us and turned to go.

I remember exactly what we bought, partly, perhaps, because it was our
usual choice. We used to think it over a good deal first and each would
suggest something different, but in the end we nearly always came back
to the old plan for the outlay of our sixpence, namely, half-penny
crumpets for threepence--that meant _seven_, not six; it was the
received custom to give seven for threepence--and half-penny Bath buns
for the other threepence--seven of them too, of course. And _Bath_ buns,
not plain ones. You cannot get these now--not at least in any place
where I have lived of late years. And I am not sure but that even at
Mexington they were a _spécialité_ of dear old Miss Fryer's. They were
so good; indeed, everything she sold was thoroughly good of its kind.
She was so honest, using the best materials for all she made.

That evening she stood with her usual gentle gravity while we discussed
what we should have, and when after discarding sponge-cakes and
finger-biscuits, which we had thought of "for a change," and partly
because finger-biscuits weighed light and made a good show, we came
round at last to the seven crumpets and seven buns, she listened as
seriously and put them up in their little paper bags with as much
interest as though the ceremony had never been gone through before. And
then just as we were turning to leave, she lifted up a glass shade and
drew out two cheese-cakes, which she proceeded to put into another paper

Haddie and I looked at each other. This was a lovely present. What a tea
we should have!

"I think thee will find these good," she said with a smile, "and I hope
thy dear mother will not think them too rich for thee and thy brother."

She put them into my hand, and of course we thanked her heartily. I have
often wondered why she never said, "thou wilt," but always "thee will,"
for she was not an uneducated woman by any means.

Laden with our treasures Haddie and I hurried home. There was mamma
watching for us with the door open. How sweet it was to have her always
to welcome us!

"Tea is quite ready, dears," she said. "Run upstairs quickly, Geraldine,
and take off your things, they must be rather damp. I am going to have
my real tea with you, for I have just had a note from your father to say
he won't be in till late and I am not to wait for him."

Mamma sighed a little as she spoke. I felt sorry for her disappointment,
but, selfishly speaking, we sometimes rather enjoyed the evenings father
was late, for then mamma gave us her whole attention, as she was not
able to do when he was at home. And though we were very fond of our
father, we were--I especially, I think--much more afraid of him than of
our mother.

And that was such a happy evening! I have never forgotten it. Mamma was
so good and thoughtful for us, she did not let us find out in the least
that she was feeling anxious on account of something father had said in
his note to her. She was just perfectly sweet.

We were very proud of our spoils from Miss Fryer's. We wanted mamma to
have one cheesecake and Haddie and I to divide the other between us. But
mamma would not agree to that. She would only take a half, so that we
had three-quarters each.

"Wasn't it kind of Miss Fryer, mamma?" I said.

"Very kind," said mamma. "I think she is really fond of children though
she is so grave. She has not forgotten what it was to be a child

Somehow her words brought back to my mind what old Mr. Cranston had said
about his little grand-daughter.

"I suppose children _are_ all rather like each other," I said. "Like
about Haddie, and that little girl riding on the lions."

Haddie was not very pleased at my speaking of it; he was beginning to be
afraid of seeming babyish.

"That was _quite_ different," he said. "She was a baby and had to be
held on. It was the fun of climbing up _I_ cared for."

"She wasn't a baby," I said. "She's nine years old, he said she
was--didn't he, mamma?"

"You are mixing two things together," said mamma. "Mr. Cranston was
speaking first of his daughter long ago when she was a child, and then
he was speaking of _her_ daughter, little Myra Raby, who is now nine
years old."

"Why did he say my 'poor' daughter?" I asked.

"Did you not hear the allusion to her death? Mrs. Raby died soon after
little Myra was born. Mr. Raby married again--he is a clergyman not very
far from Fernley----"

"A clergyman," exclaimed Haddie. He was more worldly-wise than I, thanks
to being at school. "A clergyman, and he married a shopkeeper's

"There are very different kinds of shopkeepers, Haddie," said mamma.
"Mr. Cranston is very rich, and his daughter was very well educated and
very nice. Still, no doubt Mr. Raby was in a higher position than she,
and both Mr. Cranston and his wife are very right-minded people, and
never pretend to be more than they are. That is why I was so glad to
hear that little Myra is coming to stay with them. I was afraid the
second Mrs. Raby might have looked down upon them perhaps."

Haddie said no more about it. And though I listened to what mamma said,
I don't think I quite took in the sense of it till a good while
afterwards. It has often been like that with me in life. I have a
curiously "retentive" memory, as it is called. Words and speeches remain
in my mind like unread letters, till some day, quite unexpectedly,
something reminds me of them, and I take them out, as it were, and find
what they really meant.

But just now my only interest in little Myra Raby's history was a
present one.

"Mamma," I said suddenly, "if she is a nice little girl like what her
mamma was, mightn't I have her to come and see me and play with me? I
have never had any little girl to play with, and it is so dull
sometimes--the days that Haddie is late at school and when you are busy.
Do say I may have her--I'm sure old Mr. Cranston would let her come, and
then I might go and play with her sometimes perhaps. Do you think she
will play among the furniture--where the lions are?"

Mamma shook her head.

"No, dear," she answered. "I am quite sure her grandmother would not
like that. For you see anybody might come into the shop or show-rooms,
and it would not seem nice for a little girl to be playing there--not
nice for a carefully brought-up little girl, I mean."

"Then I don't think I should care to go to her house," I said, "but I
would like her to come here. Please let her, mamma dear."

But mamma only said,

"We shall see."

After tea she told us stories--some of them we had heard often before,
but we never tired of hearing them again--about when she and Aunty Etta
were little girls. They were lovely stories--real ones of course. Mamma
was not as clever as Aunty Etta about making up fairy ones.

We were quite sorry when it was time to go to bed.

After I had been asleep for a little that night I woke up again--I had
not been very sound asleep. Just then I saw a light, and mamma came into
the room with a candle.

"I'm not asleep, dear mamma," I said. "Do kiss me again."

"That is what I have come for," she answered.

And she came up to the bedside and kissed me, oh so sweetly--more than
once. She seemed as if she did not want to let go of me.

"Dear mamma," I whispered sleepily, "I _am_ so happy--I'm always happy,
but to-night I feel so _extra_ happy, somehow."

"Darling," said mamma.

And she kissed me again.



The shadow of coming changes began to fall over us very soon after that.

Indeed, the very next morning at breakfast I noticed that mamma looked
pale and almost as if she had been crying, and father was, so to say,
"extra" kind to her and to me. He talked and laughed more than usual,
partly perhaps to prevent our noticing how silent dear mamma was, but
mostly I think because that is the way men do when they are really
anxious or troubled.

I don't fancy Haddie thought there was anything wrong--he was in a hurry
to get off to school.

After breakfast mamma told me to go and practise for half an hour, and
if she did not come to me then, I had better go on doing some of my
lessons alone. She would look them over afterwards. And as I was going
out of the room she called me back and kissed me again--almost as she
had done the night before.

That gave me courage to say something. For children were not, in my
childish days, on such free and easy terms with their elders as they are
now. And kind and gentle as mamma was, we knew very distinctly the sort
of things she would think forward or presuming on our part.

"Mamma," I said, still hesitating a little.

"Well, dear," she replied. She was buttoning, or pretending to button,
the band of the little brown holland apron I wore, so that I could not
see her face, but something in the tone of her voice told me that my
instinct was not mistaken.

"Mamma," I repeated, "may I say something? I have a feeling that--that
you are--that there is something the matter."

Mamma did not answer at once. Then she said very gently, but quite

"Geraldine, my dear, you know that I tell you as much as I think it
right to tell any one as young as you--I tell you more, of our plans and
private matters and such things, than most mothers tell their little
daughters. This has come about partly through your being so much alone
with me. But when I _don't_ tell you anything, even though you may
suspect there is something to tell, you should trust me that there is
good reason for my not doing so."

"Yes," I said, but I could not stifle a little sigh. "Would you just
tell me one thing, mamma," I went on; "it isn't anything that you're
really unhappy about, is it?"

Again mamma hesitated.

"Dear child," she said, "try to put it out of your mind. I can only say
this much to you, I am _anxious_ more than troubled. There is nothing
the matter that should really be called a trouble. But your father and I
have a question of great importance to decide just now, and we are
very--I may say really _terribly_--anxious to decide for the best. That
is all I can tell you. Kiss me, my darling, and try to be your own
bright little self. That will be a comfort and help to me."

I kissed her and I promised I would try to do as she wished. But it was
with rather a heavy heart that I went to my practising. What _could_ it
be? I did try not to think of it, but it would keep coming back into my
mind. And I was only a child. I had no experience of trouble or anxiety.
After a time my spirits began to rise again--there was a sort of
excitement in the wondering what this great matter could be. I am afraid
I did not succeed in putting it out of my mind as mamma wished me to do.

But the days went on without anything particular happening. I did not
speak of what mamma had said to me to my brother. I knew she did not
wish me to do so. And by degrees other things began to make me forget
about it a little. It was just at that time, I remember, that some
friend--an aunt on father's side, I think--sent me a present of _The
Wide, Wide World_, and while I was reading it I seemed actually to live
in the story. It was curious that I should have got it just then. If
mamma had read it herself I am not sure that she would have given it to
me. But after all, perhaps it served the purpose of preparing me a
_little_--a very little--for what was before me in my own life.

It was nearly three weeks after the time I have described rather
minutely that the blow fell, that Haddie and I were told the whole. I
think, however, I will not go on telling _how_ we were told, for I am
afraid of making my story too long.

And of course, however good my memory is, I cannot pretend that the
conversations I relate took place _exactly_ as I give them. I think I
give the _spirit_ of them correctly, but now that I have come to the
telling of distinct facts, perhaps it will be better simply to narrate

You will remember my saying that my father had lost money very
unexpectedly, and that this was what had obliged him to come to live at
Mexington and work so hard. He had got the post he held there--it was in
a bank--greatly through the influence of Mrs. Selwood, mamma's
godmother, who lived in the country at some hours' distance from the
town, and whose name was well known there, as she owned a great many
houses and other property in the immediate neighbourhood.

Father was very glad to get this post, and very grateful to Mrs.
Selwood. She took great interest in us all--that is to say, she was
interested in Haddie and me because we were mamma's children, though she
did not care for or understand children as a rule. But she was a
faithful friend, and anxious to help father still more.

Just about the time I have got to in my story, the manager of a bank in
South America, in some way connected with the one at Great Mexington,
became ill, and was told by the doctors that he must return to England
and have a complete rest for two years. Mrs. Selwood had money
connection with this bank too, and got to hear of what had happened.
Knowing that father could speak both French and Spanish well, for he had
been in the diplomatic service as a younger man, she at once applied for
the appointment for him, and after some little delay she was told that
he should have the offer of it for the two years.

Two years are not a very long time, even though the pay was high, but
the great advantage of the offer was that the heads of the bank at
Mexington promised, if all went well for that time, that some permanent
post should be given to father in England on his return. This was what
made him more anxious to accept the proposal than even the high pay. For
Mrs. Selwood found out that he would not be able to save much of his
salary, as he would have a large house to keep up, and would be expected
to receive many visitors. On this account the post was never given to an
unmarried man.

"If he accepts it," Mrs. Selwood wrote to mamma, "you, my dear Blanche,
must go with him, and some arrangement would have to be made about the
children for the time. I would advise your sending them to school."

_Now_ I think my readers will not be at a loss to understand why our
dear mother had looked so troubled, even though on one side this event
promised to be for our good in the end.

Father was allowed two or three weeks in which to make up his mind. The
heads of the Mexington bank liked and respected him very much, and they
quite saw that there were two sides to the question of his accepting the
offer. The climate of the place was not very good--at least it was
injurious to English people if they stayed there for long--and it was
perfectly certain that it would be madness to take growing children like
Haddie and me there.

_This_ was the dark spot in it all to mamma, and indeed to father too.
They were not afraid for themselves. They were both strong and still
young, but they could not for a moment entertain the idea of taking
_us_. And the thought of separation was terrible.

You see, being a small family, and living in a place like Great
Mexington, where my parents had not many congenial friends, and being
poor were obliged to live carefully, _home_ was everything to us all.
We four were the whole world to each other, and knew no happiness apart.

I do not mean to say that I felt or saw all this at once, but looking
back upon it from the outside, as it were, I see all that made it a
peculiarly hard case, especially--at the beginning, that is to say--for

It seems strange that I did _not_ take it all in--all the misery of it,
I mean--at first, nor indeed for some time, not till I had actual
experience of it. Even Haddie realised it more in anticipation than I
did. He was two years older, and though he had never been at a
boarding-school, still he knew something of school life. There were
boarders at his school, and he had often seen and heard how, till they
got accustomed to it at any rate, they suffered from home-sickness, and
counted the days to the holidays.

And for us there were not to be any holidays! No certain prospect of
them at best, though Mrs. Selwood said something vaguely about perhaps
having us at Fernley for a visit in the summer. But it was very vague.
And we had no near relations on mamma's side except Aunty Etta, who was
in India, and on father's no one who could possibly have us regularly
for our holidays.

All this mamma grasped at once, and her grief was sometimes so extreme
that, but for Mrs. Selwood, I doubt if father would have had the
resolution to accept. But Mrs. Selwood was what is called "very
sensible," perhaps just a little hard, and certainly not _sensitive_.
And she put things before our parents in such a way that mamma felt it
her duty to urge father to accept the offer, and father felt it _his_
duty to put feelings aside and do so.

They went to stay at Fernley from a Saturday to a Monday to talk it well
over, and it was when they came back on the Monday that we were told.

Before then I think we had both come to have a strong feeling that
something was going to happen. I, of course, had some reason for this in
what mamma had said to me, though I had forgotten about it a good deal,
till this visit to Fernley brought back the idea of something unusual.
For it was _very_ seldom that we were left by ourselves.

We did not mind it much. After all, it was only two nights and one
_whole_ day, and that a Sunday, when my brother was at home, so we
stood at the door cheerfully enough, looking at our father and mother
driving off in the clumsy, dingy old four-wheeler--though that is a
modern word--which was the best kind of cab known at Mexington.

But when they were fairly off Haddie turned to me, and I saw that he was
very grave. I was rather surprised.

"Why, Haddie," I said, "do you mind so much? They'll be back on Monday."

"No, of course I don't mind _that_," he said. "But I wonder why mamma
looks so--so awfully trying-not-to-cry, you know."

"Oh," I said, "I don't think she's quite well. And she hates leaving

"No," said my brother, "there's something more."

And when he said that, I remembered the feeling I had had myself. I felt
rather cross with Haddie; I wanted to forget it quite.

"You needn't try to frighten me like that," I said. "I meant to be quite
happy while they were away--to please mamma, you know, by telling her so
when she comes back."

Then Haddie, who really was a very good-natured, kind boy, looked

"I didn't mean to frighten you," he said; "perhaps it was my fancy. I
don't want to be unhappy while they're away, I'm sure. I'm only too glad
that to-day's Saturday and to-morrow Sunday."

And he did his very best to amuse me. We went out a walk that afternoon
with the housemaid--quite a long walk, though it was winter. We went as
far out of the town as we could get, to where there were fields, which
in spring and summer still looked green, and through the remains of a
little wood, pleasant even in the dullest season. It was our favourite
walk, and the only pretty one near the town. There was a brook at the
edge of the wood, which still did its best to sing merrily, and to
forget how dingy and grimy its clear waters became a mile or two farther
on; there were still a few treasures in the shape of ivy sprays and
autumn-tinted leaves to gather and take home with us to deck our

I remember the look of it all so well. It was the favourite walk of many
besides ourselves, especially on a Saturday, when the hard-worked
Mexington folk were once free to ramble about--boys and girls not much
older than ourselves among them, for in those days children were allowed
to work in factories much younger than they do now. We did not mind
meeting some of our townsfellows. On the contrary, we felt a good deal
of interest in them and liked to hear their queer way of talking, though
we could scarcely understand anything they said. And we were very much
interested indeed in some of the stories Lydia, who belonged to this
part of the country, told us of her own life, in a village a few miles
away, where there were two or three great factories, at which all the
people about worked--men, women, and children too, so that sometimes,
except for babies and very old people, the houses seemed quite deserted.

"And long ago before that," said Lydia, "when mother was a little lass,
it was such a pretty village--cottages all over with creepers and
honeysuckle--not ugly rows of houses as like each other as peas. The
people worked at home on their own hand-looms then."

Lydia had a sense of the beautiful!

On our way home, of course, we called at Miss Fryer's--this time we had
a whole shilling to spend, for there was Sunday's tea to think of as
well as to-day's. We had never had so much at a time, and our
consultation took a good while. We decided at last on seven crumpets
and seven Bath buns as usual, and in addition to these, three large
currant tea-cakes, which our friend Susan told us would be all the
better for toasting if not too fresh. And the remaining threepence we
invested in a slice of sweet sandwich, which she told us would be
perfectly good if kept in a tin tightly closed. The old Quakeress for
once, I have always suspected, departed on this occasion from her rule
of exact payment for all purchases, for it certainly seemed a very large
slice of sweet sandwich for threepence.

We were rather tired with our walk that evening and went to bed early.
Nothing more was said by Haddie about his misgivings. I think he hoped I
had forgotten what had passed, but I had not. It had all come back
again, the strange feeling of change and trouble in the air which had
made me question mamma that morning two or three weeks ago.

But I did not as yet really believe it. I had never known what sorrow
and trouble actually are. It is not many children who reach even the age
I was then with so sunny and peaceful an experience of life. That
anything could happen to us--to _me_--like what happened to "Ellen" in
_The Wide, Wide World_, I simply could not believe; even though if any
one had talked to me about it and said that troubles must come and _do_
come to all, and to some much more than to others, and that they might
be coming to us, I should have agreed at once and said yes, of course I
knew that was true.

The next day, Sunday, was very rainy. It made us feel dull, I think,
though we did not really mind a wet Sunday as much as another day, for
we never went a walk on Sunday. It was not thought right, and as we had
no garden the day would have been a very dreary one to us, except for

She managed to make it pleasant. We went to church in the morning, and
in the evening too sometimes. I think all children like going to church
in the evening; there is something grown-up about it. And the rest of
the day mamma managed to find interesting things for us to do. She
generally had some book which she kept for reading aloud on Sunday--Dr.
Adams's _Allegories_, "The Dark River" and others, were great
favourites, and so were Bishop Wilberforce's _Agathos_. Some of them
frightened me a little, but it was rather a pleasant sort of fright,
there was something grand and solemn about it.

Then we sang hymns sometimes, and we always had a very nice tea, and
mamma, and father too now and then, told us stories about when they were
children and what they did on Sundays. It was much stricter for them
than for us, though even for us many things were forbidden on Sundays
which are now thought not only harmless but right.

Still, I never look back to the quiet Sundays in the dingy Mexington
street with anything but a feeling of peace and gentle pleasure.



That Sunday--that last Sunday I somehow feel inclined to call it--stands
out in my memory quite differently from its fellows. Both Haddie and I
felt dull and depressed, partly owing no doubt to the weather, but still
more, I think, from that vague fear of something being wrong which we
were both suffering from, though we would not speak of it to each other.

It cleared up a little in the evening, and though it was cold and chilly
we went to church. Mamma had said to us we might if we liked, and Lydia
was going.

When we came in, cook sent us a little supper which we were very glad
of; it cheered us up.

"Aren't you thankful they're coming home to-morrow?" I said to Haddie.
"I've never minded their being away so much before."

They had been away two or three times that we could remember, though
never for longer than a day or two.

"Yes," said Haddie, "I'm very glad."

But that was all he said.

They did come back the next day, pretty early in the morning, as father
had to be at the bank. He went straight there from the railway station,
and mamma drove home with the luggage. She was very particular when she
went to stay with her godmother to take nice dresses, for Mrs. Selwood
would not have been pleased to see her looking shabby, and it would not
have made her any more sympathising or anxious to help, but rather the
other way. Long afterwards--at least some years afterwards, when I was
old enough to understand--I remember Mrs. Selwood saying to me that it
was mamma's courage and good management which made everybody respect

I was watching at the dining-room window, which looked out to the
street, when the cab drove up. After the heavy rain the day before, it
was for once a fine day, with some sunshine. And sunshine was rare at
Great Mexington, especially in late November.

Mamma was looking out to catch the first glimpse of me--of course she
knew that my brother would be at school. There was a sort of sunshine
on her face, at least I thought so at first, for she was smiling. But
when I looked more closely there was something in the smile which gave
me a queer feeling, startling me almost more than if I had seen that she
was crying.

I think for my age I had a good deal of self-control of a certain kind.
I waited till she had come in and kissed me and sent away the cab and we
were alone. Then I shut the door and drew her to father's special
arm-chair beside the fire.

"Mamma, dear," I half said, half whispered, "what is it?"

Mamma gave a sort of gasp or choke before she answered. Then she said,

"Why, dear, why should you think--oh, I don't know what I am saying,"
and she tried to laugh.

But I wouldn't let her.

"It's something in your face, mamma," I persisted.

She was silent for a moment.

"We had meant to tell you and Haddie this evening," she said, "father
and I together; but perhaps it is better. Yes, my Geraldine, there is
something. Till now it was not quite certain, though it has been hanging
over us for some weeks, ever since----"

"Since that day I asked you--the morning after father came home so late
and you had been crying?"

"Yes, since then," said mamma.

She put her arm round me, and then she told me all that I have told
already, or at least as much of it as she thought I could understand.
She told it quietly, but she did not try not to cry--the tears just came
trickling down her face, and she wiped them away now and then. I think
the letting them come made her able to speak more calmly.

And I listened. I was very sorry for her, very _very_ sorry. But you may
think it strange--I have often looked back upon it with wonder myself,
though I now feel as if I understood the causes of it better--when I
tell you that I was _not_ fearfully upset or distressed myself. I did
not feel inclined to cry, _except_ out of pity for mamma. And I listened
with the most intense interest, and even curiosity. I was all wound up
by excitement, for this was the first great event I had ever known, the
first change in my quiet child-life.

And my excitement grew even greater when mamma came to the subject of
what was decided about us children.

"Haddie of course must go to school," she said; "to a larger and better
school--Mrs. Selwood speaks of Rugby, if it can be managed. He will be
happy there, every one says. But about you, my Geraldine."

"Oh, mamma," I interrupted, "do let me go to school too. I have always
wanted to go, you know, and except for being away from you, I would far
rather be a boarder. It's really being at school then. I know they
rather look down upon day-scholars--Haddie says so."

Mamma looked at me gravely. Perhaps she was just a little disappointed,
even though on the other hand she may have felt relieved too, at my
taking the idea of this separation, which to her over-rode _everything_,
which made the next two years a black cloud to her, so very
philosophically. But she sighed. I fancy a suspicion of the truth came
to her almost at once and added to her anxiety--the truth that I did not
the least realise what was before me.

"We _are_ thinking of sending you to school, my child," she said
quietly, "and of course it must be as a boarder. Mrs. Selwood advises
Miss Ledbury's school here. She has known the old lady long and has a
very high opinion of her, and it is not very far from Fernley in case
Miss Ledbury wished to consult Mrs. Selwood about you in any way, or in
case you were ill."

"I am very glad," I said. "I should like to go to Miss Ledbury's."

My fancy had been tickled by seeing the girls at her school walking out
two and two in orthodox fashion. I thought it must be delightful to
march along in a row like that, and to have a partner of your own size
to talk to as much as you liked.

Mamma said no more just then. I think she felt at a loss what to say.
She was afraid of making me unnecessarily unhappy, and on the other hand
she dreaded my finding the reality all the worse when I came to contrast
it with my rose-coloured visions.

She consulted father, and he decided that it was best to leave me to
myself and my own thoughts.

"She is a very young child still," he said to mamma. (All this of course
I was told afterwards.) "It is quite possible that she will _not_ suffer
from the separation as we have feared. It may be much easier for her
than if she had been two or three years older."

Haddie had no illusions. From the very first he took it all in, and
that very bitterly. But he was, as I have said, a very good boy, and a
boy with a great deal of resolution and firmness. He said nothing to
discourage me. Mamma told him how surprised she was at my way of taking
it, and he agreed with father that perhaps I would not be really

And I do think that my chief unhappiness during the next few weeks came
from the sight of dear mamma's pale, worn face, which she could not
hide, try as she might to be bright and cheerful.

There was of course a great deal of bustle and preparation, and all
children enjoy that, I fancy. Even Haddie was interested about his
school outfit. He was to go to a preparatory school at Rugby till he
could get into the big school. And as far as school went, he told me he
was sure he would like it very well, it was only the--but there he

"The what?" I asked.

"Oh, the being all separated," he said gruffly.

"But you'd have had to go away to a big school some day," I reminded
him. "You didn't want always to go to a day-school."

"No," he allowed, "but it's the holidays."

The holidays! I had not thought about that part of it.

"Oh, I daresay something nice will be settled for the holidays," I said

In one way Haddie was very lucky. Mrs. Selwood had undertaken the whole
charge of his education for the two years our parents were to be away.
And after that "we shall see," she said.

She had great ideas about the necessity of giving a boy the very best
schooling possible, but she had not at all the same opinion about
_girls'_ education. She was a clever woman in some ways, but very
old-fashioned. Her own upbringing had been at a time when _very_ little
learning was considered needful or even advisable for our sex. And as
she had good practical capacities, and had managed her own affairs
sensibly, she always held herself up both in her own mind and to others
as a specimen of an _un_learned lady who had got on far better than if
she had had all the "'ologies," as she called them, at her fingers'

This, I think, was one reason why she approved of Miss Ledbury's school,
which, as you will hear, was certainly not conducted in accordance with
the modern ideas which even then were beginning to make wise parents
ask themselves if it was right to spend ten times as much on their sons'
education as on their daughters'.

"Teach a girl to write a good hand, to read aloud so that you can
understand what she says, to make a shirt and make a pudding and to add
up the butcher's book correctly, and she'll do," Mrs. Selwood used to

"And what about accomplishments?" some one might ask.

"She should be able to play a tune on the piano, and to sing a nice
English song or two if she has a voice, and maybe to paint a wreath of
flowers if her taste lies that way. That sort of thing would do no harm
if she doesn't waste time over it," the old lady would allow, with great
liberality, thinking over her own youthful acquirements no doubt.

I daresay there was a foundation of solid sense in the first part of her
advice. I don't see but that girls nowadays might profit by some of it.
And in many cases they _do_. It is quite in accordance with modern
thought to be able to make a good many "puddings," though home-made
shirts are not called for. But as far as the "accomplishments" go, I
should prefer none to such a smattering of them as our old friend
considered more than enough.

So far less thought on Mrs. Selwood's part was bestowed on
Geraldine--that is myself, of course--than on Haddon, as regarded the
school question. And mamma _had_ to be guided by Mrs. Selwood's advice
to a great extent just then. She had so much to do and so little time to
do it in, that it would have been impossible for her to go hunting about
for a school for me more in accordance with her own ideas. And she knew
that personally Miss Ledbury was well worthy of all respect.

She went to see her once or twice to talk about me, and make the best
arrangements possible. The first of these visits left a pleasanter
impression on her mind than the second. For the first time she saw Miss
Ledbury alone, and found her gentle and sympathising, and full of
conscientious interest in her pupils, so that it seemed childish to take
objection to some of the rules mentioned by the school-mistress which in
her heart mamma did not approve of.

One of these was that all the pupils' letters were to be read by one of
the teachers, and as to this Miss Ledbury said she could make no
exception. Then, again, no story-books were permitted, except such as
were read aloud on the sewing afternoons. But if I spent my holidays
there, as was only too probable, this rule should be relaxed.

The plan for Sundays, too, struck my mother disagreeably.

"My poor Geraldine," she said to father, when she was telling him all
about it, "I don't know how she will stand such a dreary day."

Father suggested that I should be allowed to write my weekly letter to
them on Sunday, and mamma said she would see if that could be.

And then father begged her not to look at the dark side of things.

"After all," he said, "Geraldine is very young, and will accommodate
herself better than you think to her new circumstances. She will enjoy
companions of her own age too. And we know that Miss Ledbury is a good
and kind woman--the disadvantages seem trifling, though I should not
like to think the child was to be there for longer than these two

Mamma gave in to this. Indeed, there seemed nothing else to do. But the
second time she went to see Miss Ledbury, the school-mistress
introduced her niece--her "right hand," as she called her--a woman of
about forty, named Miss Aspinall, who, though only supposed to be second
in command, was really the principal authority in the establishment,
much more than poor old Miss Ledbury, whose health was failing, realised

Mamma did not take to Miss Aspinall. But it was now far too late to make
any change, and she tried to persuade herself that she was nervously

And here, perhaps, I had better say distinctly, that Miss Aspinall was
not a bad or cruel woman. She was, on the contrary, truly conscientious
and perfectly sincere. But she was wanting in all finer feelings and
instincts. She had had a hard and unloving childhood, and had almost
lost the power of caring much for any one. She loved her aunt after a
fashion, but she thought her weak. She was just, or wished to be so, and
with some of the older pupils she got on fairly well. But she did not
understand children, and took small interest in the younger scholars,
beyond seeing that they kept the rules and were not complained of by the
under teachers who took charge of them. And as the younger pupils were
very seldom boarders it did not very much matter, as they had their own
homes and mothers to make them happy once school hours were over.

Mamma did not know that there were scarcely any boarders as young as I,
for when she first asked about the other pupils, Miss Ledbury, thinking
principally of lessons, said, "oh yes," there was a nice little class
just about my age, where I should feel quite at home.

A few days before _the_ day--the day of separation for us all--mamma
took me to see Miss Ledbury. She thought I would feel rather less
strange if I had been there once, and had seen the lady who was to be my

I knew the house--Green Bank, it was called--by sight. It was a little
farther out of the town than ours, and had a melancholy bit of garden in
front, and a sort of playground at the back. It was not a large
house--indeed, it was not really large enough for the number of people
living in it--twenty to thirty boarders, and a number of day-scholars,
who of course helped to fill the schoolrooms and to make them hot and
airless, four resident teachers, and four or five servants. But in those
days people did not think nearly as much as now about ventilation and
lots of fresh air, and perfectly pure water, and all such things, which
we now know to be quite as important to our health as food and clothes.

Mamma rang the bell. Everything about Green Bank was neat and orderly,
prim, if not grim. So was the maid-servant who opened the door, and in
answer to mamma's inquiry for Miss Ledbury, showed us into the
drawing-room, a square moderate-sized-room, at the right hand of the

I can remember the look of that room even now, perfectly. It was
painfully neat, not exactly ugly, for most of the furniture was of the
spindle-legged quaint kind, to which everybody now gives the general
name of "Queen Anne." There were a few books set out on the round table,
there was a cottage piano at one side, there were some faint
water-colours on the wall, and a rather nice clock on the white marble
mantelpiece, the effect of which was spoilt by a pair of huge "lustres,"
as they were called, at each side of it. The carpet was very ugly, large
and sprawly in pattern, and so was the hearth-rug. They were the newest
things in the room, and greatly admired by Miss Ledbury and her niece,
who were full of the bad taste of the day in furniture, and would
gladly have turned out all the delicate spidery-looking tables and
chairs to make way for heavy and cumbersome sofas and ottomans, but for
the question of expense, and perhaps for the sake of old association on
the elder lady's part.

There was no fire, though it was November, and mamma shivered a little
as she sat down, possibly, however not altogether from cold. It was
between twelve and one in the morning--that was the hour at which Miss
Ledbury asked parents to call.

Afterwards, when I got to know the rules of the house, I found that the
drawing-room fire was never lighted except on Wednesday and Saturday
afternoons, or on some very special occasion.

I stood beside mamma. Somehow I did not feel inclined to sit down. I was
full of a strange kind of excitement, half pleasant, half frightening. I
think the second half prevailed as the moments went on. Mamma did not
speak, but I felt her hand clasping my shoulder.

Then at last the door opened.



My first sight of Miss Ledbury was a sort of agreeable disappointment.
She was not the least like what I had imagined, though till I did see
her I do not think I knew that I had imagined anything! She had been
much less in my thoughts than her pupils; it was the idea of companions,
the charm of being one of a party of other girls, with a place of my own
among them, that my fancy had been full of. I don't think I cared very
much what the teachers were like.

What I did see was a very small, fragile-looking old lady, with quite
white hair, a black or purple--I am not sure which, anyway it was
dark--silk dress, and a soft fawn-coloured cashmere shawl. She had a
white lace cap, tied with ribbons under her chin, and black lace
mittens. Looking back now, I cannot picture her in any other dress. I
cannot remember ever seeing her with a bonnet on, and yet she must have
worn one, as she went to church regularly. Her face was small and still
pretty, and the eyes were naturally sweet, sometimes they had a twinkle
of humour in them, sometimes they looked almost hard. The truth was that
she was a gentle, kind-hearted person by nature, but a narrow life and
education had stunted her power of sympathy, and she thought it wrong to
give way to feeling. She was conscious of what she believed to be
weakness in herself, and was always trying to be firm and determined.
And since her niece had come to live with her, this put-on sternness had

Yet I was never really afraid of Miss Ledbury, though I never--well,
perhaps that is rather too strong--almost never, I should say, felt at
ease with her.

I was, I suppose, a very shy child, but till now the circumstances of my
life had not brought this out.

This first time of seeing my future school-mistress I liked her very
much. There was indeed something very attractive about her--something
almost "fairy-godmother-like" which took my fancy.

We did not stay long. Miss Ledbury was not without tact, and she saw
that the mention of the approaching parting, the settling the day and
hour at which I was to come to Green Bank to _stay_, were very, very
trying to mamma. And I almost think her misunderstanding of me began
from that first interview. In her heart I fancy she was shocked at my
coolness, for she did not know, or if she ever had known, she had
forgotten, much about children--their queer contradictory ways of taking
things, how completely they are sometimes the victims of their
imagination, how little they realise anything they have had no
experience of.

All that the old lady did not understand in me, she put down to my being
spoilt and selfish. She even, I believe, thought me forward.

Still, she spoke kindly--said she hoped I should soon feel at home at
Green Bank, and try to get on well with my lessons, so that when my dear
mamma returned she would be astonished at the progress I had made.

I did not quite understand what she said--the word "progress" puzzled
me. I wondered if it had anything to do with the pilgrim's progress, and
I was half inclined to ask if it had, and to tell her that I had read
the history of Christian and his family quite through, two or three
times. But mamma had already got up to go, so I only said "Yes" rather
vaguely, and Miss Ledbury kissed me somewhat coldly.

As soon as we found ourselves outside in the street again, mamma made
some little remark. She wanted to find out what kind of impression had
been left on me, though she would not have considered it right to ask me
straight out what I thought of the lady who was going to be my
superior--in a sense to fill a parent's place to me.

And I remember replying that I thought Miss Ledbury must be very, very
old--nearly a hundred, I should think.

"Oh dear no, not nearly as old as that," mamma said quickly. "You must
not say anything like that, Geraldine. It would offend her. She cannot
be more than sixty."

I opened my eyes. I thought it would be very nice to be a hundred.

But before I had time to say more, my attention was distracted. For just
at that moment, turning a corner, we almost ran into the procession I
was so eager to join--Miss Ledbury's girls, returning two and two from
their morning constitutional.

I felt my cheeks grow red with excitement. I stared at them, and some
of them, I think, looked at me. Mamma looked at them too, but instead of
getting red, her face grew pale.

They passed so quickly, that I was only able to glance at two or three
of the twenty or thirty faces. I looked at the smallest of the train
with the most interest, though one older face at the very end caught my
attention almost without my knowing it.

When they had passed I turned to mamma.

"Did you see that little girl with the rosy cheeks, mamma? The one with
a red feather in her hat. _Doesn't_ she look nice?"

"She looked a good-humoured little person," said mamma. In her heart she
thought the rosy-faced child rather common-looking and far too showily
dressed, but that was not unusual among the rich Mexington people, and
she would not have said anything like that to me. "I did notice one
_very_ sweet face," she went on, "I mean the young lady at the end--one
of the governesses no doubt."

I had, as I said, noticed her too, and mamma's words impressed it upon
me. Mamma seemed quite cheered by this passing glimpse, and she went on

"She must be one of the younger teachers, I should think. I hope you
may be in her class. You must tell me if you are when you write to me,
and tell me her name."

I promised I would.

The next two or three days I have no clear remembrance of at all. They
seemed all bustle and confusion--though through everything I recollect
mamma's pale drawn face, and the set look of Haddie's mouth. He was so
determined not to break down. Of father we saw very little--he was
terribly busy. But when he was at home, he seemed to be always
whistling, or humming a tune, or making jokes.

"How pleased father seems to be about going so far away," I said once to
Haddie. But he did not answer.

He--Haddie--was to go a part of the way in the same train as father and
mamma. They were to start on the Thursday, and I was taken to Green Bank
on Wednesday morning. Father took me--and Lydia. I was such a little
girl that mamma thought Lydia should go with me to unpack and arrange my
things, and she never thought that any one could object to this. For she
had never been at school herself, and did not know much about school
ways. I think the first beginning of my troubles and disappointments was
about Lydia.

Father and I were shown into the drawing-room. But when the door opened
this time, it was not to admit gentle old Miss Ledbury. Instead of her
in came a tall, thin woman, dressed in gray--she had black hair done
rather tightly, and a black lace bow on the top of her head.

Father was standing looking out of the window, and I beside him holding
his hand. I was not crying. I had had one sudden convulsive fit of sobs
early that morning when mamma came for a moment into my room, and for
the first time it _really_ came over me that I was leaving her. But she
almost prayed me to try not to cry, and the feeling that I was helping
her, joined to the excitement I was in, made it not so very difficult to
keep quiet. I do not even think my eyes were red.

Father turned at the sound of the door opening.

"Miss Ledbury," he began.

"Not Miss Ledbury. I am Miss Aspinall, her _niece_," said the lady; she
was not pleased at the mistake.

"Oh, I beg your pardon," said poor father. "I understood----"

"Miss Ledbury is not very well this morning," said Miss Aspinall. "She
deputed me to express her regrets."

"Oh certainly," said father. "This is my little daughter--you have seen
her before, I suppose?"

"No," said the lady, holding out her hand. "How do you do, my dear?"

I did not speak. I stared up at her, I felt so confused and strange. I
scarcely heard what father went on to say--some simple messages from
mamma about my writing to them, and so on, and the dates of the mails,
the exact address, etc., etc., to all of which Miss Aspinall listened
with a slight bend of her head or a stiff "indeed," or "just so."

This was not encouraging. I am afraid even father's buoyant spirits went
down: I think he had had some idea that if he came himself he would be
able to make friends with my school-mistress and be able to ensure her
special friendliness. But it was clear that nothing of this kind was to
be done with the niece.

So he said at last,

"Well, I think that is all. Good-bye, my little woman, then. Good-bye,
my darling. She will be a good girl, I am sure, Miss Aspinall; she has
been a dear good child at home."

His voice was on the point of breaking, but the governess stood there
stonily. His praise of me was not the way to win her favour. I do
believe she would have liked me better if he had said I had been so
naughty and troublesome at home that he trusted the discipline of school
would do me good. And when I glanced up at Miss Aspinall's face,
something seemed to choke down the sob which was beginning again to rise
in my throat.

[Illustration: "GOOD-BYE!"]

"Good-bye, my own little girl," said father. One more kiss and he was

My luggage was in the hall--which was really a passage scarcely
deserving the more important name--and beside it stood Lydia. Miss
Aspinall looked at her coldly.

"Who----" she began, when I interrupted her.

"It's Lydia," I said. "She's come to unpack my things. Mamma sent her."

"Come to unpack your things," repeated the governess. "There must be
some mistake--that is quite unnecessary. There is no occasion for you to
wait," she said to poor Lydia, with a slight gesture towards the door.

Lydia grew very red.

"Miss Geraldine won't know about them all, I'm afraid," she began. "She
has not been used to taking the charge of her things yet."

"Then the sooner she learns the better," said Miss Aspinall, and Lydia
dared not persist. She turned to me, looking ready to burst out crying
again, though, as she had been doing little else for three days, one
might have thought her tears were exhausted.

"Good-bye, dear Miss Geraldine," she said, half holding out her arms. I
flew into them. I was beginning to feel very strange.

"Good-bye, dear Lydia," I said.

"You will write to me, Miss Geraldine?"

"Of course I will; I know your address," I said. Lydia was going to her
own home to work with a dressmaker sister in hopes of coming back to us
at the end of the two years.

"Miss Le Marchant" (I think I have never said that our family name was
Le Marchant), said a cold voice, "I really cannot wait any longer; you
must come upstairs at once to take off your things."

Lydia glanced at me.

"I beg pardon," she said; and then she too was gone.

Long afterwards the poor girl told me that her heart was nearly bursting
when she left me, but she had the good sense to say nothing to add to
mamma's distress, as she knew that my living at Green Bank was all
settled about. She could only hope the other governesses might be kinder
than the one she had seen.

Miss Aspinall walked upstairs, telling me to follow her. It was not a
very large house, but it was a high one and the stairs were steep. It
seemed to me that I had climbed up a long way when at last she opened a
door half-way down a dark passage.

"This is your room," she said, as she went in.

I followed her eagerly. I don't quite know what I expected. I had not
been told if I was to have a room to myself or not. But at first I think
I was rather startled to see three beds in a room not much larger than
my own one at home--three beds and two wash-hand stands, a large and a
small, two chests of drawers, a large and a small also, which were
evidently considered to be toilet-tables as well, as each had a
looking-glass, and three chairs.

My eyes wandered round. It was all quite neat, though dull. For the one
window looked on to the side-wall of the next-door house, and much
light could not have got in at the best of times, added to which, the
day was a very gray one. But the impression it made upon me was more
that of a tidy and clean servants' room than of one for ladies, even
though only little girls.

I stood still and silent.

"This is your bed," said Miss Aspinall next, touching a small white
counterpaned iron bedstead in one corner--I was glad it was in a corner.
"The Miss Smiths are your companions. They share the large chest of
drawers, and your things will go into the smaller one."

"There won't be nearly room enough," I said quickly. I had yet to learn
the habit of not saying out whatever came into my head.

"Nonsense, child," said the governess. "There must be room enough for
you if there is room enough for much older and----" she stopped. "At
your age many clothes are not requisite. I think, on the whole, it will
be better for you not to unpack or arrange your own things. One of the
governesses shall do so, and all that you do not actually require must
stay in your trunk and be put in the box-room."

I did not pay very much attention to what she said. I don't think I
clearly understood it, for, as I have said, in some ways I was rather a
slow child. And my thoughts were running more on the Miss Smiths and the
rest of my future companions than on my wardrobe. If I had taken in that
it was not only my clothes that were in question, but that my little
household gods, my special pet possessions, were not to be left in my
own keeping, I would have minded much more.

"Now take off your things at once," said Miss Aspinall. "You must keep
on your boots till your shoes are got out, but take care not to stump
along the passages. Do your hands want washing? No, you have your gloves
on. As soon as you are ready, go down two flights of stairs till you
come to the passage under this on the next floor. The door at the end is
the second class schoolroom, where you will be shown your place."

Then she went away, leaving me to my own reflections. Not a word of
sympathy or encouragement, not a pat on my shoulder as she passed me,
nor a kindly glance out of her hard eyes. But at the time I scarcely
noticed this. My mind was still full of not unpleasant excitement,
though I was beginning to feel tired and certainly very confused and

I sat down for a moment on the edge of my little bed when Miss Aspinall
left me, without hastening to take off my coat and bonnet. We wore
bonnets mostly in those days, though hats were beginning to come into
fashion for young girls.

"I wish there were only two beds, not three," I said to myself. "And I
would like the little girl with the rosy face to sleep in my room. I
wonder if she's Miss Smith perhaps. I wonder if there's several little
girls as little as me. I'd like to know all their names, so as to write
and tell them to mamma and Haddie."

The inclination to cry had left me--fortunately in some ways, though
perhaps if I had made my _début_ in the schoolroom looking very
woe-begone and tearful I should have made a better impression. My future
companions would have felt sorry for me. As it was, when I had taken off
my things I made my way downstairs as I had been directed, and opening
the schoolroom door--I remember wondering to myself what second class
schoolroom could mean: would it have long seats all round, something
like a second-class railway carriage?--walked in coolly enough.

The room felt airless and close, though it was a cold day. And at the
first glance it seemed to me perfectly full of people--girls--women
indeed in my eyes many of them were, they were so much bigger and older
than I--in every direction, more than I could count. And the hum of
voices was very confusing, the _hums_ I should say, for there were two
or three different sets of reading aloud, or lessons repeating, going on
at once.

I stood just inside the door. Two or three heads were turned in my
direction at the sound I made in opening it, but quickly bent over their
books again, and for some moments no one paid any attention to me. Then
suddenly a governess happened to catch sight of me. It was the same
sweet-faced girl whom mamma had noticed at the end of the long file in
the street.

She looked at me once, then seemed at a loss, then she looked at me
again, and at last said something to the girl beside her, and getting up
from her seat went to the end of the room, and spoke to a small elderly
woman in a brown stuff dress, who was evidently another governess.

This person--I suppose I should say lady--turned round and stared at me.
Then she said something to the younger governess, nothing very pleasant,
I fancy, for the sweet-looking one--I had better call her by her name,
which was Miss Fenmore--went back to her place with a heightened colour.

You may ask how I can remember all these little particulars so exactly.
Perhaps I do not quite do so, but still, all that happened just then
made a very strong impression on me, and I have thought it over so much
and so often, especially since I have had children of my own, that it is
difficult to tell quite precisely how much is real memory, how much the
after knowledge of how things must have been, to influence myself and
others as they did. And later, too, I talked them over with those who
were older than I at the time, and could understand more.

So there I stood, a very perplexed little person, though still more
perplexed than distressed or disappointed, by the door. Now and then
some head was turned to look at me with a sort of stealthy curiosity,
but there was no kindness in any of the glances, and the young governess
kept her eyes turned away. I was not a pretty child. My hair was
straight and not noticeable in any way, and it was tightly plaited, as
was the fashion, _unless_ a child's hair was thick enough to make pretty
ringlets. My face was rather thin and pale, and there was nothing of
dimpling childish loveliness about me. I was rather near-sighted too,
and I daresay that often gave me a worried, perhaps a fretful

After all, I did not have to wait very long. The elderly governess
finished the page she was reading aloud--she may have been dictating to
her pupils, I cannot say--and came towards me.

"Did Miss Aspinall send you here?" she said abruptly.

I looked up at her. She seemed to me no better than our cook, and not
half so good-natured.

"Yes," I said.

"Yes," she repeated, as if she was very shocked. "Yes _who_, if you
please? Yes, Miss ----?"

"Yes, Miss," I said in a matter-of-fact way.

"What manners! Fie!" said Miss ----; afterwards I found her name was
Broom. "I think indeed it was quite time for you to come to school. If
you cannot say my name, you can at least say ma'am."

I stared up at her. I think my trick of staring must have been rather
provoking, and perhaps even must have seemed rude, though it arose
entirely from my not understanding.

"I don't know your name, Miss--ma'am," I said. I spoke clearly. I was
not frightened. And a titter went round the forms. Miss Broom was angry
at being put in the wrong.

"Miss Aspinall sent you to my class, _Miss Broom's_ class," she said.

"No, ma'am--Miss Broom--she didn't."

The governess thought I meant to be impertinent--impertinent, poor me!

And with no very gentle hand, she half led, half pushed me towards her
end of the room, where there was a vacant place on one of the forms.

"Silence, young ladies," she said, for some whispering was taking place.
"Go on with your copying out."

And then she turned to me with a book.

"Let me hear how you can read," she said.



I could read aloud well, unusually well, I think, for mamma had taken
great pains with my pronunciation. She was especially anxious that both
Haddie and I should speak well, and not catch the Great Mexington
accent, which was both peculiar and ugly.

But the book which Miss Broom had put before me was hardly a fair test.
I don't remember what it was--some very dry history, I think, bristling
with long words, and in very small print. I did not take in the sense of
what I was reading in the very least, and so, of course, I read badly,
tumbling over the long words, and putting no intelligence into my tone.
I think, too, my teacher was annoyed at the purity of my accent, for no
one could possibly have mistaken _her_ for anything but what she was--a
native of Middleshire. She corrected me once or twice, then shut the
book impatiently.

"Very bad," she said, "very bad indeed for eleven years old."

"I am not eleven, Miss Broom," I said. "I am only nine past."


"Little girls must not contradict, and must not be rude," was the reply.

What had I said that could be called rude? I tried to think, thereby
bringing on myself a reprimand for inattention, which did not have the
effect of brightening my wits, I fear.

I think I was put through a sort of examination as to all my
acquirements. I know I came out of it very badly, for Miss Broom
pronounced me so backward that there was no class, not even the
youngest, in the school, which I was really fit for. There was nothing
for it, however, but to put me into this lowest class, and she said I
must do extra work in play hours to make up to my companions.

Even my French, which I now _know_ must have been good, was found fault
with by Miss Broom, who said my accent was extraordinary. And certainly,
if hers was Parisian, mine must have been worse than that of

Still, I was not unhappy. I thought it must be always like that at
school, and I said to myself I really would work hard to make up to
the others, who were so much, much cleverer than I. And I sat
contentedly enough in my place, doing my best to learn a page of English
grammar by heart, from time to time peeping round the table, till, to my
great satisfaction and delight, I caught sight of the rosy-cheeked
damsel at the farther end of the table.

I was so pleased that I wonder I did not jump up from my place and run
round to speak to her, forgetful that though I had thought so much of
her, she had probably never noticed me at all the only other time of our
meeting, or rather passing each other.

But I felt Miss Broom's eye upon me, and sat still. I acquitted myself
pretty fairly of my page of grammar, leading to the dry remark from the
governess that it was plain I "could learn if I chose." As this was the
first thing I had been given to learn, the implied reproach was not
exactly called for. But none of Miss Broom's speeches were remarkable
for being appropriate. They depended much more on the mood she happened
to be in herself than upon anything else.

I can clearly remember most of that day. I have a vision of a long
dining-table, long at least it seemed to me, and a plateful of roast
mutton and potatoes which I could not manage to finish, followed by rice
pudding with which I succeeded better, though I was not the least
hungry. Miss Aspinall was at one end of the table, Miss Broom at the
other, and Miss Fenmore, who seemed always to be jumping up to ring the
bell or hand the governesses something or other that had been forgotten
by the servant, sat somewhere in the middle.

No one spoke unless spoken to by one of the teachers. Miss Aspinall shot
out little remarks from time to time about the weather, and replied
graciously enough to one or two of the older girls who ventured to ask
if Miss Ledbury's cold, or headache, was better.

Then came the grace, followed by a shoving back of forms, and a march in
order of age, or place in class rather, to the door, and thence down the
passage to what was called the big schoolroom--a room on the ground
floor, placed where by rights the kitchen should have been, I fancy. It
was the only large room in the house, and I think it must have been
built out beyond the original walls on purpose.

And then--there re-echo on my ears even now the sudden bursting out of
noise, the loosening of a score and a half of tongues, girls' tongues
too, forcibly restrained since the morning. For this was the recreation
hour, and on a wet day, to make up for not going a walk, the "young
ladies" were allowed from two to three to chatter as much as they
liked--in English instead of in the fearful and wonderful jargon yclept

I stood in a corner by myself, staring, no doubt. I felt profoundly
interested. This was a _little_ more like what I had pictured to myself,
though I had not imagined it would be quite so noisy and bewildering.
But some of the girls seemed very merry, and their laughter and chatter
fascinated me--if only I were one of them, able to laugh and chatter
too! Should I ever be admitted to share their fun?

The elder girls did not interest me. They seemed to me quite grown-up.
Yet it was from their ranks that came the first token of interest in
me--of notice that I was there at all.

"What's your name?" said a tall thin girl with fair curls, which one
could see she was very proud of. She was considered a beauty in the
school. She was silly, but very good-natured. She spoke with a sort of
lisp, and very slowly, so her question did not strike me as rude. Nor
was it meant to be so. It was a mixture of curiosity and amiability.

"My name," I repeated, rather stupidly. I was startled by being spoken

"Yes, your name. Didn't Miss Lardner say what's your name? Dear
me--don't stand gaping there like a monkey on a barrel-organ," said
another girl.

By this time a little group had gathered round me. The girls composing
it all laughed, and though it does not sound very witty--to begin with,
I never heard of a monkey "gaping"--I have often thought since that
there was some excuse for the laughter. I was small and thin, and I had
a trick of screwing up my eyes which made them look smaller than they
really were. And my frock was crimson merino with several rows of black
velvet above the hem of the skirt.

I was not offended. But I did not laugh. The girl who had spoken last
was something of a tomboy, and looked upon also as a wit. Her name was
Josephine Mellor, and her intimate friends called her Joe. She had very
fuzzy red hair, and rather good brown eyes.

"I say," she went on again, "what _is_ your name? And are you going to
stay to dinner every day, or only when it rains, like Lizzie Burt?"

Who was Lizzie Burt? That question nearly set my ideas adrift again. But
the consciousness of my superior position fortunately kept me to the

"I am going to be at dinner always," I said proudly. "I am a boarder."

The girls drew a little nearer, with evidently increased interest.

"A boarder," repeated Josephine. "Then Harriet Smith'll have to give up
being baby. You're ever so much younger than her, I'm sure."

"What are you saying about me?" said Harriet, who had caught the sound
of her own name, as one often does.

"Only that that pretty snub nose of yours is going to be put out of
joint," said Miss Mellor mischievously.

Harriet came rushing forward. She was my rosy-cheeked girl! Her face was
redder than usual. I felt very vexed with Miss Mellor, even though I did
not quite understand her.

"What are you saying?" the child called out. "I'm not going to have any
of your teasing, Joe."

"It's not teasing--it's truth," said the elder girl. "You're not the
baby any more. _She_," and she pointed to me, "she's younger than you."

"How old are you?" said Harriet roughly.

"Nine past," I said. "Nine and a half."

"Hurrah! Hurrah!" shouted Harriet. "I'm only nine and a month. I'm still
the baby, Miss Joe."

She was half a head at least taller than I, and broad in proportion.

"What a mite you are, to be sure," said Miss Mellor, "nine and a half
and no bigger than that."

I felt myself getting red. I think one or two of the girls must have had
perception enough to feel a little sorry for me, for one of them--I
fancy it was Miss Lardner--said in a good-natured patronising way,

"You haven't told us your name yet, after all."

"It's Geraldine," I said. "That's my first name, and I'm always called

"Geraldine what?" said the red-haired girl.

"Geraldine Theresa Le Marchant--that's all my names."

"My goodness," said Miss Mellor, "how grand we are! Great Mexington's
growing quite aristocratic. I didn't know monkeys had such fine names."

Some of the girls laughed, some, I think, thought her as silly as she

"Where do you come from?" was the next question.

"Come from?" I repeated. "I don't know."

At this they all did laugh, and I suppose it was only natural. Suddenly
Harriet Smith made a sort of dash at me.

"Oh, I say," she exclaimed. "I know. She's going to sleep in our room. I
saw them putting sheets on the bed in the corner, but Jane wouldn't tell
me who they were for. Emma," she called out loudly to a girl of fourteen
or fifteen, "Emma, I say, she's going to sleep in our room I'm sure."

Emma Smith was taller and thinner and paler than her sister, but still
they were rather like. Perhaps it was for that very reason that they got
on so badly--they might have been better friends if they had been more
unlike. As it was, they quarrelled constantly, and I must say it was
generally Harriet's fault. She was very spoilt, but she had something
hearty and merry about her, and so had Emma. They were the daughters of
a rich Great Mexington manufacturer, and they had no mother. They were
favourites in the school, partly I suspect because they had lots of
pocket money, and used to invite their companions to parties in the
holidays. But they were not mean or insincere, though rough and
noisy--more like boys than girls.

Emma came bouncing forward.

"I say," she began to me, "if it's true you're to sleep in our room I
hope you understand you must do what I tell you. I'm the eldest. You're
not to back up Harriet to disobey me."

"No," I said. "I don't want to do anything like that."

"Well, then," said Harriet, "you'll be Emma's friend, not mine."

My face fell, and I suppose Harriet saw it. She came closer to me and
looked at me well, as if expecting me to answer. But for the first time
since I had been in my new surroundings I felt more than bewildered--I
felt frightened and lonely, terribly lonely.

"Oh, mamma," I thought to myself, "I wish I could see you to tell you
about it. It isn't a bit like what I thought it would be."

But I said nothing aloud. I think now that if I had burst out crying it
would have been better for me, but I had very little power of expressing
myself, and Haddie had instilled into me a great horror of being a
cry-baby at school.

In their rough way, however, several of the girls were kind-hearted, the
two Smiths perhaps as much so as any. Harriet came close up to me.

"I'm only in fun," she said; "of course we'll be friends. I'll tell you
how we'll do," and she put her fat little arm round me in a protecting
way which I much appreciated. "Come over here," she went on in a lower
voice, "where none of the big ones can hear what we say," and she drew
me, nothing loth, to the opposite corner of the room.

As we passed through the group of older girls standing about, one or two
fragments of their talk reached my ears.

"Yes--I'm sure it's the same. He's a bank clerk, I think. I've heard
papa speak of them. They're awfully poor--come-down-in-the-world sort of

"Oh, then, I expect when she's old enough she'll be a governess--perhaps
she'll be a sort of teacher here to begin with."

Then followed some remark about looking far ahead, and a laugh at the
idea of "the monkey" ever developing into a governess.

But after my usual fashion it was not till I thought it over afterwards
that I understood that it was I and my father they had been discussing.
In the meantime I was enjoying a confidential talk with Harriet
Smith--that is to say, I was listening to all she said to me; she did
not seem to expect me to say much in reply.

I felt flattered by her condescension, but I did not in my heart feel
much interest in her communications. They were mostly about Emma--how
she tried to bully her, Harriet, because she herself was five years
older, and how the younger girl did not intend to stand it much longer.
Emma was as bad as a boy.

"As bad as a boy," I repeated. "I don't know what you mean."

"That's because you've not got a brother, I suppose," said Harriet. "Our
brother's a perfect nuisance. He's so spoilt--papa lets him do just as
he likes. Emma and I hate the holidays because of him being at home. But
it's the worst for me, you see. Emma hates Fred bullying her, so she
might know I hate her bullying me."

This was all very astonishing to me.

"I have a brother," I said after a moment or two's reflection.

"Then you know what it is. Why didn't you say so?" asked Harriet.

"Because I don't know what it is. Haddie never teases me. I love being
with him."

"My goodness! Then you're not like most," said Harriet elegantly,
opening her eyes.

She asked me some questions after this--as to where we lived, how many
servants we had, and so on. Some I answered--some I could not, as I was
by no means as worldly-wise as this precocious young person.

She gave me a great deal of information about school--she hated the
governesses, except the old lady, and she didn't care about her much.
Miss Broom was her special dislike. But she liked school very well,
she'd been there a year now, and before that she had a daily governess
at home, and it was very dull indeed. What had I done till now--had I
had a governess?

"Oh no," I said. "I had mamma."

"Was she good to you," asked my new friend, "or was she very strict?"

I stared at Harriet. Mamma was strict, but she was very, very good to
me. I said so.

"Then why are you a boarder?" she asked. "_We_'ve not got a mamma, but
even if we had I'm sure she wouldn't teach us herself. I suppose your
mamma isn't rich enough to pay for a governess for you."

"I don't know," I said simply. I had never thought in this way of
mamma's teaching me, but I was not at all offended. "I don't think any
governess would be as nice as mamma."

"Then why have you come to school?" inquired Harriet.

"Because"--"because father and mamma have to go away," I was going to
say, when suddenly the full meaning of the words seemed to rush over me.
A strange giddy feeling made me shut my eyes and I caught hold of
Harriet's arm.

"What's the matter?" she said wonderingly, as I opened my eyes and
looked at her again.

"I'd rather not talk about mamma just now," I said. "I'll tell you

"Up in our room," said Harriet, "oh yes, that'll be jolly. We've got all
sorts of dodges."

But before she had time to explain more, or I to ask her why "dodges"--I
knew the meaning of the word from Haddie--were required, a bell rang

Instantly the hubbub ceased, and there began a sort of silent
scramble--the elder girls collecting books and papers and hurrying to
their places; the younger ones rushing upstairs to the other schoolroom,
I following.

In a few minutes we were all seated round the long tables. It was a
sewing afternoon, and to my great delight I saw that Miss Fenmore, the
pretty governess whom I had taken such a fancy to, though I had not yet
spoken to her, was now in Miss Broom's place.

Mamma had provided me with both plain work and a little simple fancy
work, but as my things were not yet unpacked, I had neither with me, and
I sat feeling awkward and ashamed, seeing all the others busily
preparing for business.

"Have you no work, my dear?" said Miss Fenmore gently. It was the first
kind speech I had had from a governess.

"It isn't unpacked," I said, feeling my cheeks grow red, I did not know

Miss Fenmore hesitated for a moment. Then she took out a stocking--or
rather the beginning of one on knitting-needles.

"Can you knit?" she asked.

"I can knit plain--plain and purl--just straight on," I said. "But I've
never done it round like that."

"Never mind, you will learn easily, as you know how to knit. Come and
sit beside me, so that I can watch you."

She made the girls sit a little more closely, making a place for me
beside her, and I would have been quite happy had I not seen a cross
expression on several faces, and heard murmurs of "favouring," "spoilt
pet," and so on.

Miss Fenmore, if _she_ heard, took no notice. And in a few moments all
was in order. We read aloud in turns--the book was supposed to be a
story-book, but it seemed to me very dull, though the fault may have
lain in the uninteresting way the girls read, and the constant change of
voices, as no one read more than two pages at a time. I left off trying
to listen and gave my whole attention to my knitting, encouraged by Miss
Fenmore's whispered "very nice--a little looser," or "won't it be nice
to knit socks for your father or brother, if you have a brother?"

I nodded with a smile. I was burning to tell her everything. Already I
felt that I loved her dearly--her voice was as sweet as her face. Yet
there were tones in the former and lines in the latter telling of much
sorrow and suffering, young as she was. I was far too much of a child to
understand this. I only felt vaguely that there was something about her
which reminded me of mamma as she had looked these last few weeks.

And my heart was won.



After that first day at Green Bank, the remembrance of things in detail
is not so clear to me.

To begin with, the life was very monotonous. Except for the different
lessons, one day passed much like another, the principal variety being
the coming of Sunday and the two weekly half-holidays--Wednesday and
Saturday. But to me the half-holidays brought no pleasure. I think I
disliked them more than lesson days, and most certainly I disliked
Sundays most of all.

Looking back now, I think my whole nature and character must have gone
through some curious changes in these first weeks at school. I grew
older very rapidly.

There first came by degrees the great _disappointment_ of it all--for
though I am anxious not to exaggerate anything, it was a bewildering
"disillusionment" to me. Nobody and nothing were what I had imagined
they would be. Straight out of my sheltered home, where every thought
and tone and word were full of love, I was tossed into this world of
school, where, though no doubt there were kind hearts and nice natures
as there are everywhere, the whole feeling was different. Even the
good-nature was rough and unrefined--the tones of voice, the ways of
moving about, the readiness to squabble, though very likely it was more
a kind of bluster than anything worse, all startled and astounded me, as
I gradually awoke from my dream of the delights of being at school
surrounded by companions.

And there was really a prejudice against me, both among teachers and
pupils. A story had got about that my family was very, very poor, that
father had had to go abroad on this account, and that my schooling was
to be paid for out of charity. So even my gentleness, my soft way of
speaking, the surprise I was too innocent to conceal at much that I saw,
were all put down to my "giving myself airs." And I daresay the very
efforts I made to please those about me and to gain their affection did
more harm than good. Because I clung more or less to Harriet Smith, my
room-mate, and the nearest to me in age, I was called a little sneak,
trying to get all I could "out of her," as she was such a rich little

I overheard these remarks once or twice, but it was not for some time
that I in the least knew what they meant, and so I daresay the
coarse-minded girls who made them thought all the worse of me because I
did not resent them and just went quietly on my own way.

What I did want from Harriet was sympathy; and when she was in the
humour to pay attention to me, she did give me as much as it was in her
to give.

I shall never forget the real kindness she and Emma too showed me that
first night at Green Bank, when a great blow fell on me after we went
upstairs to go to bed.

Some one had unpacked my things. My night-dress was lying on the bed, my
brushes and sponges were in their places, and when I opened the very
small chest of drawers I saw familiar things neatly arranged in them.
But there seemed so few--and in the bottom drawer only one frock, and
that my oldest one, not the pretty new one mamma had got me for Sundays
or any special occasion.

"Where can all my other things be?" I said to Harriet, who was greatly
interested in my possessions.

"What more have you?" she said, peering over my shoulder.

I named several.

"And all my other things," I went on, "not clothes, I don't mean, but my
workbox and my new writing-desk, and the picture of father and mamma and
Haddie"--it was before the days of "carte-de-visite" or "cabinet"
photographs; this picture was what was called a "daguerreotype" on
glass, and had been taken on purpose for me at some expense--"and my
china dog and the rabbits, and my scraps of silk, and all my puzzles,
and, and----" I stopped short, out of breath with bewilderment. "Can
they be all together for me to unpack myself?" I said.

Emma, the most experienced of the three, shook her head.

"I'm afraid," she was beginning, when the door opened, and Miss Broom's
face appeared.

"Young ladies," she said, "I cannot have this. No talking after the last
bell has rung. My dear Miss Smith, you are not usually so forgetful. If
it is _you_, Miss Marchant, it is a very bad beginning, disobedience the
very first evening."

"She didn't know," said both the girls. "It isn't her fault." "And if
she had known," Harriet went on, "she couldn't have helped it. Miss
Broom, somebody's took such lots of her things. Tell her, Gerry."

Under her protection I repeated the list of missing articles, but before
I had got to the end the governess interrupted me.

"You are a most impertinent child," she said, "to say such a thing.
There are no thieves at Green Bank--what a mind you must have! Your
things are safely packed away. Such as you really need you shall have
from time to time as I or Miss Aspinall think fit. The frock you have on
must be kept as your best one, and you must wear the brown check every
day. You have far too many clothes--absurd extravagance--no wonder----"
but here she had the sense to stop short.

I did not care so much about my clothes.

"It's the other things I mind," I began, but Miss Broom, who was already
at the door, again interrupted.

"Nonsense," she said. "We cannot have the rooms littered with rubbish.
Miss Aspinall left it to me. You may have your Biblical dissected maps
on Sundays, and perhaps some of the other puzzles during the Christmas
holidays, but young ladies do not come to school to amuse themselves,
but to work hard at their lessons."

I dared not say anything more. There may have been some reason in
putting away a certain number of my treasures, for dear mamma, in her
wish to do all she possibly could for my happiness, had very probably
sent more things with me than was advisable. But I was not a silly
spoilt child; I had always been taught to be reasonable, and I would
have given in quite cheerfully if Miss Broom had put it before me in any
kindly way.

I was not left quite without defence, however.

"I don't see but what you might let her have some things out," said
Emma. "Harry and I have. Look at the mantelpiece--the china figures and
the Swiss châlets are our ornaments, and there's quite room for some

But Miss Broom was by this time at the door, which shut after her
sharply without her saying another word.

"Horrid old cat," said both the Smiths.

I said nothing, for if I had I knew I should have burst into tears. But
after I was ready for bed and had said my prayers, I could not help the
one bitter complaint.

"I wouldn't mind anything else if only she'd let me have papa and
mamma's picture," I said.

"_Of course_ you should have that," said Emma. "I'm sure Miss Ledbury
would let you have it. I think even Miss Aspinall would. Don't be
unhappy, Gerry, I'll see if I can't do something for you to-morrow."

And with this consolation I fell asleep. Nor did Emma forget her
promise. The next day I found my daguerreotype installed on the
mantelpiece, where it stayed all the time I was at school.

My happiest days were those of our French lessons, for then Miss Fenmore
was the teacher. She spoke French very well, and she was most kind and
patient. Yet for some reason or other she was not much liked in the
school. There was a prejudice against her as there was against me:
partly, because she did not belong to that part of the country, she was
said to "give herself airs"; partly, I think, because she was quiet and
rather reserved; partly, I am afraid, because some of the elder girls
were jealous of her extreme loveliness. She was as kind to me as she
dared to be, but I had no lessons from her except French, and she has
since told me that she did not venture to show me anything like
partiality, as it would only have made my life still harder and

The remembrances which stand out the most clearly in my mind will give a
fair idea of my time at Green Bank. The next great trouble I had came on
my first Sunday there.

It had been settled that I was to write to mamma once a week--by every
mail, that is to say. The usual day for writing home was Wednesday, the
half-holiday, but as the South American mail left England that very day,
mamma had arranged with Miss Ledbury that I should be allowed to add a
little on Sundays to my letter, as otherwise my news would be a whole
week late before it left.

So on the first Sunday afternoon I got out my writing things with great
satisfaction, and when Miss Broom asked me what I was going to do, I was
pleased to be able to reply that Miss Ledbury had given leave for a
Sunday letter. Miss Broom said something to Miss Aspinall, but though
they both looked very disapproving, they said no more.

I wrote a long letter. This time, of course, it had to be a complete
one, as I had only come to Green Bank on the Thursday. I poured out my
heart to mamma, but yet, looking back now and recalling, as I know I
can, pretty correctly, all I said, I do not think it was exaggerated or
wrong. I tried to write cheerfully, for childish as I was in many ways,
I did understand that it would make mamma miserable to think I was

I was just closing the envelope when Miss Broom entered the room.

"What are you doing?" she said. "Dear, dear, you don't mean to say you
have been all this afternoon writing that letter? What a waste of time!
No, no, you must not do that. Miss Ledbury will seal it."

"It doesn't need sealing," I replied. "It is a gumming-down envelope."

But she had come close to me, and drew it out of my hand.

"No letters leave this house without being first read by Miss Ledbury or
Miss Aspinall," she said. "Why do you stare so? It is the rule at every
school," and so in those days I suppose it was. "If you have written
nothing you should not, you have no reason to dread its being seen."

"Yes, I have," I replied indignantly. Even the three or four days I had
been at school had made me months older. "I have," I repeated. "Nobody
would say to strangers all they'd say to their own mamma."

I felt my face growing very red; I pulled the letter out of the envelope
and began to tear it across. But Miss Broom's strong hands caught hold
of mine.

"You are a very naughty girl," she said, "a very naughty girl indeed. I
saw at once how spoilt and self-willed you were, but I never could have
believed you would dare to give way to such violent temper."

She dragged the letter out of my fingers--indeed, I was too proud to
struggle with her--and left the room. I sat there in a sort of stupefied
indifference. That day had been the worst I had had. There was not the
interest of lessons, nor the daily bustle which had always something
enlivening about it. It was so dull, and oh, so different from home! The
home-sickness which I was too ignorant to give a name to began to come
over me with strides; but for my letter to mamma I felt as if I could
not have lived through that afternoon. For even the Smiths were away.
They were what was called "weekly boarders," going home every Saturday
at noon and staying till Monday morning.

The indifference did not last long. Gradually both it and the
indignation broke down. I laid my head on the table before me and burst
into convulsive crying.

I do not think I cried loudly. I only remember the terrible sort of
shaking that went through me--I had never felt anything like it in my
life--and I remember trying to choke down my sobs for fear of Miss Broom
hearing me and coming back.


Some one opened the door and looked in. I tried to be perfectly quiet.
But the some one, whoever it was, had seen and perhaps heard me, for she
came forward, and in another moment I felt an arm steal gently round me,
while a kind voice said softly, very softly,

"My poor little girl, what _is_ the matter?" and looking up, I saw that
the new-comer was Miss Fenmore.

"Oh," I said through my tears, "it's my letter, and she's taken it
away--that horrid, _horrid_ Miss Broom."

And I told her the whole story.

Miss Fenmore was very wise as well as kind. I have often wondered how
she had learnt so much self-control in her short life, for though she
then seemed quite "old" to me, I now know she cannot have been more than
eighteen or nineteen. But she had had a sad life--that of an orphan
since childhood. I suppose sorrow had done the work of years in her
case--work that is indeed often not done at all! For she had a character
which was good soil for all discipline. She was naturally so sweet and
joyous--she seemed born with rose-coloured spectacles.

"Dear child," she said, "try not to take this so much to heart. I
daresay your letter will be sent just as it is. Miss Broom is sure to
apply to Miss Aspinall, perhaps to Miss Ledbury. And Miss Ledbury is
really kind, and she must have had great experience in such things."

But the last words were spoken with more hesitation. Miss Fenmore knew
that the class of children composing Miss Ledbury's school had not had a
home like mine.

Suddenly she started up--steps were coming along the passage.

"I must not talk to you any more just now," she said, "I came to fetch a

After all, the steps did not come to the schoolroom. So after sitting
there a little longer, somewhat comforted by the young governess's
words, I went up to my own room, where I bathed my eyes and smoothed my
hair, mindful of Haddie's warning--not to get the name of a cry-baby!

Late that evening, after tea, I was sent for to Miss Ledbury in the
drawing-room. It was a very rainy night, so only a few of the elder
girls had gone to church. Miss Ledbury herself suffered sadly from
asthma, and could never go out in bad weather. This was the first time I
had seen her to speak to since I came.

I was still too unhappy to feel very frightened, and I was not naturally
shy, though I seemed so, owing to my difficulty in expressing myself.
And there was something about the old lady's manner, gentle though she
was, which added to my constraint. I have no doubt she found me very
dull and stupid, and it must have been disappointing, for she did mean
to be kind.

She spoke to me about my letter which she had read, according to her
rule, to which she said she could make no exceptions. I did not clearly
understand what she meant, so I just replied "No, ma'am," and "Yes,
ma'am." She said the letter should be sent as it was, but she gave me
advice for the future which in some ways was very good. Could I not
content myself with writing about my own affairs--my lessons, the books
I was reading, and so on? What was the use of telling mamma that I did
not like Miss Aspinall, and that I could not bear Miss Broom? Would it
please mamma, or would it make school-life any happier for me to take up
such prejudices? These ladies were my teachers and I must respect them.
How could I tell at the end of three days if I should like them or not?

I felt I _could_ tell, but I did not dare to say so. All I longed for
was to get away. So when the old lady went on putting words into my
mouth, as it were, about being wiser for the future, and not touchy and
fanciful, and so on, I agreed with her and said "No, ma'am" and "Yes,
ma'am" a few more times, meekly enough. Then she kissed me, and again I
felt that she meant to be kind and that it was wrong of me to disappoint
her, but somehow I could not help it. And I went upstairs to bed feeling
more lonely than ever, now that I quite understood that my letters to
mamma must never be anything more than I might write to a stranger--a
mere mockery, in short.

There was but one person I felt that I could confide in. That was Miss
Fenmore. But the days went on and she seemed to take less instead of
more notice of me. I did not understand that her position, poor girl,
was much more difficult than mine. If she had seemed to pet me or make
much of me it would only have made Miss Broom still more severe to me,
and angry with her. For, as was scarcely to be wondered at, Miss Broom
was very indignant indeed at the way I had spoken of her in my letter to
mamma. And Miss Fenmore was entirely at that time dependent upon her
position at Green Bank. She had no home, and if she brought displeasure
upon herself at Miss Ledbury's her future would look very dark indeed.

Yet she was far from selfish. Her caution was quite as much for my sake
as for her own.



The history of that first week might stand for the history of several
months at Green Bank. That is why I have related it as clearly as
possible. In one sense I suppose people would say my life grew easier to
me, that is to say I got more accustomed to it, but with the "growing
accustomed," increased the loss of hope and spring, so I doubt if time
did bring any real improvement.

I became very dull and silent. I seemed to be losing the power of
complaining, or even of wishing for sympathy. I took some interest in my
lessons, and almost the only pleasure I had was when I got praise for
them. But that did not often happen, not as often as it should have
done, I really believe. For the prejudice against me on the part of the
upper teachers did not wear off. And I can see now that I must have been
a disagreeable child.

Nor did I win more liking among my companions. They gradually came to
treat me with a sort of indifferent contempt.

"It's only that stupid child," I would hear said when I came into the

The Christmas holidays came and went, without much improving matters. I
spent them at school with one or two other pupils, much older than I.
Miss Broom went away, and we were under Miss Aspinall's charge, for Miss
Ledbury had caught a bad cold and her niece would not leave her. I
preferred Miss Aspinall to Miss Broom certainly, but I had half hoped
that Miss Fenmore would have stayed. She too went away, however, having
got a "holiday engagement," which she was very glad of she told me when
she bade me good-bye. I did not understand what she meant, beyond
hearing that she was glad to go, so I said nothing about being sorry.

"She doesn't care for me," I thought.

I saw nothing of Haddie, though he wrote that he was very happy spending
the holidays at the house of one of his schoolfellows, and I was glad of
this, even while feeling so utterly deserted myself.

It was very, very dull, but I felt as if I did not mind. Even mamma's
letters once a fortnight gave me only a kind of tantalising pleasure,
for I knew I dared not _really_ answer them. The only thing I felt glad
of was that she did not know how lonely and unhappy I was, and that she
never would do so till the day--the day which I could scarcely believe
would ever, _ever_ come--when I should see her again, and feel her arms
round me, and know that all the misery and loneliness were over!

Some new pupils came after the Christmas holidays, and one or two of the
elder girls did not return. But the new boarders were older than I and
took no notice of me, so their coming made no difference. One event,
however, did interest me--that was the appearance at certain classes two
or three times a week of a very sweet-looking little girl about my own
age. She was pretty and very nicely dressed, though by no means showily,
and her tone of voice and way of speaking were different from those of
most of my companions. I wished she had come altogether, and then I
might have made friends with her. "Only," I said to myself unselfishly,
"she would most likely be as unhappy as I am, so I shouldn't wish for

One of the classes she came to was the French one--the class which, as I
have said, Miss Fenmore taught. And Miss Fenmore seemed to know her,
for she called her by her Christian name--"Myra." The first time I heard
it I felt quite puzzled. I knew I had heard it before, though I could
not remember where or when, except that it was not very long ago. And
when I heard her last name, "Raby"--"Miss Raby" one of the other
teachers called her--and put the two together--"Myra Raby"--I felt more
and more certain I had heard them spoken of before, though I was equally
certain I had never seen the little girl herself.

I might have asked Miss Fenmore about her, but it did not enter into my
head to do so: that was one of my odd childish ways. And it was partly,
too, that I was growing more and more reserved and silent. Even to
Harriet Smith I did not talk half as much as at first, and she used to
tell me I was growing sulky.

I took great interest in watching for Myra's appearance. I daresay if I
could make a picture of her now she would seem a quaint old-fashioned
little figure to you, but to me she seemed perfectly lovely. She had
pretty brown hair, falling in ringlets round her delicate little face;
her eyes were gray, very soft and gentle, and she had a dear little
rosebud of a mouth. She was generally dressed in pale gray merino or
cashmere, with white lace frilled round the neck and short sleeves--all
little girls wore short sleeves then, even in winter; and once when I
caught a glimpse of her getting into a carriage which was waiting for
her at the door, I was lost in admiration of her dark green cloth
pelisse trimmed with chinchilla fur.

"She must be somebody very rich and grand," I thought. But I had no
opportunity of getting to know more of her, than a nice little smile or
a word or two of thanks if I passed her a book at the class or happened
to sit next her. For she always left immediately after the lesson was

Up to Easter she came regularly. Then we had three weeks' holidays, and
as before, Miss Fenmore went away. She was pleased to go, but when she
said good-bye to me I thought she looked sad, and she called me "my poor
little girl."

"Why do you say that?" I asked her. She smiled and answered that she did
not quite know; she thought I looked dull, and she wished I were going

"Are you less unhappy than when you first came to school?" she said,
looking at me rather earnestly. It was very seldom she had an
opportunity of speaking to me alone.

"No," I replied, "I'm much unhappier when I think about it. But I'm
getting not to think, so I don't care."

She looked still graver at this. I fancy she saw that what I said was
true. I was growing dulled and stupefied, as it were, for want of any
one to sympathise with me or draw me out, though I did not know quite
how to put this in words. As I have said before, I was not a child with
much power of expression.

Miss Fenmore kissed me, but she sighed as she did so.

"I wish----" she began, but then she stopped. "When I come back after
Easter," she said more cheerfully, "I hope I may somehow manage to see
more of you, dear Geraldine."

"Thank you," I answered. I daresay my voice did not sound as if I did
thank her or as if I cared, though in my heart I was pleased, and often
thought of what she had said during the holidays, which I found even
duller than the Christmas ones had been.

They came to an end at last, however, but among the returning
governesses and pupils there was no Miss Fenmore. Nor did Myra Raby come
again to the classes she used to attend. I wondered to myself why it
was so, but for some time I knew nothing about Miss Fenmore, and in the
queer silent way which was becoming my habit I did not ask. At last one
day a new governess made her appearance, and then I overheard some of
the girls saying she was to take Miss Fenmore's place. A sort of choke
came into my throat, and for the first time I realised that I _had_ been
looking forward to the pretty young governess's return.

I do not remember anything special happening for some time after that. I
suppose Easter must have been early that year, for when the events
occurred which I am now going to relate, it was still cold and wintry
weather--very rainy at least, and Mexington was always terribly gloomy
in rainy weather. It seems a long stretch to look back upon--those weeks
of the greatest loneliness I had yet known--but in reality I do not
think it could have been more than three or four.

I continued to work steadily--even hard--at my lessons. I knew that it
would please mamma, and I had a vague feeling that somehow my getting on
fast might shorten the time of our separation, though I could not have
said why. I was really interested in some of my lessons, and anxious to
do well even in those I did not like. But I was not quick or clever,
and often, very often, my hesitation in expressing myself made me seem
far less intelligent than I actually was. Still I generally got good
marks, especially for _written_ tasks, for the teachers, though hard and
strict, were not unprincipled. They did not like me, but they were fair
on the whole, I think.

Unluckily, however, about this time I got a bad cold. I was not
seriously ill, but it hung about me for some time and made me feel very
dull and stupid. I think, too, it must have made me a little deaf,
though I did not know it at the time. I began to get on less well at
lessons, very often making mistakes and replying at random, for which I
was scolded as if I did it out of carelessness.

And though I tried more and more to prepare my lessons perfectly, things
grew worse and worse.

At last one day they came to a point. I forget what the lesson was, and
it does not matter, but every time a question came to me I answered
wrongly. Once or twice I did not hear, and when I said so, Miss Broom,
whose class it was, was angry, and said I was talking nonsense. It
ended in my bursting into tears, which I had never done before in
public since I had been at Green Bank.

Miss Broom was very annoyed. She said a great deal to me which between
my tears and my deafness I did not hear, and at last she must have
ordered me to go up to my room, for her tone grew more and more angry.

"Do you mean to defy me?" she said, so loud that I heard her plainly.

I stared, and I do not know what would have happened if Harriet Smith,
who was near me, had not started up in her good-natured way.

"She doesn't hear; she's crying so," she said. "Gerry, dear, Miss Broom
says you're to go up to your room."

I was nothing loth. I got up from my seat and made my way more by
feeling than seeing--so blinded was I by crying--to the door, and

Arrived there, I flung myself on to the end of my bed. It was cold, and
outside it was raining, raining--it seems to me now that it never left
off raining at Mexington that spring; the sky, if I had looked out of
the window, was one dull gray sheet. But I seemed to care for
nothing--just at first the comfort of being able to cry with no one to
look at me was all I wanted. So I lay there sobbing, though not loudly.

After some little time had passed the downstairs bell rang--it was
afternoon, and the bell meant, I knew, preparation for tea. So I was not
very surprised when the door opened and Emma and Harriet came in--they
were both kind, Harriet especially, though her kindness was chiefly
shown by loud abuse of Miss Broom.

"You'd better take care, Harry," said her sister at last, "or you'll be
getting into disgrace yourself, which certainly won't do Gerry any good.
Do be quick and make yourself tidy, the tea-bell will be ringing in a
moment. Hadn't you better wash your face and brush your hair, Gerry--you
do look such a figure."

"I can't go down unless Miss Broom says I may," I replied, "and I don't
want any tea," though in my heart I knew I was feeling hungry. Much
crying often makes children hungry; they are not like grown-up people.

"Oh, nonsense," said Emma. "You'd feel ever so much better if you had
some tea. What _I_ think you're so silly for is _minding_--why need you
care what that old Broom says? She daren't beat you or starve you, and
once you're at home again you can snap your fingers at school and
governesses and----"

Here Harriet said something to her sister in a low voice which I did not
hear. It made Emma stop.

"Oh, well, I can't help it," she said, or something of that kind. "It
doesn't do any good to cry like that, whatever troubles you have," she
went on.

I got up slowly and tried to wash away some of the traces of my tears by
plunging my face in cold water. Then Harriet helped me to smooth my hair
and make myself look neat. Emma's words had had the effect of making me
resolve to cry no more if I could help it. And a moment or two later I
was glad I had followed her advice, for one of the elder girls came to
our room with a message to say that I was to go down to tea, and after
tea I was to stay behind in the dining-room as Miss Aspinall wished to
speak to me.

"Very well," I said. But the moment the other girl had gone both Emma
and Harriet began again.

"That horrid old Broom," said Harriet, "just fancy her complaining to
Miss Aspinall."

And "Promise me, Gerry," said Emma, "not to mind what she says, and
whatever you do, don't cry. There's nothing vexes old Broom so much as
seeing we don't care--mean old cat."

I could scarcely help laughing, my spirits had got up a little--that is
to say, I felt more angry than sad now. I felt as if I really did _not_
much care what was said to me.

And I drank my tea and ate my slices of thick bread and butter with a
good appetite, though I saw Miss Broom watching me from her end of the
table; and when I had finished I felt, as Emma had said I should, "ever
so much better"--that is to say, no longer in the least inclined to cry.

Nor did I feel nervous or frightened when Miss Aspinall--all the others
having gone--seated herself in front of me and began her talk. It began
quite differently from what I had expected. She was a good woman, and
not nearly so bad-tempered as Miss Broom, though hard and cold, and I am
sure she meant to do me good. She talked about how changed I had been of
late, my lessons so much less well done, and how careless and
inattentive I seemed. There was some truth in it. I knew my lessons had
not been so well done, but I also knew I had not been careless or

"And worst of all," continued the governess, "you have got into such a
habit of making excuses that it really amounts to telling untruths.
Several times, Miss Broom tells me, you have done a wrong lesson or not
done one at all, and you have maintained to her that you had not been
told what you _had_ been told--there was something about your French
poetry yesterday, which you _must_ have known you were to learn. Miss
Broom says you positively denied it."

I was getting very angry now--I had wanted to say I was sorry about my
lessons, but now that I was accused of not speaking the truth I felt
nothing but anger.

"I never tell stories," I said very loudly; "and if Miss Broom says I
do, I'll write to mamma and tell her. I _won't_ stay here if you say
such things to me."

Miss Aspinall was quite startled; she had never seen me in a passion
before, for I was usually considered in the school as sulky rather than
violent-tempered. For a moment or two she stared, too astonished to
speak. Then,

"Go back to your room," she said. "I am sorry to say I must lay this
before Miss Ledbury."

I got up from my seat--Miss Aspinall had not kept me standing--and went
upstairs again to my room, where I stayed for the rest of the evening,
my supper--a cup of milk and a piece of dry bread--being brought me by a
servant, and with it a message that I was to undress and go to bed,
which I was not sorry to do.

I lay there, not asleep, and still burning with indignation, when
Harriet came up to bed. She had not been told not to speak to me, very
likely the teachers thought I would be asleep, and she was very curious
to know what had passed. I told her all. She was very sympathising, but
at the same time she thought it a pity I had lost my temper with Miss

"I don't know how you'll get on now," she said, "with both her and Miss
Broom so against you. You should just not have minded--like Emma said."

"Not mind her saying I told stories!" I burst out. Harriet did not seem
to think there was anything specially annoying in that. "Well," I went
on, "_I_ mind it, whether you do or not. And I'm _going_ to mind it. I
shall write to mamma and tell her I can't stay here any more, and I'm
sure when she hears it she'll do _something_. She won't let me stay
here. Or--or--perhaps father will fix to come home again and not stay as
long as two years there."

"I don't think he'll do that," said Harriet mysteriously.

"What do you mean? What do you know about it?" I asked, for something in
her voice struck me.

"Oh, nothing--I shouldn't have said it--it was only something I heard,"
she replied, looking rather confused.

"Something you heard," I repeated, starting up in bed and catching hold
of her. "Then you _must_ tell me. Do you mean there's been letters or
news about father and mamma that I don't know about?"

"No, no," said Harriet. "Of course not."

"Then what do you mean? You shall tell me--if you don't," I went on,
more and more excitedly, "I'll--" I hesitated--"I'll tell you what I'll
do, I'll go straight downstairs, just as I am, in my nightgown, to Miss
Ledbury herself, and tell her what you've said. I don't care if she
beats me, I don't care what she does, but I _will_ know."

Harriet tried to pull herself away.

"What a horrid temper you're getting, Gerry," she said complainingly.
"Just when I hurried up to bed as quick as I could to talk to you. It's
nothing, I tell you--only something I heard at home, and Emma said I
wasn't ever to tell it you."

I clutched her more firmly.

"You shall tell me, or I'll do what I said."

Harriet looked really frightened.

"You'll not tell Emma, then? You promise?"

I nodded. "I promise."

"Well, then, it was only one day--papa was talking about somebody going
to South America, and I said that was where your papa and mamma had
gone, and papa asked your name, and then he said he had seen your papa
at the bank, and it was a pity he hadn't been content to stay there. It
was such a bad climate where he'd gone--lots of people got ill and died
there, unless they were rich enough to live out of the town, and he
didn't suppose any one who'd only been a clerk in the bank here would be
that. And Emma said, couldn't your papa and mamma come back if they got
ill, and he said if they waited till then it would be rather too late.
There's some fever people get there, that comes all of a sudden. And
besides that, your papa must have promised he'd stay two years--they
always do."

As she went on, my heart fell lower and lower--for a moment or two I
could not speak. All sorts of dreadful fears and imaginings began to
fill my mind; perhaps my parents had already got that terrible illness
Harriet spoke of, perhaps one or both of them had already died. I could
have screamed aloud. I felt I could not bear it--I must write to mamma a
letter that nobody should read. I must see somebody who would tell me
the truth--Haddie, perhaps, knew more than I did. If I could go to him!
But I had no money and no idea of the way, and Miss Aspinall would
never, _never_ let me even write to ask him. Besides, I was in disgrace,
very likely they would not believe me if I told them why I was so
miserable; they had already said I told stories, and then I must not get
Harriet into trouble.

What _should_ I do? If only Miss Fenmore had still been there, I felt
she would have been sorry for me, but there was nobody--_nobody_.

I turned my face away from my little companion, and buried it in the
pillow. Harriet grew frightened.

"What are you doing, Gerry?" she said. "Why don't you speak? Are you
going to sleep or are you crying? Very likely your papa and mamma won't
get that illness. I wish I hadn't told you."

"Never mind," I said. "I'm going to sleep."

"And you won't tell Emma?" Harriet repeated.

"Of course not--don't you believe my word? Do you too think that I tell

I tried to get rid of my misery by letting myself grow angry.

"You're very cross," said Harriet; but all the same I think she
understood me better than she could express, for she kissed me and said,
"Do go to sleep--don't be so unhappy."



It would be an exaggeration to say that I did not sleep that night.
Children often sleep very heavily when they are specially unhappy, and I
was unhappy enough, even before Harriet's telling me what she had heard.
But though I did sleep, I shall never forget that night. My dreams were
so miserable, and when I awoke--very early in the morning--I could
scarcely separate them from real things. It was actually not so bad when
I was quite awake, for then I set myself thoroughly to think it all

I could not bear it--I could not go on without knowing if it was true
about father and mamma. I could not bear my life at school, if the
looking forward to being with them again, before _very_ long, was to be
taken from me. I must write a letter to mamma that no one would see; but
first--yes, first I must know how much was true. Whom could I ask?
Haddie? Perhaps he knew no more than I did, and it was just as difficult
to write to him as to mamma. Then suddenly another thought struck
me--Mrs. Selwood, old Mrs. Selwood, if I could but see her. Perhaps if I
wrote to her she would come to see me; mamma always said she was very
kind, though I know she did not care much for children, especially
little girls. Still I thought I would try, though it would be difficult,
for I should not like Miss Ledbury to know I had written to Mrs. Selwood
secretly. She would be so angry, and I did not want to make Miss Ledbury
angry. She was much nicer than the others. Once or twice the idea came
to me of going straight to her and telling her how miserable I was, but
that would bring in Harriet, and oh, how furious the other governesses
would be! No, I would try to write to Mrs. Selwood--only, I did not know
her address. I only knew the name of her house--Fernley--that would not
be enough, at least I feared not. I would try to find out; perhaps
Harriet could ask some one when she went home.

My spirits rose a little with all this planning. I am afraid that the
life I led was beginning to make me unchildlike and concealed in my
ways. I enjoyed the feeling of having a secret and, so to say,
outwitting my teachers, particularly Miss Broom. So, though I was
looking pale and my eyes were still very swollen, I think Harriet was
surprised, and certainly very glad, to find that I was not very
miserable or upset.

A message was sent up to say I was to go down to breakfast with the
others. And after prayers and breakfast were over I went into the
schoolroom as usual.

That morning did not pass badly; it happened to be a day for lessons I
got on well with--written ones principally, and reading aloud. So I got
into no fresh disgrace. It was a very rainy day, there was no question
of going out, and I was sent to practise at twelve o'clock till the
dressing-bell rang for the early dinner. That was to keep me away from
the other girls.

As soon as dinner was over Miss Broom came to me with a French poetry
book in her hand.

"This is the poem you should have learnt yesterday," she said, "though
you denied having been told so. Miss Aspinall desires you to take it
upstairs to your room and learn it, as you can do perfectly, if you
choose, by three o'clock. Then you are to come downstairs to the
drawing-room, where you will find her."

"Very well," I said, as I took the book, "I will learn it."

They were going to let me off rather easily, I thought, and possibly,
just _possibly_, if Miss Ledbury was in the drawing-room too and seemed
kind, I might ask her to give me leave to write to Mrs. Selwood just to
say how very much I would like to see her, and then if I _did_ see her I
could tell her what Harriet had said, without risking getting Harriet
into trouble.

So I set to work at my French poetry with good will, and long before
three o'clock I had learnt it perfectly. There was a clock on the
landing half-way down the staircase which struck the quarters and
half-hours. I heard the quarter to three strike and then I read the poem
right through six times, and after that, closing the book, I said it
aloud to myself without one mistake, and then just as the clock began
"_burr_-ing" before striking the hour I made my way quietly down to the

I tapped at the door.

"Come in," said Miss Aspinall.

She was standing beside Miss Ledbury, who was sitting in an arm-chair
near the fire. She looked very pale, her face nearly as white as her
hair, and it made me feel sorry, so that I stared at her and forgot to
curtsey as we always were expected to do on entering a room where any of
the governesses were.

"Do you not see Miss Ledbury?" said Miss Aspinall sharply. I felt my
cheeks get red, and I turned back towards the door to make my curtsey.

"I--I forgot," I said, and before Miss Aspinall had time to speak again,
the old lady held out her hand.

"You must try to be more thoughtful," she said, but her voice was
gentle. "Now give me your book," she went on, "I want to hear your
French verses myself."

I handed her the book, which was open at the place. I felt very glad I
had learnt the poetry so well, as I wished to please Miss Ledbury.

"Begin, my dear," she said.

I did so, repeating the six or eight verses without any mistake or

Miss Ledbury seemed pleased and relieved.

"Very well said--now, my dear child, that shows that you can learn well
when you try."

"Of course she can," said Miss Aspinall.

"But more important than learning your lessons well," continued Miss
Ledbury, "is to be perfectly truthful and honest. What has distressed
me, Geraldine, has been to hear that when--as may happen to any
child--you have forgotten a lesson, or learnt it imperfectly, instead of
at once owning your fault, you have tried to screen yourself behind
insincere excuses. That was the case about these very verses, was it
not, Miss Aspinall?" (Miss Ledbury always called her niece "Miss
Aspinall" before any of us.)

"It was," replied Miss Aspinall. "Miss Broom will tell you all the
particulars," and as she spoke Miss Broom came in.

Miss Ledbury turned to her.

"I wish you to state exactly what you have had to complain of in
Geraldine Le Marchant," she said. And Miss Broom, with a far from
amiable expression, repeated the whole--my carelessness and ill-prepared
lessons for some time past, the frequent excuses I made, saying that she
had not told me what she certainly _had_ told me, my forgetting my
French poetry altogether, and persisting in denying that it had been
given out.

I did not hear clearly all she said, but she raised her voice at the
end, and I caught her last words. I felt again a sort of fury at her,
and I gave up all idea of confiding in Miss Ledbury, or of trying to
please any one.

Miss Ledbury seemed nervous.

"Geraldine has said her French poetry perfectly," she said. "I think she
has taken pains to learn it well."

"It is some time since she has said any lesson perfectly to _me_, I am
sorry to say," snapped Miss Broom.

Miss Ledbury handed her the book.

"You can judge for yourself," she said. "Repeat the verses to Miss
Broom, Geraldine."

Then a strange thing happened. I really wanted to say the poetry well,
partly out of pride, partly because again something in Miss Ledbury's
manner made me feel gentler, but as I opened my mouth to begin, the
words entirely left my memory. I looked up--possibly a little help, a
syllable just to start me, would have set me right, but instead of that
I saw Miss Broom's half-mocking, half-angry face, and Miss Aspinall's
cold hard eyes. Miss Ledbury I did not look at. In reality I think both
she and Miss Aspinall were afraid of Miss Broom. I do not think Miss
Aspinall was as hard as she seemed.

I drew a long breath--no, it was no use. I could not recall one word.

"I've forgotten it," I said.

Miss Aspinall gave an exclamation--Miss Ledbury looked at me with
reproach. Both believed that I was not speaking the truth, and that I
had determined not to say the verses to Miss Broom.

"Impossible," said Miss Aspinall.

"Geraldine," said Miss Ledbury sadly but sternly, "do not make me
distrust you."

I grew stony. Now I did not care. Even Miss Ledbury doubted my word. I
almost think if the verses had come back to me then, I would not have
said them. I stood there, dull and stupid and obstinate, though a
perfect fire was raging inside me.

"Geraldine," said Miss Ledbury again, still more sadly and sternly.

I was only a child, and I was almost exhausted by all I had gone
through. Even my pride gave way. I forgot all that Emma and Harriet had
said about not crying, and, half turning away from the three before me,
I burst into a loud fit of tears and sobbing.

Miss Ledbury glanced at her niece. I think the old lady had hard work to
keep herself from some impulsive kind action, but I suppose she would
have thought it wrong. But Miss Aspinall came towards me, and placed her
arm on my shoulders.

"Geraldine," she said, and her voice was not unkind, "I beg you to try
to master this naughty obstinate spirit. Say the verses again, and all
may be well."

"No, no," I cried. "I can't, I can't. It is true that I've forgotten
them, and if I could say them I wouldn't now, because you all think me a

She turned away, really grieved and shocked.

"Take her upstairs to her room again," said Miss Ledbury. "Geraldine,
your tears are only those of anger and temper."

I did not care now. I suffered myself to be led back to my room, and I
left off crying almost as suddenly as I had begun, and when Miss
Aspinall shut the door, and left me there without speaking to me again,
I sat down on the foot of my bed as if I did not care at all, for again
there came over me that strange stolid feeling that nothing mattered,
that nothing would ever make me cry again.

It did not last long, however. I got up in a few minutes and looked out
of the window. It was the dullest afternoon I had ever seen, raining,
raining steadily, the sky all gloomy no-colour, duller even than gray.
It might have been any season, late autumn, mid-winter; there was not a
leaf, or the tiniest beginning of one, on the black branches of the two
or three trees in what was called "the garden"--for my window looked to
the back of the house--not the very least feeling of spring, even though
we were some way on in April. I gave a little shiver, and then a sudden
thought struck me. It would be a very good time for getting out without
any one seeing me--no one would fancy it possible that I would venture
out in the rain, and all my schoolfellows and the governesses were still
at lessons. What was the use of waiting here? They might keep me shut up
in my room for--for ever, perhaps--and I should never know about father
and mamma, or get Mrs. Selwood's address or be allowed to write to her,
or--or any one. I would go.

It took but a few minutes to put on my things. As I have said, there was
a queer mixture of childishness and "old-fashionedness," as it is
called, about me. I dressed myself as sensibly as if I had been a
grown-up person, choosing my thickest boots and warm jacket, and arming
myself with my waterproof cape and umbrella. I also put my purse in my
pocket--it contained a few shillings.

Then I opened the door and listened, going out a little way into the
passage to do so. All was quite quiet--not even a piano was to be heard,
only the clock on the landing sounded to me much louder than usual. If I
had waited long, it would have made me nervous. I should have begun to
fancy it was talking to me like Dick Whittington's bells, though, I am
sure, it would not have said anything half so cheering!


But I did not wait to hear. I crept downstairs, past one schoolroom with
its closed door, and a muffled sound of voices as I drew quite close to
it, then on again, past the downstairs class-room, and along the hall to
the front door. For that was what I had made up my mind was the best,
bold as it seemed. I would go right out by the front door. I knew it
opened easily, for we went out that way on Sundays to church, and once
or twice I had opened it. And nobody would ever dream of my passing out
that way.

It was all managed quite easily, and almost before I had time to take
in what I had done, I found myself out in the road some little distance
from Green Bank, for as soon as the gate closed behind me I had set off
running from a half-nervous fear that some one might be coming in
pursuit of me. I ran on a little farther, in the same direction, that of
the town, for Miss Ledbury's house was in the outskirts--then, out of
breath, I stood still to think what I should do.

I had really not made any distinct plan. The only idea clearly in my
mind was to get Mrs. Selwood's address, so that I could write to her.
But as I stood there, another thought struck me. I would go home--to the
house in the dull street which had never seemed dull to me! For there, I
suddenly remembered, I might find one of our own servants. I recollected
Lydia's telling me that cook was probably going to "engage" with the
people who had taken the house. And cook would be sure to know Mrs.
Selwood's address, and--_perhaps_--cook would be able to tell me
something about father and mamma. She was a kind woman--I would not mind
telling her how dreadfully frightened I was about them since Harriet
Smith had repeated what she had heard.

I knew the way to our house, at least I thought I did, though afterwards
I found I had taken two or three wrong turnings, which had made my
journey longer. It was scarcely raining by this time, but the streets
were dreadfully wet and muddy, and the sky still dark and gloomy.

At last I found myself at the well-known corner of our street--how often
I had run round it with Haddie, when we had been allowed to go on some
little errand by ourselves! I had not passed this way since mamma went,
and the feeling that came over me was very strange. I went along till I
came to our house, number 39; then, in a sort of dream, I mounted the
two or three steps to the door, and rang the bell. How well I knew its
sound! It seemed impossible to believe that Lydia would not open to me,
and that if I hurried upstairs I should not find mamma sitting in her
usual place in the drawing-room!

But of course it was not so. A strange face met me as the door drew
back, and for a moment or two I felt too confused to speak, though I saw
the servant was looking at me in surprise.

"Is--can I see cook?" I got out at last.

"Cook," the maid repeated. "I'm sure I can't say. Can't you give me
your message--Miss?" adding the last word after a little hesitation.

"I'd rather see her, please. I want to ask her for Mrs. Selwood's
address. Mrs. Selwood's a friend of mamma's, and I'm sure cook would
know. We used to live here, and Lydia said cook was going to stay."

The servant's face cleared, but her reply was not encouraging.

"Oh," she said, "I see. But it's no use your seeing our cook, Miss.
She's a stranger. The other one--Sarah Wells was her name----"

"Yes, yes," I exclaimed, "that's her."

"She's gone--weeks ago. Her father was ill, and she had to go home. I'm
sorry, Miss"--she was a good-natured girl--"but it can't be helped. And
I think you'd better go home quick. It's coming on to rain again, and
it'll soon be dark, and you're such a little young lady to be out

"Thank you," I said, and I turned away, my heart swelling with

I walked on quickly for a little way, for I felt sure the servant was
looking after me. Then I stopped short and asked myself again "what
should I do?" The girl had advised me to go "home"--"home" to Green
Bank, to be shut up in my room again, and be treated as a story-teller,
and never have a chance of writing to Mrs. Selwood or any one! No, that
I would not do. The very thought of it made me hasten my steps as if to
put a greater distance between myself and Miss Ledbury's house. And I
walked on some way without knowing where I was going except that it was
in an opposite direction from school.

It must have been nearly six o'clock by this time, and the gloomy day
made it already dusk. The shops were lighting up, and the glare of the
gas on the wet pavement made me look about me. I was in one of the
larger streets now, a very long one, that led right out from the centre
of the town to the outskirts. I was full of a strange kind of
excitement; I did not mind the rain, and indeed it was not very heavy; I
did not feel lonely or frightened, and my brain seemed unusually active
and awake.

"I know what I'll do," I said to myself; "I'll go to the big grocer's
where they give Haddie and me those nice gingerbreads, and I'll ask
_them_ for Mrs. Selwood's address. I remember mamma said Mrs. Selwood
always bought things there. And--and--I won't write to her. I'll go to
the railway and see if I've money enough to get a ticket, and I'll go
to Mrs. Selwood and tell her how I can't bear it any longer. I've got
four shillings, and if that isn't enough I daresay the railway people
wouldn't mind if I promised I'd send it them."

I marched on, feeling once more very determined and valiant. I thought I
knew the way to the big grocer's quite well, but when I turned down a
street which looked like the one where it was, I began to feel a little
confused. There were so many shops, and the lights in the windows
dazzled me, and worst of all, I could not remember the name of the
grocer's. It was something like Simpson, but not Simpson. I went on,
turning again more than once, always in hopes of seeing it before me,
but always disappointed. And I was beginning to feel very tired; I must,
I suppose, have been really tired all the time, but my excitement had
kept me up.

At last I found myself in a much darker street than the others. For
there were few shops in it, and most of the houses were offices of some
kind. It was a wide street and rather hilly. As I stood at the top I saw
it sloping down before me; the light of the tall lamps glimmered
brokenly in the puddles, for it was raining again more heavily now.
Suddenly, as if in a dream, some words came back to me, so clearly that
I could almost have believed some one was speaking. It was mamma's

"You had better put on your mackintosh, Haddie," I seemed to hear her
say, and then I remembered it all--it came before me like a
picture--that rainy evening not many months ago when mamma and Haddie
and I had walked home so happily, we two tugging at her arms, one on
each side, heedless of the rain or the darkness, or anything except that
we were all together.

I stood still. Never, I think, was a child's heart more nearly



For a minute or two I seemed to feel nothing; then there came over me a
sort of shiver, partly of cold, for it _was_ very cold, partly of
misery. I roused myself, however. With the remembrance of that other
evening had come to me also the knowledge of where I was. Only a few
yards down the sloping street on the left-hand side came a wide stretch
of pavement, and there, in a kind of angle, stood a double door, open on
both sides, leading into a small outer hall, from which again another
door, glazed at the top, was the entrance to Cranston's show-rooms.

I remembered it all perfectly. Just beyond the inner entrance stood the
two carved lions that Haddie and I admired so much. I wished I could see
them again, and--yes--a flash of joy went through me at the thought--I
could get Mrs. Selwood's address quite as well from old Mr. Cranston as
from the big grocer!

As soon as the idea struck me I hurried on, seeming to gain fresh
strength and energy. It was almost dark, but a gas-lamp was burning
dimly above the lintel, and inside, on the glass of the inner door, were
the large gilt letters "Cranston and Co."

I ran up the two or three broad shallow steps and pushed open the door,
which was a swing one. It was nearly time for closing, but that I did
not know. There was no one to be seen inside, not, at least, in the
first room, and the door made no noise. But there stood the dear
lions--I could not see them very clearly, for the place was not brightly
lighted, but I crept up to them, and stroked softly the one nearest me.
They seemed like real friends.

I had not courage to go into the other show-room, and all was so
perfectly still that I could scarcely think any one was there. I thought
I would wait a few minutes in hopes of some one coming out, of whom I
could inquire if I could see Mr. Cranston. And I was now beginning to
feel so tired--so very tired, and so cold.

In here, though I did not see any fire, it felt ever so much warmer than
outside. There was no chair or stool, but I found a seat for myself on
the stand of the farther-in lion--each of them had a heavy wooden
stand. It seemed very comfortable, and I soon found that by moving on a
little I could get a nice rest for my head against the lion's body. A
strange pleasant sense of protection and comfort came over me.

"How glad I am I came in here," I said to myself. "I don't mind if I
have to wait a good while. It is so cosy and warm."

I no longer made any plans. I knew I wanted to ask for Mrs. Selwood's
address, but that was all I thought of. What I should do when I had got
it I did not know; where I should go for the night, for it was now quite
dark, I did not trouble about in the least. I think I must have been
very much in the condition I have heard described, of travellers lost in
the snow--the overpowering wish to stay where I was and rest, was all I
was conscious of. I did not think of going to sleep. I did not know I
was sleepy.

And for some time I knew nothing.

The first thing that caught my attention was a very low murmur--so low
that it might have been merely a breath of air playing in the keyhole; I
seemed to have been hearing it for some time before it took shape, as it
were, and grew into a softly-whispering voice, gradually gathering into

"Poor little girl; so she has come at last. Well, as you say, brother,
we have been expecting her for a good while, have we not?"

"Yes, indeed, but speak softly. It would be a pity to awake her. And
what we have to do can be done just as well while she sleeps."

"I don't agree with you," said the first speaker. "I should much prefer
her being awake. She would enjoy the ride, and she is an intelligent
child and would profit by our conversation."

"As you like," replied number two. "I must be off to fetch the boy. She
will perhaps be awake by the time I return."

And then--just as I was on the point of starting up and telling them I
_was_ awake--came a sound of stamping and rustling, and a sort of whirr
and a breath of cold air, which told me the swing door had been opened.
And when I sat straight up and looked about me, lo and behold, there was
only one lion to be seen--the stand of his brother was empty!

"I--please I _am_ awake," I said rather timidly. "It was me you were
talking about, wasn't it?"

"_I_--'it was _I_'--the verb to be takes the same case after it as
before it," was the reply, much to my surprise and rather to my disgust.
Who would have thought that the carved lions bothered about grammar!

"It was I, then," I repeated meekly. I did not want to give any offence
to my new friend. "Please--I heard you saying something--something about
going a ride. And where has the--the other Mr. Lion gone? I heard
about--a boy."

"You heard correctly," my lion replied, and I knew somehow that he was
smiling, or whatever lions do that matches smiling. "My brother has gone
to fetch _your_ brother--we planned it all some time ago--we shall meet
on the sea-shore and travel together. But we should be starting. Can you
climb up on to my back?"

"Oh yes," I said quite calmly, as if there was nothing the least out of
the common in all this, "I'm sure I can."

"Catch hold of my mane," said the lion; "don't mind tugging, it won't
hurt," and--not to my surprise, for nothing surprised me--I felt my
hands full of soft silky hair, as the lion shook down his long wavy mane
to help my ascent.

Nothing was easier. In another moment I was cosily settled on his back,
which felt deliciously comfortable, and the mane seemed to tuck itself
round me like a fleecy rug.

"Shut your eyes," said my conductor or steed, I don't know which to call
him; "go to sleep if you like. I'll wake you when we meet the others."

"Thank you," I said, feeling too content and comfortable to disagree
with anything he said.

Then came a feeling of being raised up, a breath of colder air, which
seemed to grow warm again almost immediately, and I knew nothing more
till I heard the words, "Here they are."

I opened my eyes and looked about me. It was night--overhead in the deep
blue sky innumerable stars were sparkling, and down below at our feet I
heard the lap-lap of rippling waves. A dark, half-shadowy figure stood
at my right hand, and as I saw it more clearly I distinguished the form
of the other lion, with--yes, there was some one sitting on his back.

"Haddie," I exclaimed.

"Yes, yes, Geraldine, it's me," my brother's own dear voice replied.
"We're going right over the sea--did you know?--isn't it splendid? We're
going to see father and mamma. Hold out your hand so that you can feel


I did so, and my fingers clasped his, and at that moment the brother
lions rose into the air, and down below, even fainter and fainter, came
the murmur of the sea, while up above, the twinkling stars looked down
on what surely was one of the strangest sights they had ever seen in all
their long, long experience!

Then again I seemed to know nothing, though somehow, all through, I felt
the clasp of Haddie's hand and knew we were close together.

A beautiful light streaming down upon us, of which I was conscious even
through my closed eyelids, was the next thing I remember. It seemed warm
as well as bright, and I felt as if basking in it.

"Wake up, Geraldine," said Haddie's voice.

I opened my eyes. But now I have come to a part of my story which I have
never been able, and never shall be able, to put into fitting words. The
scene before me was too beautiful, too magically exquisite for me even
to succeed in giving the faintest idea of it. Still I must try, though
knowing that I cannot but fail.

Can you picture to yourselves the loveliest day of all the perfect
summer days you have ever known--no, more than that, a day like summer
and spring in one--the richness of colour, the balmy fragrance of the
prime of the year joined to the freshness, the indescribable hopefulness
and expectation which is the charm of the spring? The beauty and delight
seemed made up of everything lovely mingled together--sights, sounds,
scents, feelings. There was the murmur of running streams, the singing
of birds, the most delicious scent from the flowers growing in profusion
and of every shade of colour.

Haddie and I looked at each other--we still held each other by the hand,
but now, somehow, we were standing together on the grass, though I could
not remember having got down from my perch on the lion's back.

"Where are the lions, Haddie?" I said.

Haddie seemed to understand everything better than I did.

"They're all right," he replied, "resting a little. You see we've come a
long way, Geraldine, and so quick."

"And where are we?" I asked. "What is this place, Haddie? Is it
fairyland or--or--heaven?"

Haddie smiled.

"It's not either," he said. "You'll find out the name yourself. But
come, we must be quick, for we can't stay very long. Hold my hand tight
and then we can run faster."

I seemed to know that something more beautiful than anything we had seen
yet was coming. I did not ask Haddie any more questions, even though I
had a feeling that he knew more than I did. He seemed quite at home in
this wonderful place, quite able to guide me. And his face was shining
with happiness.

We ran a good way, and very fast. But I did not feel at all tired or
breathless. My feet seemed to have wings, and all the time the garden
around us grew lovelier and lovelier. If Haddie had not been holding my
hand so fast I should scarcely have been able to resist stopping to
gather some of the lovely flowers everywhere in such profusion, or to
stand still to listen to the dear little birds singing so exquisitely

"It must be fairyland," I repeated to myself more than once, in spite of
what Haddie had said.

But suddenly all thought of fairyland or flowers, birds and garden, went
out of my head, as Haddie stopped in his running.

"Geraldine," he half whispered, "look there."

"There" was a little arbour a few yards from where we stood, and there,
seated on a rustic bench, her dear face all sunshine, was mamma!

She started up as soon as she saw us and hastened forward, her arms

"My darlings, my darlings," she said, as Haddie and I threw ourselves
upon her.

She did look so pretty; she was all in white, and she had a rose--one of
the lovely roses I had been admiring as we ran--fastened to the front of
her dress.

"Mamma, mamma," I exclaimed, as I hugged her, "oh, mamma, I am so happy
to be with you. Is this your garden, mamma, and may we stay with you
always now? Wasn't it good of the lions to bring us? I have been so
unhappy, mamma--somebody said you would get ill far away. But nobody
could get ill here. Oh, mamma, you will let us stay always."

She did not speak, but looking at Haddie I saw a change in his face.

"Geraldine," he said, "I told you we couldn't stay long. The lions would
be scolded if we did, and you know you must say your French poetry."

And then there came over me the most agonising feeling of
disappointment and misery. All the pent-up wretchedness of the last
weeks at school woke up and overwhelmed me like waves of dark water. It
is as impossible for me to put this into words as it was for me to
describe my exquisite happiness, for no words ever succeed in expressing
the intense and extraordinary sensations of some dreams. And of course,
as you will have found out by this time, the strange adventures I have
been relating were those of a dream, though I still, after all the years
that have passed since then, remember them so vividly.

It was the fatal words "French poetry" that seemed to awake me--to bring
back my terrible unhappiness, exaggerated by the fact of my dreaming.

"French poetry," I gasped, "oh, Haddie, how can you remind me of it?"

Haddie suddenly turned away, and I saw the face of one of the lions
looking over his shoulder, with, strange to say, a white frilled cap
surrounding it.

"You must try to drink this, my dear," said the lion, if the lion it
was, for as I stared at him the brown face changed into a rather ruddy
one--a round good-humoured face, with pleasant eyes and smile, reminding
me of mamma's old nurse who had once come to see us.

I stared still more, and sat up a little, for, wonderful to relate, I
was no longer in the lovely garden, no longer even in the show-room
leaning against the lion: I was in bed in a strange room which I had
never seen before. And leaning over me was the owner of the frilled cap,
holding a glass in her hand.

"Try to drink this, my dearie," she said again, and then I knew it was
not the lion but this stranger who had already spoken to me.

I felt very tired, and I sank back again upon the pillow. What did it
all mean? Where was I? Where had I been? I asked myself this in a vague
sleepy sort of way, but I was too tired to say it aloud, and before I
could make up my mind to try I fell asleep again.

The room seemed lighter the next time I opened my eyes. It was in fact
nearly the middle of the day, and a fine day--as clear as it ever was in
Great Mexington. I felt much better and less tired now, almost quite
well, except for a slight pain in my throat which told me I must have
caught cold, as my colds generally began in my throat.

"I wonder if it was with riding so far in the night," I first said to
myself, with a confused remembrance of my wonderful dream. "I didn't
feel at all cold on the lion's back, and in the garden it was lovelily

Then, as my waking senses quite returned, I started. It had been only a
dream--oh dear, oh dear! But still, _something_ had happened--I was
certainly not in my little bed in the corner of the room I shared with
Emma and Harriet Smith at Green Bank. When had my dream begun, or was I
still dreaming?

I raised myself a little, very softly, for now I began to remember the
good-humoured face in the frilled cap, and I thought to myself that
unless its owner were a dream too, perhaps she was still in the room,
and I wanted to look about me first on my own account.

What there was to see was very pleasant and very real. I felt quite sure
I was not dreaming now, wherever I was. It was a large old-fashioned
room, with red curtains at the two windows and handsome dark wood
furniture. There was a fire burning cheerfully in the grate and the
windows looked very clean, even though there was a prospect of
chimney-tops to be seen out of the one nearest to me, which told me I
was still in a town. And then I began to distinguish sounds outside,
though here in this room it was so still. There were lots of wheels
passing, some going quickly, some lumbering along with heavy
slowness--it was much noisier than at Miss Ledbury's or at my own old
home. Here I seemed to be in the very heart of a town. I began to recall
the events of the day before more clearly. Yes, up to the time I
remembered leaning against the carved lion in Mr. Cranston's show-room
all had been real, I felt certain. I recollected with a little shiver
the scene in the drawing-room at Green Bank, and how they had all
refused to believe I was speaking the truth when I declared that the
French poetry had entirely gone out of my head. And then there was the
making up my mind that I could bear school no longer, and the secretly
leaving the house, and at last losing my way in the streets.

I had meant to go to Mrs. Selwood's, or at least to get her address and
write to her--but where was I now?--what should I do?

My head grew dizzy again with trying to think, and a faint miserable
feeling came over me and I burst into tears.

I did not cry loudly. But there was some one watching in the room who
would have heard even a fainter sound than that of my sobs--some one
sitting behind my bed-curtains whom I had not seen, who came forward
now and leant over me, saying, in words and voice which seemed curiously
familiar to me,

"Geraldine, my poor little girl."



It was Miss Fenmore. I knew her again at once. And she called me "my
poor little girl"--the very words she had used when she said good-bye to
me and looked so sorry before she went away for the Easter holidays,
never to come back, though she did not then know it, to Green Bank.

"You remember me, dear?" she said, in the sweet tones I had loved to
hear. "Don't speak if you feel too ill or if it tires you. But don't
feel frightened or unhappy, though you are in a strange
place--everything will be right."

I felt soothed almost at once, but my curiosity grew greater.

"When did you come?" I said. "You weren't here when I woke before. It
was--somebody with a cap--first I thought it was one of the lions."

The sound of my own voice surprised me, it was so feeble and husky, and
though my throat did not hurt me much I felt that it was thick and

Miss Fenmore thought I was still only half awake or light-headed, but
she was too sensible to show that she thought so.

"One of the lions?" she said, smiling. "You mean the carved lions that
Myra is so fond of. No--that was a very funny fancy of yours--a lion
with a cap on! It was old Hannah that you saw, the old nurse. She has
been watching beside you all night. When you awoke before, I was out. I
went out very early."

She spoke in a very matter-of-fact way, but rather slowly, as if she
wanted to be sure of my understanding what she said. And as my mind
cleared and I followed her words I grew more and more anxious to know
all there was to hear.

"I don't understand," I said, "and it hurts me to speak. Is this your
house, Miss Fenmore, and how do you know about the lions? And who
brought me in here, and why didn't I know when I was put in this bed?"

Miss Fenmore looked at me rather anxiously when I said it hurt me to
speak. But she seemed pleased, too, at my asking the questions so

"Don't speak, dear," she said quietly, "and I will explain it all. The
doctor said you were not to speak if it hurt you."

"The doctor," I repeated. Another puzzle!

"Yes," said Miss Fenmore, "the doctor who lives in this street--Dr.
Fallis. He knows you quite well, and you know him, don't you? Just nod
your head a little, instead of speaking."

But the doctor's name brought back too many thoughts for me to be
content with only nodding my head.

"Dr. Fallis," I said. "Oh, I would so like to see him. He could tell
me----" but I stopped. "Mrs. Selwood's address" I was going to say, as
all the memories of the day before began to rush over me. "Why didn't I
know when he came?"

"You were asleep, dear, but he is coming again," said Miss Fenmore
quietly. "He was afraid you had got a sore throat by the way you
breathed. You must have caught cold in the evening down in the show-room
by the lions, before they found you."

And then she went on to explain it all to me. I was in Mr. Cranston's
house!--up above the big show-rooms, where he and old Mrs. Cranston
lived. They had found me fast asleep, leaning against one of the
lions--the old porter and the boy who went round late in the evening to
see that all was right for the night, though when the rooms were shut up
earlier no one had noticed me. I was so fast asleep, so utterly
exhausted, that I had not awakened when the old man carried me up to the
kitchen, just as the servants were about going to bed, to ask what in
the world was to be done with me; nor even later, when, on Miss
Fenmore's recognising me, they had undressed and settled me for the
night in the comfortable old-fashioned "best bedroom," had I opened my
eyes or spoken.

Old Hannah watched beside me all night, and quite early in the morning
Dr. Fallis, who fortunately was the Cranstons' doctor too, had been sent

"He said we were to let you have your sleep out," said Miss Fenmore,
"though by your breathing he was afraid you had caught cold. How is your
throat now, dear?"

"It doesn't hurt very much," I said, "only it feels very shut up."

"I expect you will have to stay in bed all to-day," she replied. "Dr.
Fallis will be coming soon and then we shall know."

"But--but," I began; then as the thought of it all came over me still
more distinctly I hid my face in the pillow and burst into tears. "Must
I go back to school?" I said. "Oh, Miss Fenmore, they will be so
angry--I came away without leave, because--because I couldn't bear it,
and they said I told what wasn't true--that was almost the worst of all.
Fancy if they wrote and told mamma that I told lies."

"She would not believe it," said Miss Fenmore quietly; "and besides, I
don't think Miss Ledbury would do such a thing, and she always writes to
the parents herself, I know. And she is kind and good, Geraldine."

"P'raps she means to be," I said among my tears, "but it's Miss Aspinall
and--and--Miss Broom. I think I hate her, Miss Fenmore. Oh, I shouldn't
say that--I never used to hate anybody. I'm getting all wrong and
naughty, I know," and I burst into fresh sobs.

Poor Miss Fenmore looked much distressed. No doubt she had been told to
keep me quiet and not let me excite myself.

"Geraldine, dear," she said, "do try to be calm. If you could tell me
all about it quietly, the speaking would do you less harm than crying
so. Try, dear. You need not speak loud."

I swallowed down my tears and began the story of my troubles. Once
started I could not have helped telling her all, even if it had hurt my
throat much more than it did. And she knew a good deal already. She was
a girl of great natural quickness and full of sympathy. She seemed to
understand what I had been going through far better than I could put it
in words, and when at last, tired out, I left off speaking, she said all
she could to comfort me. There was no need for me to trouble about going
back to Green Bank just now. Dr. Fallis had said I must stay where I was
for the present, and when I saw him I might tell him anything I liked.

"He will understand," she said, "and he will explain to Miss Ledbury. I
have seen Miss Ledbury this morning already, and----"

"Was she dreadfully angry?" I interrupted.

"No, dear," Miss Fenmore replied. "She had been terribly frightened
about you, and Miss Aspinall and some of the servants had been rushing
about everywhere. But Miss Ledbury is very good, as I keep telling you,
Geraldine. She is very sorry to hear how unhappy you have been, and if
she had known how anxious you were about your father and mother she
would have tried to comfort you. I wish you had told her."

"I wanted to tell her, but Miss Broom was there, and they thought I told
stories," I repeated.

"Well, never mind about that now. You shall ask Dr. Fallis, and I am
sure he will tell you you need not be so unhappy."

It was not till long afterwards that I knew how very distressed poor old
Miss Ledbury had been, and how she had blamed herself for not having
tried harder to gain my confidence. Nor did I fully understand at the
time how very sensibly Miss Fenmore had behaved when Mr. and Mrs.
Cranston sent her off to Green Bank to tell of my having, without
intending it, taken refuge with them; she had explained things so that
Miss Ledbury, and indeed Miss Aspinall, felt far more sorry for me than
angry with me.

Just as Miss Fenmore mentioned his name there came a tap at the door,
and in another moment I saw the kind well-known face of our old doctor
looking in.

"Well, well," he began, looking at me with a rather odd smile, "and how
is the little runaway? My dear child, why did you not come to me,
instead of wandering all about Great Mexington streets in the dark and
the rain? Not that you could have found anywhere better for yourself
than this kind house, but you might have been all night downstairs in
the cold! Tell me, what made you run away like that--no, don't tell me
just yet. It is all right now, but I think you have talked enough. Has
she had anything to eat?" and he turned to Miss Fenmore. Then he looked
at my throat and listened to my breathing, and tapped me and felt my
pulse and looked at my tongue before I could speak at all.

"She must stay in bed all to-day," he said at last. "I will see her
again this evening," and he went on to give Miss Fenmore a few
directions about me, I fidgeting all the time to ask him about father
and mamma, though feeling too shy to do so.

"Geraldine is very anxious to tell you one of the chief causes of her
coming away from Green Bank as she did," said Miss Fenmore. And then she
spoke of the gossip that had reached me through Harriet Smith about the
terribly unhealthy climate my parents were in.

Dr. Fallis listened attentively.

"I wanted to write to Mrs. Selwood, and I thought Mr. Cranston would
tell me her address," I said, though I almost started when I heard how
hoarse and husky my voice sounded. "Can you tell it me? I do so want to
write to her."

"Mrs. Selwood is abroad, my dear, and not returning till next month,"
said Dr. Fallis; but when he saw how my face fell, he added quickly,
"but I think I can tell you perhaps better than she about your parents.
I know the place--Mr. Le Marchant consulted me about it before he
decided on going, as he knew I had been there myself in my young days.
Unhealthy? No, not if people take proper care. Your father and mother
live in the best part--on high ground out of the town--there is never
any fever there. And I had a most cheerful letter from your father quite
lately. Put all these fears out of your head, my poor child. Please God
you will have papa and mamma safe home again before long. But they must
not find such a poor little white shrimp of a daughter when they come.
You must get strong and well and do all that this kind young lady tells
you to do. Good-bye--good-bye," and he hurried off.

I was crying again by this time, but quietly now, and my tears were not
altogether because I was weak and ill. They were in great measure tears
of relief--I was so thankful to hear what he said about father and

"Miss Fenmore," I whispered, "I wonder why they didn't take me with
them, if it's a nice place. And then there wouldn't have been all these
dreadful things."

"It is quite a different matter to take a child to a hot climate," she
said. "Grown-up people can stand much that would be very bad for girls
and boys. When I was little my father was in India, and my sister and I
had to be brought up by an aunt in England."

"Did you mind?" I said eagerly. "And did your papa soon come home? And
where was your mamma?"

Miss Fenmore smiled, but there was something a little sad in her smile.

"I was very happy with my aunt," she said; "she was like a mother to me.
For my mother died when I was a little baby. Yes, my father has been
home several times, but he is in India again now, and he won't be able
to come back for good till he is quite old. So you have much happier
things to look forward to, you see, Geraldine."

That was true. I felt very sorry for Miss Fenmore as I lay thinking
over what she had been telling me. Then another idea struck me.

"Is Mrs. Cranston your aunt?" I said. "Is that why you are living here?"

Miss Fenmore looked up quickly.

"No," she replied; "I thought somehow that you understood. I am here
because I am Myra Raby's governess--Myra Raby, who used to come for some
lessons to Green Bank."

"Oh!" I exclaimed. This explained several things. "Oh yes," I went on,
"I remember her, and I know she's Mr. Cranston's grand-daughter--he was
speaking of her to mamma one day. I should like to see her, Miss
Fenmore. May I?"

Miss Fenmore was just going to reply when again there came a tap at the
door, and in answer to her "Come in" it opened and two figures appeared.

I could see them from where I lay, and I shall never forget the pretty
picture they made. Myra I knew by sight, and as I think I have said
before, she was an unusually lovely child. And with her was a quite old
lady, a small old lady--Myra was nearly as tall as she--with a face that
even I (though children seldom notice beauty in elderly people) saw was
quite charming. This was Mrs. Cranston.

I felt quite surprised. Mr. Cranston was a rather stout old man, with
spectacles and a big nose. I had not thought him at all "pretty," and
somehow I had fancied Mrs. Cranston must be something like him, and I
gave a sigh of pleasure as the old lady came up to the side of the bed
with a gentle smile on her face.

"Dr. Fallis gave us leave to come in to see you, my dear," she said.
"Myra has been longing to do so all the morning."

"I've been wanting to see her too," I said, half shyly.
"And--please--it's very kind of you to let me stay here in this nice
room. I didn't mean to fall asleep downstairs. I only wanted to speak to
Mr. Cranston."

"I'm sure Mr. Cranston would be very pleased to tell you anything he can
that you want to know, my dear. But I think you mustn't trouble just now
about anything except getting quite well," said the old lady. "Myra has
been wanting to come to see you all the morning, but we were afraid of
tiring you."


Myra came forward gently, her sweet face looking rather grave. I put out
my hand, and she smiled.

"May she stay with me a little?" I asked Mrs. Cranston.

"Of course she may--that's what she came for," said the grandmother
heartily. "But I don't think you should talk much. Missie's voice sounds
as if it hurt her to speak," she went on, turning to Miss Fenmore.

"It doesn't hurt me much," I said. "I daresay I shall be quite well
to-morrow. I am so glad I'm here--I wouldn't have liked to be ill at
school," and I gave a little shudder. "I'm quite happy now that Dr.
Fallis says it's not true about father and mamma getting ill at that
place, and I don't want to ask Mr. Cranston anything now, thank you. It
was about Mrs. Selwood, but I don't mind now."

I had been sitting up a little--now I laid my head down on the pillows
again with a little sigh, half of weariness, half of relief.

Mrs. Cranston looked at me rather anxiously.

"Are you very tired, my dear?" she said. "Perhaps it would be better for
Myra not to stay just now."

"Oh, please let her stay," I said; "I like to see her."

So Myra sat down beside my bed and took hold of my hand, and though we
did not speak to each other, I liked the feeling of her being there.

Mrs. Cranston left the room then, and Miss Fenmore followed her. I
think the old lady had made her a little sign to do so, though I did not
see it. Afterwards I found out that Mrs. Cranston had thought me looking
very ill, worse than she had expected, and she wanted to hear from Miss
Fenmore if it was natural to me to look so pale.

I myself, though feeling tired and disinclined to talk, was really
happier than I had been for a very long time. There was a delightful
sensation of being safe and at home, even though the kind people who had
taken me in, like a poor little stray bird, were strangers. The very
look of the old-fashioned room and the comfortable great big four-post
bed made me hug myself when I thought how different it all was from the
bare cold room at Green Bank, where there had never once been a fire all
the weeks I was there. It reminded me of something--what was it? Oh yes,
in a minute or two I remembered. It was the room I had once slept in
with mamma at grandmamma's house in London, several years before, when I
was quite a little girl. For dear grandmamma had died soon after we came
to live at Great Mexington. But there was the same comfortable
old-fashioned feeling: red curtains to the window and the bed, and a big
fire and the shiny dark mahogany furniture. Oh yes, how well I
remembered it, and how enormous the bed seemed, and how mamma tucked me
in at night and left the door a little open in case I should feel lonely
before she came to bed. It all came back to me so that I forgot where I
was for the moment, till I felt a little tug given to the hand that Myra
was still holding, and heard her voice say very softly,

"Are you going to sleep, Geraldine?"

This brought me back to the present.

"Oh no," I said, "I'm not sleepy. I was only thinking," and I told her
what had come into my mind.

She listened with great interest.

"How unhappy you must have been when your mamma went away," she said. "I
can't remember my own mamma, but mother"--she meant her stepmother--"is
so kind, and granny is so sweet. I've never been lonely."

"You can't fancy what it's like," I said. "It wasn't only mamma's going
away; I know Haddie--that's my brother--loves her as much as I do, but
he's not very unhappy, because he likes his school. Oh, Myra, what
_shall_ I do when I have to go back to school? I'd rather be ill always.
Do you think I'll have to go back to-morrow?"

Myra looked most sympathising and concerned.

"I don't think you'll be quite well to-morrow," was the best comfort she
could give me. "When I have bad colds and sore throats they always last
longer than one day."

"I'd like to talk a great lot to keep my throat from getting quite
well," I said, "but I suppose that would be very naughty."

"Yes," said Myra with conviction, "I'm sure it would be. You really
mustn't talk, Geraldine; granny said so. Mayn't I read aloud to you?
I've brought a book with me--it's an old story-book of mamma's that she
had when she was a little girl. Granny keeps them here all together.
This one is called _Ornaments Discovered_."

"Thank you," I said. "Yes, I should like it very much."

And in her gentle little voice Myra read the quaint old story aloud to
me. It was old-fashioned even then, for the book had belonged to her
mother, if not in the first place to her grandmother. How very old-world
it would seem to the children of to-day--I wonder if any of you know it?
For I am growing quite an old woman myself, and the little history of my
childhood that I am telling you will, before long, be half a century in
age, though its events seem as clear and distinct to me as if they had
only happened quite recently! I came across the little red gilt-leaved
book not long ago in the house of one of Myra's daughters, and with the
sight of it a whole flood of memories rushed over me.

It was not a very exciting story, but I found it very interesting, and
now and then my little friend stopped to talk about it, which I found
very interesting too. I was quite sorry when Miss Fenmore, who had come
back to the room and was sitting quietly sewing, told Myra that she
thought she had read enough, and that it must be near dinner-time.

"I will come again after dinner," said Myra, and then I whispered
something to her. She nodded; she quite understood me. What I said was

"I wish you would go downstairs and tell the carved lions that they made
me very happy last night, and I _am_ so glad they brought me back here
to you, instead of taking me to Green Bank."

"Where did they take you to in the night?" said Myra with great
interest, though not at all as if she thought I was talking nonsense.

"I'll tell you all about it afterwards," I said. "It was beautiful. But
it would take a long time to tell, and I'm rather tired."

"You are looking tired, dear," said Miss Fenmore, who heard my last
words, as she gave me a cupful of beef-tea. "Try to go to sleep for a
little, and then Myra can come to sit with you again."

I did go to sleep, but Myra was not allowed to see me again that day,
nor the next--nor for several days after, except for a very few minutes
at a time. For I did not improve as the kind people about me had hoped I
would, and Dr. Fallis looked graver when he came that evening than he
had done in the morning. Miss Fenmore was afraid she had let me talk too
much, but after all I do not think anything would have made any great
difference. I had really been falling out of health for months past, and
I should probably have got ill in some other way if I had not caught
cold in my wanderings. I do not very clearly remember those days of
serious illness. I knew whenever I was awake that I was being tenderly
cared for, and in the half-dozing, half-dreaming state in which many
hours must have been passed, I fancied more than once that mamma was
beside me, which made me very happy. And though never actually
delirious, I had very strange though not unpleasant dreams, especially
about the carved lions; none of them, however, so clear and real as the
one I related at full in the last chapter.

On the whole, that illness left more peaceful and sweet memories than
memories of pain. Through it all I had the delightful feeling of being
cared for and protected, and somehow it all seemed to have to do with
the pair of lions downstairs in Mr. Cranston's show-room!



I don't suppose there was anything really infectious about my illness,
though nowadays whenever there is any sort of sore throat people are
very much on their guard. Perhaps they were not so cautious long ago.
However that may have been, Myra was not banished from my room for very
long. I rather think, indeed, that she used to creep in and sit like a
little mouse behind the curtains before I was well enough to notice her.

But everything for a time seemed dreamy to me. The first event I can
quite clearly recall was my being allowed to sit up for an hour or two,
or, more correctly speaking, to _lie_ up, for I was lifted on to the
sofa and tucked in almost as if I were still in bed.

That was a very happy afternoon. It was happy for several reasons, for
that morning had brought me the first letter I had had from dear mamma
since she had heard of my bold step in running away from school! Lying
still and silent for so many hours as I had done, things had grown to
look differently to me. I began to see where and how I had been wrong,
and to think that if I had been more open about my troubles, more
courageous--that is to say, if I had gone to Miss Ledbury and told her
everything that was on my mind--I need not have been so terribly unhappy
or caused trouble and distress to others.

A little of this mamma pointed out to me in her letter, which was,
however, so very kind and loving, so full of sorrow that I had been so
unhappy, that I felt more grateful than I knew how to express.
Afterwards, when we talked it all over, years afterwards even, for we
often talked of that time after I was grown up and married, and had
children of my own, mamma said to me that she _could_ not blame me
though she knew I had not done right, for she felt so broken-hearted at
the thought of what I had suffered.

It had been a mistake, no doubt, to send me to Green Bank, but mistakes
are often overruled for good. I am glad to have had the experience of
it, as I think it made me more sympathising with others. And it made me
determine never to send any child of mine, or any child I had the care
of, to a school where there was so little feeling of _home_, so little
affection and gentleness--above all, that dreadful old-world rule of
letters being read, and the want of trust and confidence in the pupils,
which showed in so many ways.

A few days after I received mamma's letter I was allowed to write to
her. It was slow and tiring work, for I was only able to write a few
lines at a time, and that in pencil. But it was delightful to be free to
say just what I wanted to say, without the terrible feeling of Miss
Aspinall, or worse still Miss Broom, judging and criticising every line.
I thanked mamma with my whole heart for not being angry with me, and to
show her how truly I meant what I said, I promised her that when I was
well again and able to go back to school I would try my very, very best
to get on more happily.

But I gave a deep sigh as I wrote this, and Myra, who was sitting beside
me, looked up anxiously, and asked what was the matter.

"Oh, Myra," I said, "it is just that I can't bear to think of going back
to school. I'd rather never get well if only I could stay here till
mamma comes home."

"Dear little Geraldine," said Myra--she often called me "little" though
she was _scarcely_ any taller than I--"dear little Geraldine, you
mustn't say that. I don't think it's right. And, you know, when you are
quite well again things won't seem so bad to you. I remember once when I
was ill--I was quite a little girl then,"--Myra spoke as if she was now
a very big girl indeed!--"I think it was when I had had the measles, the
least thing vexed me dreadfully. I cried because somebody had given me a
present of a set of wooden tea-things in a box, and the tea ran out of
the cups when I filled them! Fancy crying for that!"

"I know," I said, "I've felt like that too. But this is a _real_
trouble, Myra--a real, very bad, dreadful trouble, though I've promised
mamma to try to be good. Do you think, Myra, that when I'm back at
school your grandmamma will sometimes ask me to come to see you?"

"I'm sure----" my little friend began eagerly. But she was interrupted.
For curiously enough, just at that moment Mrs. Cranston opened the door
and came in. She came to see me every day, and though at first I was
just a tiny bit afraid of her--she seemed to me such a very old lady--I
soon got to love her dearly, and to talk to her quite as readily as to
kind Miss Fenmore.

"What is my little girl sure about?" she said. "And how is my other
little girl to-day? Not too tired," and she glanced at my letter. "You
have not been writing too much, dearie, I hope?"

"No, thank you," I replied, "I'm not tired."

"She's only rather unhappy, granny," said Myra.

"I think that's a very big 'only,'" said Mrs. Cranston. "Can't you tell
me, my dear, what you are unhappy about?"

I glanced at Myra, as if asking her to speak for me. She understood.

"Granny," she said, "poor little Geraldine is unhappy to think of going
away and going back to school."

Mrs. Cranston looked at me very kindly.

"Poor dear," she said, "you have not had much pleasure with us, as you
have been ill all the time."

"I don't mind," I said. "I was telling Myra, only she thought it was
naughty, that I'd rather be ill always if I was with kind people,
than--than--be at school where nobody cares for me."

"Well, well, my dear, the troubles we dread are often those that don't
come to pass. Try to keep up your spirits and get quite well and
strong, so that you may be able to enjoy yourself a little before both
you and Myra leave us."

"Oh, is Myra going away?" I said. "I thought she was going to live here
always," and somehow I felt as if I did not mind _quite_ so much to
think of going away myself in that case.

"Oh no," said the old lady, "Myra has her own home where she must spend
part of her time, though grandfather and I hope to have her here a good
deal too. It is easy to manage now Miss Fenmore is with her always."

In my heart I thought Myra a most fortunate child--_two_ homes were
really hers; and I--I had none. This thought made me sigh again. I don't
know if Myra guessed what I was thinking of, but she came close up to me
and put her arms round my neck and kissed me.

"Geraldine," she whispered, by way of giving me something pleasant to
think of, perhaps, "as soon as you are able to walk about a little I
want you to come downstairs with me to see the lions."

"Yes," I said in the same tone, "but you did give them my message,

"Of course I did, and they sent you back their love, and they are very
glad you're better, and they want you very much indeed to come to see

Myra and I understood each other quite well about the lions, you see.

I went on getting well steadily after that, and not many days later I
went downstairs with Myra to the big show-room to see the lions. It gave
me such a curious feeling to remember the last time I had been there,
that rainy evening when I crept in, as nearly broken-hearted and in
despair as a little girl could be. And as I stroked the lions and looked
up in their dark mysterious faces, I could not get rid of the idea that
they knew all about it, that somehow or other they had helped and
protected me, and when I tried to express this to Myra she seemed to
think the same.

After this there were not many days on which we did not come downstairs
to visit our strange play-fellows, and not a few interesting games or
"actings," as Myra called them, did we invent, in which the lions took
their part.

We were only allowed to be in the show-rooms at certain hours of the
day, when there were not likely to be any customers there. Dear old Mrs.
Cranston was as particular as she possibly could be not to let me do
anything or be seen in any way which mamma could possibly have disliked.

And before long I began to join a little in Myra's lessons with Miss
Fenmore--lessons which our teacher's kind and "understanding" ways made
delightful. So that life was really very happy for me at this time,
except of course for the longing for mamma and father and Haddie, which
still came over me in fits, as it were, every now and then, and
except--a still bigger "except"--for the dreaded thought of the return
to school which must be coming nearer day by day.

Myra and I never spoke of it. I tried to forget about it, and she seemed
to enter into my feeling without saying anything.

I had had a letter from mamma in answer to the one I wrote to her just
after my illness. In it she said she was pleased with all I said, and my
promise to try to get on better at Green Bank, but "in the meantime,"
she wrote, "what we want you to do is to get _quite_ strong and well, so
put all troubling thoughts out of your head and be happy with your kind

That letter had come a month ago, and the last mail had only brought me
a tiny little note enclosed in a letter from mamma to Mrs. Cranston,
with the promise of a longer one "next time." And "next time" was about
due, for the mail came every fortnight, one afternoon when Myra and I
were sitting together in our favourite nook in the show-room.

"I have a fancy, Myra," I said, "that something is going to happen. My
lion has been so queer to-day--I see a look on his face as if he knew

For we had each chosen one lion as more particularly our own.

"I think they always look rather like that," said Myra dreamily. "But I
suppose something must happen soon. I shall be going home next week."

"Next week," I repeated. "Oh, Myra!"

I could not speak for a moment. Then I remembered how I had made up my
mind to be brave.

"Do you mind going home?" I asked. "I mean, are you sorry to go?"

"I'm always sorry to leave grandpapa and grandmamma," she said, "and the
lions, and this funny old house. But I'm very happy at home, and I shall
like it still better with Miss Fenmore. No, I wouldn't be unhappy--I'd
be very glad to think of seeing father and mother and my little brothers
again--I wouldn't be unhappy, except for--you know, Geraldine--for
leaving you," and my little friend's voice shook.

"Dear Myra," I said. "But you mustn't mind about me. I'm going to
try----" but here I had to stop to choke down something in my throat.
"After all," I went on, after a moment or two, "more than a quarter of
the time that father and mamma have to be away is gone. And perhaps in
the summer holidays I shall see Haddie."

"I wish----" Myra was beginning, but a voice interrupted her. It was
Miss Fenmore's.

"I have brought you down a letter that has just come by the second post,
Geraldine, dear," she said; "a letter from South America."

"Oh, thank you," I said, eagerly seizing it.

Miss Fenmore strolled to the other side of the room, and Myra followed
her, to leave me alone to read my letter. It was a pretty long one, but
I read it quickly, so quickly that when I had finished it, I felt
breathless--and then I turned over the pages and glanced at it again. I
felt as if I could not believe what I read. It was too good, too
beautifully good to be true.

"Myra," I gasped, and Myra ran back to me, looking quite startled. I
think I must have grown very pale.

"No, no," I went on, "it's nothing wrong. Read it, or ask Miss
Fenmore--she reads writing quicker. Oh, Myra, isn't it beautiful?"

They soon read it, and then we all three kissed and hugged each other,
and Myra began dancing about as if she had gone out of her mind.

"Geraldine, Geraldine, I can't believe it," she kept saying, and Miss
Fenmore's pretty eyes were full of tears.

I wonder if any of my readers can guess what this delightful news was?
It was not that mamma was coming home--no, that could not be yet. But
next best to that it certainly was.

It was to tell me this--that _till_ dear father and she returned, my
home was to be with Myra, and I was to be Miss Fenmore's pupil too.
Wherever Myra was, there I was to be--principally at her father's
vicarage in the country, but some part of the year with her kind
grandparents at Great Mexington. It was all settled and arranged--of
course I did not trouble my head about the money part of it, though
afterwards mamma told me that both Mr. and Mrs. Raby and the Cranstons
had been most exceedingly kind, making out that the advantage of a
companion for their little girl would be so great that all the thanking
should be on their side, though, of course, they respected father too
much not to let him pay a proper share of all the expense. And it really
cost less than my life at Green Bank, though father was now a good deal
richer, and would not have minded paying a good deal more to ensure my

There is never so much story to tell when people are happy, and things
go rightly; and the next year or two of my life, except of course for
the separation from my dear parents, were _very_ happy. Even though
father's appointment in South America kept him and mamma out there for
nearly three years instead of two, I was able to bear the disappointment
in a very different way, with such kind and sympathising friends at hand
to cheer me, so that there is nothing bitter or sad to look back to in
that part of my childhood. Haddie spent the summer holidays with me,
either at Crowley vicarage, or sometimes at the sea-side, where Miss
Fenmore took care of us three. Once or twice he and I paid a visit to
Mrs. Selwood, which we enjoyed pretty well, as we were together, though
otherwise it was rather dull.

And oh, how happy it was when father and mamma at last came home--no
words can describe it. It was not _quite_ unmixed pleasure--nothing ever
is, the wise folk say--for there was the separation from Myra and her
family. But after all, that turned out less than we feared. Miss Fenmore
married soon after, and as father had now a good post in London, and we
lived there, it was settled that Myra should be with us, and join in my
lessons for a good part of the year, while I very often went back to
Crowley with her for the summer holidays. And never without staying a
few days at Great Mexington, to see Mr. and Mrs. Cranston and the lions!

       *       *       *       *       *

Many years have passed since I went there for the last time. Myra's
grandparents have long been dead--my own dear father and mother are dead
too, for I am growing quite old. My grandchildren are older now than I
was when I ran away from the school at Green Bank. But once, while mamma
was still alive and well, she and I together strolled through the
streets of the grim town, which had for a time been our home, and lived
over the old days again in fancy. I remember how tightly I clasped her
hand when we passed the corner where once was the old Quakeress's
shop--all changed now--and walked down the street, still not very
different from what it had been, where we used to live.

There was no use in going to Mr. Cranston's show-rooms--they had long
been done away with. But the lions are still to be seen. They stand in
the hall of Myra's pretty house in the country, where she and Haddon,
her husband, have lived for many years, ever since my brother left the
army and they came home for good from India.

I spend a part of every year with them, for I am alone now. They want me
to live with them altogether, but I cling to a little home of my own.
Our grandchildren know the lions well, and stroke their smooth sides,
and gaze up into their dark faces just as Myra and I used to do. So I
promised them that sometime I would write out the simple story that I
have now brought to a close.




       *       *       *       *       *

In Ten Volumes. 12mo. Cloth. One Dollar a Volume.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Tell Me a Story, and Herr Baby.
      "Carrots," and A Christmas Child.
          Grandmother Dear, and Two Little Waifs.
              The Cuckoo Clock, and The Tapestry Room.
                  Christmas-Tree Land, and A Christmas Posy.
  The Children of the Castle, and Four Winds Farm.
      Little Miss Peggy, and Nurse Heatherdale's Story,
          "Us," and The Rectory Children.
              Rosy, and The Girls and I.
                  Mary. Sheila's Mystery.
                      Carved Lions.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

"It seems to me not at all easier to draw a lifelike child than to draw
a lifelike man or woman: Shakespeare and Webster were the only two men
of their age who could do it with perfect delicacy and success; at
least, if there was another who could, I must crave pardon of his happy
memory for my forgetfulness or ignorance of his name. Our own age is
more fortunate, on this single score at least, having a larger and far
nobler proportion of female writers; among whom, since the death of
George Eliot, there is none left whose touch is so exquisite and
masterly, whose love is so thoroughly according to knowledge, whose
bright and sweet invention is so fruitful, so truthful, or so delightful
as Mrs. Molesworth's. Any chapter of _The Cuckoo Clock_ or the
enchanting _Adventures of Herr Baby_ is worth a shoal of the very best
novels dealing with the characters and fortunes of mere adults."--MRS.
A. C. SWINBURNE, in _The Nineteenth Century_.


       *       *       *       *       *

"There is hardly a better author to put into the hands of children than
Mrs. Molesworth. I cannot easily speak too highly of her work. It is a
curious art she has, not wholly English in its spirit, but a cross of
the old English with the Italian. Indeed, I should say Mrs. Molesworth
had also been a close student of the German and Russian, and had some
way, catching and holding the spirit of all, created a method and tone
quite her own.... Her characters are admirable and real."--_St. Louis
Globe Democrat._

"Mrs. Molesworth has a rare gift for composing stories for children.
With a light, yet forcible touch, she paints sweet and artless, yet
natural and strong, characters."--_Congregationalist._

"Mrs. Molesworth always has in her books those charming touches of
nature that are sure to charm small people. Her stories are so likely to
have been true that men 'grown up' do not disdain them."--_Home

"No English writer of childish stories has a better reputation than Mrs.
Molesworth, and none with whose stories we are familiar deserves it
better. She has a motherly knowledge of the child nature, a clear sense
of character, the power of inventing simple incidents that interest, and
the ease which comes of continuous practice."--_Mail and Express._

"Christmas would hardly be Christmas without one of Mrs. Molesworth's
stories. No one has quite the same power of throwing a charm and an
interest about the most commonplace every-day doings as she has, and no
one has ever blended fairyland and reality with the same
skill."--_Educational Times._

"Mrs. Molesworth is justly a great favorite with children; her stories
for them are always charmingly interesting and healthful in
tone."--_Boston Home Journal._

"Mrs. Molesworth's books are cheery, wholesome, and particularly well
adapted to refined life. It is safe to add that Mrs. Molesworth is the
best English prose writer for children.... A new volume from Mrs.
Molesworth is always a treat."--_The Beacon._

"No holiday season would be complete for a host of young readers without
a volume from the hand of Mrs. Molesworth.... It is one of the
peculiarities of Mrs. Molesworth's stories that older readers can no
more escape their charm than younger ones."--_Christian Union._

"Mrs. Molesworth ranks with George Macdonald and Mrs. Ewing as a writer
of children's stories that possess real literary merit."--_Milwaukee

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


"So delightful that we are inclined to join in the petition, and we hope
she may soon tell us more stories."--_Athenæum._

       *       *       *       *       *

"CARROTS"; Just a Little Boy.

"One of the cleverest and most pleasing stories it has been our good
fortune to meet with for some time. Carrots and his sister are
delightful little beings, whom to read about is at once to become very
fond of."--_Examiner._

       *       *       *       *       *

A CHRISTMAS CHILD; A Sketch of a Boy's Life.

"A very sweet and tenderly drawn sketch, with life and reality manifest
throughout."--_Pall Mall Gazette._

"This is a capital story, well illustrated. Mrs. Molesworth is one of
those sunny, genial writers who has genius for writing acceptably for
the young. She has the happy faculty of blending enough real with
romance to make her stories very practical for good without robbing them
of any of their exciting interest."--_Chicago Inter-Ocean._

"Mrs. Molesworth's _A Christmas Child_ is a story of a boy-life. The
book is a small one, but none the less attractive. It is one of the best
of this year's juveniles."--_Chicago Tribune._

"Mrs. Molesworth is one of the few writers of tales for children whose
sentiment though of the sweetest kind is never sickly; whose religious
feeling is never concealed yet never obtruded; whose books are always
good but never 'goody.' Little Ted with his soft heart, clever head, and
brave spirit is no morbid presentment of the angelic child 'too good to
live,' and who is certainly a nuisance on earth, but a charming
creature, if not a portrait, whom it is a privilege to meet even in
fiction."--_The Academy._

       *       *       *       *       *


"A beautiful little story.... It will be read with delight by every
child into whose hands it is placed."--_Pall Mall Gazette._

       *       *       *       *       *


"The author's concern is with the development of character, and seldom
does one meet with the wisdom, tact, and good breeding which pervades
this little book."--_Nation._

       *       *       *       *       *


"Mrs. Molesworth's delightful story of _Two Little Waifs_ will charm all
the small people who find it in their stockings. It relates the
adventures of two lovable English children lost in Paris, and is just
wonderful enough to pleasantly wring the youthful heart."--_New York

"It is, in its way, indeed, a little classic, of which the real beauty
and pathos can hardly be appreciated by young people.... It is not too
much to say of the story that it is perfect of its kind."--_Critic and
Good Literature._

"Mrs. Molesworth is such a bright, cheery writer, that her stories are
always acceptable to all who are not confirmed cynics, and her record of
the adventures of the little waifs is as entertaining and enjoyable as
we might expect."--_Boston Courier._

"_Two Little Waifs_ by Mrs. Molesworth is a pretty little fancy,
relating the adventures of a pair of lost children, in a style full of
simple charm. It is among the very daintiest of juvenile books that the
season has yet called forth; and its pathos and humor are equally
delightful. The refined tone and the tender sympathy with the feelings
and sentiments of childhood, lend it a special and an abiding
charm."--_Boston Saturday Evening Gazette._

"This is a charming little juvenile story from the pen of Mrs.
Molesworth, detailing the various adventures of a couple of motherless
children in searching for their father, whom they had missed in Paris
where they had gone to meet him."--_Montreal Star._

"Mrs. Molesworth is a popular name, not only with a host of English, but
with a considerable army of young American readers, who have been
charmed by her delicate fancy and won by the interest of her style. _Two
Little Waifs_, illustrated by Walter Crane, is a delightful story, which
comes, as all children's stories ought to do, to a delightful
end."--_Christian Union._

       *       *       *       *       *


"Mrs. Molesworth is the queen of children's fairyland. She knows how to
make use of the vague, fresh, wondering instincts of childhood, and to
invest familiar things with fairy glamour."--_Athenæum._

"The story told is a charming one of what may be called the neo-fairy
sort.... There has been nothing better of its kind done anywhere for
children, whether we consider its capacity to awake interest or its
wholesomeness."--_Evening Post._

"Among the books for young people we have seen nothing more unique than
_The Tapestry Room_. Like all of Mrs. Molesworth's stories it will
please young readers by the very attractive and charming style in which
it is written."--_Presbyterian Journal._

"Mrs. Molesworth will be remembered as a writer of very pleasing stories
for children. A new book from her pen will be sure of a welcome from all
the young people. The new story bears the name of _The Tapestry Room_
and is a child's romance.... The child who comes into possession of the
story will count himself fortunate. It is a bright, wholesome story, in
which the interest is maintained to the end. The author has the faculty
of adapting herself to the tastes and ideas of her readers in an unusual
way."--_New Haven Paladium._

       *       *       *       *       *


"It is conceived after a happy fancy, as it relates the supposititious
journey of a party of little ones through that part of fairyland where
Christmas-trees are supposed to most abound. There is just enough of the
old-fashioned fancy about fairies mingled with the 'modern improvements'
to incite and stimulate the youthful imagination to healthful action.
The pictures by Walter Crane are, of course, not only well executed in
themselves, but in charming consonance with the spirit of the
tale."--_Troy Times._

"_Christmas-Tree Land_, by Mrs. Molesworth, is a book to make younger
readers open their eyes wide with delight. A little boy and a little
girl domiciled in a great white castle, wander on their holidays through
the surrounding fir-forests, and meet with the most delightful
pleasures. There is a fascinating, mysterious character in their
adventures and enough of the fairy-like and wonderful to puzzle and
enchant all the little ones."--_Boston Home Journal._

       *       *       *       *       *


"This is a collection of eight of those inimitable stories for children
which none could write better than Mrs. Molesworth. Her books are prime
favorites with children of all ages and they are as good and wholesome
as they are interesting and popular. This makes a very handsome book,
and its illustrations are excellent."--_Christian at Work._

"_A Christmas Posy_ is one of those charming stories for girls which Mrs
Molesworth excels in writing."--_Philadelphia Press._

"Here is a group of bright, wholesome stories, such as are dear to
children, and nicely tuned to the harmonies of Christmas-tide. Mr. Crane
has found good situations for his spirited sketches."--_Churchman._

"_A Christmas Posy_, by Mrs. Molesworth, is lovely and fragrant. Mrs.
Molesworth succeeds by right to the place occupied with so much honor by
the late Mrs. Ewing, as a writer of charming stories for children. The
present volume is a cluster of delightful short stories. Mr. Crane's
illustrations are in harmony with the text."--_Christian

       *       *       *       *       *


"_The Children of the Castle_, by Mrs. Molesworth, is another of those
delightful juvenile stories of which this author has written so many. It
is a fascinating little book, with a charming plot, a sweet, pure
atmosphere, and teaches a wholesome moral in the most winning
manner."--_B. S. E. Gazette._

"Mrs. Molesworth has given a charming story for children.... It is a
wholesome book, one which the little ones will read with
interest."--_Living Church._

"_The Children of the Castle_ are delightful creations, actual little
girls, living in an actual castle, but often led by their fancies into a
shadowy fairyland. There is a charming refinement of style and spirit
about the story from beginning to end; an imaginative child will find
endless pleasure in it, and the lesson of gentleness and unselfishness
so artistically managed that it does not seem like a lesson, but only a
part of the story."--_Milwaukee Sentinel._

"Mrs. Molesworth's stories for children are always ingenious,
entertaining, and thoroughly wholesome. Her resources are apparently
inexhaustible, and each new book from her pen seems to surpass its
predecessors in attractiveness. In _The Children of the Castle_ the best
elements of a good story for children are very happily combined."--_The

       *       *       *       *       *


"Mrs. Molesworth's books are always delightful, but of all none is more
charming than the volume with which she greets the holidays this season.
_Four Winds Farm_ is one of the most delicate and pleasing books for a
child that has seen the light this many a day. It is full of fancy and
of that instinctive sympathy with childhood which makes this author's
books so attractive and so individual."--_Boston Courier._

"Like all the books she has written this one is very charming, and is
worth more in the hands of a child than a score of other stories of a
more sensational character."--_Christian at Work._

"Still more delicately fanciful is Mrs. Molesworth's lovely little tale
of the _Four Winds Farm_. It is neither a dream nor a fairy story, but
concerns the fortune of a real little boy, named Gratian; yet the dream
and the fairy tale seem to enter into his life, and make part of it. The
farm-house in which the child lives is set exactly at the meeting-place
of the four winds, and they, from the moment of his birth, have acted as
his self-elected godmothers.... All the winds love the boy, and, held in
the balance of their influence, he grows up as a boy should, simply and
truly, with a tender heart and firm mind. The idea of this little book
is essentially poetical."--_Literary World._

"This book is for the children. We grudge it to them. There are few
children in this generation good enough for such a gift. Mrs. Molesworth
is the only woman now who can write such a book.... The delicate welding
of the farm life about the child and the spiritual life within him, and
the realization of the four immortals into a delightful sort of
half-femininity shows a finer literary quality than anything we have
seen for a long time. The light that never was on sea or land is in this
little red and gold volume."--_Philadelphia Press._

       *       *       *       *       *


"_Nurse Heatherdale's Story_ is all about a small boy, who was good
enough, yet was always getting into some trouble through complications
in which he was not to blame. The same sort of things happens to men and
women. He is an orphan, though he is cared for in a way by relations,
who are not so very rich, yet are looked on as well fixed. After many
youthful trials and disappointments he falls into a big stroke of good
luck, which lifts him and goes to make others happy. Those who want a
child's book will find nothing to harm and something to interest in this
simple story."--_Commercial Advertiser._

       *       *       *       *       *


"Mrs. Molesworth's _Us, an Old-Fashioned Story_, is very charming. A
dear little six-year-old 'bruvver' and sister constitute the 'us,' whose
adventures with gypsies form the theme of the story. Mrs. Molesworth's
style is graceful, and she pictures the little ones with brightness and
tenderness."--_Evening Post._

"A pretty and wholesome story."--_Literary World._

"_Us, an Old-Fashioned Story_, is a sweet and quaint story of two little
children who lived long ago, in an old-fashioned way, with their
grandparents. The story is delightfully told."--_Philadelphia News._

"_Us_ is one of Mrs. Molesworth's charming little stories for young
children. The narrative ... is full of interest for its real grace and
delicacy, and the exquisiteness and purity of the English in which it is
written."--_Boston Advertiser._

"Mrs. Molesworth's last story, _Us_, will please the readers of that
lady's works by its pleasant domestic atmosphere and healthful moral
tone. The narrative moves forward with sufficient interest to hold the
reader's attention; and there are useful lessons for young people to be
drawn from it."--_Independent._

"Mrs. Molesworth's story ... is very simple, refined, bright, and full
of the real flavor of childhood."--_Literary World._

       *       *       *       *       *


"It is a book written for children in just the way that is best adapted
to please them."--_Morning Post._

"In _The Rectory Children_ Mrs. Molesworth has written one of those
delightful volumes which we always look for at Christmas

"A delightful Christmas book for children; a racy, charming home story,
full of good impulses and bright suggestions."--_Boston Traveller._

"Quiet, sunny, interesting, and thoroughly winning and
wholesome."--_Boston Journal._

"There is no writer of children's books more worthy of their admiration
and love than Mrs. Molesworth. Her bright and sweet invention is so
truthful, her characters so faithfully drawn, and the teaching of her
stories so tender and noble, that while they please and charm they
insensibly distil into the youthful mind the most valuable lessons. In
_The Rectory Children_ we have a fresh, bright story, that will be sure
to please all her young admirers."--_Christian at Work._

"_The Rectory Children_, by Mrs. Molesworth, is a very pretty story of
English life. Mrs. Molesworth is one of the most popular and charming of
English story-writers for children. Her child characters are true to
life, always natural and attractive, and her stories are wholesome and
interesting."--_Indianapolis Journal._

       *       *       *       *       *


"_Rosy_, like all the rest of her stories, is bright and pure and
utterly free from cant,--a book that children will read with pleasure
and lasting profit."--_Boston Traveller._

"There is no one who has a genius better adapted for entertaining
children than Mrs. Molesworth, and her latest story, _Rosy_, is one of
her best. It is illustrated with eight woodcuts from designs by Walter
Crane."--_Philadelphia Press._

"An English story for children of the every-day life of a bright little
girl, which will please those who like 'natural' books."--_New York

"Mrs. Molesworth's clever _Rosy_, a story showing in a charming way how
one little girl's jealousy and bad temper were conquered; one of the
best, most suggestive and improving of the Christmas juveniles."--_New
York Tribune._

"_Rosy_ is an exceedingly graceful and interesting story by Mrs.
Molesworth, one of the best and most popular writers of juvenile
fiction. This little story is full of tenderness, is fragrant in
sentiment, and points with great delicacy and genuine feeling a charming
moral."--_Boston Gazette._

       *       *       *       *       *


"Perhaps the most striking feature of this pleasant story is the natural
manner in which it is written. It is just like the conversation of a
bright boy--consistently like it from beginning to end. It is a boy who
is the hero of the tale, and he tells the adventures of himself and
those nearest him. He is, by the way, in many respects an example for
most young persons. It is a story characterized by sweetness and
purity--a desirable one to put into the hands of youthful
readers."--_Gettysburg Monthly._

"Jack himself tells the story of _The Girls and I_, assisted of course
by Mrs. Molesworth, whose name will recall to the juveniles pleasant
memories of interesting reading, full of just the things that children
want to know, and of that which will excite their ready sympathies.
Jack, while telling the story of the girls, takes the readers into his
own confidence, and we like the little fellow rather better than the
girls. The interest is maintained by the story of a lost jewel, the
ultimate finding of which, in the most unexpected place, closes the
story in a very pleasant manner. Jack, otherwise Mrs. Molesworth, tells
the tale in a lively style, and the book will attract attention."--_The

"A delightful and purposeful story which no one can read without being
benefited."--_New York Observer._

       *       *       *       *       *


"Mrs. Molesworth's reputation as a writer of story-books is so well
established that any new book of hers scarce needs a word of
introduction."--_Home Journal._

       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *

_Messrs. MACMILLAN & CO. are the agents in the United States for the
publications of the Oxford and Cambridge University Presses, and for
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       *       *       *       *       *

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     "A book which is destined not only to serve as a chart and compass
     for every hunter of big game, but which is likewise a valuable
     study of natural history, placed before the public in a practical
     and interesting form."--_New York Tribune._

=BEESLY= (Mrs.). =Stories from the History of Rome.= 16mo. 60 cents.

     "Of all the stories we remember from history none have struck us as
     so genuinely good--with the right ring--as those of Mrs.
     Beesly."--_Educational Times._

=BERTZ= (E.). =The French Prisoners:= A Story for Boys. $1.25.

     "Written throughout in a wise and gentle spirit, and omits no
     opportunity to deprecate war as a barbaric survival, wholly
     unnecessary in a civilized age."--_Independent._

     "The story is an extremely interesting one, full of incident, told
     in a quiet, healthful way, and with a great deal of pleasantly
     interfused information about German and French boys."--_Christian

=BUNCE= (J. T.). =Fairy Tales: Their Origin and Meaning.= 16mo. 75 cents.

=CARPENTER. Truth in Tale.= Addresses Chiefly to Children. By W. BOYD
CARPENTER, D.D., Bishop of Ripon. $1.00.

     "These ingenious and interesting tales by Bishop Carpenter are full
     of poetic beauty and of religious truth.... We would like to see a
     copy in every Sunday-school library."--_Sunday School Banner._


     =Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.= With 42 Illustrations by TENNIEL.
     12mo. $1.00.

     A German Translation. 12mo. $2.00.

     A French Translation. 12mo. $2.00.

     An Italian Translation. 12mo. $2.00.

     "An excellent piece of nonsense."--_Times._

     "That most delightful of children's stories."--_Saturday Review._

     "Elegant and delicious nonsense."--_Guardian._

     =Through the Looking-glass and What Alice Found There.= 50
     Illustrations by TENNIEL. 12mo. $1.00.

     "Will fairly rank with the tale of her previous
     experience."--_Daily Telegraph._

     "Many of Mr. Tenniel's designs are masterpieces of wise

     "Whether as regarding author or illustrator, this book is a jewel
     rarely to be found nowadays."--_Echo._

     =Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.= In
     1 vol. With TENNIEL's Illustrations. 12mo. $1.25.

     =Rhyme? and Reason?= With 65 Illustrations by ARTHUR B. FROST, and
     nine by HENRY HOLIDAY. 12mo. $1.50.

     This book is a reprint, with additions, of the comic portions of
     "Phantasmagoria, and other Poems," and of the "Hunting of the

     =A Tangled Tale.= Reprinted from the "Monthly Packet." With
     Illustrations. 12mo. $1.50.

     =Alice's Adventures under Ground.= Being a Fac-simile of the original
     MS. Book afterward developed into "Alice's Adventures in
     Wonderland." With 37 Illustrations. 12mo. $1.50.

     =The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in Eight Fits.= By LEWIS CARROLL.
     With nine Illustrations by HENRY HOLIDAY. New Edition. 12mo. $1.00.

     =Sylvie and Bruno.= With 46 Illustrations by HARRY FURNISS. 12mo.

     "Alice was a delightful little girl, but hardly more pleasing than
     are the hero and heroine of this latest book from a writer in whose
     nonsense there is far more sense than in the serious works of many
     contemporary authors."--_Morning Post._

     "Mr. Furniss's illustrations, which are numerous, are at once
     graceful and full of humor. We pay him a high compliment when we
     say he proves himself a worthy successor to Mr. Tenniel in
     illustrating Mr. Lewis Carroll's books."--_St. James Gazette._

     =The Nursery "Alice."= Containing 20 coloured enlargements from
     TENNIEL's Illustrations to "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," with
     Text adapted to Nursery Readers, by LEWIS CARROLL. 4to. $1.50.

     "Let the little people rejoice! the most charming book in the world
     has appeared for them. 'The Nursery Alice,' with its wealth of
     colored illustrations from Tenniel's Pictures, is certainly the
     most artistic juvenile that has been seen for many and many a
     day."--_Boston Budget._


     =The Story of the Iliad.= With Coloured Illustrations. 12mo. $1.00.

     =The Story of the Odyssey.= With Coloured Illustrations. 12mo. $1.00.

     =Stories from the Bible.= With Illustrations after JULIUS SCHNORR.
     12mo. $1.50.

     "Of all the books of this kind, this is the best we have

     "The book will be of infinite value to the student or teacher of
     the Scriptures, and the stories are well arranged for interesting
     reading for children."--_Boston Traveller._

     =Stories from Bible.= Illustrated. Second Series. _Shortly._

     =The Greek Gulliver.= Stories from Lucian. With Illustrations by
     C. O. MURRAY. New edition. 16mo. Paper. 40 cents.

     "A curious example of ancient humor."--_Chicago Standard._

     =The Burning of Rome.= A Story of the Times of Nero. With
     Illustrations. 12mo. $1.00.

=CLIFFORD= (Mrs. W. K.). =Anyhow Stories, Moral and Otherwise.= With
Illustrations. $1.00.

=CRAIK.= Works by MRS. CRAIK, author of "John Halifax, Gentleman."

     =Sermons out of Church.= New Edition. 12mo. $1.75.

     =Children's Poetry.= Globe 8vo. $1.25.

     =The Little Lame Prince and His Travelling Cloak.= A Parable for
     Young and Old. With Illustrations. 12mo. $1.25.

     =Little Sunshine's Holiday.= Globe 8vo. $1.00.

     =Adventures of a Brownie.= With Illustrations. 16mo. $1.00.

     =Alice Learmont.= A Fairy Tale. With Illustrations. 16mo. $1.00.

     =Our Year: a Child's Book.= Illustrated. 16mo. $1.00.

     =The Fairy Book.= The Best Popular Fairy Stories. Selected and
     rendered anew. _Golden Treasury Series._ 18mo. $1.25.

=DEFOE. The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.= Edited from the Original
Edition by HENRY KINGSLEY. _Globe Edition._ $1.25.

     _Golden Treasury Series._ 18mo. $1.00.

=DE MORGAN. The Necklace of Princess Florimonde, and other Stories.= By
MARY DE MORGAN. Illustrated by WALTER CRANE. New and cheaper Edition,
cloth extra. $1.25.

     "The stories display considerable originality, and Mr. Walter
     Crane's characteristic illustrations combine with Miss De Morgan's
     pretty fancies in forming a charming gift-book."--_Graphic._

     "A real gem."--_Punch._

=ENGLISH MEN OF ACTION SERIES.= 12mo. Cloth, limp, 60 cents; cloth, uncut
edges, 75 cents.

     "An admirable set of brief biographies.... The volumes are small,
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     "The 'English Men of Action' promises to be a notable series of
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     almost as well."--_Epoch._

     =Gordon.= By Col. Sir W. BUTLER.

     =Henry the Fifth.= By the Rev. A. J. CHURCH.

     =Livingstone.= By THOMAS HUGHES.

     =Lord Lawrence.= By Sir R. TEMPLE.

     =Wellington.= By GEORGE HOOPER.

     =Dampier.= By W. CLARK RUSSELL.

     =Monk.= By JULIAN CORBETT.

     =Strafford.= By H. D. TRAILL.

     =Warren Hastings.= By Sir ALFRED LYALL, K.C.B.

     =Peterborough.= By WILLIAM STEBBING.

     =Captain Cook.= By WALTER BESANT.

     =Havelock.= By ARCHIBALD FORBES.

     =Clive.= By Col. Sir CHARLES WILSON.

     =Drake.= By JULIAN CORBETT.

     =Warwick, the King Maker.= By C. W. OMAN.

     =Napier.= By Col. Sir WILLIAM BUTLER.

     =Rodney.= By D. G. HANNAY.

     =Montrose.= By MOWBRAY MORRIS. _Shortly._

=EWING= (J. H.). =We and the World.= A Story for Boys. By the late JULIANA
HORATIO EWING. With seven Illustrations by W. L. Jones, and a Pictorial
Design on the Cover. 4th Edition. 12mo. $1.00.

     Cheap Illustrated Edition. 4to. In paper boards, 35 cents.

     "A very good book it is, full of adventure graphically told. The
     style is just what it should be; simple but not bold, full of
     pleasant humor, and with some pretty touches of feeling. Like all
     Mrs. Ewing's tales, it is sound, sensible, and

     =A Flat Iron for a Farthing;= or, Some Passages in the Life of an
     Only Son. With 12 Illustrations by H. ALLINGHAM, and Pictorial
     Design on the Cover. 16th Edition. 12mo. $1.00.

     Cheap Illustrated Edition. 4to. In paper boards, 35 cents.

     "Let every parent and guardian who wishes to be amused, and at the
     same time to please a child, purchase 'A Flat Iron for a Farthing;
     or, Some Passages in the Life of an Only Son,' by J. H. Ewing. We
     will answer for the delight with which they will read it
     themselves, and we do not doubt that the young and fortunate
     recipients will also like it. The story is quaint, original, and
     altogether delightful."--_Athenæum._

     =Mrs. Overtheway's Remembrances.= Illustrated with nine fine
     full-page Engravings by PASQUIER, and Frontispiece by WOLF, and
     Pictorial Design on the Cover. 4th Edition. 12mo. $1.00.

     Cheap Illustrated Edition. 4to. In paper boards, 35 cents.

     "It is not often nowadays the privilege of a critic to grow
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     calls forth the delight is apt to lead one into the sin of
     hyperbole. And yet we think we shall not be accused of extravagance
     when we say that, without exception, 'Mrs. Overtheway's
     Remembrances' is the most delightful work avowedly written for
     children that we have ever read."--_Leader._

     =Six to Sixteen.= A Story for Girls. With 10 Illustrations by Mrs.
     ALLINGHAM. 7th Edition. 12mo. $1.00.

     Cheap Illustrated Edition. 4to. In paper boards, 35 cents.

     "It is scarcely necessary to say that Mrs. Ewing's book is one of
     the best of the year."--_Saturday Review._

     =A Great Emergency.= (A very Ill-Tempered Family; Our Field; Madame
     Liberality.) With four Illustrations. 3d Edition. 12mo. $1.00.

     Cheap Illustrated Edition. 4to. In paper boards, 35 cents.

     "Never has Mrs. Ewing published a more charming volume of stories,
     and that is saying a very great deal. From the first to the last
     the book overflows with the strange knowledge of child-nature which
     so rarely survives childhood; and, moreover, with inexhaustible
     quiet humor, which is never anything but innocent and well-bred,
     never priggish, and never clumsy."--_Academy._

     =Jan of the Windmill.= A Story of the Plains. With 11 Illustrations
     by Mrs. ALLINGHAM and design on the cover. 5th Edition. 12mo.

     Cheap Illustrated Edition. 4to. In paper boards, 35 cents.

     "The life and its surroundings, the incidents of Jan's childhood,
     are described with Mrs. Ewing's accustomed skill; the village
     schoolmaster, the miller's wife, and the other children, are
     extremely well done."

     =Melchior's Dream.= (The Blackbird's Nest; Friedrich's Ballad; A Bit
     of Green; Monsieur the Viscount's Friend; The Yew Lane Ghosts; A
     Bad Habit; A Happy Family.) With eight Illustrations by GORDON
     BROWNE. 6th Edition. 12mo. $1.00.

     Cheap Illustrated Edition. 4to. In paper wrapper, 35 cents.

     "'Melchior's Dream' is an exquisite little story, charming by
     original humor, buoyant spirits, and tender pathos."--_Athenæum._

     =Lob-lie-by-the-fire; or, the Luck of Lingborough, and Other Tales.=
     With three Illustrations by GEORGE CRUIKSHANK. 4th Edition. 16mo.

     "Mrs. Ewing has written as good a story as her 'Brownies,' and that
     is saying a great deal. 'Lob-lie-by-the-fire' has humor and pathos,
     and teaches what is right without making children think they are
     reading a sermon."--_Saturday Review._

     =The Brownies.= (The Land of Lost Toys; Three Christmas Trees; An
     Idyl of the Wood; Christmas Crackers; Amelia and the Dwarfs;
     Timothy's Shoes; Benjy in Beastland.) Illustrated by GEORGE
     CRUIKSHANK. 7th Edition. 16mo. $1.00.

     Cheap Illustrated Edition. Fcap. 4to. In paper wrapper, 35 cents.

     "If a child once begins 'The Brownies,' it will get so deeply
     interested in it that when bedtime comes it will altogether forget
     the moral, and will weary its parents with importunities for just a
     few minutes more to see how everything ends."--_Saturday Review._

=FREILIGRATH-KROEKER. Alice,= and other Fairy Plays for Children,
including a Dramatised Version (under sanction) of Lewis Carroll's
"Alice in Wonderland," and three other Plays. By Mrs.
FREILIGRATH-KROEKER, with eight original full-page Plates. Cloth, extra
gilt. Gilt edges. 2d Edition. 12mo. $1.25.

     "They have stood a practical ordeal, and stood it

=GASKOIN= (Mrs. H.). =Children's Treasury of Bible Stories.= Edited by the
Rev. G. F. MACLEAR, D.D. 18mo. Each, 30 cents.

     Part I. Old Testament. II. New Testament. III. Three Apostles: St.
     James, St. Paul, St. John.

=GATTY= (Mrs.). =Parables from Nature.= With Illustrations by BURNE-JONES,
HOLMAN HUNT, TENNIEL, WOLF, and others. Two Series. Each, 35 cents.

=GOLDEN TREASURY SERIES.= Uniformly printed in 18mo, with Vignette Titles
HUGHES, etc. Engraved on Steel. 18mo. Cloth. Each, $1.00.

     Also bound in half morocco, $2.50.

     Half calf, $2.50. Padded calf, $3.00.

     Or beautifully bound in full morocco, padded, solid gilt edges, in
     boxes, $2.50.

     =The Children's Garland from the Best Poets.= Selected and arranged
     by COVENTRY PATMORE, with a Vignette by T. WOOLNER.

     "Mr. Patmore deserves our gratitude for having searched through the
     wide field of English Poetry for these flowers which youth and age
     can equally enjoy, and woven them into 'The Children's
     Garland.'"--_London Review._

     =The Pilgrim's Progress, from this World to that which is to come.=
     By JOHN BUNYAN, with a Vignette by W. HOLMAN HUNT.

     "A beautiful and scholarly reprint."--_Spectator._

     =The Fairy Book.= The best popular Fairy Tales. Selected and rendered
     anew by the Author of "John Halifax, Gentleman," with a Vignette by
     Sir NOEL PATON.

     "Miss Mulock has the true instinct into the secret of a perfect
     Fairy Tale ... delightful selection in a delightful external

     =The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.= Edited by J. W. CLARK, M.A.,
     with a Vignette by Sir J. E. MILLAIS.

     "This cheap and pretty copy, rigidly exact to the original, will be
     a prize to many book buyers."--_Examiner._

     =The Sunday Book of Poetry for the Young.= Selected and arranged by

     =A Book of Golden Deeds= of All Times and All Countries. Gathered and
     Narrated Anew. By the Author of "The Heir of Redclyffe."

     =Children's Treasury of English Song.= Edited by F. T. PALGRAVE.

     =Tom Brown's School Days.= By an OLD BOY.

     =Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare.= Edited by the Rev. A. AINGER.

=GOLDSMITH. The Vicar of Wakefield.= By OLIVER GOLDSMITH. With 182
Illustrations by HUGH THOMSON, and a Preface by AUSTIN DOBSON. Uniform
with the Randolph Caldecott Edition of Washington Irving's "Bracebridge
Hall" and "Old Christmas." 12mo. Cloth extra. $2.00.

     "Mr. Thomson hits the exact line of humor which lies in Goldsmith's
     creations. His work is refined, much of it graceful and dignified,
     but the humor of the situation never escapes him. The work is
     English line work, very beautiful, delicate, and effective, with a
     very perceptible touch of old-time quality, life, and costume in
     it. The volume itself is such as lovers of good books delight to
     hold in their hands."--_Independent._

     "A more bewitching bit of book work has not reached us for many a
     day."--_New York Tribune._

=GREENWOOD. The Moon Maiden, and Other Stories.= By JESSY E. GREENWOOD.
12mo. $1.25.

     "A collection of brightly written and distinctly original stories
     in which fairy lore and moral allegory are deftly and pleasantly
     mingled."--_Christian Union._

=GRIMM'S Fairy Tales.= The Household Stories. Translated by LUCY CRANE,
and done into pictures by WALTER CRANE. 12mo. $1.25.

=HALLWARD= (R. F.). =Flowers of Paradise.=
Music--Verse--Design--Illustration. Printed in colors by Edmund Evans.
Royal 4to. $2.00.

     "To our mind one of the prettiest--if not the prettiest--of this
     year's picture books. The pages are very Blake-like in effect, the
     drawings harmoniously blending with the music and words, and some
     of the larger pictures are quite beautiful in thought and feeling
     as well as in coloring. We ought soon to hear of Mr. Hallward
     again; he shows much promise."--_Pall Mall Gazette._


     =Tom Brown's School Days.= New Illustrated Edition. 12mo. Cloth.
     Gilt. $1.00 Pocket Edition, 50 cents. English Edition, $1.25.

     "The most famous boy's book in the language."--_Daily News._

     _Golden Treasury Edition._ 18mo. $1.00.

     Cheap Edition. With 58 Illustrations by ARTHUR HUGHES and S. P.
     HALL. 8vo. Paper. 25 cents.

     =Tom Brown at Oxford.= New Illustrated Edition. 12mo. Cloth. Gilt.
     $1.50. English Edition. 12mo. $1.25.

     "In no other work that we can call to mind are the finer qualities
     of the English gentleman more happily portrayed."--_Daily News._

     "A book of great power and truth."--_National Review._

=HULLAH= (M. A.). =Hannah Tarne.= A Story for Girls. With Illustrations.
16mo. $1.25.


     =The Heroes of Asgard.= Tales from Scandinavian Mythology.
     Illustrated. 16mo. $1.00.

     =The Magic Valley; or, Patient Antoine.= With Illustrations. 16mo.


     =Madam How and Lady Why: First Lessons in Earth Lore for Children.=

     English Edition, $1.25.

     =The Heroes; or, Greek Fairy Tales for My Children.= With
     Illustrations. $1.00.

     English Edition. 12mo. $1.25.

     "This lovely version of three of the most famous folk stories of
     the old Greeks."--_Mail and Express._

     "Ought to be in the hands of every child in the
     country."--_Christian Union._

     =The Water-Babies: A Fairy Tale for a Land Baby.= Illustrated. 12mo.

     English Edition. 12mo. $1.25.

     "They have included the admirable series of 100 illustrations by
     Mr. Linley Sambourne, which have hitherto only been procurable in
     the somewhat expensive Christmas edition of 1885. It is pleasing to
     think that Sir Richard Owen and Mr. Huxley both survive to occupy
     the same position in the world of science, which the author
     assigned to them more than a quarter of a century ago. The artist's
     portrait of the two professors on page 69 is a

     "They are simply inimitable, and will delight boys and girls of
     mature age, as well as their juniors. No happier combination of
     author and artist than this volume presents could be found to
     furnish healthy amusement to the young folks. The book is an
     artistic one in every sense."--_Toronto Mail._

     =Glaucus; or, The Wonders of the Seashore.= With Coloured
     Illustrations. $2.00.

=LAMB. Tales from Shakespeare.= Edited, with Preface, by the Rev. A.
AINGER, M.A. _Golden Treasury Series._ 18mo. $1.00.

=MACMILLAN. The Gate Beautiful.= Bible Teachings for the Young. By the
Rev. HUGH MACMILLAN, author of "Bible Teachings from Nature." _Shortly._


=MARRYAT'S= (Captain) =BOOKS FOR BOYS.= Uniformly bound in blue cloth. 8
vols. Large. 16mo. $1.00 each.

     =Masterman Ready; or, The Wreck of the Pacific.= With 93 Engravings
     on Wood. $1.00.

     =Poor Jack.= With 16 Illustrations. 22d Edition. $1.00.

     =The Mission; or, Scenes in Africa.= With Illustrations by JOHN
     GILBERT. $1.00.

     =The Settlers in Canada.= With Illustrations by GILBERT and DALZIEL.

     =The Privateersman.= Adventures by Sea and Land in Civil and Savage
     Life, One Hundred Years Ago. With eight Engravings. $1.00.

     =The Pirate, and the Three Cutters.= Illustrated with eight
     Engravings. With a Memoir of the Author. $1.00.

     =Peter Simple.= With eight Full-page Illustrations. $1.00.

     =Midshipman Easy.= With eight Illustrations. $1.00.

=MARSHALL. Winifrede's Journal.= By Mrs. EMMA MARSHALL, author of "Life's
Aftermath," "Mrs. Willoughby's Octave," etc. With Illustrations. 12mo.

by WALTER CRANE. 16mo. Uniformly bound. $1.00 each volume.

     =Herr Baby.=

     =Grandmother Dear.=

     =Tell Me a Story.=

     =The Cuckoo Clock.=

     =The Tapestry Room. A Child's Romance.=

     =A Christmas Child: A Sketch of a Boy-Life.=


     =Two Little Waifs.=

     =Christmas-Tree Land.=

     ="Carrots," Just a Little Boy.=

     ="Us:" An Old-fashioned Story.=

     =Four Winds Farm.=

     =Little Miss Peggy. Only a Nursery Story.=

     =A Christmas Posy.=

     =The Rectory Children.=

     =The Children of the Castle.=

     =Nurse Heatherdale's Story.= With Illustrations by L. LESLIE BROOKE.

     "There is no more acceptable writer for children than Mrs.
     Molesworth."--_Literary World._

     "No English writer of stories for children has a better reputation
     than Mrs. Molesworth, and none whose stories we are familiar with
     deserves it better."--_New York Mail and Express._

     "Mistress of the art of writing for children."--_Spectator._

=NOEL. Wandering Willie.= By Lady AUGUSTA NOEL. Globe 8vo. $1.00.

=OLIPHANT. Agnes Hopetown's School and Holidays.= By Mrs. OLIPHANT. With
Illustrations. 16mo. $1.00.

=PATMORE= (C.). =The Children's Garland from the Best Poets.= Selected.
_Golden Treasury Series._ 18mo. $1.00.

=PROCTER= (A. A.). =Legends and Lyrics.= By ADELAIDE ANNE PROCTER.
Original Edition. First Series. With Introduction by CHARLES DICKENS.
67th Thousand. Second Series. 59th Thousand. 2 vols. 75 cents each. Also
an Edition. 4to. 2 Series. 35 cents each.

     =Legends and Lyrics.= New edition in one vol. With new Portrait
     etched by C. O. MURRAY, from a painting by E. Gaggiotti Richards.
     16th Thousand. Large 12mo. Cloth, gilt edges, $1.00.

=RUNAWAY (THE).= By the author of "Mrs. Jerningham's Journal." $1.00.

=RUTH and Her Friends.= A Story for Girls. With Illustrations. $1.00.

=St. JOHNSON. Charlie Asgarde.= A Tale of Adventure. By ALFRED ST.
JOHNSON. With Illustrations. $1.50.

     "Will not prevent boys from reading it with keen interest. The
     incidents of savage life are described from the author's personal
     experience, and the book is so well written that we may reasonably
     hope for something of much higher quality from Mr. Johnson's

     "Whoever likes Robinson Crusoe--and who does not like it?--is
     pretty sure to like 'Charlie Asgarde.'"--_N. Y. Mail and Express._

     "The story is spirited and interesting, full of exciting incidents
     and situations."--_Boston Saturday Evening Gazette._

=SPENSER. Tales chosen from the Fairie Queene.= By SOPHIA H. MACLEHOSE.


     =Nine Years Old.= With Illustrations. 16mo. $1.00.

     =Pansie's Flour Bin.= Illustrated. $1.00.

     =When I was a Little Girl.= Illustrated. 16mo. $1.00.

     =When Papa comes Home.= The Story of Tip, Tap, Toe. Illustrated.

=STEWART. The Tale of Troy.= Done into English by AUBREY STEWART. 16mo.

     "We are much pleased with 'The Tale of Troy,' by Aubrey Stewart....
     The Homeric legend is given in strong, simple, melodious English,
     which sometimes leaves one in doubt as to the distinction between
     poetry and prose.... While the story delights them, it will ennoble
     and strengthen their minds, and the form in which it is rendered
     will teach them that love, which, for an American, should lie deep
     in his heart,--the love of good English."--_Independent._

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