Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: Mary
Author: Molesworth, Mrs., 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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Mary" ***

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



Mary
By Mrs Molesworth
Illustrations by Leslie Brooke
Published by Macmillan and Co, London and New York.
This edition dated 1893.

Mary, by Mrs Molesworth.

________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________
MARY, BY MRS MOLESWORTH.

CHAPTER ONE.

A BIRTHDAY MORNING.

One morning Mary awoke very early.  It was in the month of May, and the
mornings were light, and sometimes the sun shone in through the windows
very brightly.  Mary liked these mornings.  The sunshine made everything
in the room look so pretty; even the nursery furniture, which was no
longer very new or fresh, seemed quite shiny and sparkling, as if fairy
fingers had been rubbing it up in the night.

"I wonder what day it is," thought Mary.  It was difficult for her to
remember the days, for she was not yet four years old.  She was only
going to be four soon.  Mamma had told her her birthday would come in
May, and that this year it would be on a Thursday.  And every day, ever
since Mary knew that May had come, she wondered if it was Thursday.  But
it was rather puzzling.  Two Thursdays had come without it being her
birthday.

"P'raps mamma has made a mistook," thought Mary.  "P'raps my birfday
isn't going to be in May this time."

For if it changed about from one day to another--last year it was
Wednesday, and next year it would be--oh, it was too difficult to
remember that--mightn't it change out of May too?  Mary didn't think
months were quite so difficult to remember as days, for different things
came in months.  In April there were showers, and in May flowers.  Nurse
had told her that, and when the months with the long names came it would
be winter.

"I hope it isn't a mistook," thought Mary.  "I'd like it best to be in
May.  `MAY' is such a nice short little word, and only one letter more
makes it `Mary.'  No, I think it can't be a mistook."  Mary could read
very well, and she could spell little words.  She had learnt to read
when she was so little that she could not remember it.  She thought
knitting and cross-stitch work were much harder than reading.  But she
had to learn them, because mamma said too much reading was not good for
such a little girl, and would make her head ache, and mamma bought her
pretty coloured wools and nice short knitting needles, and Mary had made
a carpet for the drawing-room of her doll-house.  But though it looked
very pretty Mary still liked reading best.  She had also worked a
kettle-holder for grandmamma: that is to say she had worked the stitches
all round the picture of a kettle, which was already on the canvas when
mamma bought it.  Mamma called it "grounding it," and while she was
working it, Mary often wondered what "grounding" it meant, for a
kettle-holder was not meant to lie on the ground.  She might have asked
mamma to explain, but somehow she did not.  She was not a very asking
child.  Big people did not always understand, not even mamma _quite_
always, and it made Mary feel very strange when they did not understand;
it almost made her cry.  Though even that she did not mind as much as
when they told her she would know when she got big.  She did not want to
wait to know things till when she got big.  It made her feel all hot to
think what a lot of knowing there would be to do then, it seemed like a
very big hill standing straight up in front of her which she would never
get to the top of.  She thought she would rather go up it in what she
called "a roundy-round way."  Papa had shown her that way once when it
took her breath away to climb up one of the "mountings"--Mary always
called hills "mountings"--in grandmamma's garden, and Mary had never
forgotten it.  She thought the hill of knowing would be much nicer to go
up that way, and that she might begin it now--just a little bit at a
time.  She thought this all quite plain inside her own mind, but she
could not have told it to anybody.  Very often it is not till children
_are_ quite big that they can tell their own thoughts, looking back upon
them.  And Mary did not know that she _was_ going up the hill of knowing
already, a little bit at a time, just as she fancied she would like to
go.

Mary felt glad when she had settled it in her mind that it could not be
a mistake about her birthday coming on a Thursday, and she lay quite
still, watching the sunshine.  It had got on to her bed by now, and it
made all sorts of nice things on the counterpane.  Mary's bed was rather
a big one for such a little girl, for the cot she used to have was now
her brother Artie's; Artie slept now in Leigh's room, and there was only
a corner there for quite a small bed.  Leigh was the big brother of
Artie and Mary.  He was eight years old.

Yes, the sunshine made the counterpane very pretty.  It was quite white,
and as Mary's home was in the country, white things did not get a grey
dull look as they do in London.  There were patterns all over the
counterpane, and if Mary bumped up her knees she could make fancies to
suit the patterns--like garden paths leading to beautiful castles, or
robber caves--the boys told her stories of robber caves which were very
interesting, though rather frightening.  And this morning the light
shone on a pattern she had never noticed so much before.  It was a round
ring, just in the middle, and flowers and leaves seemed growing inside
it.

"It's a fairy ring," thought Mary; "I wonder if the fairies p'raps come
and dance on it when I'm asleep."  For she had seen fairy rings on the
grass in the fields sometimes when she and her brothers were out
walking, and nurse had told her about them.  Mary had often wished she
could get up in the night and go down to the fields to see the fairies,
but she knew she could not.  She would never be able to open the big
door.  Besides, it would be naughty to go out without mamma's and
nurse's leave.  And it would be very cold--even if the moon were shining
it would be cold.  For Mary had stood in the moonlight once or twice and
she knew it did not warm like the sun.

"I suppose they don't burn such big fires in the moon," she thought.

The fancy about the fairy ring on the counterpane was very nice, for she
could think about it and "pertend" she saw the fairies dancing without
getting out of her warm nest at the top of the bed at all.  She thought
she would tell Artie about it and perhaps he would help to make some
nice stories of fairy rings.  Artie was not always very "listening" to
Mary's fancies.  He did really like them, but he was afraid of Leigh
laughing at him.  When Leigh was away, and Artie and Mary were alone
together, it was very nice.  But very often Leigh wanted Artie to play
big things with him, and then Mary had to amuse herself alone.  Leigh
was not an unkind big brother; he would carry Mary if she was tired, and
would have read stories to her, if she had not liked best to read them
to herself.  But he had quite boy ways, and thought little girls were
not much more good than the pretty china figures in his mother's
cabinets in the drawing-room.

So Mary was often alone.  But she did not mind.  She had lots of friends
of different kinds.  Now and then nurse would say to her, "It would be
nice, Miss Mary, if you had a little sister, wouldn't it?"

But Mary shook her head.  She did not think so.

"No, zank you," she would say, "I doesn't want a little sister."

The waking so early and the thinking about the sun and the moon and
fairy rings and how soon it would be her birthday, began to make Mary
rather tired at last.  And after a while she fell asleep again without
knowing it.

When she woke up for the second time the sun was still shining, though
not so brightly as before.  And she heard voices talking in the next
room, that was the day-nursery.  There was a door open between it and
the night-nursery where Mary slept.

"Thursday, 18th May," said one of the voices.  "May's a nice month for a
baby, and all the summer before it.  `Thursday's child has far to go.'
Perhaps little Missie will marry a hofficer and travel to the Injies.
Who can say?"

Then there was a little laugh.

"That's Old Sarah," said Mary to herself.  Sarah was the housemaid--the
upper housemaid, and though she was not _very_ old, the children called
her so because her niece, who was also called Sarah, was the
nursery-maid.  "Little Sarah," they sometimes called her.  Her father
was the gardener, and he and her mother lived in a cottage which the
children thought the prettiest house in the world.  And sometimes they
were allowed, for a very great treat, to go there to tea.

It was Little Sarah who was talking to Old Sarah just now.  Mary heard
her voice, but as she spoke rather low she could not quite tell what the
nursery-maid said.  She only heard the last words--it was something
about "nurse will tell her."

This put it into Mary's mind that, though it was quite morning now, she
had not seen nurse, and yet she must be up and dressed.

"Nurse," she called out in her little clear voice.  "Nurse, where are
you?"

The two Sarahs popped their heads in at the door.

"Are you awake, Miss Mary?" asked Little Sarah.

"In course I'm awake.  You heard me calling," said Mary.

She thought Little Sarah was very stupid sometimes.

"I'm calling nurse," Mary went on, "I don't want you, Little Sarah.  You
can go and dress Master Artie."

If Little Sarah was rather stupid, she was also very good-natured.  She
glanced at Mary with a smile, but with rather an odd look on her face
too.

"What does you want?  What is you looking at me for?" said Mary.

"Oh, nothing," said Sarah.  "I was only thinking whatever would you do
without nurse if--if nurse was busy and couldn't be so much with you,
Miss Mary."

"Nurse wouldn't never be busy like that," said Mary.

"Oh, well, never mind.  I'll dress Master Artie and I dare say nurse--"
began Sarah, but she stopped short.  Nurse just then came into the room.

"Here's Miss Mary worretting for you," said the girl.

Nurse hurried up to the little girl's bed.

"Have you been awake long, my dear?" she said.  "I'm so sorry."

"Nurse," whispered Mary, pulling nurse's head close down so that she
could whisper to her, "I heard Old Sarah and Little Sarah talking, and
Old Sarah sayed `Thursday' and `May.'  Is it my birfday comed, nurse?
Mamma sayed it was coming in May, and it would be Thursday."

"My dearie," said nurse, "you've guessed right.  It is your birthday--
the 18th of May."

Mary felt pleased, but also a little disappointed.  She had been waiting
for her birthday and thinking about it for such a long time that now she
could scarcely believe it had come.  For it seemed just like other days.
No, not quite like other days, not as nice.  For nurse had got up so
early and Old Sarah and Little Sarah had been talking in the nursery--
she did not like anybody to talk like that in the nursery.

"Dress me quick, please, nurse," she said, "and then I'll go to mamma's
room, and then p'raps my birfday will begin.  I don't think it can have
beginned yet.  I thought--" and then she stopped and her lips quivered a
little.

"What, my dearie?" said nurse.

She was a very kind, understanding nurse always, but this morning she
spoke even more kindly than other mornings to Mary.

"I don't know," said Mary.  "I think I thought mamma would come to kiss
me in bed like a fairy, and--and--I thought there'd be stockings or
somefin' like that--like Kissimas, you know."

Nurse had lifted Mary out of her bath by this time, and was rubbing her
with a nice large "soft-roughey" towel--"soft-roughey" was one of Mary
and Artie's words--it meant the opposite of "prick-roughey."  They did
not like "prick-roughey" things.  She wrapped Mary all round in the big
towel for a minute; it was nice and warm, for it had been hanging in
front of the fire; then she gave Mary a little hug.

"You mustn't be unhappy, dear Miss Mary," she said.  "Mamma meant to
come, I'm sure, but she's fast asleep--and when she wakes I'm afraid
she'll have a headache.  So I'm afraid your birthday won't be quite like
what you planned.  But I'm sure there'll be some pretty presents for
you--quite sure."

But Mary looked up with her lips quivering still more, and the tears
beginning to come too.

"It isn't presents I want," she said.  "Not presents like that way.  I--
I want mamma.  Mammas shouldn't have headaches.  It takes away all the
birfday-ness."

Then she turned her head round and pressed it in to nurse's shoulder and
burst into tears.

CHAPTER TWO.

GUESSING.

Poor nurse was very sorry.  But she knew it would not do to be _too_
sorry for Mary, for then she would go on crying.  And once Mary got into
a long cry it sometimes went on to be a very long one indeed.  So nurse
spoke to her quite brightly.

"My dearie," she said, "you mustn't cry on your birthday morning.  It's
quite a mistake.  Look up, dear.  See, the sun's coming out so beautiful
again, and we'll have Master Leigh and Master Artie calling for their
breakfast.  And you'll have to be quick, for your papa gave me a message
to say you were to go down to see him in the dining-room."

Mary gave a little wriggle, though she still kept her face hidden.  But
as nurse went on talking she slowly turned round so that her dressing
could go on.

"I've something to say to you before you go down," nurse went on.
"There's something that's come just in time for your birthday.  I'll
give you each two guesses--you and Master Leigh and Master Artie, while
you're eating your breakfast."

Mary looked up.

"Where's my hankercher?" she said, and when nurse gave it to her she
wiped her eyes.

That was a good sign.

"Let me have my guesses now, nursey," she said coaxingly.

But nurse kept to what she had said.

"No, dear, guesses are much nicer when there's two or three together.
Besides, we must be very quick.  See, there's your nice frock all
ready."

And Mary saw, where nurse pointed to, one of her Sunday afternoon frocks
lying on a chair.  It was a blue one--blue with tiny white stripes, and
Mary was very fond of it.  It had a very pretty wide sash, just the same
colour, and there were little bows on her shoes the same colour too.
Her face got quite smiley when she saw all these things.  She was not a
vain little girl and she did not care about fine clothes, but it gave
her a nice feeling that, after all, her birthday was going to be
something different to other days.

Soon she was dressed; her hair, which was not very long but soft and
shaggy and of a pretty brown colour, combed out so that no tuggy bits
were left; her hands as clean as a little girl's hands could be; a nice
white pinafore on the top of the pretty blue frock, so that Mary felt
that, as nurse said, she was quite fit to go to see the Queen, if the
Queen had asked her.

And when she went into the day-nursery things seemed to get still nicer.
There were no bowls of bread and milk, but a regular "treat" breakfast
set out.  Tea-cups for herself and the boys, and dear little twists of
bacon, and toast--toast in a toast-rack--and some honeycomb in a glass
dish.

"Oh," said Mary, "it _is_ my birfday.  I'm quite sure now there's no
mistook."

And in a minute Leigh and Artie came running in.  I do not know, by the
by, that Leigh came _running_, most likely he was walking, for he was
rather a solemn sort of boy, but Artie made up for it.  He scarcely ever
walked.  He was always hopping or jumping or turning head over heels, he
could _almost_ do wheels, like a London street boy.  And this morning he
came in with an extra lot of jumps because it was Mary's birthday.

"You thought we'd forgotten, Leigh and me, now didn't you?" he said.
"But we hadn't a bit.  It was Leigh said you liked the bacon twisted up
and it was me reminded about the honey.  Wasn't it now, nurse?  And
we've got a present for you after breakfast.  It's downstairs with
papa's and mamma's.  We'll give you them all of us together, Mary."

But the mention of mamma brought a cloud again to Mary's face.

"Nursey says mamma's dot a headache, and we can't see her.  Not Mary on
her birfday."

At this Leigh looked up.

"Is that true?" he said.  "Is mamma ill?"

"She's asleep, Master Leigh, and she may sleep a good while.  I dare say
you'll all see her when she wakes."

"Her shouldn't be 'nill on my birfday," began Mary again.

"Rubbish, Mary," said Leigh.  "I dare say she'll be all right.  And you
should be sorry for mamma if she's ill; it isn't her fault."

"I am sorry," said Mary dolefully; "that's why I can't help crying."

"Come now, Miss Mary," began nurse.  "You're forgetting what we fixed.
No crying on a birthday, my dear.  And you're forgetting about the
guesses.  I'm going to give you two guesses each, Master Leigh and
Master Artie and Miss Mary, about what's come just in time for her
birthday.  Now don't speak for a minute, but think it well over while
you go on with your breakfast."

There was a silence then; all the children looked very grave, though
their thinking did not prevent their enjoying their nice breakfast.

"Now, Master Leigh," said nurse, "you guess first."

"A pony," said Leigh.  "A new pony instead of Dapple Grey who's getting
too old to trot."  Nurse shook her head.

"No, it's not a new pony.  Besides, I don't think Miss Mary would care
as much for a new pony as you boys would."

"No," Mary agreed.  "I don't want no pony but Dapple Grey.  Nother
ponies trot too fast."  Leigh thought again.  This time he tried to make
his guess some quite "girl" thing.

"A doll--a big doll for Mary," he said.

Nurse smiled.  No, it was not that--at least--"A wax doll, do you mean,
Master Leigh?"

"Yes, a wax doll.  But I don't _think_ it could be a doll, for that
could have been got already for a birthday present, and this is quite an
_extra_ present, isn't it?" said Leigh.

"Yes, _quite_ extra," said nurse.  "But now it's Master Artie's turn."

Artie's ideas were very jumbled.  He did not keep the inside of his head
in nearly such good order as Leigh kept his.  First he guessed "a fine
day for Mary's birthday," as if any "guessing" could be needed for a
thing which was already there before their eyes.  Then he guessed a
_very_ big cake for tea, which was not a very clever guess, as a nice
big cake on a birthday was an "of course."  So now it came to Mary's own
guesses.  She looked up eagerly.

"For us all to be doo--" Then with a great effort, for Mary was growing
a big girl and wanted to speak quite rightly, "to be g-ood all day.
Kite g-ood."

"That would be very nice," said nurse, "and I hope it will come true,
but that's more wishing than guessing, Miss Mary.  It's something that's
come, not going to come, that I want you to guess about."

Mary's face grew very grave.  Then it smiled again.

"I know," she said, "mamma's headache to g-go away, now, jimmedjetly,
and then we'll go and see her."

"I hope it will," said nurse.  "But that wasn't the guess."

She saw that Mary was too little quite to understand.

"See if I can't help you," she said.  "What would you like best of
anything?  Don't you think a doll that could learn to speak and love you
and play with you would be a nice birthday present?"

Artie and Mary looked puzzled.  They had to think about it.  But Leigh
was quicker.

"Why, nurse," he said, "a doll like that would be a _living_--oh nurse,
I do believe--" but just as he was going to say more there came a tap at
the door, and Robert, the footman, came in.

"If you please, Mrs Barley," he began.  "Barley" was nurse's own name,
and, of course, the other servants were all very respectful, and always
called her "Mrs Barley."

"Master wants the young gentlemen and Miss Mary now at once, if so be as
they've finished their breakfast."

"I think you should say `Miss Mary and the young gentlemen,' Robert,"
said Leigh.

"Specially as it's Mary's birthday," said Artie.

"Oh rubbish," said Leigh; "birthday or no birthday, it's proper."

"I beg the young lady's pardon," said Robert, who was a very well
brought up footman.  "I'm sure I meant no offence," and he looked
towards Mary, but just then he could not see anything of her.  For while
her brothers were correcting Robert, Mary had been employing herself in
getting down from her chair, which took a good while, as it was high and
she was very short.  Nothing but a sort of fluff of blue skirts and sash
and white muslin pinafore and shaggy hair, with here and there a shoe or
a little pink hand sticking out, was to be seen.  Robert sprang
forwards, meaning to be extra polite and set Miss Mary right side
uppermost again, but in some mysterious way she managed to get on her
feet by herself.

"No, zank you, Robert," she said with dignity, as she stood there with a
rather red face, smoothing down her pinafore.  "I can get down alone."

"Miss Mary, my dear," said nurse.  "I'm always telling you to ask me to
lift you down.  The chair will topple over some day and you'll be
hurting yourself badly."

"But, nurse, I'm _four_, now," said Mary.  "Four is big."

"Of course it is," said Leigh.  "Never mind, nurse.  The best plan will
be for me to hold her chair while she gets down.  Are you ready, Artie?
Mary and I are."

Artie had managed to "honey" his face and hands, and nurse thought Mary
too would not be the worse for a slight sponging.

"Papa likes a sweet kiss, but not a honey one," she said.

But at last they were all ready and on their way down to the
dining-room, where they came upon Robert again, ready to throw open the
door with great dignity, as he had hurried down the back stairs on
purpose to be there before them.

Papa was just finishing _his_ breakfast.  He looked up with a bright
smile.

"Well, young people," he said.  "Well, my pet," this was to Mary.  "So
this is your birthday, my little queen--eh?"

He lifted her on to his knee and kissed her.

Mary loved when papa called her his little queen.

"I have to be off immediately," he said, "but first I have to give you
your birthday presents from dear mamma and me."

"And ours, papa, Leigh's and mine.  They're all together--mamma put them
all together," said Artie.

"All right.  They are over there on the side-table.  You fetch them,"
said papa.

"Are you going to a meeting, father?" asked Leigh.

"Yes, my boy, to lots of meetings.  I shan't be back till late
to-night."

"What are meetings?"  Mary was just going to ask, but the sight of Artie
and the parcels put it out of her head.  There was a beautiful doll's
perambulator from papa and mamma, and "a church book," bound in red, and
with "Mary" outside, in lovely gold letters; and from Leigh and Artie, a
doll's tea-service--cups and saucers and teapot and everything--in white
china with little pink flowers, and dear little teaspoons of shining
silver, or at least quite as pretty as silver.  And then there was the
birthday cake--covered with white sugar and with "Mary" in pink letters.
There was no fear of Mary forgetting her name this birthday, was there?

How her eyes sparkled, and how quick her breath came with pleasure, and
how rosy her cheeks grew!

"Oh papa," she said, "oh Leigh, oh Artie!" and for a minute or two that
was all she could say.

"Are you pleased, my pet?" said papa.

"Oh, I _never_, never did have such sp'endid presents," said Mary.

"Dear little Mary," said Artie, kissing her.  "I am so glad you like
them."

Then another thought struck Mary, as she stood touching gently one of
her treasures after the other, as if she did not know which she loved
the most.

"Papa, dear," she said, "can't I see dear mamma?  I would like to zank
dear mamma."

"And so you shall, my pet," said her father.  And he picked her up as he
spoke and seated her on his shoulder.  Mary was very fond of riding on
papa's shoulder.  "Come along, boys," he said, "you may come with me, if
you won't be noisy, to see mamma and something else--Mary's best
birthday present of all."

"Anoder birfday present," said Mary, so surprised that she felt quite
breathless.  "_Anoder_, papa?"

"Yes, old woman--you couldn't guess what, if you tried for a week of
Sundays," said papa.

Papa did say such funny things sometimes!  Mary would have begun
wondering what a week of Sundays could be like, if her thoughts had not
been so busy with the idea of another birthday present, that she could
not take in anything else.

What _could_ it be?

"There's been nothing but guessing to-day," said Artie.  "Nurse _was_
making us guess so at breakfast, about something that's comed for Mary's
birthday.  Could it be this other present, papa?  I'm tired of
guessing."

"Well, don't guess any more," said papa.  "I'm going to show you."

CHAPTER THREE.

A WONDERFUL BIRTHDAY PRESENT.

There was a room next to Mary's mother's room which was not often used.
Mary was rather surprised when her father carried her straight to this
room instead of to her mother's.  And when he lifted her down from his
shoulder she was still more surprised to see that there was a nice
little fire burning in the grate, and that the room looked quite
cheerful and almost like another nursery, with a rocking-chair in front
of the fire, and the blinds drawn up to let the pretty summer morning
brightness in.

There was something in the corner of the room which Mary would have
stared at a great deal if she had seen it.  But just now she did not
look that way, for she was surprised for the third time by seeing that a
door stood open in the corner near the window, where she had never known
before that there was a door.

"Where does that go to, papa?" she said, and she was running forward to
look when her father stopped her.

"It goes into mamma's room, my pet," he said, "but I don't want you to
go in there yet.  Perhaps mamma's asleep."

"It's all dark," said Mary; she had been peeping in.  She felt rather
strange, and a very tiny, weeny bit frightened.  Everything seemed
"funny" this birthday morning.  She almost felt as if she was dreaming.

"Why is mamma's room all dark?" she said again.  "Is her asleep?"

"I'm not sure, dear.  Wait here a minute and I'll see," and her father
went into the next room, closing the door a little after him.

Mary and her brothers stood looking at each other.  What was going to
happen?

"It's to be a surprise, I s'pose," said Artie.

"It's the guesses, _I_ say," said Leigh.

"It's a birfday present for me.  Papa said so," said Mary.

"We're speaking like the three bears," said Artie laughing.  "Let's go
on doing it.  It's rather fun.  You say something, Leigh--say
`somebody's been in my bed'--that'll do quite well.  Say it very
growlily."

"Somebody's been in my bed," said Leigh, as growlily as he could.  Leigh
was a very good-natured boy, you see.

"Now, it's my turn," said Artie, and he tried to make his voice into a
kind of gruff squeak that he thought would do for the mamma bear's
talking.  "Somebody's been in _my_ bed," he said.  "Come along, Mary,
it's you now."

Mary was laughing by this time.

"Somebody," she began in a queer little peepy tone, "somebody's--" but
suddenly a voice from the other side of the door made them all jump.

"My dear three bears," it said--it was papa, of course, "be so good as
to shut your eyes _tight_ till I tell you to open them, and then Mary
can finish."  They did shut their eyes--they heard papa come into the
room and cross over to the corner which they had not looked at.  Then
there was a little rustling--then he called out:

"All right.  Open your eyes.  Now, Mary, Tiny Bear, fire away.
Somebody's lying--"

"In my bed," said Mary, as she opened her eyes, thinking to herself how
_very_ funny papa was.

But when her eyes were quite open she did stare.  For there he was
beckoning to her from the corner where he was standing beside a dear
little bed, all white lace or muslin--Mary called all sorts of stuff
like that "lace"--and pink ribbons.

"Oh," said Mary, running across the room, "that's _my_ bed.  Mamma
showed it me one day.  It were my bed when I was a little girl."

"Of course, it's your bed," said her father.  "I told you to be Tiny
Bear and say, `somebody's lying in my bed.'  Somebody _is_ lying in your
bed.  Look and see."

Mary raised herself up on her tiptoes and peeped in.  On the soft white
pillow a little head was resting--a little head with dark fluffy curls
all over it--Mary could not see all the curls, for there was a flannel
shawl drawn round the little head, but she could see the face and the
curls above the forehead.  "It," this wonderful new doll, seemed to be
asleep--its eyes were shut, and its mouth was a tiny bit open, and it
was breathing very softly.  It had a dear little button of a nose, and
it was rather pink all over.  It looked very cosy and peaceful, and
there seemed a sweet sort of lavendery scent all about the bed and the
pretty new flannel blankets and the embroidered coverlet.  That _was_
pretty--white cashmere worked with tiny rosebuds.  Mary remembered
seeing her mamma working at it, and it was lined with pale pink silk.
But just then, though Mary saw all these things and noticed them, yet,
in another way, she did not see them.  For all her real seeing and
noticing went to the living thing in this dear little nest, the little,
soft, sleeping, breathing face, that she gazed at as if she could never
leave off.  And behind her, gazing too, though Mary had the best place,
of course, as it was her birthday and she was a girl--behind her stood
her brothers.  For a few seconds, which seemed longer to the children,
there was perfect silence in the room.  It was a strange wonderful
silence.  Mary never forgot it.

Her breath came fast, her heart seemed to beat in a different way, her
little face, which was generally rather pale, grew flushed.  And then at
last she turned to her father who was waiting quietly.  He did not want
to interrupt them.  "Like as if we were saying our prayers, wasn't it?"
Artie said afterwards.  But when Mary turned she felt that he had been
watching them all the time, and there was a _very_ nice smile on his
face.

"Papa," she said.  She seemed as if she could not get out another word,
"papa--is it?"

"Yes, darling," he replied, "it is.  It's a baby sister.  Isn't that the
nicest present you ever had?"

Then there came back to Mary what she had often said about "not wanting
a baby sister," and she could scarcely believe she had ever felt like
that.  She was sorry to remember she had said it, only she knew she had
not understood about it.

"I never thought her would be so pretty," she said.  "I never thought
her would be so sweet.  Oh papa, her is a _lubly_ birfday present!  When
her wakes up, mayn't I kiss her?"

"Of course you may, and hold her in your arms if you are very careful,"
said her father, looking very pleased.  He had been very anxious for
Mary to love the baby a great deal, for sometimes "next-to-the-baby"
children are rather jealous and cross at being no longer the pet and the
youngest.  It was a very good thing he and her mamma agreed that the
baby had come as a birthday present to Mary.

The idea of holding her in her own arms was so delightful that again for
a moment or two Mary felt as if she could not speak.

"And what do you two fellows think of your new sister?" said papa,
turning to the boys.  Leigh leant over the cradle and peered in very
earnestly.

"She's something like," he said slowly, "something like those very tiny
little ducklings," and seeing a smile on his father's face he went on to
explain, though he grew rather red, "I don't know what makes me think
that.  She looks so soft and cosy, I suppose.  You know the little
ducklings, papa?  They're like balls of fluffy down."

"I don't think she's a bit like them," said Artie, who in his turn had
been having a good examination of the baby.  "I think she's more like a
very little monkey.  Do you remember that tiny monkey with a pink face,
that sat on the organ in the street at grandmamma's one day, Leigh?  It
_was_ like her."

He spoke quite gravely.  He had admired the monkey very much.  He did
not at all mean that the new baby was not pretty, and his father's smile
grew rather comical.

"See how she scroozles up her face," he went on; "she's _just_ like the
monkey now.  It was a very nice monkey, you know, papa."

But Mary was not pleased.  She had never seen a monkey, but there was a
picture of one for the letter "M" in what she called her "animal book,"
and she did not think it pretty at all.

"No," she said, "no, Artie, her's not a' inch like a monkey.  Her's
_booful_, just booful, and monkeys isn't."

Then suddenly she gave a little cry.

"Oh papa, dear, do look," she called out, "her's openin' her eyes.  I
never 'amembered her could open her eyes," and Mary nearly danced with
delight.

Yes indeed, Miss Baby was opening her eyes and more than her eyes--her
little round mouth opened too, and she began to cry--quite loud!

Mary had heard babies cry before now, of course, but somehow everything
about _this_ baby was too wonderful.  She did not seem at all like the
babies Mary saw sometimes when she was out walking; she was like herself
and not anything else.

Mary's face grew red again when she heard the baby cry.

"Oh papa, dear," she said.  "Has her hurt herself?"

"No, no, she's all right," said papa.  But all the same he did not take
baby out of her cot--papas are very fond of their babies of course, but
I do not think they like them _quite_ so much when they cry--instead of
that, he turned towards the door leading into the next room.

"Nurse," he said in a low voice, but nurse heard him.

"Yes, sir," said a voice, in reply, and then came another surprise for
Mary.  The person who came quickly into the room was not "nurse" at all,
but somebody quite different, though she had a nice face and was very
neatly dressed.  Who could she be?  The world did seem _very_ upside
down this birthday morning to Mary!

"Nurse," she repeated to her father, with a very puzzled look.

"Yes, dear," said the stranger, "I'm come to be baby's nurse.  You see
she needs so much taking care of just now while she's still so very
little--your nurse wouldn't have time to do it all."

"No," said Mary, "I think it's a good plan," and she gave a little sigh
of satisfaction.  She loved the baby dearly already and she would have
been quite ready to give her anything--any of her toys or pretty things,
if they would have pleased her--but still she did feel it would have
been rather hard for _her_ nurse to be so busy all day that she could
not take care of Artie and her as usual.

The strange nurse smiled.  Mary was what people call an "old-fashioned"
child, and one of her funny expressions was saying anything that she
liked was "a good plan."  She stood staring with all her eyes as the
nurse cleverly lifted baby out of the cot and laid her on her knee in a
comfortable way, so that she left off crying.  But her eyes were still
open, and Mary came close to look at them.

"Is her going to stay awake now?" she said.  "Perhaps she will, for a
little while," said the nurse.  "But such very tiny babies like to sleep
a great deal."

Mary stood quite still.  She felt as if she could stay there all day
just looking at the baby--every moment she found out some new wonder
about her.

"Her's got ears," she said at last.

"Of course she has," said the strange nurse.  "You wouldn't like her to
be deaf?"

"Baby," said Mary, but baby took no notice.

"Her _it_ deaf," she went on, looking very disappointed.  "Her doesn't
look at me when I call her."

"No, my dear," said the nurse.  "She hasn't learnt yet to understand.
It will take a good while.  You will have to be very patient.  Little
babies have a great, great deal to learn when they first come into this
world.  Just think what a great many things you have learnt yourself
since you were a baby, Miss Mary."

Mary looked at her.  She had never thought of this.

"I wasn't never so little, was I?" she said.

"Yes, quite as little.  And you couldn't speak, or stand, or walk, or do
anything except what this little baby does."

This was very strange to think of.  Mary thought about it for a moment
or two without speaking.  Then she was just going to ask some more
questions, when she heard her father's voice.

"Mary," he said, "mamma is awake and you may come in and get a birthday
kiss.  Leigh and Artie are waiting for you to have the first kiss as
you're the queen of the day."

"I'd like there to be two queens," said Mary, as she trotted across to
her father.  "'Cos of baby coming on my birfday.  When will her have a
birfday of hers own?" she went on, stopping short on her way when this
thought came into her head.

Her father laughed as he picked her up.

"I'm afraid you'll have to wait a whole year for that," he said.  "Next
year, if all's well, your birthday and baby's will come together."

"Oh, that will be nice," said Mary, but then for a minute or two she
forgot all about baby, as her father lifted her on to her mother's bed
to get the birthday kiss waiting for her.

"My pet," said her mother, "are you pleased with your presents, and are
you having a happy day?"  Mary put up her little hand and stroked her
mother's forehead, on which some little curls of pretty brown were
falling.

"Mamma dear," she said, "your hair isn't very tidy.  Shall I call Larkin
to brush it smoove?" and she began to scramble off the bed to go to
fetch the maid.

"What a little fidget you are," said her mother.  "Never mind about my
hair.  I want you to tell me what you think of your little sister."

"I think her _sweet_," said Mary.  "And her curls is somefin like yours,
mamma.  But Leigh says hers like little ducks, and Artie says hers like
a pink monkey."

Mamma began to laugh at this, quite loud.  But just then the nurse put
her head in at the door.

"Baby's opening her eyes so wide, Miss Mary," she said.  "Do come and
look at her, and you, Master Leigh and Master Artie too.  You shall come
and see your mamma again in the afternoon."

So they all three went back into the other room to have another look at
baby.

"I say, children," called their father after them.  "We've got to fix
what baby's to be called.  It'll take a lot of thinking about, so you
must set your wits to work, and tell me to-morrow what name you like
best."

CHAPTER FOUR.

BABIES.

There was plenty to think of all that day.  Mary's little head had never
been so full, and before bedtime came she began to feel quite sleepy.

It had been a very happy day, even though everything seemed rather
strange.  Their father would have liked to stay with them, but he was
obliged to go away.  Nurse--I mean Artie's and Mary's own nurse--was
_very_ good to them, and so were cook and all the other servants.  The
birthday dinner was just what Mary liked--roast chicken and bread-sauce
and little squirly rolls of bacon, and a sponge-cake pudding with
strawberry jam.  And there was a very nice tea, too; the only pity was
that baby could not have any of the good things, because, as nurse
explained, she had no teeth.

"She'll have some by next birthday, won't she?" asked Leigh.

"I hope so, poor dear," said nurse, "though she'll scarcely be able to
eat roast chicken by then."

"Why do you say `poor dear'?" asked Leigh.

"Because their teeth coming often hurts babies a good deal," said nurse.

"It would be much better if they were all ready," said Leigh.  "I don't
see why they shouldn't be.  Baby's got hands and eyes and everything
else--why shouldn't she have teeth?"

"I'm sure I can't say, Master Leigh," nurse answered.  "There's many
things we can't explain."

Mary opened her mouth wide and began tugging at her own little white
teeth.

"Them doesn't hurt me," she said.

"Ah but they did, Miss Mary," said nurse.  "Many a night you couldn't
sleep for crying with the pain of them, but you can't remember it."

"It's very funny," said Mary.

"What's funny?" asked Leigh.

"About 'amembering," answered Mary, and a puzzled look came into her
face.  "Can you 'amember when you was a tiny baby, nurse?"

"No, my dear, nobody can," said nurse.  "But don't worry yourself about
understanding things of that kind."

"There's somefin in my head now that I can't 'amember," said Mary,
"somefin papa said.  It's that that's teasing me, nurse.  I don't like
to not 'amember what papa said."

"You must ask him to-morrow, dearie," nurse answered.  "You'll give
yourself a headache if you go on trying too hard to remember."

"Isn't it _funny_ how things go out of our minds like that?" said Leigh.
"I'll tell you what I think it is.  I think our minds are like
cupboards or chests of drawers, and some of the things get poked very
far back so that we can't get at them when we want them.  You see the
newest things are at the front, that's how we can remember things that
have just happened and not things long ago."

"No," said Artie, "'tisn't quite like that, Leigh.  For I can remember
what we had for dinner on my birthday, and that was very long ago,
before last winter, much better than what we had for dinner one day last
week."

"I can tell you how that is," said nurse, "what you had for dinner on
your birthday made a mark on your mind because it was your birthday.
Everything makes marks on our minds, I suppose, but some go deeper than
others.  That's how it's always seemed to me about remembering and
forgetting.  And if there's any name I want to remember very much I say
it out loud to myself two or three times, and that seems to press it
into my mind.  Dear, dear, how well I remember doing that way at school
when I was a little girl.  There was the kings and queens, do what I
would, I couldn't remember how their names came, till I got that way of
saying two or three together, like `William and Mary, Anne, George the
First,' over and over."

The children listened with great interest to nurse's recollections, the
boys especially, that is to say; the talk was rather too difficult for
Mary to understand.  But her face looked very grave; she seemed to be
listening to what nurse said, and yet thinking of something behind it.
All at once her eyes grew bright and a smile broke out like a ray of
sunshine.

"I 'amember," she said joyfully.  "Nursie said her couldn't 'amember
names.  It was names papa said.  He said us was to fink of a name for
baby."

"Oh, is that what you've been fussing about?" said Leigh.  "I could have
told you that long ago.  _I've_ fixed what I want her to be called.
I've thought of a _very_ pretty name."

Mary looked rather sorry.

"I can't fink of any names," she said; "I can only fink of `Mary.'
Can't her be called `Mary,' 'cos it's my birfday?"

Leigh and Artie both began to laugh.

"What a silly girl you are," said Leigh; "how could you have two people
in one family with the same name?  Whenever we called `Mary,' you'd
never know if it was you or the baby we meant."

"You could say `baby Mary,'" said Mary, who did not like to be called a
silly girl.

"And when she was big," said Leigh, "how would she like to be called
`baby'?"

Mary had not thought of this, still she would not give in.

"Peoples has the same names," she said.  "Papa's name's `Leigh,' and
your name's `Leigh,'--there now--" and as another idea struck her, "and
us _all_ is called Bertum.  Papa's Mr Bertum and mamma's Mrs Bertum
and--and--"

"And you're `Miss Bertum,'" said Leigh, laughing.  "But that's because
Bertram is our _family_ name, you see, Mary.  We've each got a first
name too.  It doesn't much matter papa and me being the same, except
that sometimes I think mamma's calling me when she means papa, but it
would never do if Artie and I had the same name.  Fancy, if we were both
called `Artie,' we'd never know which you meant."

"No," said Mary, laughing too, "it would be a very bad plan.  I never
thought of that.  But I _can't_ think of a pitty name for dear little
baby."

"There's lots," said Artie, who had been sitting very silent--to tell
the truth, he had forgotten all about choosing a name, but he did not
want to say so.  So he had been thinking of all the names he could, so
that he might seem quite as ready as Leigh.  "There's Cowslip and
Buttercup and Firefly and--"

"Nonsense," said Leigh, "considering you're six years old, Artie, you're
sillier than Mary.  Those are cows' names, and--"

"They're not--not all of them," said Artie, "Firefly's a pony's name.
It's little Ella Curry's pony's name, and I think it's very pretty."

"For a pony perhaps," said nurse, "but then you see, Master Artie, your
little sister isn't a pony."

"I wish she was," said Leigh, and when nurse looked up astonished he
looked rather ashamed.  "Of course I don't mean that it isn't nice for
her to be a little girl," he went on, "but I do so wish we had a pony."

"You may just be patient for a while, Master Leigh," said nurse; "you
know your papa's promised you a pony when you're ten years old, and by
that time baby will be nearly two."

"That won't matter," said Leigh, "even Mary won't be able to ride my
pony.  It's to be a real sensible one, not a stupid donkey sort of pony,
with panniers or a basket on its back."

"No," said Artie, "it's to be a galoppy-trot one!  Won't we make him go,
Leigh."

"I shall," said Leigh; "you won't have much to say to it.  You'll be too
little too."

Artie's face fell.  Mary, who was sitting beside him, slipped her little
hand into his.

"Nebber mind, Artie," she said.  "We'll ask papa to give us anoder pony.
A very gentle one for you and me and baby."

"A perambulator will be more in baby's way," said nurse.  "Miss Mary's
old one is quite worn out and they do make such pretty ones nowadays.  I
hope your mamma will get her a very nice one."

"And may we push it sometimes?" said Artie, brightening up again, "that
would be nice."

Leigh gave a little laugh.

"What a baby you are, Artie," he was beginning, but nurse, who saw that
he was in one of his teasing humours, looked up quickly.

"It's such a fine evening," she said, "and it's scarcely five o'clock.
How would you like to go out a little walk?  We didn't go very far
to-day.  We might go as far as the Lavender Cottages, I've something to
take there from your mamma."

The boys looked very pleased.

"Oh yes, nurse," they said, "do let's go out."

"And mayn't we stop and see the puppies at the smithy on the way?"
Leigh went on.

"I'm f'ightened of those little barky dogs," said Mary; "I don't want to
go out, nurse, I'm sleepy."

"It'll do you good, my dear, to have a little walk before you go to bed;
you'll sleep all the better for it and wake all the fresher in the
morning," and a few minutes afterwards, when the little party were
walking down the drive, Mary looked quite bright again.

It was a very lovely evening.  The way to the Lavender Cottages lay
across the fields, and, as every one knows, there is nothing prettier
than a long stretch of grass land with the tender spring green lighted
up by late afternoon sunshine.

Mary trotted along contentedly, thinking to herself.

"My birfday's going to bed soon," she thought, "and to-morrow morning
it'll be gone--gone away for a long, long time," and she gave a little
sigh.  "But somefins won't be gone away, all my birfday presents will
stay, and baby sister will stay, and when my birfday comes back again it
will be hers too.  Dear little baby sister!  I wish her had comed out a
walk wif us, the sun is so pitty."

The smithy was at the foot of the road leading up to the cottages, just
opposite the stile by which they left the fields.  This stile had three
steps up and three steps down, with a bar of wood to clamber across at
the top.  It was one of the children's favourite stiles, as the boys
always pretended that the bar was a pony on which they had a ride on the
way over.  To-day nurse and Mary waited patiently till they had ridden
far enough.  Then Artie hopped down the other side and Leigh stood at
the top to help his sister over, for though he was a teasing boy
sometimes, he never forgot that she was a little girl and that it was
his place to take care of her.

"Leigh," said Mary, as he was lifting her down, "I is so f'ightened of
those little dogs!  Please don't go to see them."

"How can you be frightened of them, Mary?" said Leigh.  "It's really
very silly!  They're only baby dogs, don't you understand; they couldn't
hurt anybody."

This was quite a new idea to Mary, and she stopped short on the second
step of the stile to think about it.

"_Baby_ dogs," she said, "I never thought little dogs was babies.  Is
there babies of everything, Leigh?"

"Of course there are.  Don't you remember the baby ducks?  And the
little lambs are baby sheep, and even the tiny buds are baby flowers."

"And _babies_ never hurts nobody, does they?" said Mary, as she got
safely to the ground again with the help of her brother's hand.  "Then I
won't be f'ightened, Leigh, of the little doggies.  You may take me to
see them," and as Leigh hurried on to the smithy, which he thought the
most delightful place in the world, Mary trotted beside him as fast as
her little legs could go, holding firmly to him while she said over to
herself, though in rather a trembling voice--

"I never thought them was _baby_ dogs, _babies_ don't hurt nobody."

Yakeman the smith was standing in front of his forge, taking a rest
after the day's work.

"Good-evening, Master Leigh," he said, as the children came up to him.
"Come for a look at the puppies, sir?  They're getting on finely.  Would
Missie like to see them too?" and he turned to open a little gate
leading into his garden.

Leigh looked down at Mary, not quite sure what she would feel about it.
Her face was rather red, and she pinched his hand more tightly.

"Would you like to see them, Mary?" he asked.

"Oh, yes, I'm not f'ightened now," she answered bravely.

"You've no call to be afear'd," said Yakeman, as he led the way.

"No," said Mary, "'cos them's only babies."

The puppies were all tumbling over each other in a comfortable nest of
hay in the corner of a shed.  There were four of them, brown curly
balls, nearly as soft and fluffy as Leigh's favourite ducklings.

Yakeman stooped down and picked one up with his big hand and held it
close to Mary.  She stroked it gently with the very tip of her fingers.

"It _are_ sweet," she said, with a rather shaky little laugh, and as no
harm came of her touching it, she grew still braver.

"May I kiss its little head?" she said, looking up at the tall
blacksmith, who smiled down on her.

"To be sure, Missie," said he, so Mary buried her nose in the brown fur,
suddenly giving a little cry as she felt something warm and wet on her
cheek.

"He's licking you," said Leigh; "I dare say he means it for kissing
though.  I say, Mary, wouldn't it be nice if papa would let us have a
puppy for our very own."

"A baby puppy and a baby sister," said Mary.  "Did you know us had got a
baby sister?" she went on, to the smith.  "Her comed to-day 'cos it were
my birfday."

"That was a fine birthday present," said Yakeman, "and you'd be welcome
to this puppy if your papa would allow you to have it.  I've promised
two and I'm keeping one myself, but this here I'd not settled about."

Mary's eyes sparkled, and so did Leigh's.  "We'd have him between us,
Mary," said Leigh.  "We must ask papa.  _You'd_ better ask him because
of its being your birthday, you know."

Just then they heard nurse's voice, she had been waiting for Artie while
he had another ride on the stile.

"Master Leigh and Miss Mary, where are you?" she said.  "We must be
getting on."

The children thanked the smith and ran after her, full of the offer
which had been made to them.

"Oh, nurse," said Mary, when they had told her of it.  "Just fink of all
my birfday presents!  A baby sister and a baby dog, and all my nother
things," and she gave a great sigh of pleasure.

"Yes, indeed, Miss Mary," said nurse.  "I don't think you'll ever forget
your fourth birthday."

CHAPTER FIVE.

WITH PAPA.

The children's father came back late that night, but too late for them
to see him.  And the next morning he had to be off again, this time for
two whole days together, so there was no chance of asking him about the
dog.  Leigh and Mary spoke of it to their mother, but dogs are things
that papas have most to do with, and she could only say, "You must ask
papa."

It was rather trying to have to wait so long to know about it, or at
least it would have been so if Mary had not had so many other
interesting things to think about just then.  There were all her
birthday presents, her "regular" birthday presents, as the boys called
them, which were still of course quite new, not to speak of the baby,
which seemed to Mary more wonderful every time she saw her.

Unless you really live with a baby, and that, as you know, had never
happened to Mary before, you can have no idea how very interesting
babies are, even when they are so tiny that they can do nothing but go
to sleep and wake again, and cry when they are hungry, and stretch
themselves and yawn, and make oh! such funny faces!  Why, that is quite
a long list of things to do already, and there are ever so many more
queer little ways about a baby when you come to notice them.  Even its
little pink toes seemed to Mary the prettiest and funniest things she
had ever seen in her life.

Leigh and she fixed together that, till they had asked their father
about the dog, they would not go past the smithy.

"It only makes us fink about it," said Mary.

And nurse, who, to tell the truth, was not very eager for them to get
the puppy, was not sorry when the children asked her not to pass that
way.

"Miss Mary is still frightened of Yakeman's dogs," she thought to
herself, "and it's just as well.  I don't know whatever we'd do if we
had to take a puppy out walks with us as well as Miss Baby."

For of course nurse knew that before long, when the baby grew a little
bigger, she would come to live in the nursery altogether and go out
walks with the others.  Just at first nurse would carry her, but after
awhile she would go in the new perambulator which nurse had set her
heart upon getting.

That reminds me of Mary's present from her father and mother, which, as
I told you, was a doll's perambulator.  It was a great amusement to them
all, not only to Mary.  You have no idea what a lot of fun you can get
out of a doll's perambulator.  It was not only the dolls that went
drives in it; the children tried several other things which did not
succeed very well.  The kitten for one did not like it at all.  Leigh
caught it one day, when there was no one else to take a drive, for the
dolls had all got very bad colds, and Doctor Artie had said that they
must on no account go out.  Mary looked very grave at this, but of
course the doctor's orders had to be obeyed.

"What shall we do?" she said sadly.  "It will be so dull to go out a
walk wifout the perambulator," for till now the dolls had had a drive
every day.

"Leave it to me," said Leigh, "you'll find some one all ready waiting
when you come down to go out."

And sure enough when nurse and Mary arrived at the door, there was the
perambulator, and seated in the doll's place, or rather tied into it,
was a very queer figure indeed--the kitten, as I told you, looking and
feeling perfectly miserable.

Leigh had done his best to make it comfortable.  He had tied it in with
a large soft handkerchief very cleverly, but it was mewing piteously all
the same.

"Come along quick, Mary," he said, "Kitty's in a great hurry to be off;
she doesn't like being kept waiting, that's what she's saying."

Mary looked as if she was not quite sure if that was what Kitty's mews
really meant, but of course, as Leigh was so much bigger and older, she
thought he must know best.  So she began pushing the perambulator, very
gently at first, for fear of frightening poor pussy, who was so much
astonished at feeling herself moving that for a moment or two she left
off mewing.

"There now," said Leigh, "you see how she likes it.  Go faster, Mary."

Mary set off running as fast as she could, which was not very fast,
however, for at four years old, one's legs are still very short, but she
did her best, as she wanted to please Leigh and the kitten too.  The
garden path was smooth and it was a little down hill.  Leigh scampered
on in front, Mary coming after him rather faster than she meant.  Indeed
she began to have a queer feeling that her legs were running away with
her, when all of a sudden there came a grand upset.  Mary found herself
on the ground, on the top of the perambulator, and even before she had
time to pick herself up her little voice was heard crying out:

"Oh poor Kitty!  I'se felled on the top of poor Kitty!"

But no, Kitty was not as much to be pitied as Mary herself, for the poor
little girl's knees were sadly scratched by the gravel and one of her
hands was really bleeding.  While, there was Kitty, galloping home in
great glee--Leigh's handkerchief spreading out behind her like a lady's
train.

Mary scarcely knew whether to laugh or _cry_.  I think she did a little
of both.  Leigh wanted to catch pussy again, but nurse would not hear of
it, and proposed instead that they should use the perambulator to bring
home a beautiful lot of primroses for their mother, from the woods.

After this adventure with the kitten, Leigh tried one or two other
"tricks," as nurse called them.  He wanted to make a coachman of one of
his guinea-pigs, who sat quite still as long as he had a leaf of lettuce
to munch, but when that was done let himself roll out like a ball over
and over again, till even Leigh got tired of catching him and putting
him back.  Artie's pet rabbit did no better, and then it was decided
that when the dolls were ill it would be best to use the perambulator as
a cart, for fetching flowers and fir-cones and all sorts of things.
This was such fun that the dolls were often obliged to stay at home,
even when their colds were not very bad.

And for nearly a week the children kept away from the smithy.  Papa had
been home during that week, of course, and they had tried to ask about
the puppy.  But he was very busy and hurried; all he could say was that
he must see the dog first, and that of course he had had no time for.

At last there came a morning on which, when the children went down to
see their father after the nursery breakfast, they found him sitting
comfortably at the table pouring himself out a second cup of nice hot
coffee and reading the newspaper, as if he was not in a hurry at all.

"Oh papa," said Leigh, "how jolly it is to see you like that, instead of
gobbling up your breakfast as if the train was at the door."

"If the train came as near as that I shouldn't be so hurried," said his
father laughing, but Mary did not look quite pleased.

"Papa doesn't gobble," she said.  "Leigh shouldn't speak that way, it's
like gooses and turkeys."

"I didn't mean that kind of gobbling," said Leigh.  "Turkeys
gobble-wobble--it's their way of talking.  I didn't mean _that_ of
papa."

Mary still looked rather doubtful, but her father caught her up and set
her on his knee with a kiss.

"Thank you, my princess," he said, "for standing up for your poor old
father.  Now, what can I do for you?  I've got a nice long holiday
before me, all to-day and all to-morrow at home, so I'm quite at your
service."

Mary looked up.  She did not quite understand what "quite at your
service" meant, and it was her way when she did not understand anything
to think it over for a moment or two before she asked to have it
explained.  It is not a bad way to do, because there are often things a
child can get to understand by a little thinking, and some children have
a silly way of never using their own minds if they can help it.

"Why don't you answer, Mary?" said Leigh.  "I know what _I'd_ say, if
papa offered to do anything I wanted, and I think you might remember
what we're all wanting so much."

Mary's face cleared.

"I didn't understand," she said.  "But I do now.  O papa dear, will you
come and see the sweet little doggie at the smiffy?  We've been waiting
and waiting."

"Oh dear," said her father, "I'd forgotten all about it.  Yes, of course
I'll take a look at it.  Let's see: they're retriever pups, aren't
they?"  Leigh did not answer for a moment.  To tell the truth, he was
not quite sure what kind of dogs Yakeman's were, though he did not like
to say so.  "They are brown and curly," he said at last.  "And the top
of our one's head is nearly as soft as--as baby," added Mary.

"Baby would be flattered," said her father.  "We're going to call it
Fuzzy," Mary went on.  "It are so very soft."

"And oh, by the by," said papa, "you've never chosen a name for your
little sister, so mamma and I have had to fix on one.  What do you think
of Dorothea?"

The children looked at their father doubtfully.

"Dorothea," said Leigh.

"Doro--" began Artie, stopping in the middle, as he forgot the rest.

"Dodo--" said Mary, stopping too.  "It's a difficult name, papa."

"And I don't think it's very pretty," said Leigh.

"Wait a minute," said papa.  "You'll like it when I explain about it.
You know that baby came on Mary's birthday?"

"Yes," said Mary.  "She were my best birfday present."

"That's just it," her father went on.  "`Dorothea' means a present--a
present from God, which must mean the best kind of present."

"Oh," said Mary, "that's very nice!  Please say it again, papa, and I'll
try to learn it.  Dodo--"

"No," said Artie, looking very superior.  "Doro--not Dodo."

"You needn't look down upon Mary," said Leigh, "if you can't get any
further than that.  It's Dorothea.  I can say it well enough of course,
but I do think it's a very long name, papa, for such a very little
baby."

"She'll grow up to be a big girl some day, I hope," said their father.
"But you're all in such a hurry you won't let me finish explaining.
Besides having a nice meaning, we like Dorothea because there's such a
pretty way of shortening it.  We're going to call your little sister
`Dolly.'"

"That's not difficult," said Mary.  "Only it seems as if she was a
dolly."

"No it doesn't," said Leigh.  "Your dolls have all got their own names.
I like Dolly very much, papa, and I think we'll better call her it now.
`Baby' is so common, there's such lots of babies."

"There's a baby at the baker's shop," said Artie, who did not like being
left out of the conversation.  "It's a lot bigger than our baby, it goes
in a sitting-up perambulator all alone."

"Dear me," said his father.  "How very curious!  I should like to see
it!  We shall be having babies riding tricycles next."

Artie stared, he did not understand, but Leigh began to laugh.

"How funny you are, papa," he said.  "Of course, Artie doesn't mean that
it pushes itself along, though _I_ think that pushing a perambulator is
very stupid.  If I had a baby I know what I'd do."

"On the whole, I'd rather not be your baby, I think, Leigh.  But if
we're going to the smithy this morning, we'd better set off.  Run and
get ready, boys."

Leigh and Artie scampered off, and their father was following them, when
a sudden sound made him stop short.  It was a wail from Mary.

"What is the matter, my darling?" he said, turning back to her.

"I does so want to come too," said Mary through her tears.  "'Cos the
little dog were for me."

"You shall come, dear," said her father; "but why didn't you ask me
without beginning to cry?  That's not being a sensible girl."

Mary's face was very like an April day.  She smiled up at her father in
a minute.

"I won't cry," she said, "I'll be very good.  Will you wait for me if
nurse dresses me very quick, papa?" and she set off after her brothers,
mounting upstairs as fast as she could, though "could" was not very
fast, as right leg was obliged to wait on each step till left leg made
up to it.

CHAPTER SIX.

"FUZZY."

Yakeman at the smithy looked very pleased to see his visitors,
especially as their father was with the children.

"The puppies are getting on finely," he said.  "Two of them are going to
their new masters to-morrow.  But I've held on to the one as Miss Mary
fancied, thinking you'd be looking in some day soon."

"We've wanted to come ever so often," said Leigh.

"We was waiting for papa," added Mary.  "And we didn't come round this
way 'cos it made us want the dear little dog so much."

Yakeman listened gravely.

"I thought I hadn't seen you passing the last few days," he said.  "But
I wouldn't have let the dog go, not without sending up to ask you."

"Oh, we knowed you'd keep him," said Mary, and then Yakeman led the way
round to the side of the house again, where the four puppies were
rolling and tumbling about in perfect content, their mother watching
their gambols with great pride.

Suddenly a new thought struck Mary.

"Won't her be very unhappy when them all goes away?" she asked Yakeman
anxiously.  "And won't them cry for their mamma?"

The smith smiled.

"They're getting old enough to do without her now," he said.  "But
she'll miss them, no doubt, will poor old Beauty," and he patted the
retriever's head as he spoke.  "It's the way of the world, bain't it,
sir?" turning to the children's father.  "Dogs and humans.  The young
ones leave the old ones cheery enough.  It's the old ones as it's hard
on!"

Mary did not quite understand what he meant, but something made her
catch hold of her father's hand.

"You won't never let me go away, will you, papa?" she whispered.  "Not
_never_, will you?"

"Not unless you want to go, certainly," said her father, smiling down at
her.  "But now show me which is the puppy you'd like to have."

Mary looked rather puzzled, and so, though they would not have owned it,
were the boys.

"I think," began Leigh, not at all sure of what he was going to say, but
just then, luckily, Yakeman came to their help by picking up one of the
puppies.

"This here is Miss Mary's one.  We've called it hers--the missis and I,
ever since the last time you was here."

He gave a little laugh, though he did not say what he was laughing at.
To tell the truth, Mrs Yakeman and he had called the puppy "Miss Mary!"

Mary rubbed her nose, as she had done before, on the puppy's soft curly
head.

"It are so sweet," she said.  "We're going to call him `Fuzzy.'  But, oh
papa!" and her voice began to tremble.  "Oh Leigh and Artie, I don't
think we should have him if it would make his poor mother unhappy to be
leaved all alone."

"It won't be so bad as that, Miss Mary," said the smith, who, though he
was such a big man, had a very tender heart, and could not bear to see
the little girl's face clouded.  "We're going to keep Number 4 for
ourselves, and after a day or two Beauty will be quite content with him.
You can look in and see for yourselves when you're passing."

"Of course," said Leigh, in his wise tone.  "It'll be all right, Mary.
And we can bring Fuzzy to see his mother sometimes, to pay her a visit,
you know."

Mary's face cleared.  Yakeman and Leigh must know best, and papa would
not let them have the dog if it was unkind.  It was not what _she'd_
like--to live in a house across the fields from mamma, only to pay her a
morning call now and then.  But still, dogs were different, she
supposed.

All this time papa had been looking at Fuzzy, as I think we may now
begin to call him.

"He's a nice puppy," he said, "a very nice little fellow.  Of course,
he'll want to be properly taken care of, and careful training.  But I
can trust Mellor--you know Mellor, of course, the coachman?" he went on
to the smith.  "He's not bad with dogs."

"No, sir, I should say he's very good with 'em," Yakeman replied.
"Feedin's a deal to do with it--there's a many young dogs spoilt with
over feedin'."

"I'll see to that," said Mr Bertram.  "Now, children, we must be moving
on, I think."

But the three stood there looking rather strange.

"I thought--" began Leigh.

"Won't we--" began Artie.

"Oh, papa," began Mary.

"What in the world is the matter?" said their father in surprise.
"Aren't you pleased about the puppy?  I'll send Mellor to fetch him
to-morrow."

"It's just that," said Leigh.

"Yes," said Artie.

"We thought he'd be ours, our very own," said Mary, at last explaining
what they were in trouble about.  For though the three had said nothing
to each other, each knew that the others were thinking and feeling the
same.

"We meant to fetch him ourselves," said Leigh again.

"We was going to give him his breakfast and dinner and tea in the
nursery," chimed in Artie.

"I was p'annin'," added Mary, "that he'd sleep in our beds in turns.  I
didn't tell Leigh and Artie.  I were going to 'apprise them.  But I
meaned to let it be in turns."

Papa began to laugh.  So did Yakeman.  They could not help it.

"Sleep in your cots," said papa.  "There wouldn't be much left of the
cots or you by the morning."

"He wouldn't _eat_ us," said Leigh, looking rather startled.

"Not exactly," said his father.  "But if he took to rolling on the top
of you and making hay of the bedclothes--just look at him now tumbling
about in the straw with his brothers--you would not be likely to have a
very good night."

"And if he had three meals a day in the nursery, there'd not be much
left of _he_ in a week or less," said Yakeman.

The children looked very surprised.

"_We_ always have breakfast and dinner and tea," said Artie, "and little
dogs is hungry too."

"Ah! yes," said the smith; "but they couldn't do with as much as that.
And it'd never do neither for the puppy to eat all as you eats, Master
Artie.  Puppies isn't little young gentlemen and ladies, and every
creature has its own ways.  He'll be all right in the stable, never you
fear, and Mr Mellor'll see as he has all he should."

But still the three faces did not clear.  Leigh moved away as if he were
going to the gate, flicking his boots with a little whip he had in his
hand, to seem as if he did not care, though in reality he was very
nearly crying.  And Artie's and Mary's faces grew longer and longer.

"I don't think I want to have him," she said at last.  "Zank you, Mr
Yakeman, and zank you, papa; but him wouldn't be _nours_--him'd be
Mellor's," and then there came a little choke in Mary's voice and a
misty look in her eyes, and in a moment Artie's pocket-handkerchief was
out of his pocket and he was rubbing her cheeks with all his might.

"_Don't_ cry, Mary," he said; "_please_, don't cry.  P'raps papa
won't--"

I am not quite sure what he was going to say.  I am not sure that he
knew himself.  But whatever it was, he was interrupted.  For before
Mary's tears had had time to begin their journey down her face, papa had
picked her up in his arms and was busy comforting her.  He could not
bear to see her cry!  Really, it was rather a wonder that she was not
spoilt.

"My pet," he said, "there is truly nothing to cry about.  The puppy--
what is it you call him, Fudge or Fuss--"

Mary could not help laughing a little.  Fancy calling a puppy "Fudge."

"No, papa dear; _Fuzzy_--that's what we was going to call him."

"Well, darling, Fuzzy shall be your very own.  You shall go to see him
in the stables whenever you like; I'll tell Mellor.  And he will go out
walks with you--the puppy, I mean, not Mellor--as soon as ever he has
learnt to follow."  This made Mary laugh again.  The idea of Mellor
going out a walk with them all, following behind like a well-behaved
dog.  For Mellor was not very young, and he had a broad red face and was
rather fat.

Papa was pleased to hear Mary laughing, even though it was rather a
shaky little laugh, and he went on to explain more.

"You see he's not the sort of dog that you can have in the house,
particularly not in the nursery," he said.  "Indeed, I hardly think that
any dog except a very old and tried one is safe in a nursery, above all,
where there's such a little baby as--"

"Dolly," said Mary quietly, to show that she had not forgotten what baby
was to be called.

"Yes, as Dolly," her father went on.  "They would be two babies
together, and they might hurt each other without meaning it.  Dolly
might pull Fuddle's hair--"

At this all three children burst out laughing, quite a hearty laugh this
time.

"Oh, papa dear," said Mary, "what a very bad mem'ry you've got!  It
isn't _Fuddle_!  Can't you say _Fuzzy_?"

"Fuzzy, _Fuzzy_, Fuzzy," said papa, speaking like the three bears turned
the wrong way.  "There, now, I think I've got it into my stupid old head
at last.  Well, as I was saying, Miss Dolly might pull Master Fuzzy's
hair, without meaning to hurt him of course, and he might turn round and
snap at her, not exactly meaning to hurt her either, but still--it might
be rather bad, you see."  Mary's face grew very grave.

"I never thought of that," she said solemnly.  "It would be dedful for
dear little baby Dolly to be hurted, though I'm kite sure Fuzzy wouldn't
mean it."

"But when Dolly's a good bit bigger, and when Fuzzy is quite a trained
dog, he may come into the house sometimes, mayn't he?" said Leigh.

"At Auntie Maud's," said Artie, "there's _free_ dogs always lying in the
hall.  They get up and come and sniff you when you go in.  When I was a
little boy I was frightened of them, but they never bit me."

"Ah! well," said his father, "when Dolly's a big girl and Fuzzy's a big
dog, we'll see.  Some dogs are very good indeed with little children; I
hope he'll be.  I remember seeing a great Newfoundland that let his
master's children ride on his back, just as if he was a little pony.  He
stalked along as steadily as possible."

"And in some countries," said Leigh eagerly, "dogs are taught to draw
little carriages, aren't they?  I've seen pictures of them, up where
there's such lots of snow near the top of the world.  Squim--something,
those people are called."

"Esquimaux, you mean, I suppose," said his father laughing.  He had put
down Mary by this time, and they were walking on slowly up the hill
towards the Lavender Cottages.  "Yes, and in other countries not so far
off I've seen dogs drawing little carts as soberly as possible."

"I _would_ like to see that!" said Artie, his eyes sparkling.

"And so would I!" said Mary.

And Leigh, though he said nothing, took the idea into his mind more than
either of the others.

By this time they were close to the top of the little hill where stood
the cottages of which we have spoken so often--the Lavender Cottages as
they were called; because once, a good many years ago, an old man lived
there, whose lavender was famed all about that part of the country.  He
had a garden, almost like a little field, quite full of it.  This garden
belonged to one of the end cottages, and it was now a regular cottage
kitchen-garden, with potatoes and cabbages and other vegetables growing
in it, though in one corner there was still a nice little stock of the
old lavender bushes.  Here lived an old woman and her son, named
Sweeting.  Mrs Sweeting had once been cook at the hall when the
children's father was a little boy, and she was always pleased to have a
visit from any of them.

"I hear poor old Mrs Sweeting has been ill," said papa; "I'll just go
in for a minute or two to see her.  You children can wait outside for
me."

The boys and Mary were not sorry to do so.  They were always fond of
coming to the Lavender Cottages, not only to see Mrs Sweeting who was
very kind to them, but because they were much interested in the family
of children who lived next door.  There were such a lot of them!  The
cottage would never have held them all; but luckily, in the third
cottage, at the other end again, lived the grandfather and grandmother
of the large family, and some of the bigger boys had a room in their
house.  Still there were plenty left in the middle cottage, as you will
hear.

CHAPTER SEVEN.

THE PERRY FAMILY AND PAPA'S STORY.

Besides the three big boys, the children had counted six more young
Perrys in the middle one of the Lavender Cottages, and by degrees they
had found out most of their names.  The eldest girl was about twelve,
and her name was a very funny one--it was Comfort.

"How tired she must be of people saying to her that they hope she's a
comfort to her father and mother," said Leigh, when he first heard her
name.  I think nurse told it him, for she knew something of the Perrys,
and the odd name had taken her fancy.

Comfort was rather a tall girl for her age, and she was clever at
school, where she often got prizes.  But the next to her, a short,
rosy-faced child called Janie, who was generally seen carrying about the
baby, a very motherly little girl, seemed as if her elder sister's name
would have suited her better.  After Janie came Ned, and after Ned three
little creatures so near each other that they all looked like babies
together, and it was difficult to tell whether they were boys or girls.
The quite youngest--the one that all the rest of them called "baby"--
spent most of its life seemingly in Janie's arms.  I _suppose_ Janie
went to school sometimes, but, anyway, the Bertram children never passed
the cottages or met the little Perrys in the lanes without seeing the
baby in its usual resting-place.  The other two babies seemed to spend
their lives in a queer old-fashioned kind of double perambulator.  It
was made of wicker; and in fine weather, and indeed sometimes in weather
that was not so very fine, was almost always to be seen standing at the
cottage-door or just outside the gate leading into the little garden,
with the two small people tied into it, one at each side.

To-day they were there as usual.  There, too, was Janie with number
three baby in her arms, while Comfort was strolling about with a book in
her hand, out of which she seemed to be learning something.

"Good-morning," said Leigh, by way of opening the conversation.
"Where's Ned?  He can't be at school; it's a half-holiday, isn't it?"

"Please, sir--no, sir, if Ned was at school, Comfort and me would be at
school too," said Janie.

And Comfort, hearing the talking, came up to where they were standing.
They were all in the lane just outside the little garden.

"Ned's run in just to get a bit of cord," said the elder girl.  "We're
goin' a walk in the woods.  We must take the little ones, 'cos mother's
washing's got late this week, and she wants them out of the way."

It was rather curious that Mrs Perry's washing often did get late.  She
was a kind, good-natured woman, but "folks said," according to nurse,
not the best of good managers.

"What's Ned going to do with the cord?" asked Leigh, Artie and Mary
standing by, listening with the greatest interest, and holding each
other's hands tightly, as they felt just a little shy.

"Oh, it's a notion of Ned's," said Janie, rather scornfully.  "It's just
his nonsense: he don't like pushing p'ram, 'cos he says it's girls'
work, and Comfort don't hold with pushing it neither, 'cos she wants to
be reading her book."

Here Comfort broke in.

"'Tisn't that I'm so taken up with my book," she said,--"leastways not
to please myself; but I want to get moved up after next holidays.  When
I'm big enough I'm to be a pupil teacher."

"That would be very nice," said Leigh.  "And then, when you're quite
big, you'll get to be a schoolmistress, I suppose."

Comfort murmured something and got very red.  To be a schoolmistress was
the greatest wish she had.

"But I don't see," Leigh went on, "what Ned and the cord's got to do
with it."

"Bless you, sir," said Janie, "he's going to make hisself into a pony to
draw the p'ram, so as Comfort need do nothing but walk behind pushing
with one hand and a-holding of the book with the other, and no need to
look out where they're going."

"Oh, I see," said Leigh slowly.  He could not help admiring the idea.
Then, as Ned at that moment ran out of the cottage, the three little
visitors stood in a row watching with the greatest interest while Ned
harnessed himself to the front of the wicker carriage.  It was a little
difficult to manage, but luckily the Perry family were very
good-natured, and the two babies in the perambulator only laughed when
they got jogged about.  And at last, with Leigh's help, the two-legged
pony was ready for the start.

Off they set, Comfort holding on behind.  She was so interested in it
all, by this time that her book was given to one of the babies to hold.

This was lucky, as the first start was rather a queer one.  Ned was not
tied in quite evenly, so when he set off at a trot the perambulator ran
to one side, as if a crab instead of a boy were drawing it.  And but for
Comfort behind, no doubt, in another minute it would have turned over.

"Stop, Ned, stop!" shouted his sisters, Leigh and Artie and Mary joining
in, and the babies too.

Then they all burst out laughing; it did seem so funny, and it took a
minute or two before they could set to work to put things right.  When
Ned's harness was made quite even, he set off again more slowly.  This
time it was a great success, or it seemed so anyway, though perhaps it
was as much thanks to Comfort's pushing behind as to Ned's pulling in
front.

Mary and her brothers stood watching the little party as they made their
way along the smooth path leading to the wood.

"It's a good thing," said Leigh, "they're not going the smithy way, for
if they went down hill, I believe the carriage would tumble over; it's
such a shaky old thing."

"When our baby gets a perambulator it'll not be like that ugly old
thing, will it?" said Artie.  "It will be a reg'lar nice one."

"Of course it will," said Mary.  "I'd like it to be the same as the one
in my animal book.  `G' for goats, with little goats drawing it."

"We can't have a goat," said Leigh; "but we might have something.  Of
course it's rubbish to harness a boy into a carriage, but--I've got
something in my head."

There was no time for Artie and Mary to ask him what he meant, for just
then they saw their father coming out of the gate.

"I've kept you waiting a long time, I'm afraid," he said.  "Poor old
Sweeting was so glad to see me, and when she begins talking, it goes on
for a good while."

"We didn't mind, papa dear," said Mary, slipping her hand into her
father's.  "We've been speaking to the children in the next cottage.
There's such lotses of them.  When you was a little boy, papa, did you
have lotses of brothers and sisters--did you?"

"No, my pet, I hadn't any at all," papa answered.  "That was rather sad,
wasn't it?  But I had a very kind father and mother.  Your grandfather
died many years ago, but you know for yourselves how kind grandmother
is."

"Grandmother," said Artie and Mary together, looking rather puzzled.

"I don't understand," said Mary, and Artie did not understand either,
though he would not say so.

"How silly you are!" said Leigh; "of course grandmother is papa's
mother."

"Oh," said Mary, with a little laugh, "I never thought of that!  I
understand now.  Then grandmother used to be a mamma!"

"Yes, indeed, and a very sweet one," said papa.  "I'm afraid, perhaps,
she spoilt me a very little.  When I was a child the rules for small
people were much stricter than they are now.  But I was never at all
afraid of my mother."

"Were you afraid of your father?" asked Leigh with great interest.

"Well, just a little perhaps.  I had to be a very obedient boy, I can
tell you.  That reminds me of a story--"

"Oh, papa, do tell it us!" said all three at once, while Mary, who was
holding his hand, began giving little jumps up and down in her
eagerness.

"It was ever so long ago, almost thirty years!  I was only six at the
time.  My father had to go up to London for a few days, and as my mother
was away from home--nursing her mother who was ill--"

"What was _she_ to us?" interrupted Leigh, who liked to get things
straight in his head.

"Great-grandmother," answered his father; "_one_ of your
great-grandmothers, not the one that we have a picture of, though."

"I thought we had pictures of all our grand--I don't know what you call
them--for hundreds of years," said Leigh.

"Ancestors, you mean," said his father, "but mostly the Bertram ones of
course.  But if I begin explaining about that now, we'll never get on
with my story.  Where was I?  Oh, yes!  I was telling you that my father
took me up to London with him, rather than leave me alone at home.  I
was very pleased to go, for I'd never been in a town before, and I
thought myself quite a great man, going off travelling alone with my
father.  We stayed at an hotel--I'm not sure where it was, but that
doesn't matter; I only know it was in a quiet street running out of
another large wide street, where there were lots of shops of all kinds,
and carriages and omnibuses and carts always passing by.  My father took
me out with him as much as he could; sometimes he would leave me waiting
for him in a cab at the door of the houses where he had to see people on
business, and once or twice he found me fast asleep when he came out.
He didn't think that good for me; so after that, he sometimes left me in
the hotel in the care of the landlady who had a nice little girl just
about my age, with whom I used to play very happily.

"One day--the day before we were to leave--my father took me out
shopping with him.  He had to buy some presents, for it was near
Christmas-time, to take home for the little cousins who were coming to
stay with us.  We went off to a large toy-shop in the big street I told
you of.  It was a very large shop, with a door at each end--one out of
the big street, and the other opening on to a smaller back street nearer
our hotel.  And besides the toy-shop there was another part where they
sold dressing-cases and travelling-bags and things of that kind.

"We were a good while choosing the toys; among them, I remember, was a
fine rocking-horse which my father was very anxious to hear what I
thought of, for though I didn't know it at the time, he meant it for me
myself."

"Like _our_ old rocking-horse in the nursery?" asked Leigh.

Papa smiled.

"More than like it," he said; "it is that very horse.  I've kept it ever
since, and I had it done up with a new mane and tail when you got big
enough to ride it, Leigh."

"Oh, how nice," said Mary, "to think it's papa's own horse!  But,
please, go on with the story, papa."

"Well, when we had chosen the horse and all the other things, my father
had something else to buy that he thought I wouldn't care about in the
other part of the shop.  And I think he wanted to tell them where to
send the horse to without my hearing.  He looked at his watch and seemed
vexed to find it so late.  He asked me if I should be afraid to run back
to the hotel alone, and turned towards the door opening on to the back
street, from which we could see the hotel as it faced the end of that
small street.  But I think he must have fancied that I looked a little
frightened, for then he changed and pointed to the front door of the
shop, telling me to stay there till he came back.  He said it would
amuse me to stand just outside in the entrance where I could both see
the shop window and watch the carriages passing.

"`But whatever you do, Charlie,' he said, `don't move from there till I
come back for you!'"

CHAPTER EIGHT.

PAPA'S STORY CONTINUED.

"For some time, a quarter of an hour or so, I dare say, I stood at the
shop door very contentedly.  It was very amusing, as my father had said,
to watch the bustle in the street.  I don't think I looked much at the
things in the shop window; I'd seen so many of the toys inside.  But
after awhile I began to wish that my father would be quick.  He did seem
to be a very long time.  I peeped in through the glass door, but I
couldn't see him anywhere near.  I even opened it a tiny bit to listen
if I could hear his voice, but I couldn't.  People often passed me to go
into the shop and to come out, but nobody specially noticed me; they
were all too busy about their own affairs; besides, there's nothing
uncommon in a little boy standing at a toy-shop window.

"It seemed to grow colder too.  I should have liked to run up and down
on the pavement in front to warm myself a little; but I dared not move
from where I was.  At last some one belonging to the shop happened to
come to the door to reach down some large toys hanging in the entrance,
and this shopman noticed me.  By this time, though I scarcely knew it,
the tears were running down my face; I was growing so very tired with
waiting.  He said to me--

"`Is there anything the matter?  Have you hurt yourself?'

"I answered No, I was only waiting for my father who was in the shop.
`But I don't know why he's such a long time,' I said; `I am so tired of
waiting,' and somehow the saying it out made me begin to cry much more.

"The young man was very kind and seemed sorry for me.  He wanted me to
come inside where it would be warmer, while he went to look for my
father; but I shook my head and told him that papa had said I must stay
just there where I was.  I wouldn't even come the least bit inside the
door.  I remembered papa's words so well--

"`Whatever you do, Charlie, don't move from there till I come back for
you!'

"In a few minutes the shopman came back again.  He was shaking his head
now; there was no one in the shop with a little boy belonging to them.
There were one or two ladies whom he had asked, which I thought very
ridiculous, as if I could have mistaken papa for a lady, but there was
no gentleman at all, and he tried again to persuade me to come inside.
He said there must be some mistake; my father had most likely gone on
somewhere else; perhaps he'd be back in a little while; he'd never want
me to stay out there in the cold.  But there was no getting me to move.
I can remember, even now, the sort of fixed feeling in my mind that I
_wouldn't_ do the least differently from what he had told me.

"Then the young man went off to fetch some one else--the owner of the
shop most likely.  I remember two or three people coming up and all
talking to me and trying to get me to come inside.  But I wouldn't--even
though by this time I couldn't leave off crying--I just went on shaking
my head and saying--

"He said I was to stay here."

"I dare say they thought me a very tiresome little boy, but they were
very kind.  The young man, my first friend, brought me out a chair, and
then I heard them talking about what was to be done.  They had asked me
my name, which I told them, but I couldn't tell them the name of the
hotel where we were staying, for I didn't know it, and I _wouldn't_ tell
them that it was in a street close by, because I was afraid they would
carry me off there.  I think I was getting rather confused by this time;
I could only remember that I must stay where I was if ever I was to see
papa again.  I heard them saying that the gentleman had only given his
country address, as the toys were to be sent straight home.

"After awhile, in spite of the cold and my unhappiness, I think I must
have fallen asleep a little.  I was almost too young to be anxious about
my father and to fear that some accident must have happened to him, but
yet I can quite remember that I had really very dreadful feelings.  As
the evening went on and the street grew darker and darker, and there
began to be fewer passers-by, it seemed worse and worse.  Once I
remember bursting out into fresh crying at seeing, by the light of the
gas-lamp, a little boy passing along chattering merrily to the gentleman
whose hand he was holding.  I felt like a poor shipwrecked mariner on a
desert island--all the lonelier that I was in the middle of a great
town.

"No doubt the shop people must have been getting uncomfortable and
wondering what was to come of it.  It must have seemed very strange to
them; and, at last, the head man came out again and spoke to me--this
time rather sharply, perhaps he thought it the best thing to do--

"`Young gentleman,' he said, `this really can't go on!  You must see you
can't sit there the whole night.  Try and think again of the name of the
place you're staying at.'

"`I don't know it,' I said, and I dare say I seemed rather sulky, for he
grew crosser.

"`Well, if you can't or won't tell us, something'll have to be done,' he
answered.  `It's the police's business, not ours, to look after strayed
children, or children that won't say where they come from.  Here,
Smith,' he called out to the young shopman, `just look up and down the
street if there's a policeman to be seen.'

"He didn't really mean to do anything unkind, but he thought it the best
way to frighten me into coming inside the shop, or into telling where I
lived, for I don't think they quite believed that I didn't know.  But
the word `policeman' terrified me out of my wits; I suppose I was
already half-stupefied with tiredness and crying.  If I had dared, I
would have rushed out into the street and run off anywhere as fast as I
could.  But, through all, the feeling never left me that I must stay
where I was, and I burst into loud screams.

"`Oh, papa, papa!'  I cried, `why won't you come back?  The police are
coming to take me; oh, papa, papa!'

"I was crying so that for a moment or two I didn't hear a bustle at the
other end of the shop.  Then, all at once, I saw some one hurrying to me
from the door leading into the other street, and as soon as I saw who it
was, I rushed to meet him and threw myself into his arms, for of course
it was my father.  I don't think, in all my life, I have ever felt
greater happiness than I did then.

"`Oh, Charlie,' he said, `my poor little boy!  Have you been waiting
here all these hours--my good, obedient, little son?'

"Then he turned to the shopman who was now a little ashamed of himself--
I dare say the poor man had been getting really afraid that I was to be
left on his hands altogether--and explained the whole mistake.  He had
gone straight on to the city after finishing his orders in the other
part of the shop, forgetting that the _last_ thing he had said to me was
to wait for him at the front door of the shop; for his thoughts were
very much taken up that morning with some very serious business, and it
was actually not till he got back to the hotel, late in the afternoon,
and found I wasn't there, that he remembered that the plan of my running
back alone had been given up.

"Then he was terribly frightened and rushed off to the shop, hardly
daring to hope he would find me still there.  He kept saying he could
scarcely forgive himself, and even years after, I often heard him say
that he couldn't understand what had come over his memory that day.

"When the shop people saw how troubled he was about it, they began
telling him how they had tried to make me come inside, but that it had
been no use, and all the way home papa kept saying to me--

"`My faithful little Charlie'--which pleased me very much.

"He carried me to the hotel, and I felt so weak and tired that I didn't
mind, even though I was a big boy of six years old.  And I remember,
even now, how delightful it was to get well warmed at the fire, and what
a nice tea papa ordered for me.

"And the next day I was none the worse; luckily I hadn't caught cold,
which papa was very glad of, as my mother came up to London that day to
meet us, and we all three travelled home together."

The children had been listening with all their ears to papa's story.
When he stopped Mary gave a deep sigh.

"That's a bee-yu-tiful story, papa," she said.  "But it nearly made me
cry for the poor little boy."

"You shouldn't say that, Mary," said Leigh.  "The poor little boy was
papa himself!  Don't you understand?"

"Yes, in course I do," said Mary.  "But papa _were_ a little boy then,
so I might call him the poor little boy."

"That's right, Mary," said her father.  "Stick up for yourself when you
know what you mean to say.  Yes, indeed, I did feel a very poor little
boy that day: the thought of it has always made me so sorry for children
who are lost, or think they're lost.  It's a dreadful feeling."

"Papa," said Mary--she was trotting beside her father, holding his hand
very tight,--"I think, please, I don't want never to go to London, for
fear I should get losted; and, please, never take Leigh or Artie
either--not to London--'cos, you see, it was when you was a little boy
your papa nearly losted you, and Leigh and Artie are little boys."

"Rubbish, Mary," said Leigh.  "I'm eight, and papa was only six, not
much bigger than you are now.  If _I_ was with papa in London at a shop
I could find my way home ever so far; there's always people in the
street you can ask.  It's not like getting lost when there's nobody to
tell you the way."

"The worst kind of getting lost," said Artie, "is in the snow.  Up on
those mountains, you know, where the snow comes down so thick that you
can't see, and then it gets so deep that you are buried in it."

"Oh, how dedful!" said Mary; "you won't ever take us to that place, will
you, papa?  I'd be more f'ightened than in London!  Where is that
country, papa?"

"I suppose Artie means Switzerland," said their father.

"I mean the picture in my book," said Artie; "where there's dogs, you
know, snuffing to find the poor people under the snow."

"Oh, the great Saint Bernard mountain you mean!" said papa; "it's sure
to be that.  You often see pictures of it in children's books; there are
such pretty stories about the good dogs and the kind monks who live
there."

"Can you teach any dogs to do things like that?" asked Leigh.

"No; they have to be a particular kind," answered papa; "but a dog like
your puppy can be taught to fetch anything out of the water, from a bit
of stick to a baby.  He's what you call a retriever: that means fetching
or finding something.  You can teach a good retriever almost anything."

"I thought so," said Leigh, nodding his head wisely.  "I'll see what I
can't teach Fuzzy."

They were back in the park by this time.  It was a beautiful May day,
almost as warm as summer.  The children's father stood still and looked
round with pleasure.

"It is nice to have a holiday sometimes," he said.  "What a lovely
colour the grass is in the sunshine!"

"And how happy the little lambs are; aren't they, papa?" said Mary.  "I
wish I had one of my very own--like Mary and the lamb in my nursery
book."

"You couldn't have a lamb _and_ a dog," said Artie.  "Fuzzy would soon
knock the lamb over."

"I never thought of that," said Mary.  "Oh, papa dear," she went on, "I
do so want baby Dolly to get big quick!  There's such lotses of pretty
things to show her in the world.  The grass and the trees and the
lambs"--and while she spoke her blue eyes wandered all round her,--"and
the birds and the sky and--and--oh! the daisies, and"--as at that moment
she caught sight of the old woman at the lodge crossing the drive with
her red cloak on--"and old Mrs Crutch and her pussy-cat, and--"

"You're getting to talk nonsense, Mary," said Leigh.  "Old Mrs Crutch
isn't a pretty thing!"

"Her _cloak's_ very pretty," said Mary, "and she does make such nice
ginger-b'ead cake."

CHAPTER NINE.

TEARS AND SMILES.

The spring turned into summer, and with the longer days and warmer
sunshine and gentle rain there grew up a great many more "pretty things"
for Mary to show to her little sister Dolly; and Dolly herself grew like
the flowers and the lambs.  By the time she was three months old she
could not only smile, she could even give little chuckling laughs when
she was very pleased.  Mary was quite sure that the baby understood all
she said to her, and I do not think she would have been very surprised
any day if Dolly had begun to talk.

"Why can't she talk, mamma?" she asked her mother one morning.

"No little baby learns to do everything at once," mamma answered.  "She
has to learn to walk and run and use her little hands the way you do.
Just think what a lot of things babies have to learn; you must have
patience."

Mary tried to have patience; she did not so much mind baby's not being
able to stand or walk or things of that kind, for she could understand
that her little legs needed to grow stronger and firmer, but for a long
time she could not understand about the not talking, and it got to be
quite a trouble to her.

"She can cry and she can laugh and she can coo, and she hears all the
words we say to her," said Mary, with a little sigh; "I can't think why
she won't talk.  Oh, baby dear! don't you think you could if you tried?
It's _kite_ easy."

Baby was lying on the ground out on the lawn, where nurse had spread a
nice thick shawl for her in case the grass might be damp, and Mary was
sitting beside her, taking care of her for a minute or two all by
herself.  Nurse had gone in to fetch some more work.  Mary was very
proud of being trusted with baby.  Leigh and Artie were at their
lessons.

"Baby dear," she said again, "don't you think you could say just some
little words if you tried?  Nurse would be so pleased when she comes out
if she could hear you saying, `Dear little sister Mary' to me!"

She was leaning over baby, and gave her a little kiss.  Baby looked up
and opened her mouth very wide.  Mary could see her little pink tongue,
but that was all there was to be seen; and just at that moment there
started into Mary's head what must be the reason that baby could not
speak.

"She hasn't got no teeth!" cried Mary.  "She's opening her mouth wide to
show me!  Oh, poor little darling baby!  Has they been forgotten?  The
baby at the Lavender Cottages has got teeth!"

Baby did not seem to mind; she lay there smiling quite happily, as if
she was pleased that Mary understood her, but Mary felt very unhappy
indeed.  Something came back into her mind that she had heard about
baby's teeth, but it was a long time ago, and she could not remember it
clearly.  Was it something about them having been forgotten?

"I'm afraid there's been a mistook," said Mary to herself.  "Oh, poor
baby!  A'posing she never can speak!  Oh, nurse, nurse, do come; I want
to tell you something about poor baby!"

But nurse was still in the house and could not hear Mary calling, and
Mary dared not go to fetch her because baby must not be left alone.  So
she did what most little girls, and little boys too sometimes, do when
they're in trouble,--she began to cry.

"Oh, nurse, nurse!" she wailed through her tears, "do come--oh, do
come?"

And though baby could not speak she certainly could hear.  She
half-rolled herself round at the sound of her sister's sad sobs and
cries, and for a moment or two her own little face puckered up as if she
were going to cry too--it is wonderful how soon a tiny baby learns to
know if the people about it are in trouble--but then she seemed to
change her mind, for she was a very sensible baby.  And instead of
crying she gave a sort of little gurgling coo that was very sweet, for
it said quite plainly that she knew Mary was grieving, and she wanted to
be told what it was all about.  At first Mary did not hear her, she was
so taken up with her own crying.  That is the worst of crying; it makes
one quite unnoticing of everything else.

Then baby rolled herself still nearer; if only she had understood about
catching hold of things, no doubt she would have given Mary a little
tug.  But she had not learnt that yet.  So all she could do was to go on
with her cooing till at last Mary heard it.  Then the big sister turned
round, her poor face all red and wet with her tears; and when she saw
baby staring up at her with her sweet, big, baby eyes, and cooing away
in her dear little voice, which sounded rather sad, she stooped down and
gave her _such_ a hug that, if Dolly had not been really very
good-natured, I am afraid her cooing would have been changed into
crying.

"Oh, baby, you sweet--you dear little innicent sweet!" said Mary;
"you're too little to understand what I'm crying for.  I'm crying 'cos
the angels or the fairies has forgotten about your teeth, and I'm afraid
you'll never be able to speak--not all your life, poor baby!"

But baby only cooed louder than before.  And Mary, looking up, saw what
baby saw too--that nurse was coming over the lawn; and baby's face broke
out into quite a wide smile; she was very fond of nurse.

Poor nurse did not smile when she got close to the two little girls, for
she saw that Mary was crying, and she was afraid there was something the
matter.

"Have you hurt yourself, Miss Mary?" she said.  "Miss Baby's all right,
but what are you crying about?"

"Oh, nurse, I've been calling you so," said Mary,--"calling and
_calling_.  I'm so unhappy about baby;" and then she told nurse the sad
thought that had come into her mind, and how troubled she was about it.

Nurse listened very gravely, but--would you believe it?--when Mary had
finished all her story, what do you think she did?  She sat down on the
grass and picked up baby in her arms and burst out laughing.  I do not
think she had laughed so much for a long time.

"Oh, Miss Mary, my dear," she said, "you are a funny child!"

Mary looked up at her, her face still wet with tears and with a very
solemn expression; she did not quite like nurse's laughing at her when
she had been so unhappy.

"I'm not funny," she said.  "It's very sad for poor baby," and new tears
came into her eyes at the thought that even nurse did not care.

But nurse had left off laughing by this time.  "Miss Mary, my dear," she
said, "don't make a trouble about it.  Miss Baby's teeth will come all
in good time.  I shouldn't wonder if she has several dear little pearls
in her mouth to show you before Christmas.  Don't you remember that day
when we were talking about her teeth, I told you how yours had come, one
after the other, and that they used to hurt you sometimes."

Mary's face cleared at this.

"Oh, yes," she said, "I 'amember.  Does everybody's teeth come like
that?  Doesn't any babies have them all ready?"

"No," said nurse; "why, even the Perrys' baby that's more than a year
old hasn't got all its teeth yet, and it can't say many words.  Don't
you trouble, Miss Mary, the teeth and the talking will come all right.
There now," as little Dolly looked up with a crow in nurse's smiling
face, "Miss Baby knows all about it, you see!"

Mary put her arms round baby and gave her another big hug.

"Oh, you dear little sweet!" she said.  "Oh, nurse, I do think she's got
such lots of things to tell me if only she could speak!"

Baby gave a little chuckle as much as to say, "No fear, I'll talk fast
enough before long;" and Mary, who was rather like an April day, set off
laughing so much that she did not hear steps coming along the terrace
till a voice said, quite close to her--

"Well, Mary, darling, what are you and baby so merry about?"

It was mamma.  Mary looked at her, and then mamma saw that her eyes were
red.

"It's all right now ma'am," said nurse, for she knew that mamma was
wondering what was the matter even though she had not asked; so mamma
went on to tell them what she had come out about, for she knew that when
Mary had had a fit of crying the tears were rather ready to come back
again if anything more was said about her troubles.

"Nurse," she said, "I want you to dress Miss Mary as quickly as possible
after her dinner.  I'm going to take her a drive with me--quite a long
drive; I'm going to the town to choose a perambulator for baby."

"Oh, mamma!" said Mary in great delight, "how lovely!  And may I get
into the p'ram-bilator to see if it's comfor'ble for baby?"

"Yes," said mamma, "though a tight fit for you will be all right for
baby.  And I've other things to buy as well!  You've got a list ready
for me, nurse, haven't you?  I'm quite sure the boys need new boots, and
wasn't there something about a sash for Mary?"

"She wouldn't be the worse for another blue one, ma'am," said nurse.
"Her papa always likes her in blue."

"Ah! well, I won't forget about it.  I like her in blue best too.  And
baby--doesn't she want anything?" asked mamma.

Of course she did, ever so many things.  I never knew a baby that did
not want a lot of things--or a baby's nurse perhaps we should say--when
there was a chance.  Ribbons to tie up its sleeves, and little shoes and
tiny socks, and some very fine kind of soap that would not make its soft
skin smart, and more things than I can remember.  Babies have plenty of
wants, though they are such small people.  And mamma wrote them all
down, saying each aloud as she did so, and Mary stood listening with a
very grave face.  For she thought to herself, "Just _supposing_ mamma
lost the paper or couldn't read all the pencil words, or forgot to write
down everything, it would be a very good thing for _her_ to know them
all and 'amind mamma."

Soon it was time to go in to dinner, and Mary was so full of the thought
of going to the town with mamma, that at first she sat with her spoon
and fork in her hands, looking at her plate without eating at all.

"Why don't you eat your dinner, Mary?" said Leigh.

"My nungryness has gone away with thinking of going out with mamma and
buyin' such lotses of things," said Mary.

"How silly you are!" said Leigh.  "Why, when I've something nice to
think of, it makes me all the hungrier!  If you don't eat your dinner, I
don't believe mamma will take you."

"Yes, Miss Mary, you must eat it," said nurse.  "You'll be later than
usual of getting your tea, too, so you should make an extra good
dinner."

Mary did not feel as if she _could_ be hungry, but she did not want to
be left behind, so she began to try to eat, and after one or two
mouthfuls it got rather easier.  Nurse went on talking, for she knew the
less Mary thought about not being hungry the better it would be.

"Perhaps your mamma, will let you bring home a nice bagful of buns for
tea," she said.  "That would be a treat for Master Leigh and Master
Artie, to make up for their not going to the town too."

"I don't want to go," said Leigh.  "I hate shopping.  It's such
rubbish--taking half an hour to choose things you could settle about in
half a minute.  Of course I suppose it's different for women and girls."

Nurse smiled a little.

"Have you nothing for Miss Mary to get for you?" she said.

"What shops are you going to?" asked Leigh.

"Are you going to the confectioner's?" asked Artie.

Mary was not quite sure what the confectioner's was.  You see, she did
not often see shops, as the children's home was quite in the country.
But she knew Leigh would laugh at her if she asked, so she just said--

"We're going to all the shops there is, I think.  We're going to buy
Baby Dolly's p'ram-bilator."

She got rather red as she spoke; but Leigh did not notice it, for he was
very much interested by this news.

"To buy the p'rambulator," he repeated.  "Oh, I say--I wouldn't mind
going to choose that!  But I couldn't stand the rest of the shopping.
Mary--" and he hesitated.

"What?" said Mary.

"There's one thing I want, if you think you could choose it for me; it's
a pair of reins.  I've got money to pay for them--plenty; so you can
tell mamma if she'll pay them in the shop, she can take the money out of
my best purse that she keeps for me, when she comes home.  They'll cost
about--" he stopped again, for he really did not know.

"Do you mean red braid ones, Leigh, like my old ones with the bells on?"
asked Artie.

"No, of course not.  I want regular good strong leather ones--proper
ones, d'you hear, Mary?"

"Yes," said Mary, "I'm listenin'."

"Well, look here then; they must be of nice brown leather, and you must
pull it well to be sure it's strong.  And they must have a kind of
front-piece, stiff, you know, that they are fastened to, or perhaps they
cross over it, I'm not sure.  And they must be about as long as from me,
where I'm sitting now, to where Artie is.  And if you can't get them
nice in one shop, you must ask mamma to let you go to another, and you
mustn't be in a hurry to just take the first ones they show you.  You
must _choose_ well, Mary, and--"

"Don't take half an hour about it when half a minute would do," said
nurse, in rather an odd voice.

Leigh grew very red.

"Nurse," he said, "reins are very pertickler things to get.  Leather
things have to be _good_, you know."

"And so have silk things and cotton things and all the other things that
ladies take so long to shop about," said nurse.  "But, I'm sure poor
dear Miss Mary's head will never hold all the explaining you've been
giving her.  If you take my advice, Master Leigh, you'll run off to your
mamma and tell her what you want and settle about the price and
everything.  She will be just finishing luncheon, I should think.  It
was to be early to-day."

Leigh thought it a good idea, and did as nurse proposed.  Mary was very
glad not to have to remember all about the reins; her little head was
full enough already.  She was looking quite pale with excitement when
nurse began to dress her in her best things to go out with her mamma.
But it was very interesting to have all her Sunday things on on a
week-day, and by the time she was ready--her best boots buttoned and her
little white silk gloves drawn on, and her fair curls, nicely brushed,
hanging down under her big straw hat, which had white bows and tufty
feathers at one side--Mary's face had grown rosier again.

CHAPTER TEN.

SHOPPING.

She felt _quite_ happy when she found herself at last settled by mamma's
side in the victoria.  She gave a deep sigh--it was a sigh of content--
just because she was so happy.

But mamma turned round quickly.

"My darling," she said, "is there anything the matter?  Why are you
sighing so?"

Mary cuddled a little bit nearer to mamma, and looked up in her face
with a smile.

"I'm quite _dreffully_ happy, mamma dear," she said.  "The breaving
comes like that when I'm dreffully happy.  But oh, mamma," she went on,
with an anxious look creeping over her face, "I _hope_ we'll 'amember
all the lotses of things there is to buy!"

"I wrote them down, dear," said mamma.  "You saw me?"

"Yes, but doesn't writing sometimes get rubbed out?  I think I can
'amember neely all if you asked me.  Did Leigh tell you all about his
reins, mamma?"

"Yes, dear.  He was very particular indeed.  I can't think what has put
reins in his head again.  He told me some time ago that he thought he
was getting too big for playing at horses.  Perhaps it's to amuse
Artie."

"I wonder," said Mary, "if p'raps it's something to do with Fuzzy."

But her mother did not hear, or at least did not notice what she said.
She had taken the paper with the list of things she had to do, out of
her bag and was looking it over.

It seemed a long way to the town to Mary.  It was between five and six
miles, and she had not often driven so far, for you know she was still a
very little girl.  Now and then her mamma looked at her to see if she
was getting sleepy, but every time she seemed quite bright.  Her little
mind was so full of all the messages they had to do that I don't think
she _could_ have grown sleepy.

And there were a great many pretty and strange and interesting things to
notice as they went along.  Mamma kept pointing them out to her and
talking about them.  There were the flowers in the hedges to begin
with--some late ones were still in bloom--here and there stray sprays of
honeysuckle even, and low down, nearer the ground, there came now and
then little glimpses of pretty colours where smaller wild-flowers, such
as "ragged robin," "speedwell," "crow's-foot," and a few others were
still peeping out.

"If I were a tiny flower," said mamma, "I think I would choose my home
on the inside of the hedge--the field-side.  It would be so hot and
dusty near the road."

But Mary thought it would be nice to see the carriages and carts
passing, and that it would be rather dull to see nothing but the grass,
and then she and mamma laughed at their funny fancies, as if flowers had
eyes and ears like children.

Then they passed a very queer-looking waggon lumbering along.  It seemed
like a house built of baskets and straw chairs and brushes instead of
brick or stone, and Mary's mamma told her it was a travelling shop, and
that the people lived inside and had a little kitchen and a little
bedroom, and that _sometimes_ they were quite clean and tidy and nice
people.  There was a tiny window with a red curtain at the side of the
waggon they passed, and Mary saw a little girl, with a nice rosy face,
peeping out at her.  She nearly jumped when she saw the little girl, and
she pulled mamma to make her look.

"See, see, mamma!" she cried.  "They must be nice people that lives in
that basket shop, mustn't they, for that little girl's got a clean face,
and she's smilin' so sweetly?"

"Yes," said mamma; "it looks as if she had a kind father and mother, and
I hope she has.  For many poor children have quite as kind fathers and
mothers as rich children have, you know, Mary."

"Like the Perrys--the Perrys at the Lavender Cottages," said Mary.

And then she went on thinking to herself how nice it would be to live in
a "going-about house," as she called it.  And she wished very much
indeed she could have seen inside the waggon.

The next thing they passed after that, was a great high carriage with
four horses; a man in a red coat was blowing a horn, and there were ever
so many ladies and gentlemen sitting up on the top.  It made _such_ a
dust!  Mary began to think mamma was right about the field-side of the
hedges, for even though she was a little girl in a carriage and not a
flower, she felt quite choked for a minute.  Mamma told her it was a
stagecoach, and that long ago, before clever men had found out how to
make railway trains go, drawn by steam-engines instead of horses, people
were obliged to travel in these big coaches.

Mary was very much surprised.  She thought there had always been
railways, but mamma had not time to explain any more about them to her,
for just then the carriage began to make a very rattling noise over the
stones, so that they could scarcely hear each other speak.  They were
entering the town.

Mary looked about her with great interest.  It was a long time since she
had been there, and the last day she remembered being driven through the
streets it had only been to go to the railway station.  For the children
and their mother were then on their way to visit their grandmamma.  That
was six months ago, half a year--before Mary's birthday, which had
brought her the wonderful present of Baby Dolly--a very long time ago.

But Mary remembered how she had wished that day to stop at the shops and
look in at the windows.  And now she was not only going to look in; she
was going to _go_ in to help mamma to choose all the things she had to
buy.

It was very nice, but it seemed rather to take away her breath again to
think of all they had to do.  Mary gave a deep sigh, which made her
mamma turn round.

"Mary, my dear, you are looking quite troubled," she said; "what is it?"

"It's on'y the lotses of things," said Mary.

"But you mustn't be like that, or I shall be afraid to bring you out
shopping with me," said mamma.  "It will be all right, you'll see.  Here
we are at the first shop--the draper's.  That's right; give Thomas your
hand and get out slowly."

Thomas was quite ready to have lifted her out, but Mary did not like
being lifted.  It seemed as if she was a baby.  Mamma knew this, and
unless she was in a great hurry she let Mary manage for herself like a
big girl.

Mary was not like some children, who do not care about any shops except
a toy-shop and a confectioner's; she was interested in all the things
mamma had to buy, and she liked to watch the careful way mamma went
about it.  She had a list all ready, and she had put the same sorts of
things together on it, so that she did not need to go backwards and
forwards from one counter to another.  It was a large shop, but there
were not many people in it, so Mary climbed up on a chair and sat there
comfortably watching, while mamma chose tape and buttons and reels of
cotton and needles, and lots of what are called "small-wares."

Mary enjoyed seeing them all brought out in their neat boxes and
drawers; she thought to herself that she would like very much to have a
shop and have all these interesting things to take care of.  And then,
when they moved a little farther down, to that part of the counter where
pretty silks and ribbons were hanging up--silks and ribbons of all sorts
of colours and shades--she was still more delighted.

"We are going to choose a sash for you now, Mary," said mamma.

"And ribbins to tie up Baby Dolly's sleeves.  Weren't you forgetting
about the ribbins?" said Mary.

Mamma had not forgotten, but she did not say so, for she saw her little
girl was proud of remembering; and she was pleased too to see that Mary
thought of Dolly before herself.

"Yes; of course there are baby's bows to get," she said.  "Thank you for
reminding me.  What colour shall they be?  Would you like to choose?"

The shopman--I think it was the draper himself, who knew Mary's mamma
and was pleased to wait upon her--smiled as he brought out a large box
full of ribbons of the right width for tying up babies' sleeves.  There
were so many pretty colours that Mary felt as if she _could not_ choose.

"I'd like some of all of them," she said.

But mamma helped her by putting aside those that would not do.  Yellow
would not be pretty for baby, she said, nor green, nor bright red, nor
deep blue or purple; and that left only the soft delicate colours--pale
pink and pale blue and very pale lilac.  There were pretty white ribbons
too, with very fine little checks and spots over them, which she said
would be very nice.

So then Mary found it easier, and she chose four sets--blue, with a
little white line down the edge; and white, with a pink check over it;
and another, with tiny blue spots, and one of the pale pinky lilac.  It
was like wild geranium colour, mamma said, and as Mary did not know what
that flower was, mamma promised to look for one in the fields to show
her.

Then there came the choosing of Mary's sashes.  Mamma got two, and Mary
was quite pleased, for she saw that mamma was the best chooser after
all.  One was pale blue, very wide, and with a white line down the side.
It was just "like the mamma of _Dolly's_ blue ribbon," Mary said, and
the other was all pink, very pretty pale pink.  Mary did not like it
quite so well, but still she felt sure it would look nice, or else mamma
"wouldn't have chosened it."

It would take too long to tell you about all the things mamma bought.
After she had finished at the draper's she went to the shoemaker's and
got boots for the boys and slippers for Mary, and dear sweet little blue
silk shoes for Dolly.  They were to be her very best ones, to match her
blue ribbons.  Mary was so pleased that her mamma got them.

After that came the great thing of all--that was the perambulator.
There was a man in that town who made pony-carriages, and he made
perambulators too.  Mamma took Mary into a large room which was all
glass at the front, and was quite filled with pony-carriages.  They did
look so shiny and nice--some of them were wicker, and some were made of
wood like big carriages.  Mary would have liked to get into them all,
one after the other, to see which was the most comfortable, and she
could not help thinking how very nice it would be to be a pony-carriage
man's little girl.  What lovely games she and Leigh and Artie could have
in this big room!  It would be even nicer than having a draper's shop.
She did not know that carriage-builders' children and drapers' children
are not allowed to play with their fathers' carriages and ribbons any
more than she and her brothers would be allowed to pull about the books
in the library, or to gather all the fruit and flowers in the garden.

They passed through the big room with the glass front to a smaller one
behind, where there were a good many perambulators.  The man who had
shown them in explained to Mary's mamma about the different kinds and
told her the prices; and mamma chose three which she made the man draw
out by themselves in front of all the others.

"It must be one of those," she said; "I want a really good one, but
still rather plain and strong, as it is for the country roads."

Mary thought to herself what a good way of choosing mamma had; it makes
choosing so much easier if you put away the things that _won't_ do.  And
while she was thinking this, mamma told her she wanted her to get into
the perambulator standing next, and say if it was comfortable.

"I will lift her in," she said to the man.  "It's quite strong enough, I
suppose?"

"Oh, dear, yes, ma'am!" he answered.  "It could bear a child twice this
little lady's weight.  The springs are fust-rate."

It was very comfortable, and when Mary jigged up and down a little
gently, it felt quite "dancey," she said.

"It's the springs," the man repeated; "they're fust-rate."

Mary wondered what "fust-rate" meant.  She thought she would ask her
mamma.  Then she was lifted into the next perambulator--the man lifted
her in.  He meant to be quite kind, but Mary did not like it, and when
at last she found herself on the floor again she stroked down her skirts
and gave herself a little shake.  Mamma saw that she did not like it,
but afterwards she told Mary that sometimes it is best to hide that you
do not like things, when they are done out of kindness.

"It didn't matter to-day," said mamma, "for the man was busy talking to
me and he didn't see you shaking yourself; but you must remember for
another time."

Mary felt very sorry.  She did not forget what her mamma said.  Even
when she grew to be a big girl she remembered about the man meaning to
be kind, and how glad she was he had not seen her shake herself.

The other perambulators were not quite as wide as the first one.  Mary
said they felt rather squeezy, so mamma fixed on the first one.  But it
could not be sent home at once because the lining had to be changed.  It
was brown, and the linings of mamma's victoria and pony-carriage were
dark red, and mamma liked Dolly's carriage to match.  So the man
promised it should be ready in two or three days; but Mary looked at it
a great deal, because she knew Leigh and Artie would want to know
exactly what it was like.

After that they went to the grocer's, but mamma did not stay long there,
and then they went to the toy-shop to get a rattle for baby and reins
for Leigh.  But neither mamma nor Mary liked the reins much.  There were
some of red braid, but they were too common, and the leather ones did
not seem strong, and they were not made of the right sort of leather;
Mary was quite distressed.

"What shall we do?" she said.  "Leigh will be so disappointed."  She
said the word quite right, but it took her a good while.

Then mamma had a capital thought.

"I know," she said.  "We'll go to the saddler's.  Even if he hasn't got
any toy-reins ready he can easily make them."

And fancy--was not it lucky?--the saddler had a pair quite ready--
beauties, just like what Leigh wanted.  Mamma was so pleased, and so was
Mary; though I do not think mamma would have been quite so pleased if
she had known what Leigh had in his head about the reins.  Then mamma
went to the confectioner's, where she bought some very nice little cakes
for Mary to take home for the nursery tea, and, as she thought Mary
looked a little tired and must be beginning to feel hungry, she asked
for a glass of milk for her and a bun, and then she put Mary on a chair
close up to the counter, where she could reach the milk.  And then, just
as she was going to pay for what she had bought, poor mamma started.

"Oh, dear!" she said, "where is my little bag with my purse in it?  I
must have left it somewhere; I was carrying so many parcels."

"Mamma, dear," said Mary, "you had it at the reins' shop.  I sawed it in
your hand."

"Oh, I'm so glad!" said mamma.  "Then it'll be all right.  I'll run back
for it.  You finish your milk and bun, dear, and I will come for you as
quickly as I can."

Mary did not quite like waiting alone, but she did not want to trouble
her mother, so she said, "Very well, mamma dear."

Her milk and bun did not take long to finish, but she sat on still on
the high chair, partly because she thought her mamma would look for her
there, partly because she could not get down alone, and she was too shy
to ask to be lifted off.  But mamma did not come as quickly as Mary
hoped, though the time seemed longer to her than it really was.

In a few minutes she heard the door open, and she looked up gladly,
thinking it was her mamma; but it was not.  Instead of mamma in came a
rather fat lady, with two boys and a girl.  The lady had a red face, and
they all talked very loudly.

"Now, what will you have, my loveys?" said the lady.  "Puffs,
cheesecakes, macaroons?"

The three children pushed up to the counter and began helping
themselves.  It was not a large shop, and they crushed against Mary, who
was growing very uncomfortable.

"Dear, dear," said the fat lady, "I am 'ot!" and she fanned herself with
her handkerchief.  "Haven't you got a chair for me?"

The shop-woman looked at the girl who had seated herself on the only
chair besides Mary's one.

"I dare say Miss isn't tired," she said; "won't you give the lady your
chair?"

But the girl would not move.

"No," she said; "that child isn't eating anything.  She can give her
chair.  Put her down, Fred."

And the bigger of the boys lifted Mary roughly down from her perch
before the shop-woman could interfere, and then they all burst out
laughing, and Mary, whose face had been getting whiter and whiter,
rushed to the open door and ran with all her might down the street.

CHAPTER ELEVEN.

NURSERY TEA.

I dare say it was silly of Mary to be so frightened; but then, you know,
she was only a very little girl, and she was not used to rude or rough
ways.

"Mamma, mamma!" she cried as she ran along.  And she did not even think
or know which way she was going.  But the town was not a big one, not
like London, where her papa had been left alone in the toy-shop--and the
street was quiet.  Several people noticed the prettily-dressed little
girl running so fast, the tears rolling down her face.

"She's lost her way, poor dear," said one woman, standing at the door of
a greengrocer's shop.

"She's been bitten by a dog," said another.

But nobody did anything till, luckily, Mary flew past the draper's where
she had been with her mamma; one of the young men in the shop was
reaching something out of the window and saw her.  He called to the
draper--Mr Mitcham--and Mr Mitcham, who was a kind man and had little
girls of his own, hurried after Mary and soon caught her up, for she was
getting very tired now.  Her legs were shaking sadly, and her breath
seemed to choke her, and her heart,--oh, how her poor heart was
thumping--it seemed to come right up into her ears.

"Are you looking for your mamma, my dear?" said Mr Mitcham.  He was
rather out of breath himself though he had only run a short way, for he
was a fat little man, and he seldom took more exercise than walking
about his shop.

"Zes, zes!" cried Mary, who went back to her baby talk when she was
unhappy or frightened.  "Her is goned away, and the naughty boy pulled
me off my chair, and--oh, oh, where is my mamma goned?"

Mr Mitcham, could not make out what was the matter, but, luckily, just
at that moment her mamma came round the corner of the street.  She had
found her bag at the saddler's, but she had had to wait a few minutes
for it, as he had locked it up in a drawer while he went to the inn,
where the carriage was, to ask if Mrs Bertram was still in the town.

Mamma looked quite startled when she saw poor Mary all in tears, but
Mary soon got happy again when she felt her own dear mamma's hand
clasping hers firmly.  And then, when mamma had thanked the draper, she
turned back to the confectioner's again, to get the cakes to take home
and to pay for them.  Mary did not much want to go; she was afraid of
seeing the rude boy and his mother again.  But mamma told her she must
try not to be so easily frightened.

"For, you see, dear, when you ran away in that wild way, I might not
have been able to find you for some time, and think how unhappy it would
have made me."

Mary squeezed mamma's hand very tight.  She was beginning to see she had
been rather silly.

"I won't do like that again," she said.  "When I'm a big girl I won't be
frightened.  But, please, mamma, let me _always_ stay 'aside you when we
go to shops."

When they got to the confectioner's, they found the young woman there
very sorry about Mary having run away, as she felt she should have taken
better care of her.  The stout lady and her children were still there,
and the lady was looking very ashamed, for the confectioner had been
telling her that Mary was little Miss Bertram of the Priory--the Priory
was the name of Mary's home--and that Mrs Bertram would be very vexed.
So the rude boy's mother came up with a very red face, and told Mary's
mamma if they had only known who the young lady was, they would never
have made so free as to disturb her.  Mary's mamma listened gravely, and
then she said, "I think you should teach your son to be gentle and
polite to everybody, especially little girls, _whoever they are_.  Of
course I know he did not mean to hurt her, but she is accustomed to her
brothers behaving very nicely to her at home."

Then she turned away rather coldly, and the children and their mother
looked very red and ashamed, and just then the victoria came up to the
door, with the two pretty bay horses, all so smart and nice.  And mamma
took Mary's hand to lead her away.  But Mary pulled it out of hers for a
moment and ran back to the boy.

"Please, don't be sorry any more," she said.  "I were a silly little
girl, but I don't mind now," and she held out her hand.  The boy took it
and mumbled something about "beg your pardon."  And then Mary got up
into the carriage beside mamma.

"I am glad you did that, Mary dear," she said; "I hope it will make the
boy remember."

"And I _were_ a silly little girl," said Mary, as she nestled up to her
mamma.

They did not talk very much going home.  Mary was rather tired, and I
think she must have had a little nap on the way; for she looked all
right again, and her eyes were scarcely at all red when they drove up to
the door of Mary's own dear house.  There were Leigh and Artie waiting
for them; they had heard the carriage coming and they ran up to the door
to be there to help their mamma and Mary out, and to tell them how glad
they were to see them again.

"Tea's all ready waiting," said Leigh; "and, oh, mamma--we were
wondering--nurse has put out a 'nextra cup just in case.  _Would_ you
come up and have tea with us?  Then we could hear all about all you've
been buying and everything, for Mary mightn't remember so well."

"I don't think I'd forget," said Mary; "on'y we _have_ had lotses of
'ventures.  Doesn't it seem a long, long time since we started off after
dinner?  I _would_ like mamma to have tea with us!"

Mamma could not resist all these coaxings, and I think she was very
pleased to accept the nursery invitation, for it seemed to her a long
time since she had seen dear Baby Dolly.  So she told Leigh to run up
and tell nurse she was coming, and then, when all the parcels were
brought into the hall, she chose out some which she sent upstairs; but
the parcel of cakes for tea she gave to Artie to carry up.

That was a very happy tea-party.  There was so much to tell, and so much
to ask about.  Mary chattered so fast that mamma had to remind her that
her tea would be getting quite cold and everybody would have finished
before her if she did not take care.  But Mary said she was not very
hungry because of the afternoon luncheon she had had at the
confectioner's; and that reminded her of what had happened there, and
she told Leigh and Artie and nurse and Dolly--though I am not sure if
Dolly _quite_ understood--the story of the rude boy and how frightened
she had been.

"Horrid cad," said Leigh; "I'd like to knock him down."

"He were much bigger than you, Leigh," said Mary.

"What does that matter?" said Leigh.  "I'd knock any fellow down who was
rude to my sister."

Mary thought it was very brave of Leigh to talk like that.  She wondered
if he would be vexed if he heard she had forgiven the boy afterwards.

"I think he was sorry," said mamma.  "He had no idea Mary would have
minded so much, you see."

"I cried," said Mary,--she felt rather proud of herself now for having
had such an adventure,--"I cried lotses."

"I hope he didn't see you crying," said Leigh.  "He would think you a
baby and not a lady if he saw you crying."

"I leaved off crying when mamma came," said Mary; "but my eyes was
reddy."

"You shouldn't have cried," said Artie.  "You should have looked at him
grand--like this."

And Artie reared up his head as high as he could get it out of his
brown-holland blouse, and stared round at Dolly, who was cooing and
laughing at him over nurse's shoulder, with such a very severe face,
that the poor baby, not knowing what she had done to vex him, drew down
the corners of her mouth and opened her blue eyes very wide and then
burst into a pitiful cry.  Artie changed all at once.

"Darling baby, kiss Artie," he said.  "Sweet baby Artie wasn't angry
with you."

But nurse told him he should not frighten Miss Baby.  She was such a
noticing little lady already.

"And I forgaved the boy," said Mary.  "I shaked hands with him."

Nobody could quite see what this had to do with Artie and baby, but Mary
seemed to know what she meant.  Perhaps she thought that if she had
"looked grand" at the boy, he would have set off crying like poor Dolly.

Then when tea was over and grace had been said--it was Artie's turn to
say grace, and he was always very slow at his tea, so they had some time
to wait--mamma undid the parcels that she had sent up to the nursery.
The children all came round to see the things, and Mary was very pleased
to be able to explain about them.

"I helped mamma to choose, didn't I, mamma dear?" she kept saying.

She was most proud of all, I think, about Baby Dolly's ribbons.  And
nurse thought them very pretty indeed, and so I suppose did baby, for
she caught hold of them when Mary held them out and tried to stuff them
all into her mouth.  That is a baby's way of showing it thinks things
are pretty; it fancies they must be good to eat.

"And my reins, mamma?" said Leigh at last; "when are you coming to my
reins?"

He had been rather patient, considering he was a boy, for boys do not
care about ribbons and sashes and those sorts of things, though he was
very pleased with his own boots.  So mamma looked out the parcel of his
reins before she undid the tapes and cottons and buttons she had got for
nurse.

"They are really very good reins," she said.  "I told you we got them at
the saddler's.  They are much better and stronger than those you buy at
a toy-shop."

Leigh turned them over in his hands and pulled them and tugged them in a
very knowing way.

"Yes," he said, "they're not bad--not bad at all.  In fact they are
beauties.  And what did they cost?"

"They cost rather dear," she said,--"dearer than you expected.  But if
you pay me two shillings, I will give you a present of the rest."

"Whew!" said Leigh, "more than two shillings.  But they are first-rate.
Thank you very much indeed, mamma."

"And you won't over-drive your horses or your horse, will you?" said
mamma.  "I suppose Artie will be your regular one, or do you mean to
have a pair--Mary too?"

Leigh did not answer at once.

"I shall drive Artie sometimes, and Mary sometimes, if she likes," he
said.  "But I've, another horse too, better than them."

Mamma did not pay much attention to what he said; she thought he meant
one of the gardener's boys or the page, with whom he was allowed to play
sometimes, as they were good boys.

"And the p'ram-bilator?"  Leigh asked.  "When is it coming, mamma? and
is it a very nice one?  Does it go smoothly? and has it good springs?"

"I think it's a very nice one," mamma replied.  She was pleased to see
Leigh so interested about his little sister's carriage.  "But it won't
be here for some days--a week or so--as they have to change the
linings."

"Oh," said Leigh to himself in a low voice, "all the better!  I'll have
time to break him in a little."

The next day, and every day after that for some time, Leigh was very
busy indeed.  He begged nurse to let him off going regular walks once or
twice, because he had something he was making in the shed, where he and
Artie were allowed to do their carpentering and all the rather messy
work boys are so fond of, which it does not do to bring into the house.
He was not "after any mischief" he told nurse, and she quite believed
it, for he was a very truthful boy; but he said it was a secret he did
not want to tell till he had got it all ready.

So nurse let him have his way, only she would not allow Artie to miss
his walk too, for she did not think it safe to leave him alone with
Leigh, with all his "hammering and nailing and pincering" going on.  And
I think nurse was right.

I wonder if you can guess what was Leigh's "secret"--what it was he was
so busy about?  He did not tell either Artie or Mary; he wanted to
"surprise" them.

The truth was, he was making harness for Fuzzy and trying to teach him
to be driven.  He had begun the teaching already by fastening the reins
to an arrangement of strong cord round the dog's body, and he was also
making better harness with some old straps he had coaxed out of the
coachman.  He really managed it very cleverly.

It took him two or three days to get it finished, and in the meantime he
"practised" with the cord.  Poor Fuzzy!  He was a big strong dog by this
time, but still only a puppy.  I am sure he must have wondered very much
what all the tying up and pulling and tugging and "who-ho"-ing and
"gee-up"-ing meant; but he was very good-tempered.  I suppose he settled
in his own mind that it was a new kind of play; and, on the whole--once
he was allowed to start off running, with Leigh holding the reins behind
him, trying to imagine _he_ was driving Fuzzy, while it was really Fuzzy
pulling _him_--he did not behave badly, though Leigh found "breaking him
in" harder work than he had expected.

By the fourth day the "proper harness," as Leigh called it, was ready.
He had got the coachman's wife, who was very fond of the children and
very clever with her fingers, to stitch some of the straps which he
could not manage to fasten neatly with boring holes and passing twine
through, though that did for part.  And as the coachman did not see that
this new fancy could do any harm, he was rather interested in it too.
So when it was all complete, and Fuzzy was fitted into his new attire,
or it was fitted on to him, perhaps I should say, Mr and Mrs Mellor,
and the grooms, and two or three of the under-gardeners all stood round
admiring, while Leigh started off in grand style, driving his queer
steed.

"If you had but a little cart now, Master Leigh," said one of the boys;
"it'd be quite a turn-out."

"Yes," said Leigh, with a smile; "I mean to get to something like that
some day.  But driving with reins this way is how they often begin with
young horses, isn't it, Mellor?"

"To be sure it is!" the coachman replied, as he went off, smiling to
himself at the funny notions children take up.  "The very idea of
harnessing a puppy."  For Mellor had never been in Flanders, you see,
nor in Lapland.

CHAPTER TWELVE.

LEIGH'S PLAN.

Ever since the day the children had waited for their father outside the
Lavender Cottages--the day when it was settled that they were to have
Fuzzy--the idea of training the dog to be driven, and making him draw
the perambulator as he had seen Ned drawing the Perrys' old wicker
carriage, had been in Leigh's head.  That was why he was so interested
about the new carriage for his little sister.

He was sensible in some ways.  He knew it would be no use harnessing the
dog into a cart or anything till he had accustomed him a little to being
driven.  That was what had made him think of buying reins.  He had
waited a good while too, till the dog was nearly full-grown and had
grown pretty obedient to his voice and call.  But when he heard that the
perambulator was really to be bought, he thought to himself that it was
quite time Fuzzy's "breaking-in" should begin.

For it was now late September.  Baby Dolly was close upon her fifth
"month-day," as the children called it, and growing so big and lively
that nurse could scarcely manage to carry her any distance without
feeling rather tired, as Dolly was very fond of sitting straight up and
looking about her and giving little jumps and springs when Mary or the
boys ran up to her.  And "Fuzz," as Leigh generally called him--for he
thought "Fuzzy" rather a girl's name--was a very big puppy indeed--so
big and playful that, when he came galloping over the lawn to the
children, Mary used to run behind nurse, if she was there, for fear of
being knocked over.

It was fun and affection, of course, and when he stood still Mary would
pat him and call him "dear Fuzzy," "poor old Fuzzy," quite bravely, but
at the bottom, of her heart she was a little afraid of him.  And though
she did not like to say so to the boys, she often wished that he had
stayed a roly-poly, soft, tumbling-about creature, as he was when she
had first seen him--only a few weeks old.

But Leigh would not have liked that at all, of course.

Well, the driving-lessons went on, and thanks to Leigh's patience, of
which he had a good deal when he chose, Fuzz became more manageable, as
I said.  After a while Leigh found an old remains of a little cart on
wheels--it was really a sort of small dray which some of his young
uncles had knocked together years ago for dragging wood on--which he
managed to harness the dog to, to accustom him to feeling something
behind him.  Fuzz kicked and spluttered and ran away ever so many times;
he did not like the rattling noise coming after him, but after a while
he grew used to it and would scamper off quite merrily, and so fast that
Leigh could scarcely keep up with him.  That was the great difficulty--
to make him go slowly.

But Leigh was not discouraged.

"It'll be all right," he thought, "when he feels he's pulling something
heavier."

And still he kept it all a secret, except of course from Mellor and the
outdoor servants, and they did not know anything about his plan for the
perambulator.

It came, about ten days after it had been promised.  Mary had been
growing very impatient.  She thought it was _never_ coming, and even her
mamma was on the point of writing to the place where she had ordered it,
to ask why they were so long of sending it, when all of a sudden one
afternoon it arrived.

Everybody admired it extremely.  It was really a very pretty little
carriage, and Baby Dolly liked it very much, to judge by the way she
crowed and chattered in her own sweet baby language the first time she
was tucked into it for a drive.

This was the very morning after it came.  For it was luckily a fine,
mild day, and the nursery dinner was made a little earlier than usual,
so that Baby Dolly should have the best of the afternoon for the first
trial of her perambulator; and Mary and the boys and the under-nurse and
Fuzzy were all to go too.

Nurse had a holiday indeed!  She began by pushing the new carriage
herself, just to make sure that baby would not be frightened.  But
frightened--no, indeed; the little lady chuckled and crowed, and was as
happy as could be.  So then nurse let Leigh push it for a while, and
then Artie, and then even Mary for a little bit, though not for very
long, as, though it was beautifully light, it was tiring for her to
stretch up her arms, and of course she was too small to see in front if
the road was getting at all rough, or if there were stones or ruts to
get out of the way of.

And then nurse told Emma, the under-nurse (I think I have forgotten to
say that "Little Sarah" was not big enough to help with Dolly, so a new
under-nurse had come), to push it for a while--not that Leigh and Artie
were not most eager to do so, but nurse wanted to make sure that Emma
pushed it carefully, for there are two ways of doing even such a simple
thing as pushing a perambulator, though you might not think it.  And
Emma was rather a silly girl, though she was very good-natured.

"Now, we'se _all_ pussed it except Fuzzy," said Mary.  She was dancing
along holding nurse's hand and feeling very happy and safe.  For, to
tell the truth, she was often a little frightened of the doggie knocking
her over if she was walking along alone or with only Artie.  "Poor
Fuzzy!"  Mary was always very affectionate to Fuzz when she felt herself
well protected; "don't you think, nursie, he'd like to puss it too?  If
Leigh made him walk like a bear,"--for walking like a bear was one of
the tricks Leigh had taught Fuzz,--"on his two behind legs, and then put
his two before legs on the pussing place; don't you think he could do it
a little, nursie dear?  And then we'd all have took turns?"

Nursie laughed at Mary's funny idea.

"I'm afraid Miss Dolly and the perambulator would soon all be in a heap
on the road if Fuzzy was to have a try at pushing," she said.

And Fuzz, who always seemed to know when they were talking of him, came
close to nurse and looked up wistfully in her face with his bright sweet
eyes as if he would say, "I'm rather afraid so too."

Leigh gave him a pat.

"_Pushing_ the p'rambulator," he said.  "No, indeed.  You know something
better than that; don't you, Fuzz?"

And Fuzz wagged his tail as much as to say, "Yes, indeed; _Leigh_ knows
what I can do.  But we'll keep our secret."

No one paid any attention to what Leigh said however; no one had any
idea there was any secret to keep.

So the little party finished their walk very happily, and returned home
greatly pleased with the new perambulator.

It was about a fortnight later that something happened which I must tell
you about.

All this time Leigh kept on patiently with his training or "breaking-in"
of Fuzz.  Whenever he had a chance of getting off to the stables alone,
for half an hour or so, he harnessed the dog to the remains of a cart
that I told you of, and drove him up and down the paths.  No one but the
stablemen and the gardeners knew about it, and they only thought it was
a fancy of the boy's and never spoke about it.

And Leigh told nobody--not even Artie--of what he had got in his head.

He kept saying to himself he wanted to "surprise" them all, and that if
he told Artie every one would be sure to hear of it.

"And I must manage to try it first without nurse fussing," he thought.
"She'd never believe it would do.  She's so stupid about some things."

But at the bottom of his heart, I think he knew that what he was meaning
to do was not a right thing for him to try without leave from the
grown-up people, and that it was the fear of their stopping it much more
than the wish to "surprise" everybody that made him keep his plan so
secret.

So he said nothing, but waited for a chance to come.

And before long the chance did come.  It does seem sometimes as if
chances for wrong things or not-right things come more quickly and more
surely than for good things, I am afraid.  Or is it, perhaps, that we
are more ready to catch at them?

Now I must tell you that Emma, the under-nurse, was not a very sensible
girl.  She was more taken up with herself and her dresses and chattering
to whoever would listen to her than with her own work and duties; and
she was very fond of calling nurse old-fashioned and fussy and too
strict, which was not right.  She spoke of her in that way to Leigh, and
made him fancy he was too big a boy to be treated like a nursery child,
which was very mischievous.  But she was a good-natured girl, and she
was what is called "civil-spoken" to nurse and to the other servants, so
nurse hoped she would improve as she got older, though she found her
lazy and careless very often.

Just about this time, unfortunately, poor nurse sprained her ankle.  It
did not make her ill, for it was not very bad and soon began to get
better, but it stopped her going out walks for two or three days.

The first day this happened was one of the afternoons that Leigh had
Latin lessons with a tutor, so only Artie and Mary went out a walk with
Baby Dolly in the perambulator and Emma pushing it.

Nurse spoke a great deal to Emma about being very careful, and not going
near the field where the bull was, and not crossing the little bridge
which was soon going to be mended, and about several other "nots."  And
Emma listened to what she said, and that day all went well.  Artie and
Mary trotted along very peacefully, and now and then, when the road was
smooth, Emma let them push baby for a little bit, and baby cooed and
crowed when they talked to her.  They went near the Perrys' cottage and
they met all the children--Janie as usual carrying the baby, Comfort
pushing the old wicker carriage with the two other babies, and staring
away at the open book in her hand at the same time, so that Janie had to
keep calling out every minute or two to warn her where she was going.
Ned was not with them, that was the only difference.  For Ned was
beginning now to do a little work out of school hours.

The Perrys all came to a stop when they met the other party.

"How do you do?" said Mary and Artie politely.  "How do you like our new
p'ram-bilator?"

"It do be a beauty, Miss," said Janie.

Poor Janie looked tired and hot, though it was not a warm day; the baby
was growing heavy.

"Law," said Emma, "I'd never carry that child if I was you.  Why don't
you put it in the cart and make one of the others walk?"

"Law" is not a pretty word; but Emma was not very particular when she
was alone with the children.

"Comfort'd never get her reading done if she had to look after Sammy
walking," said Janie.  "And I'd have to push the carriage if the dear
baby was in it."

"Where's Ned?" asked Artie.  "And why doesn't he pull the carriage?"

Emma stared.

"Law, Master Artie--" she was beginning, but Janie, who did not seem at
all surprised at the question, for of course she had seen Ned's attempts
to make a horse of himself, answered quietly--

"It didn't do--not so very well, sir, and it gave me a turn, it did, to
see Sammy and Bertie a-tumblin' about, and all but overturned.  No,
'tweren't no good; so Ned, he's give it up."

"What a pity!" said Artie and Mary together, "isn't our p'ram-bilator
nice, Janie?"

"'Tis indeed, the wheels _is_ beautiful _and_ the springs," said Janie,
as she stood watching, while Artie pushed it up and down, to let her see
how it went; while even Comfort took her eyes off her book for a minute
or two to join in, the admiration.  "And Miss Baby do be getting on
finely," the little nurse-sister added.

"You've not come our way for a good bit, Miss," said Comfort to Mary.
"It's a nice road past the cottages and on to the wood--so smooth, I can
go on reading all the way.  No need to look to one side nor the
t'other."

And then the Perrys moved on, with a curtsey from Janie, which she
managed with some difficulty on account of the fat baby, and a kind of
nod from Comfort, as she let her eyes drop on to her book again.

That evening at tea, Mary and Artie told Leigh and nurse about meeting
the Lavender Cottages children, and how tired poor Janie looked.

"Isn't it a pity Ned couldn't dror the carriage?" said Artie.

"_Draw_, not _dror_," said Leigh.  "How vulgar you are, Artie.  No, I
don't see that it could do much good to Janie, for somebody'd have to
drive, and so she'd still have the baby to carry.  The big sister should
take turns with her."

"Yes, indeed," said nurse.  "That'd be much better than nonsense about
harnessing boys.  It's a wonder those children weren't driven into bits,
that day you told us of."

"Oh, but Ned was so stupid," said Leigh.  "He hadn't got proper reins,
and he fastened the rope in a perfectly silly way.  _I_ could show him
how to do it properly.  In Lapland, you know, nurse, and in some other
country, even dogs pull carts quite nicely."

"They must be a different kind of dog from ours then," said nurse.  "I
know dogs used to turn the spit with the meat to roast it before the
fire, but they were a queer kind, and I suppose they were trained to it
when they were little puppies."

"Yes," said Leigh, "that's it.  It's all the training.  It's no good
unless you begin to teach a dog while he's a puppy."

He did not say anything more just then; but that evening he said to Emma
that he was going out a walk with the little ones the next day, as he
would not have any lessons that afternoon.

"I suppose nurse won't be able to go out to-morrow," he added.

"No, not till the day after, if then," said Emma.  "But never mind,
Master Leigh, I'll go any way you like to name, and we'll have a nice
walk, if it's a fine day."

"I hope it will be a fine day," said Leigh.

And the next morning, quite early, before his lessons, he took Fuzz a
regular "exercising" up and down the long avenue leading to the stables
at the back of the house--cart and all--the dog had really learnt to go
pretty well.  But then a rough little wooden sledge, on wheels, is a
very different thing from a beautiful new perambulator with a sweet baby
sister inside it.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN.

BRAVE JANIE.

At dinner that day there was some talk of nurse going out to walk with
the children.

"Oh do come, nursie dear," said Mary.  "It _are_ so much nicer when you
come too," and baby cooed up in nurse's face for all the world as if she
were saying "do come," too.

"I'd like to, dearly," said nurse.  "But I think I'd better rest my
ankle one day more, and then I hope it will be quite well.  I feel quite
ashamed of having been so stupid about it."

"It wasn't _your_ fault," said Artie.  "It was the carpet's fault for
being loose."

"And mine for not seeing it and getting it fastened," said nurse.
Though really I think it was more Emma's fault, for she had charge of
the passage where nurse had tripped and fallen.

"I think you'd much better wait another day," said Leigh gravely.

And nurse said to herself that Master Leigh was very thoughtful for his
age.

But Leigh had a reason of his own for not wanting nurse to go out with
them that day, and if he had let himself think about it honestly he
would have seen that his dislike to nurse coming showed that he was not
doing right.  But all he would allow to himself was "Nurse is so fussy."

"If we could put you in the p'ram-bilator, that would be nice," said
Mary.  "But I'm afraid it wouldn't be big enough."

"Of course not, you silly girl," said Leigh rather crossly.  He did not
want the perambulator spoken of, for fear nurse should say something
about not playing any tricks with it.  But Mary stared at him.  She
could not understand why he was so cross.

It was again a very fine day for October.  And as soon as they could be
got ready after dinner the children set off for their walk.

"I'll follow you in a moment," said Leigh, as they were waiting at the
side door into the garden while Emma got out the perambulator.

"If you go slowly down the drive I'll make up to you.  I'm going to
fetch Fuzzy."

Mary's face fell.  She was frightened of the dog, you know, when nurse
was not there for her to walk beside, for Emma only laughed at her.  "I
_wiss_ poor Fuzzy wasn't coming," she said.  "Rubbish," said Leigh, and
then he said more kindly, "You needn't be frightened of him, Mary,
you'll see.  He can't knock you down to-day;" and then, as he ran off,
he cried back to Emma, "If I don't catch you up in the drive, turn to
the right.  We're going round by the smithy and the Lavender Cottages--
it's the best road for the p'ram-bilator."

No one paid much attention to what he said, or they might have wondered
what he meant, for there were plenty of good roads for the perambulator.
Mary kept as close as she could to Emma and baby, and every now and
then she looked round over her shoulder for fear of Fuzz coming full
bang upon her in his affection, and knocking her down.  But till they
had got some little way along the road there was no sign of him or of
Leigh.

Suddenly there came a whoop and cry from behind them.  Mary caught hold
of Emma's skirt, and in another moment Leigh rushed past them, "driving
Fuzz," he would have said, though it looked more like Fuzz dragging
_him_.  The dog had his harness on, and Leigh was holding the reins and
shouting to him.

"I'm taking it out of him," he called out, "just to quiet him down.
Doesn't he go well?"

It was certainly a comfort to Mary to see that Fuzz was not loose; and
in a minute or two, when the pair came back again, running more slowly,
she left off trembling and began to laugh a little.

"Doesn't Fuzzy go just like a little pony?" she said.  "Hasn't Leigh
taught him cleverly?"

Then Leigh showed off all he had trained the dog to do.  He made him
walk quite slowly, and then run, and then stop short when he called out
"Woa-wo-a, now; gently, old man," till they all admired it greatly.

"He'd soon learn to pull a cart," said Emma.

"He _can_ pull a cart, that's what I've been teaching him for," said
Leigh.  "He could draw the p'ram-bilator beautifully."

"Law!" said Emma, "could he now, really?"

"Of course he could," said Leigh, "as soon as we get into the lane I'll
let you see.  The road's nice and smooth there."

Mary clapped her hands.  She thought it would be lovely.  But Emma did
hesitate a little.

"Are you sure it's quite safe, Master Leigh?" she said.

"Safe, of course it's safe," said Leigh.  "But if you're afraid you can
hold on behind just like you're doing now, and then you can stop us
going faster than you like."

The lane, when they got into it, ran almost straight to the cottages.
Leigh meant to pass them and come home by the smithy, for he wanted
Yakeman to admire him driving Fuzzy.  There was a hill to go down, as
you may remember, from the cottages to Yakeman's, and I do not know how
Leigh meant to manage there.  But as things turned out he did not get so
far as that.

The little party stopped when they had got some way down the lane, and
Leigh began to fasten Fuzz to the perambulator.  He had got everything
ready--for he had secretly tried it before, and he had straps of the
right length which he brought out of his pocket.  Mary and Artie stood
admiring his cleverness, but Baby Dolly was not pleased.  She wanted to
go on, and of course she did not understand what they were all stopping
for.  So she began to cry.  Poor little girl, what else could she do?

"P'raps she's cold," said Mary.  "It _are_ raver cold standing still."

"Cold, Miss Mary, oh dear no," said Emma.  "She's that wrapped up she
_couldn't_ be cold.  But she's very fractious to-day; she was crying and
fretting all the time nurse was dressing her.  Nurse spoils her--if she
were my baby I'd be a bit sharper with her."

"Poor Dolly--dear Dolly," said Mary, going up to her little sister and
trying to sooth her.  "Don't cry--Dolly's going to have a beauty drive
and go _so_ fast."

"Get out of the way, Mary," shouted Leigh.  "We're just starting, don't
you see?"

He held the reins in his hand and ran back behind the perambulator.
Then he made Emma take her place as usual, holding the bar--not that
there was any _need_ for her, he said, but just to make quite sure of
Fuzz not running away--they were a funny-looking party, Emma between the
reins and Fuzzy wagging his tail in his hurry to be off.  Dolly left off
crying and stared about her, wondering what it all meant.

"Gee-up, old fellow," said Leigh, Emma giving a little starting push at
the same time, and off they went, Mary and Artie at each side,
breathless with excitement.

At first it seemed all right.  They went slowly, and Fuzzy did nothing
worse than stand still every minute or two, and look over his shoulder
to see what was behind him.  The first and second times he did this
Leigh only called out, "All right, old fellow--gee-up then."  But when
it got to the third and fourth time Leigh grew impatient.

"Get on with you, you stupid fellow," he shouted, cracking the whip he
held.

And poor Fuzzy, meaning no harm, not understanding what all the unusual
noise and fuss were about, did the only thing he could--he _did_ "get
on."  He started off, running as fast as he could, and that was pretty
fast, for the carriage was very light and Emma was pushing--she could
not have helped pushing as she was holding the bar and running.  And for
a minute or two she laughed so that she could not speak.  The silly girl
thought it was such fun.  And seeing her laughing, Leigh thought it was
all right and laughed too.  But--on went Fuzz, excited by the laughter,
and thinking _he_ was doing all right, till--at the corner where the
lane they were in crossed another lane or road, wider but much rougher,
and full of deep cart-ruts--instead of keeping straight on he turned
sharply round, for some doggy reason or other, and rushed, still at the
same speed, along this road to the right.

"Fuzz," shouted Leigh, tugging at the left rein.  "Fuzz, wo-a then,
wo-a."

"Stop, stop," screamed Emma.

But it was no use; in another instant Emma, already panting with running
and laughing, found herself flung off as it were, and Leigh, a moment
after, lay sprawling at full length on the road, the reins torn out of
his grasp, while Fuzzy in the greatest delight rushed on, on--the
perambulator after him, swaying from side to side; and, oh dear, dear--
sweet baby Dolly inside!

Mary and Artie were some little way behind, but when they came up, this
was what they saw: Emma sitting on the road crying and rubbing her arm,
Leigh tearing along as fast as he could go, and a small dark thing far
in front of him, bumping up and down among the cart-ruts, and swinging
from side to side, as if every moment it would tumble over, or else be
broken to pieces.

Mary stood still and screamed.  Artie ran on at once, shouting at the
top of his voice, though I do not quite know what good he thought that
would do.  And then Mary ran after him and left off screaming, which was
sensible.  Indeed, I think both of them showed more sense than silly
Emma, though she was grown up and they were little children.  For what
could be less use than to sit on the ground crying and rubbing her
bruised arm?

But somebody else--somebody none of them was thinking of at all--showed
the most sense of any one.

The Perry children were coming along a field-path at one side of the
road--it was dry weather, and the path was pretty hard and smooth, so
Comfort and the old wicker perambulator got on pretty well with Janie
and the baby beside them of course--when the sound of Leigh's shouts
came across the hedge.  Janie had quick ears and still quicker wits.

"Someat's wrong," she cried, and she plumped the baby into her sister's
arms.  "Now hold he," she added, and for once Comfort had to leave off
reading--indeed the flop of the baby made her book drop to the ground--
and get it into her head that the care of her three baby brothers was
_her_ business for the present, while Janie flew to the gate, which she
scrambled over or crept under, I am not sure which, in less time than it
takes to tell it, and found herself in the middle of the road.

Leigh was some little way off still; but nearer than he, and coming
nearer every instant, was something else which made even Janie's stout
little heart rise up to her mouth, as she afterwards said.  It was the
perambulator from the Hall, the beautiful new perambulator, banging and
dashing along, dragged by something that looked just then very like a
little wild beast instead of a well-disposed tame doggie.  And yet it
was only looks, for Fuzzy was in the best of spirits, quite pleased with
himself, and thinking that Leigh's shouts only meant he was to go faster
and faster.

But Janie had not time to think anything.  She only saw that the
perambulator was not empty; she only took in that it must be stopped.
She would not have been frightened, even if she had thought the dog was
mad, for she was very brave.  But she knew that her voice would have no
power over him, and she made her plan in a moment.  Just as the wildly
excited dog came close to her--luckily just then he was going pretty
evenly--she threw herself in his way, which made him slacken his pace,
and then, somehow or other, she got hold of the edge of the carriage,
holding on to it with all her strength, and she was very strong for her
size.  And then--what happened exactly she could not tell--I fancy Fuzzy
must have given a bound forward to get rid of this troublesome
interruption to his grand race--but before she knew where she was they
were all in a jumbled-up heap on the ground, Janie, Baby Dolly,
perambulator, and dog--Fuzzy barking loudly; baby, Janie was thankful to
hear, crying and roaring, but, as far as the small sister-nurse could
make out, unhurt.

She had got her safely in her motherly little arms by the time Leigh
came up.  The first thing he did was to seize hold of the reins which
had been dragging behind, for after a glance had shown him that the baby
was in good hands, Leigh's next thought was for the new perambulator.

"She's not hurt?" he exclaimed.

"No, no, sir.  I think not," said Janie.  "She fell soft--right atop of
me, Master Leigh.  Hush, hush now, Miss Baby dear.  Don't 'ee cry.
There's Miss Mary a-coming along.  Hush, hush, my dearie."

And in surprise at the strange voice, and pleased by the sweet tones,
Dolly actually did leave off crying.  She opened her eyes wide, and by
degrees a smile--a real smile--crept out of her mouth, and brightened up
all the little face, still shining with tears.  So that when poor wee
Mary, all out of breath, and white with fear for her darling sister,
came up to the little group, Janie was able to say, while Dolly
stretched out her hands in welcome--

"She's not hurt, Miss Mary, dear.  She's not hurt."

Leigh by this time had unfastened Fuzz, and set the perambulator on its
legs, or wheels, again.  He was all trembling; and though it was not a
hot day of course, the drops were standing out on his forehead.
Wonderful to say, the perambulator was not broken or spoilt.

"Oh Mary," said Leigh.  He could scarcely speak.  "Oh Janie, I don't
know how to thank you."

Janie opened her eyes.  It had never come into her head that she had
done anything to be thanked for.  But she was, as I said, very sensible.

"Master Leigh," she replied, "I couldn't a' done less--that's nothing.
But I can't think how Mrs Nurse could a' let you do such a thing."

"Nurse is ill; at least she's hurt her leg," said Leigh.  "It's Emma
that's with us."

"Then she oughter be ashamed of herself," exclaimed Janie, as if she was
nineteen and Emma ten, instead of the other way about.  "What's the good
of a big person to look after children if she's as silly as them.  I beg
your parding, Master Leigh, but this 'ere precious baby's had a narrer
escape, and no mistake."

Janie was hot with indignation and fright.

"But you tried yourselves, Janie," said Leigh, feeling rather small.
"Ned harnessed himself to--"

"_That_ was quite different," said Janie.  "And I told you the other day
as it hadn't turned out a good plan at all.  I'm sure if I'd had any
notion you were thinking of such a thing, I'd have--" she stopped, then
went on again, "But you'll never try such tricks again, now, will you,
Master Leigh?  And you'll go straight to your dear mamma as soon as you
get in and tell her all about it."

"No, I'll never try it again, I promise you.  And of course I'd rather
tell about it myself, Janie.  You won't, will you?  They'd be making
such a song of it all through the village."

"Very well then, I won't say nothing," agreed the little woman.  "And
I'll tell Comfort--she's in the field there behind the hedge with the
babies.  I'll see to it that Comfort says nothing neither."

Then Janie put Baby Dolly tenderly back into her nest again, charging
the children to stay close round her till Emma came up, "for fear the
sweet little lady should be frightened again."  There was a vision in
the distance of Emma slowly making her way to them, and Janie did not
want to see her.

"I've a sharp tongue in my head, and I'd mebbe say too much," she
thought.

So she hurried back to her own charges, whom she found quite content;
_the_ baby sprawling on Comfort's knee, and Comfort seated on the grass,
late October though it was, buried in her book.  There was no need to
warn _her_ to say nothing.  She looked up with a start as Janie ran up
to them.

"What have you been doing, Janie?" she said.  She had no idea anything
had been the matter!

Emma was very cross when she got to the children.  She was vexed at her
own arm being bruised, and began scolding Leigh as if he had done it all
on purpose to hurt her.

"You said it would be as right as could be, Master Leigh," she grumbled,
"and how was I to know?  _I'm_ not going to be scolded for it, I can
tell you."

"You needn't be afraid," said Leigh, very proudly.  "I'll take all the
blame on myself when I tell mamma."

Then Emma changed her tone and began to cry.

"You'll not really tell your mamma," she said.  "_Of course_ I'd be
blamed, and I'd lose a good place, and what my poor mother'd say I don't
know.  It'd go near to break her heart, and she's not well.  Oh Master
Leigh, you'll not tell?  There's no harm done, and Miss Dolly's none the
worse, and we'll never be so silly again.  Miss Mary, my dear, do ask
Master Leigh not to tell."

Mary could not bear to see any one cry, least of all a big person.  Her
lips began to quiver, and she looked timidly at her brother.

"Leigh," she began.

And Leigh too was very tender-hearted.  But both of them, and Artie too,
felt deep down in their hearts that however sorry they might be for Emma
they were not doing right in giving in to her.

They did promise not to tell, however; and then the little party turned
homewards in very low spirits, though they had such great reason for
thankfulness that their dear little sister was not hurt.

They hardly spoke all the way; and Dolly, by this time, tired out by all
her adventures, had fallen fast asleep.

CHAPTER FOURTEEN.

HAPPY AGAIN.

It was two or three days after Fuzzy's running away with the
perambulator that nurse, who was now quite well again, came in to
breakfast in the nursery with a grave face, and without, as usual, Baby
Dolly in her arms.

"Where's baby?" said Leigh; and Mary, who was deeply engaged with her
bowl of bread-and-milk, looked up.

"Where's Baby Dolly, nursie?" she said, in turn.

"In bed," nurse answered, "in bed and fast asleep.  She's had a bad
night, and she only fell really asleep when it was about time for
getting up.  So of course I didn't wake her."

"Is she ill?" asked Leigh; and both he, and Mary and Artie, looked at
nurse so anxiously that she felt sorry for them.

"I hope not," she said.  "I hope she'll be all right when she wakes up.
The best and strongest of babies have their little turns.  Don't look so
troubled, my dears."

Just then Emma, who had had her breakfast before, came into the room,
and was crossing to the door which led into the night-nursery, when she
was stopped.

"I'll tidy the room myself this morning, Emma," said nurse.  "I don't
want any one to go in.  Miss Dolly's not very well."

"She's been very cross this day or two, crying enough to make herself
ill.  You spoil her, nurse, that's what I say," said Emma, pertly.

Nurse made no reply, except to repeat her orders to Emma not to enter
the bedroom.

As soon as breakfast was over, the three children--Artie and Mary with
clean pinafores, and all with smoothed hair and nicely-washed hands--
went downstairs as usual to the dining-room for prayers.  But to their
surprise their mamma was not there, nor was nurse.  They did not wonder
much about nurse, however, for they knew some one would have to stay
beside baby in case she woke.

But to-day several things seemed strange and different from usual.
Instead of going up to the nursery again their father told them they
were all to go to the little study where Leigh and Artie did their
lessons with their tutor.

"For baby must not be disturbed," he said, "and if you were all playing
in the nursery the noise would go through to the other room."

"Mayn't I go up to the nursery, papa dear?" asked Mary.  "Just me.  I'd
be _kite_ quiet.  I don't like to be away from nursie and baby," and her
voice sounded as if she were going to cry.  "And I don't know what to do
when Mr Fibbetts comes."

"Mr _Phillips_," said papa.  "You're getting too big to talk so
babyishly, Mary.  And you mustn't be selfish, my dear.  If you can play
quietly in the nursery you can play quietly in the study, or perhaps
I'll send Emma to take you out a little."

"I don't want Emma.  I want mamma, and nursie and Dolly," said Mary.

She thought her papa was rather "c'oss," and she was not used to his
being the least cross.  And she was unhappy about baby; and deep down in
her heart was a sort of fear she tried not to think about.  Mary had
never been so unhappy in all her life before.

The fear was not in _her_ heart only.  Leigh and Artie were feeling just
the same.  At first when they found themselves alone in the study they
all three tried to pretend there was nothing the matter.  They hid away
the fear, and covered it up, and told it to go to sleep.  But fears like
that are very troublesome.  They won't go to sleep; just as we think we
have got them safely shut in and all seems still, up they jump again,
and there they are knocking at the door, not only of our hearts, but of
our _consciences_.

"You have done wrong," they say, "and wrongdoing brings trouble."

And after a while the two little brothers and their sister left off
pretending.  They sat down close together on the hearthrug and looked at
each other.

"Leigh," said Artie, in a strange hushed sort of voice, "do you think
Baby Dolly's _very_ ill?"

Mary did not speak; but she looked up in Leigh's face, so that he turned
his head away.

"How should I know?" he said roughly.

"You heard as much as I did.  Babies are often ill."

But both the others knew quite well that he was just as unhappy as they
were.

"Oh, Leigh," said Mary at last, her voice trembling, "do you think it
can be 'cos of--" but here she stopped.

Leigh turned round sharply.  His face was white, but still he tried to
be angry.

"Why can't you speak out, you silly girl?" he said.  "Why don't you say
what you mean?--that I've made her ill by the tumbling out of the
perambulator?  Nonsense, she fell on the top of Janie Perry, and Janie
said she came quite softly.  How _could_ it have hurt her?"

"I don't know," said Mary, but she spoke very sadly.

"There's was a little boy," began Artie, "wot fell out of a winder, and
he jumped up and said he wasn't hurt, but then he was killed."

"What do you mean?" said Leigh.  "How was he killed if he wasn't hurt?"

"I mean he died soon," said Artie.  "P'raps it was the next day.  He was
hurt inside his head though it wasn't blooding outside."

"And babies are so dellykid," said Mary.

Leigh gave a sort of angry grunt, something between a sob and a scold.
Certainly Mary and Artie were not comforting.  But did he deserve
comforting?  It was true he had meant no harm at all to dear baby.  He
had thought it would be fun for her as well as for the others and
himself--most for himself, I am afraid--if Fuzz could be taught to draw
her carriage quite well, like the dogs papa had told them about.  But,
had it been right to do it secretly, without anybody's leave?  He had
turned it and twisted it so in his mind that he had persuaded himself he
only wanted to "surprise" everybody, for one reason; and for another,
that nurse was so silly and fussy; and for still another, that there was
no need to tease papa and mamma about every little plan for amusing
themselves that he and the others made.

But now, somehow, none of these reasons seemed any good; they all
slipped and melted away as if there was nothing real in them.

And then there was the second piece of concealment--the hiding about the
accident.  There was no good excuse for that.  Leigh's own first
feelings had been to tell at once, and Janie Perry had trusted that he
would.  Why had he given in to Emma?  Was it really out of pity for her
and her mother; or was it partly--a good big "partly"--that he was
afraid of being very much scolded himself?  As he got to this point of
his gloomy thoughts Leigh gave another groan; it was much more of a
groan this time, as if he could not bear his own unhappiness.

Then, for he had covered up his eyes, he felt a little hand stealing
round his neck--it was Mary.

"Oh, Leigh, dear poor Leigh," she whispered.  "I _are_ so sorry for you,
and I are so miderable."

Leigh drew the trembling, quivering little creature to him, and left off
trying to keep up.  Artie crept near to them, and they all cried
together.

Then Leigh started up.

"I'll go and tell now," he said, "now, this minute.  It's been all my
fault, and I don't care what Emma says, nor how I'm scolded.  P'raps,
_p'raps_, the doctor'll be able to do something, even if her head is
hurt inside the way that boy's was."

He kissed the two others and started off.  He seemed away a long time;
but, alas! when he came back there was no look of comfort or hope in his
face.  It was only very white, and his eyes very red.

"It's no good," he said, flinging himself down on a chair and bursting
out crying.  "It's no good.  That's my punishment.  Now that I want to
tell I can't."

Mary and Artie could not understand.

"Was you too f'ightened, poor Leigh?" said Mary.  "Shall I go?"

"No, no, it's not about me.  It's this way.  Papa's gone, ever so long
ago.  He's gone to the station, and I think he was going to see the
doctor on the way.  And mamma and nurse are shut up in the night-nursery
with baby, not to be disturbed by _nobody_," said Leigh, forgetting his
grammar in his distress.  "I saw Emma, but _she's_ no good, she'd only
tell stories to keep herself from being scolded.  But I do think she
looks frightened about baby.  Oh dear, what _shall_ I do?  Darling Baby
Dolly, and it's all my fault.  I see it now;" and Leigh flung himself on
to the floor and burst out sobbing again.

"Leigh, Leigh, poor Leigh," said Mary and Artie together.

"Mr Fibbetts will be coming," said Mary in a moment, "and then I'll
have to go out with Emma.  Oh, I don't want to go."

Leigh looked up.

"Mr Phillips won't be coming," he said, "I forgot.  Everything's been
so strange to-day.  It's Saturday, Mary.  He doesn't come on Saturdays.
You shan't go out with Emma if you don't want.  She's a untrue bad girl;
it's a good deal her fault, though she's not been half so wicked as me."

"You've not been wicked, dear Leigh.  You didn't mean any harm," sobbed
Mary.

"And we've _all_ been naughty for not telling," added Artie.

"Oh, but what _are_ we to do?" cried Leigh again.  "The doctor'll be
coming and he won't know, and p'raps he'll give Dolly the wrong
medicines with not knowing, and baby will get worser and worser.  Oh,
what _shall_ we do?"

"_I_ know," said Mary, in a clear, decided voice, which made both her
brothers look at her in surprise.  "We'll hide somewhere, so that we can
jump out when the doctor passes and tell _him_.  So then he must know
what to do for Dolly.  Where shall we hide, Leigh?"

Leigh stopped crying to consider.

"Near the lodge would be best," he said.  "The bushes are thick, and he
must pass there.  But it's cold, Mary, and we can't possibly go upstairs
to get your things.  Artie and I have got our caps and comforters in the
hall.  And if we left you here Emma would find you."

"No, no," said Mary, dancing about in her eagerness, "don't leave me
here, Leigh.  There's shawls in the hall.  Can't you wrap me up in one
of them?  I'll be _quite_ good.  I won't fuss about at all."

So it was settled.  The three set off as silently as they could to the
hall, where they caught up the best wraps they could find.  Then they
made their way through the big drawing-room, which opened into a
conservatory, out by a side path to the drive.

Five minutes after they had left the study Emma came to look for them,
but found the birds flown.  She took no further trouble; for, to tell
the truth, she was not sorry to keep out of the children's way; her own
conscience was not at all at rest, and she had made up her mind to write
to her mother asking for her to come home at once.

Though it was two miles to the village it did not take long to drive
there, and Mr Bertram luckily caught Mr Wiseman the doctor just as he
was starting on his rounds.

Mr Wiseman was driving a young horse; he went well, but he was rather
timid, and apt to shy when anything startled him.  The lodge gates were
open; as the children's papa had told the woman that the doctor would be
coming, so he drove in without stopping.  But, oh dear!  Scarcely had he
got a few yards up the avenue before there was a great fuss.  The young
horse was dancing and shaking with fear, and if the groom had not jumped
down and got to his head more quickly than it takes me to tell it, who
knows what might not have happened.

What had frightened him so?

Three funny-looking little figures had sprung out from among the bushes,
calling out in eager but melancholy tones--

"Mr Wiseman, Mr Wiseman, please stop.  Oh please stop."

These were Leigh and Artie, one with an old squashy wide-awake of
papa's, that was much too big for him, the other with a cloth
deer-stalker cap which made him look like a Laplander, for in their
hurry they had not been able to find their own things.

And Mary, funniest of all, with a shawl mamma used on the lawn, all
huddled up round her, and the fringes trailing elegantly behind.  For
half a minute the doctor thought they were gypsy children from the van
on the common.

But then again came the cry--

"Oh, Mr Wiseman, _please_ stay," and his quick eye saw that all the
little faces were swollen and tear-stained.  Something must be very
wrong.

"The baby," he thought to himself, "poor little woman.  Surely nothing
worse has happened to her since I saw Mr Bertram?  They could never
have sent the children to tell me--"

He jumped down, stopping an instant to pat his frightened horse.  But he
had not the heart to scold the children for startling poor Paddy so.

"What _is_ the matter, my dear children?" he said kindly.

The children knew Mr Wiseman well, and were not afraid of him, still it
was not easy to get the story clearly from them.  The doctor saw he must
be patient, and as soon as he heard baby's name he felt that the matter
might be serious, and by careful questioning he at last understood the
whole.  In his heart he did not feel very uneasy, for little Dolly's
father had told him in what way she seemed ill, and it was not the kind
of illness that could have come from a fall.  But to the children he was
very grave, for he thought it most wrong of them, Leigh especially of
course, not to have told exactly what had happened; and he thought, too,
that the sooner the under-nurse was sent away the better.

"I don't think," he said, "I don't think I need to tell you how wrong
you have been.  There is no fear, Leigh, of your ever trying anything of
the kind again without leave.  And even you two little ones are old
enough to know you should not have kept the accident a secret.  But I
must hurry on to see poor baby as quickly as possible.  Come back to the
house now, for it is too cold for you to be standing about, and as soon
as I can I will let you know how your little sister is.  All you can do
now is to be as good as possible, and give no trouble while she is ill,
even if your mamma and nurse cannot be with you at all."

With these words he sprang up into his dogcart again and drove off
quickly to the house, the children gazing after him.

Then Mary burst into a sad fit of crying again.  "Oh Leigh!  Oh Artie!"
she said.  "Does you think Baby Dolly's going to die?"

Leigh was very pale, and his eyes were still swollen and red, but he had
made up his mind not to cry any more.  He felt he was so much more to
blame than the others that he wanted to try to comfort them.

"I hope God will make her better," he said in a very low voice.  "Please
try not to cry, Mary dear.  It makes me so very miserable.  Let us go
home now and wait quietly in the study till Mr Wiseman comes to tell us
how baby is."

Mary slipped her hand into Leigh's, and choked down her tears.

"I'll try not to cry," she said.  "But I can't help thinking about if we
have to be all alone with Emma, and she'll be so c'oss.  Do you think,
p'raps, we won't see mamma for a lot of days, Leigh?"

Leigh could only say he did not know, but he squeezed Mary's hand tight.

"I'll not let Emma be cross to you, Mary dear," he said.  "I'll try to
be very good to you, for it's all my fault."

Artie took Mary's other hand, and they all three went back to the house.
The study was just as they had left it--there was no sign of Emma,
which they were very glad of.  They felt chilly and tired, though they
had walked such a little way, and they were glad all to creep round the
fire again, and sit there waiting--oh so very, very anxiously, till they
heard Mr Wiseman coming.  For Leigh had told him they would be in the
study.

It seemed a long time.

"I wonder if he's _never_ coming," said Mary, more than once.

At last there came the sound of footsteps, quick and firm, running
downstairs.

"There he is," said Leigh, and he ran to the door which he opened and
stood there listening.  But strange to say the footsteps crossed the
hall towards the front door, instead of turning down the passage to the
study.  Leigh could scarcely believe his ears--surely it _could_ not be
the doctor?

Yes it was--he heard his voice speaking to the butler in the hall.  And
then--before Leigh had time to run out and call to him, there came the
sound of Mr Wiseman's dogcart driving away as fast as it had come.

Leigh felt faint with disappointment.  He came back into the room again,
looking so white that Mary and Artie started up.

"He's gone," said Leigh, "gone without coming in to tell us."

"Can it be that Dolly's so ill he doesn't like to tell us?" said Artie.

"P'raps he's gone to get another doctor," said Mary.  "Peoples has two
doctors when they're very ill, nurse said.  Oh Leigh, dear Leigh, I'm
afraid I'm going to cry."

Leigh did not speak.  If he had, he would have burst out crying himself,
I'm afraid.  But just then--just when they were feeling as if they
_could not_ bear it any more, there came again the sound of some one
hastening downstairs, a lighter tread than Mr Wiseman's this time.  And
the footsteps did not cross the hall.  They came quick and eager, one
after the other, down the passages to the study.  Then the door opened--
and--some one stood there, looking in.

"My poor dears," said a loving voice with a little tremble in it.  And
in another second somebody's arms were round them all--it is wonderful
how many children can creep into one pair of arms sometimes!--and they
all seemed to be kissing mamma, for of course it was mamma--and each
other at once.  And somehow--Mary could not remember how mamma told it
them--they knew that there were good news.  Baby Dolly was not going to
be very ill!

It had nothing to do with the fall--but, till the doctor came, it was
thought the little sister had got scarlet fever or measles, and that was
why the children had been kept out of the nursery all the morning and
not allowed to see the baby, or mamma or nurse who had been with her.
For those illnesses are very easily caught.

But it was nothing so bad.  It was only a little feverish attack, which
would soon pass away if she was kept quiet and warm.

"You shall see her this afternoon, just for a minute or two," said
mamma.  "I told the doctor I would come down myself to tell you the good
news.  And I am going to take you out a walk, so as to leave the nursery
quite quiet."

"Not with Emma?" said Mary.  She was not sorry, but she was rather
surprised.

"No, dear, not with Emma.  You will not be with Emma any more, for I
cannot trust her."  Leigh grew very red at this.

"Mamma," he said, "then you can't trust _me_."

"Yes," she replied.  "I do trust you, for I know you have had a lesson
you will never forget.  Will you, my boy?"

"No, mamma, never," said Leigh in a very low voice.

The walk was to the Lavender Cottages.  Mamma had two reasons for going
there.  She wanted to thank Janie Perry for the brave way she had
behaved; and she also wanted to ask Janie's mother about a niece of
hers, who she thought would make a nice nursery-maid instead of Emma.

It was a very happy walk; they all felt as if they had never loved mamma
_quite_ so much before.

And a few days later, when Baby Dolly had got quite well and was able to
go out in her carriage once more, mamma came with them again for a great
treat.  And Fuzzy came too.

"Poor old Fuzzy," said Mary, who was hopping along as merry as a
cricket, feeling quite safe with mamma's hand.  "Poor old Fuzzy.  He
never _meaned_ to run away, did he, mamma?  When Baby Dolly's a big girl
we'll tell her she needn't be f'ightened of poor Fuzzy--it's only his
play; isn't it, mamma dear?"

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The End.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Mary" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home