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Title: Rosy
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 "Rosy" ***

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images generously made available by the CWRU Preservation
Department Digital Library. HTML version by Al Haines.



ROSY

BY

MRS. MOLESWORTH

AUTHOR OF 'CARROTS,' 'CUCKOO CLOCK,' 'TELL ME A STORY.'


ILLUSTRATED BY WALTER CRANE

[Illustration: MANCHON]



CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.   ROSY, COLIN, AND FELIX

CHAPTER II.  BEATA

CHAPTER III. TEARS

CHAPTER IV.  UPS AND DOWNS

CHAPTER V.   ROSY THINKS THINGS OVER

CHAPTER VI.  A STRIKE IN THE SCHOOLROOM

CHAPTER VII. MR. FURNITURE'S PRESENT

CHAPTER VIII. HARD TO BEAR

CHAPTER IX.  THE HOLE IN THE FLOOR

CHAPTER X.   STINGS FOR BEE

CHAPTER XI.  A PARCEL AND A FRIGHT

CHAPTER XII. GOOD OUT OF EVIL



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

MANCHON

"BEATA, DEAR, THIS IS MY ROSY," SHE SAID

ROSY AND MANCHON

"WHAT IS ZE MATTER WIF YOU, BEE?" HE SAID

"DID YOU EVER SEE ANYTHING SO PRETTY, BEE?" ROSY REPEATED

"WHAT IS THERE DOWN THERE, DOES YOU FINK?" SAID FIXIE

BY STRETCHING A GOOD DEAL SHE THOUGHT SHE COULD REACH THEM

"IT'S A ROSE FROM ROSY"



CHAPTER I.

ROSY, COLIN, AND FELIX.


  "The highest not more
  Than the height of a counsellor's bag."
          --WORDSWORTH.

Rosy stood at the window. She drummed on the panes with her little fat
fingers in a fidgety cross way; she pouted out her nice little mouth
till it looked quite unlike itself; she frowned down with her eyebrows
over her two bright eyes, making them seem like two small windows in a
house with very overhanging roofs; and last of all, she stamped on the
floor with first her right foot and then with her left. But it was all
to no purpose, and this made Rosy still more vexed.

"Mamma," she said at last, for really it was too bad--wasn't it?--when
she had given herself such a lot of trouble to show how vexed she was,
that no one should take any notice. "_Mamma_" she repeated.

But still no one answered, and obliged at last to turn round, for her
patience was at an end, Rosy saw that there was no one in the room.
Mamma had gone away! That was a great shame--really a _great_
shame. Rosy was offended, and she wanted mamma to see how offended she
was, and mamma chose just that moment to leave the room. Rosy looked
round--there was no good going on pouting and frowning and drumming
and stamping to make mamma notice her if mamma wasn't there, and all
that sort of going on caused Rosy a good deal of trouble. So she left
off. But she wanted to quarrel with somebody. In fact, she felt that
she _must_ quarrel with somebody. She looked round again. The
only "somebody" to be seen was mamma's big, _big_ Persian cat,
whose name was "Manchon" (_why_, Rosy did not know; she thought
it a very stupid name), of whom, to tell the truth, Rosy was rather
afraid. For Manchon could look very grand and terrible when he reared
up his back, and swept about his magnificent tail; and though he had
never been known to hurt anybody, and mamma said he was the gentlest
of animals, Rosy felt sure that he could do all sorts of things to
punish his enemies if he chose. And knowing in her heart that she did
not like him, that she was indeed sometimes rather jealous of him,
Rosy always had a feeling that she must not take liberties with him,
as she could not help thinking he knew what she felt.

[Illustration: ROSY AND MANCHON]

No, Manchon would not do to quarrel with. She stood beside his cushion
looking at him, but she did not venture to pull his tail or pinch his
ears, as she would rather have liked to do. And Manchon looked up at
her sleepily, blinking his eyes as much as to say, "What a silly
little girl you are," in a way that made Rosy more angry still.

"I don't like you, you ugly old cat," she said, "and you know I don't.
And I shan't like _her_. You needn't make faces at me," as
Manchon, disturbed in his afternoon nap, blinked again and gave a sort
of discontented mew. "I don't care for your faces, and I don't care
what mamma says, and I don't care for all the peoples in the world, I
_won't_ like her;" and then, without considering that there was
no one near to see or to hear except Manchon, Rosy stamped her little
feet hard, and repeated in a louder voice, "No, I won't, I
_won't_ like her."

But some one had heard her after all. A little figure, smaller than
Rosy even, was standing in the doorway, looking at her with a troubled
face, but not seeming very surprised.

"Losy," it said, "tea's seady. Fix is comed for you."

"Then Fix may go away again. Rosy doesn't want any tea. Rosy's too
bovvered and vexed. Go away, Fix."

But "Fix," as she called him, and as he called himself, didn't move.
Only the trouble in his delicate little face grew greater.

"_Is_ you bovvered, Losy?" he said. "Fix is welly solly," and he
came farther into the room. "Losy," he said again, still more gently
than before, "_do_ come to tea. Fix doesn't like having his tea
when Losy isn't there, and Fix is tired to-day."

Rosy looked at him a moment. Then a sudden change came over her. She
stooped down and threw her arms round the little boy's neck and hugged
him.

"Poor Fixie, dear Fixie," she said. "Rosy will come if _you_ want
her. Fixie never bovvers Rosy. Fixie loves Rosy, doesn't he?"

"Ses," said the child, kissing her in return, "but please don't skeese
Fix _kite_ so tight," and he wriggled a little to get out of her
grasp. Instantly the frown came back to Rosy's changeable face.

"You cross little thing," she said, half flinging her little brother
away from her, "you don't love Rosy. If you did, you wouldn't call her
cuddling you _skeesing_."

Fix's face puckered up, and he looked as if he were going to cry. But
just then steps were heard coming, and a boy's voice called out, "Fix,
Fix, what a time you are! If Rosy isn't there, never mind her. Come
along. There's something good for tea."

"There's Colin," said Fix, turning as if to run off to his brother.
Again Rosy's mood changed.

"Don't run away from Rosy, Fix," she said. "Rosy's not cross, she's
only troubled about somefing Fix is too little to understand. Take
Rosy's hand, dear, and we'll go up to tea togever. Never mind
Colin--he's such a big rough boy;" and when Colin, in his turn,
appeared at the door, Rosy and Fix were already coming towards it,
hand-in-hand, Rosy the picture of a model little elder sister.

Colin just glanced at them and ran off.

"Be quick," he said, "or I'll eat it all before you come. There's
fluff for tea--strawberry fluff! At least I've been smelling it all
the afternoon, and I saw a little pot going upstairs, and Martha said
cook said it was for the children!"

Colin, however, was doomed to be disappointed.

There was no appearance of anything "better" than bread and butter on
the nursery table, and in answer to the boy's questions, Martha said
there was nothing else.

"But the little pot, Martha, the little pot," insisted Colin. "I heard
you yourself say to cook, 'Then this is for the children?'"

"Well, yes, Master Colin, and so I did, and so it is for you. But I
didn't say it was for to-day--it's for to-morrow, Sunday."

"Whoever heard of such a thing," said Colin. "Fluff won't keep. It
should be eaten at once."

"But it's jam, Master Colin. It's regular jam in the little pot. I
don't know anything about the fluff, as you call it. I suppose they've
eaten it in the kitchen."

"Well, then, it's a shame," said Colin. "It's all the new cook. I've
always been accustomed, always, to have the fluff sent up to the
nursery," and he thumped impressively on the table.

"In all your places, Master Colin, it was always so, wasn't it?" said
Martha, with a twinkle of fun in her eyes.

"You're very impettnent, Martha," said Rosy, looking up suddenly, and
speaking for the first time since she had come into the room.

"Nonsense, Rosy," said Colin. "_I_ don't mind. Martha was only
joking."

Rosy relapsed into silence, to Martha's relief.

"If Miss Rosy is going to begin!" she had said to herself with fear
and trembling. She seldom or never ventured to joke with Rosy--few
people who knew her did--but Colin was the most good-natured of
children. She looked at Rosy rather curiously, taking care, however,
that the little girl should not notice it.

"There's something the matter with her," thought Martha, for Rosy
looked really buried in gloom; "perhaps her mamma's been telling her
what she told me this morning. I was sure Miss Rosy wouldn't like it,
and perhaps it's natural, so spoilt as she's been, having everything
her own way for so long. One would be sorry for her if she'd only let
one," and her voice was kind and gentle as she asked the little girl
if she wouldn't like some more tea.

Rosy shook her head.

"I don't want nothing," she said.

"What's the matter, Rosy?" said Colin.

"Losy's bovvered," said Fixie.

Colin gave a whistle.

"Oh!" he said, meaningly, "I expect I know what it's all about. I
know, too, Rosy. You're afraid your nose is going to be put out of
joint, I expect."

"Master Colin, don't," said Martha, warningly, but it was too late.
Rosy dashed off her seat, and running round to Colin's side of the
table, doubled up her little fist, and hit her brother hard with all
her baby force, then, without waiting to see if she had hurt him or
not, she rushed from the room without speaking, made straight for her
own little bedroom, and, throwing herself down on the floor with her
head on a chair, burst into a storm of miserable, angry crying.

"I wish I was back with auntie--oh, I do, I do," she said, among her
sobs. "Mamma doesn't love me like Colin and Pixie. If she did, she
wouldn't go and bring a nasty, horrible little girl to live with us. I
hate her, and I shall always hate her--_nasty_ little thing!"

The nursery was quiet after Rosy left it--quiet but sad.

"Dear, dear," said Martha, "if people would but think what they're
doing when they spoil children! Poor Miss Rosy, but she is naughty!
Has it hurt you, Master Colin?"

"No," said Colin, _one_ of whose eyes nevertheless was crying
from Rosy's blow, "not much. But it's so _horrid_, going on like
this."

"Of course it is, and _why_ you can go on teasing your sister,
knowing her as you do, I can't conceive," said Martha. "If it was only
for peace sake, I'd let her alone, I would, if I was you, Master
Colin."

Martha had rather a peevish and provoking way of finding fault or
giving advice. Just now her voice sounded almost as if she was going
to cry. But Colin was a sensible boy. He knew what she said was true,
so he swallowed down his vexation, and answered good-naturedly,

"Well, I'll try and not tease. But Rosy isn't like anybody else. She
flies into a rage for just nothing, and it's always those people
somehow that make one _want_ to tease them. But, I say, Martha, I
really do _wonder_ how we'll get on when--"

A warning glance stopped him, and he remembered that little Felix knew
nothing of what he was going to speak about, and that his mother did
not wish anything more said of it just yet. So Colin said no more--he
just whistled, as he always did if he was at a loss about anything,
but his whistle sometimes seemed to say a good deal.

How was it that Colin was so good-tempered and reasonable, Felix so
gentle and obedient, and Rosy, poor Rosy, so very different? For they
were her very own brothers, she was their very own sister. There must
have been some difference, I suppose, naturally. Rosy had always been
a fiery little person, but the great pity was that she had been sadly
spoilt. For some years she had been away from her father and mother,
who had been abroad in a warm climate, where delicate little Felix was
born. They had not dared to take Colin and Rosy with them, but Colin,
who was already six years old when they left England, had had the good
fortune to be sent to a very nice school, while Rosy had stayed
altogether with her aunt, who had loved her dearly, but in wishing to
make her perfectly happy had made the mistake of letting her have her
own way in everything. And when she was eight years old, and her
parents came home, full of delight to have their children all together
again, the disappointment was great of finding Rosy so unlike what
they had hoped. And as months passed, and all her mother's care and
advice and gentle firmness seemed to have no effect, Rosy's true
friends began to ask themselves what should be done. The little girl
was growing a misery to herself, and a constant trouble to other
people. And then happened what her mother had told her about, and what
Rosy, in her selfishness and silliness, made a new trouble of, instead
of a pleasure the more, in what should have been her happy life. I
will soon tell you what it was.

Rosy lay on the floor crying for a good long while. Her fits of temper
tired her out, though she was a very strong little girl. There is
_nothing_ more tiring than bad temper, and it is such a stupid
kind of tiredness; nothing but a waste of time and strength. Not like
the rather _nice_ tiredness one feels when one has been working
hard either at one's own business, or, _still_ nicer, at helping
other people--the sort of pleasant fatigue with which one lays one's
head on the pillow, feeling that all the lessons are learnt, and well
learnt, for to-morrow morning, or that the bit of garden is quite,
quite clear of weeds, and father or mother will be so pleased to see
it! But to fall half asleep on the floor, or on your bed, with
wearied, swollen eyes, and panting breath and aching head, feeling or
fancying that no one loves you--that the world is all wrong, and there
is nothing sweet or bright or pretty in it, no place for you, and no
use in being alive--all these _miserable_ feelings that are the
natural and the right punishment of yielding to evil tempers,
forgetting selfishly all the pain and trouble you cause--what
_can_ be more wretched? Indeed, I often think no punishment that
can be given can be half so bad as the punishment that comes of
itself--that is joined to the sin by ties that can never be undone.
And the shame of it all! Rosy was not quite what she had been when she
first came home to her mother--she was beginning to feel ashamed when
she had yielded to her temper--and even this, though a small
improvement, was always something--one little step in the right way,
one little sign of better things.

She was not asleep--scarcely half asleep, only stupid and dazed with
crying--when the door opened softly, and some one peeped in. It was
Fixie. He came creeping in very quietly--when was Fixie anything but
quiet?--and with a very distressed look on his tiny, white face.
Something came over Rosy--a mixture of shame and sorrow, and also some
curiosity to see what her little brother would do; and these feelings
mixed together made her shut her eyes tighter and pretend to be
asleep.

Fixie came close up to her, peeped almost into her face, so that if
she had been really asleep I rather think it would have awakened her,
except that all he did was so _very_ gentle and like a little
mouse; and then, quite satisfied that she was fast asleep, he slowly
settled himself down on the floor by her side.

"Poor Losy," he said softly. "Fixie are so solly for you. Poor
Losy--why can't her be good? Why doesn't God make Losy good all in a
minute? Fixie always akses God to make her good"--he stopped in his
whispered talk, suddenly--he had fancied for a moment that Rosy was
waking, and it was true that she had moved. She had given a sort of
wriggle, for, sweet and gentle as Fixie was, she did not at all like
being spoken of as _not_ good. She didn't see why he need pray to
God to make _her_ good, more than other people, she said to
herself, and for half a second she was inclined to jump up and tell
Pix to go away; it wasn't his business whether she was good or
naughty, and she wouldn't have him in her room. But she did _not_
do so,--she lay still again, and she was glad she had, for poor Fixie
stopped in his talking to pat her softly.

"Don't wake, poor Losy," he said. "Go on sleeping, Losy, if you are so
tired, and Fix will watch aside you and take care of you."

He seemed to have forgotten all about her being naughty--he sat beside
her, patting her softly, and murmuring a sort of cooing "Hush, hush,
Losy," as if she were a baby, that was very touching, like the murmur
of a sad little dove. And by and by, with going on repeating it so
often, his own head began to feel confused and drowsy--it dropped
lower and lower, and at last found a resting-place on Rosy's knees.
Rosy, who had really been getting sleepy, half woke up when she felt
the weight of her little brother's head and shoulder upon her--she
moved him a little so that he should lie more comfortably, and put one
arm round him.

"Dear Fixie," she said to herself, "I do love him, and I'm sure he
loves me," and her face grew soft and gentle--and when Rosy's face
looked like that it was very pretty and sweet. But it quickly grew
dark and gloomy again as another thought struck her. "If Fixie loves
that nasty little girl better than me or as much--if he loves her
_at all_, I'll--I don't know what I'll do. I'd almost hate him,
and I'm sure I'll hate her, any way. Mamma says she's such a dear good
little girl--that means that everybody'll say _I'm_ naughtier
than ever."

But just then Fixie moved a little and whispered something in his
sleep.

"What is it, Fix?" said Rosy, stooping down to listen. His ears caught
the sound of her voice.

"Poor Losy," he murmured, and Rosy's face softened again.

And half an hour later Martha found them lying there together.



CHAPTER II.

BEATA.


  "How will she be--fair-haired or dark,
  Eyes bright and piercing, or rather soft and sweet?
  --All that I care not for, so she be no phraser."
          --OLD PLAY.

"What was it all about?" said Rosy's mother the next morning to Colin,
She had heard of another nursery disturbance the evening before, and
Martha had begged her to ask Colin to tell her all about it. "And
what's the matter with your eye, my boy?" she went on to say, as she
caught sight of the bluish bruise, which showed more by daylight.

"Oh, that's nothing," said Colin. "It doesn't hurt a bit, mother, it
doesn't indeed. I've had far worse lumps than that at school hundreds
of times. It's nothing, only--" and Colin gave a sort of wriggle.

"Only what?" said his mother.

"I do so wish Rosy wouldn't be like that. It spoils everything. Just
this Easter holiday time too, when I thought we'd be so happy."

His mother's face grew still graver.

"Do you mean that it was _Rosy_ that struck you--that hit you in
the eye?" she said.

Colin looked vexed. "I thought Martha had told you," he said. "And I
teased her, mother. I told her she was afraid of having her nose put
out of joint when Be--I can't say her name--when the little girl
comes."

"O Colin, how could you?" said his mother sadly. "When I had explained
to you about Beata coming, and that I hoped it might do Rosy good! I
thought you would have tried to help me, Colin."

Colin felt very vexed with himself.

"I won't do it any more, mother, I won't indeed," he said. "I wish I
could leave off teasing; but at school, you know, one gets into the
way, and one has to learn not to mind it."

"Yes," said his mother, "I know, and it is a very good thing to learn
not to mind it. But I don't think teasing will do Rosy any good just
now, especially not about little Beata."

"Mother," said Colin.

"Well, my boy," said his mother.

"I wish she hadn't such a stupid name. It's so hard to say."

"I think they sometimes have called her Bee," said his mother; "I
daresay you can call her so."

"Yes, that would be much better," said Colin, in a more contented
tone.

"Only," said his mother again, and she couldn't help smiling a little
when she said it, "if you call her 'Bee,' don't make it the beginning
of any new teasing by calling Rosy 'Wasp.'"

"Mother!" said Colin. "I daresay I would never have thought of it. But
I promise you I won't."

This was what had upset Rosy so terribly--the coming of little Beata.
She--Beata--was the child of friends of Rosy's parents. They had been
much together in India, and had returned to England at the same time.
So Beata was already well known to Rosy's mother, and Fixie, too, had
learnt to look upon her almost as a sister. Beata's father and mother
were obliged to go back to India, and it had been settled that their
little girl was to be left at home with her grandmother. But just a
short time before they were to leave, her grandmother had a bad
illness, and it was found she would not be well enough to take charge
of the child. And in the puzzle about what they should do with her, it
had struck her father and mother that perhaps their friends, Rosy's
parents, might be able to help them, and they had written to ask them;
and so it had come about that little Beata was to come to live with
them. It had all seemed so natural and nice. Rosy's mother was so
pleased about it, for she thought it would be just what Rosy needed to
make her a pleasanter and more reasonable little girl.

"Beata is such a nice child," she said to Rosy's father when they were
talking about it, "and not one bit spoilt. I think it is _sure_
to do Rosy good," and, full of pleasure in the idea, she told Rosy
about it.

But--one man may bring a horse to the water, but twenty can't make him
drink, says the old proverb--Rosy made up her mind on the spot, at the
very first instant, that she wouldn't like Beata, and that her coming
was on purpose to vex _her_, Rosy, as it seemed to her that most
things which she had to do with in the world were. And this was what
had put her in such a temper the first time we saw her--when she would
have liked to put out her vexation on Manchon even, if she had dared!

Rosy's mother felt very disappointed, but she saw it was better to say
no more. She had told Colin about Beata coming, but not Felix, for as
he knew and loved the little girl already, she was afraid that his
delight might rouse Rosy's jealous feelings. For the prettiest thing
in Rosy was her love for her little brother, only it was often spoilt
by her _exactingness_. Fixie must love her as much or better than
anybody--he must be all hers, or else she would not love him at all.
That was how she sometimes talked to him, and it puzzled and
frightened him--he was such a very little fellow, you see. And
_mother_ had never told him that loving other people too made his
love for her less, as Rosy did! I think Rosy's first dislike to Beata
had begun one day when Fixie, wanting to please her, and yet afraid to
say what was not true, had spoken of Beata as one of the people Rosy
must let him love, and it had vexed Rosy so that ever since he had
been afraid to mention his little friend's name to her.

Rosy's mother thought over what Colin had told her, and settled in her
own mind that it was better to take no notice of it in speaking to
Rosy.

"If it had been a quarrel about anything else," she said to herself,
"it would have been different. But about Beata I want to say nothing
more to vex Rosy, or wake her unkind feelings."

But Rosy's mother did not yet quite know her little girl. There was
one thing about her which was _not_ spoilt, and that was her
honesty.

When the children came down that morning to see their mother, as they
always did, a little after breakfast, Rosy's face wore a queer look.

"Good morning, little people," said their mother. "I was rather late
this morning, do you know? That was why I didn't come to see you in
the nursery. I am going to write to your aunt to-day. Would you like
to put in a little letter, Rosy?"

"No, thank you," said Rosy.

"Then shall I just send your love? and Fixie's too?" said her mother.
She went on speaking because she noticed the look in Rosy's face, but
she wanted not to seem to do so, thinking Rosy would then gradually
forget about it all.

"I don't want to send my love," said Rosy. "If you say I _must_,
I suppose I must, but I don't _want_ to send it."

"Do you think your love is not worth having, my poor little girl?"
said her mother, smiling a little sadly, as she drew Rosy to her.
"Don't you believe we all love you, Rosy, and want you to love us?"

"I don't know," said Rosy, gloomily. "I don't think anybody can love
me, for Martha's always saying if I do naughty things _you_ won't
love me and father won't love me, and nobody."

"Then why don't you leave off doing naughty things, Rosy?" said her
mother.

"Oh, I can't," Rosy replied, coolly. "I suppose I was spoilt at
auntie's, and now I'm too old to change. I don't care. It isn't my
fault: it's auntie's."

"Rosy," said her mother, gravely, "who ever said so to you? Where did
you ever hear such a thing?"

"Lots of times," Rosy replied. "Martha's said so, and Colin says so
when he's vexed with me. He's always said so," she added, as if she
didn't quite like owning it, but felt that she must. "He said I was
spoilt before you came home, but auntie wouldn't let him. _She_
thought I was quite good," and Rosy reared up her head as if she
thought so too.

"I am very sorry to hear you speak so," said her mother. "I think if
you ask _yourself_, Rosy, you will very often find that you are
not good, and if you see and understand that when you are not good it
is nobody's fault but your own, you will surely try to be better. You
must not say it was your aunt's fault, or anybody's fault. Your aunt
was only too kind to you, and I will never allow you to blame her."

"I wasn't good last night," said Rosy. "I doubled up my hand and I hit
Colin, 'cos I got in a temper. I was going to tell you--I meant to
tell you."

"And are you sorry for it now, Rosy dear?" asked her mother, very
gently.

Rosy looked at her in surprise. Her mother spoke so gently. She had
rather expected her to be shocked--she had almost, if you can
understand, _wished_ her to be shocked, so that she could say to
herself how naughty everybody thought her, how it was no use her
trying to be good and all the rest of it--and she had told over what
she had done in a hard, _un_sorry way, almost on purpose. But
now, when her mother spoke so kindly, a different feeling came into
her heart. She looked at her mother, and then she looked down on the
ground, and then, almost to her own surprise, she answered, almost
humbly,

"I don't know. I don't think I was, but I think I am a little sorry
now."

Seeing her so unusually gentle, her mother went a little further.
"What made you so vexed with Colin?" she asked. Rosy's face hardened.

"Mother," she said, "you'd better not ask me. It was because of
something he said that I don't want to tell you."

"About Beata?" asked her mother.

"Well," said Rosy, "if you know about it, it isn't my fault if you are
vexed. I don't want her to come--I don't want _any_ little girl
to come, because I know I shan't like her. I like boys better than
girls, and I don't like good little girls _at all_."

"Rosy," said her mother, "you are talking so sillily that if Fixie
even talked like that I should be quite surprised. I won't answer you.
I will not say any more about Beata--you know what I wish, and what is
right, and so I will leave it to you. And I will give you a kiss, my
little girl, to show you that I want to trust you to try to do right
about this."

She was stooping to kiss her, when Rosy stopped her.

"Thank you, mother," she said. "But I don't think I can take the kiss
like that--I don't _want_ to like the little girl."

"Rosy!" exclaimed her mother, almost in despair. Then another thought
struck her. She bent down again and kissed the child. "I _give_
you the kiss, Rosy," she said, "hoping it will at least make you
_wish_ to please me."

"Oh," said Rosy, "I do want to please you, mother, about everything
_except_ that."

But her mother thought it best to take no further notice, only in her
own heart she said to herself, "Was there _ever_ such a child?"

In spite of all she had said Rosy felt, what she would not have owned
for the world, a good deal of curiosity about the little girl who was
to come to live with them. And now and then, in her cross and unhappy
moods, a sort of strange confused _hope_ would creep over her
that Beata's coming would bring her a kind of good luck.

"Everybody says she's so good, and everybody loves her," thought Rosy,
"p'raps I'll find out how she does it."

And the days passed on, on the whole, after the storm I have told you
about, rather more peaceably than before, till one evening when Rosy
was saying good-night her mother said to her quietly,

"Rosy, I had a letter this morning from Beata's uncle; he is bringing
her to-morrow. She will be here about four o'clock in the afternoon."

"To-morrow!" said Rosy, and then, without saying any more, she kissed
her mother and went to bed.

She went to sleep that evening, and she woke the next morning with a
strange jumble of feelings in her mind, and a strange confusion of
questions waiting to be answered.

"What would Beata be like? She was sure to be pretty--all people that
other people love very much were pretty, Rosy thought. And she
believed that she herself was very ugly, which, I may tell you,
children, as Rosy won't hear what we say, was quite a mistake.
Everybody is a _little_ pretty who is sweet and good, for though
being sweet and good doesn't alter the colour of one's hair or the
shape of one's nose, it does a great deal; it makes the cross lines
smooth away, or, rather, prevents their coming, and it certainly gives
the eyes a look that nothing else gives, does it not? But Rosy's face,
alas! was very often spoilt by frowns, and dark looks often took away
the prettiness of her eyes, and this was the more pity as the good
fairies who had welcomed her at her birth had evidently meant her to
be pretty. She had very soft bright hair, and a very white skin, and
large brown eyes that looked lovely when she let sweet thoughts and
feelings shine through them; but though she had many faults, she was
not vain, and she really thought she was not pleasant-looking at all.

"Beata is sure to be pretty," thought Rosy. "I daresay she'll have
beautiful black hair, and blue eyes like Lady Albertine." Albertine
was Rosy's best doll. "And I daresay she'll be very clever, and play
the piano and speak French far better than me. I don't mind that. I
like pretty people, and I don't mind people being clever. What I don't
like is, people who are dedfully _good_ always going on about how
good they are, and how naughty _other_ people is. If she doesn't
do that way I shan't mind so much, but I'm sure she _will_ do
that way. Yes, Manchon," she said aloud, "I'm sure she will, and you
needn't begin 'froo'in' about it."

For Rosy was in the drawing-room when all these thoughts were passing
through her mind--she was there with her afternoon frock on, and a
pretty muslin apron, all nice to meet Beata and her uncle, who were
expected very soon. And Manchon was on the rug as usual, quite
peacefully inclined, poor thing, only Rosy could never believe any
good of Manchon, and when he purred, or, as she called it, "froo'ed,"
she at once thought he was mocking her. She really seemed to fancy the
cat was a fairy or a wizard of some kind, for she often gave him the
credit of reading her very thoughts!

The door opened, and her mother came in, leading Fixie by the hand and
Colin just behind.

"Oh, you're ready, Rosy," she said. "That's right. They should be here
very soon."

"Welly soon," repeated Fixie. "Oh, Fixie will be so glad to see Beenie
again!"

"What a stupid name," said Rosy. "_We_'re not to call her that,
are we, mother?"

She spoke in rather a grand, grown-up tone, but her mother knew she
put that on sometimes when she was not really feeling unkind.

"_I_ shall call her Bee," said Colin. "It would do very well, as
we've"--he stopped suddenly--"as we've got a wasp already," he had
been going to say--it seemed to come so naturally--when his mother's
warning came back to his mind. He caught her eye, and he saw that she
couldn't help smiling and he found it so difficult not to burst out
laughing that he stuffed his pocket-handkerchief into his mouth, and
went to the window, where he pretended to see something very
interesting. Rosy looked up suspiciously.

"What were you going to say, Colin?" she asked. "I'm sure--" but she
too stopped, for just then wheels were heard on the gravel drive
outside.

"Here they are," said mother. "Will you come to the door to welcome
Beata, Rosy?"

Rosy came forward, though rather slowly. Colin was already out in the
hall, and Fixie was dancing along beside his mother. Rosy kept behind.
The carriage, that had gone to the station to meet the travellers, was
already at the door, and the footman was handing out one or two
umbrellas, rugs, and so on. Then a gray-haired gentleman, whom Rosy,
peeping through a side window, did not waste her attention on--"He is
quite old," she said to herself--got out, and lifted down a much
smaller person--smaller than Rosy herself, and a good deal smaller
than the Beata of Rosy's fancies. The little person sprang forward,
and was going to kiss Rosy's mother, when she caught sight of the tiny
white face beside her.

"O Fixie, dear little Fixie!" she said, stooping to hug him, and then
she lifted her own face for Fixie's mother to kiss. At once, almost
before shaking hands with the gentleman, Rosy's mother looked round
for her, and Rosy had to come forward.

"Beata, dear, this is my Rosy," she said; and something in the tone of
the "my" touched Rosy. It seemed to say, "I will put no one before
you, my own little girl--no stranger, however sweet--and you will, on
your side, try to please me, will you not?" So Rosy's face, though
grave, had a nice look the first time Beata saw it, and the first
words she said as they kissed each other were, "O Rosy, how pretty you
are! I shall love you very much."



CHAPTER III.

TEARS.


  "'Twere most ungrateful."--V. S. LAKDOH.

Beata was not pretty. That was the first thing Rosy decided about her.
She was small, and rather brown and thin. She had dark hair, certainly
like Lady Albertine's in colour, but instead of splendid curls it was
cut quite short--as short almost as Colin's--and her eyes were neither
very large nor very blue. They were nice gray eyes, that could look
sad, but generally looked merry, and about the rest of her face there
was nothing very particular.

Rosy looked at her for a moment or two, and she looked at Rosy. Then
at last Rosy said,

"Will you come into the drawing-room?" for she saw that her mother and
Beata's uncle were already on their way there.

"Thank you," said Beata, and then they quietly followed the big
people. Rosy's father was not at home, but he would be back soon, her
mother was telling the gray-haired gentleman, and then she went on to
ask him how "they" had got off, if it had been comfortably, and so on.

"Oh yes," he replied, "it was all quite right. Poor Maud!--"

"That's my mamma," said Beata in a low voice, and Rosy, turning
towards her, saw that her eyes were full of tears.

"What a queer little girl she is!" thought Rosy, but she did not say
so.

"--Poor Maud," continued the gentleman. "It is a great comfort to her
to leave the child in such good hands."

"I hope she will be happy," said Rosy's mother. "I will do my best to
make her so."

"I am very sure of that," said Beata's uncle. "It is a great
disappointment to her grandmother not to have her with her. She is a
dear child. Last week at the parting she behaved like a brick."

Both little girls heard this, and Beata suddenly began speaking rather
fast, and Rosy saw that her cheeks had got very red.

"Do you think your mamma would mind if I went upstairs to take off my
hat? I think my face must be dirty with the train," said Beata.

"Don't you like staying here?" said Rosy, rather crossly. "_I_
think you should stay till mother tells is to go," for she wanted to
hear what more her mother and the gentleman said to each other, the
very thing that made Beata uncomfortable.

Beata looked a little frightened.

"I didn't mean to be rude," she said. Then suddenly catching sight of
Manchon, she exclaimed, "Oh, what a beautiful cat! May I go and stroke
him?"

"If you like," said Rosy, "but he isn't _really_ a nice cat." And
then, seeing that Beata looked at her with curiosity, she forgot about
listening to the big people, and, getting up, led Beata to Manchon's
cushion.

"Everybody says he's pretty," she went on, "but I don't think so,
because _I_ think he's a kind of bad fairy. You don't know how he
froos sometimes, in a most horrible way, as if he was mocking you. He
knows I don't like him, for whenever I'm vexed he looks pleased."

"Does he really?" said Beata. "Then I don't like him. I shouldn't look
pleased if you were vexed, Rosy."

"Wouldn't you?" said Rosy, doubtfully.

"No, I'm sure I wouldn't. I wonder your mamma likes Manchon if he has
such an unkind dis--I can't remember the word, it means feelings, you
know."

"Never mind," said Rosy, patronisingly, "I know what you mean. Oh, its
only _me_ Manchon's nasty to, and that doesn't matter. _I'm_
not the favourite. I _was_ at my aunty's though, that I was--but
it has all come true what Nelson told me," and she shook her head
dolefully.

"Who is Nelson?" asked Beata.

"Aunty's maid. She cried when I came away, and she said it was because
she was so sorry for me. It wouldn't be the same as _there_, she
said. I shouldn't be thought as much of with two brothers, and Nelson
knew that my mamma was dreadfully strict. I daresay she'd be still
more sorry for me if she knew--" Rosy stopped short.

"Why don't you go on?" said Beata.

"Oh, I was going to say something I don't want to say. Perhaps it
would vex you," said Rosy.

Beata considered a little.

"I'm not very easily vexed," she said at last. "I think I'd like you
to go on saying it if you don't mind--unless its anything naughty."

"Oh no," said Rosy, "it isn't anything naughty. I was going to say
Nelson would be still more sorry for me if she knew _you_ had
come."

"_Me!_" said Beata, opening her eyes. "Why? She can't know
anything about me--I mean she couldn't know anything to make her think
I would be unkind to you."

"Oh no, it isn't that. Only you see some little girls would think that
if another little girl came to live with them it wouldn't be so
nice--that perhaps their mammas and brothers and everybody would pet
the other little girl more than them."

"And do you think that?" said Beata, anxiously. A feeling like a cold
chill seemed to have touched her heart. She had never before thought
of such things--loving somebody else "better," not being "the
favourite," and so on. Could it all be true, and could it,
_worst_ of all, be true that her coming might be the cause of
trouble and vexation to other people--at least to Rosy? She had come
so full of love and gratitude, so ready to like everybody; she had
said so many times to her mother, "I'm _sure_ I'll be happy. I'll
write and tell you how happy I am," swallowing bravely the grief of
leaving her mother, and trying to cheer her at the parting by telling
her this--it seemed very hard and strange to little Beata to be told
that _anybody_ could think she could be the cause of unhappiness
to any one. "Do _you_ think that?" she repeated.

Rosy looked at her, and something in the little eager face gave her
what she would have called a "sorry" feeling. But mixed with this was
a sense of importance--she liked to think that she was very good for
not feeling what she said "some little girls" would have felt.

"No," she said, rather patronisingly, "I don't think I do. I only said
_some_ little girls would. No, I think I shall like you, if only
you don't make a fuss about how good you are, and set them all against
me. I settled before you came that I wouldn't mind if you were pretty
or very clever. And you're not pretty, and I daresay you're not very
clever. So I won't mind, if you don't make everybody praise you up for
being so _good_."

Beata's eyes filled with tears.

"I don't want anybody to praise me," she said. "I only wanted you all
to love me," and again Rosy had the sorry feeling, though she did not
feel that she was to blame.

"I only told her what I really thought," she said to herself; but
before she had time to reflect that there are two ways of telling what
one thinks, and that sometimes it is not only foolish, but wrong and
unkind, to tell of thoughts and feelings which we should try to
_leave off_ having, her mother turned round to speak to her.

"I think we should take Beata upstairs to her room, Rosy," she said.
"You must be tired, dear," and the kind words and tone, so like what
her own mother's would have been, made the cup of Beata's distress
overflow. She gave a little sob and then burst into tears. Rosy half
sprang forward--she was on the point of throwing her arms round Beata
and whispering, "I _will_ love you, dear, I _do_ love you;"
but alas, the strange foolish pride that so often checked her good
feelings, held her back, and jealousy whispered, "If you begin making
such a fuss about her, she'll think she's to be before you, and very
likely, if you seem so sorry, she'll tell your mother you made her
cry." So Rosy stood still, grave and silent, but with some trouble in
her face, and her mother felt a little, just a very little vexed with
Beata for beginning so dolefully.

"It will discourage Rosy," she said to herself, "just when I was so
anxious for Beata to win her affection from the first."

And Beata's uncle, too, looked disappointed. Just when he had been
praising her so for her bravery!

"Why, my little girl," he said, "you didn't cry like this even when
you said good-bye at Southampton."

"That must be it," said Rosy's mother, who was too kind to feel vexed
for more than an instant; "the poor child has put too much force on
herself, and that always makes one break down afterwards. Come, dear
Beata, and remember how much your mother wanted you to be happy with
us."

She held out her hand, but to her surprise Beata still hung back,
clinging to her uncle.

"Oh, please," she whispered, "let me go back with you, uncle. I don't
care how dull it is--I shall not be any trouble to grandmother while
she is ill. Do let me go back--I cannot stay here."

Beata's uncle was kind, but he had not much experience of children.

"Beata," he said, and his voice was almost stern, "it is impossible.
All is arranged here for you. You will be sorry afterwards for giving
way so foolishly. You would not wish to seem _ungrateful_, my
little girl, for all your kind friends here are going to do for you?"

The word ungrateful had a magical effect. Beata raised her head from
his shoulder, and digging in her pocket for her little handkerchief,
wiped away the tears, and then looking up, her face still quivering,
said gently, "I won't cry any more, uncle; I _will_ be good.
Indeed, I didn't mean to be naughty."

"That's right," he answered, encouragingly. And then Rosy's mother
again held out her hand, and Beata took it timidly, and followed by
Rosy, whose mind was in a strange jumble, they went upstairs to the
room that was to be the little stranger's.

It was as pretty a little room as any child could have wished
for--bright and neat and comfortable, with a pleasant look-out on the
lawn at the side of the house, while farther off, over the trees, the
village church, or rather its high spire, could be seen. For a moment
Beata forgot her new troubles.

"Oh, how pretty!" she said, "Is this to be my room? I never had such a
nice one. But when they come home from India for always, papa and
mamma are going to get a pretty house, and choose all the
furniture--like here, you know, only not so pretty, I daresay, for a
house like this would cost such a great deal of money."

She was chattering away to Rosy's mother quite in her old way, greatly
to Rosy's mother's pleasure, when she--Mrs. Vincent, opened a door
Beata had not before noticed.

"This is Rosy's room," she said. "I thought it would be nice for you
to be near each other. And I know you are very tidy, Bee, so you will
set Rosy a good example--eh, Rosy?"

She said it quite simply, and Beata would have taken it in the same
way half an hour before, but looking round the little girl caught an
expression on Rosy's face which brought back all her distress. It
seemed to say, "Oh, you're beginning to be praised already, I see,"
but Rosy's mother had not noticed it, for Rosy had turned quickly
away. When, however, Mrs. Vincent, surprised at Beata's silence,
looked at her again, all the light had faded out of the little face,
and again she seemed on the point of tears.

"How strangely changeable she is," thought Mrs. Vincent, "I am sure
she used not to be so; she was merry and pleased just as she seemed a
moment or two ago."

"What is the matter, dear?" she said. "You look so distressed again.
Did it bring back your mother--what I said, I mean?"

"I think--I suppose so," Beata began, but there she stopped. "'So,"
she said bravely, "it wasn't that. But, please--I don't want to be
rude--but, please, would you not praise me--not for being tidy or
anything."

How gladly at that moment would she have said, "I'm not tidy. Mamma
always says I'm not," had it been true. But it was not--she was a very
neat and methodical child, dainty and trim in everything she had to do
with, as Rosy's mother remembered.

"What _shall_ I do?" she said to herself. "It seems as if only my
being naughty would make Rosy like me, and keep me from doing her
harm. What _can_ I do?" and a longing came over her to throw her
arms round Mrs. Vincent's neck, and tell her her troubles and ask her
to explain it all to her. But her faithfulness would not let her think
of such a thing. "That _would_ do Rosy harm," she remembered, "and
perhaps she meant to be kind when she spoke that way. It was kinder
than to have kept those feelings to me in her heart and never told me.
But I don't know what to do."

For already she felt that Mrs. Vincent thought her queer and
changeable, _rude_ even, perhaps, though she only smiled at
Beata's begging not to be praised, and Rosy, who had heard what she
said, gave her no thanks for it, but the opposite.

"That's all pretence," thought Rosy. "Everybody likes to be praised."

Mrs. Vincent went downstairs, leaving the children together, and
telling Rosy to help Beata to take off her things, as tea would soon
be ready. Beata had a sort of fear of what next Rosy would say, and
she was glad when Martha just then came into the room.

"Miss Rosy," she said, "will you please to go into the nursery and put
away your dolls' things before tea. They're all over the table. I'd
have done it in a minute, but you have your own ways and I was afraid
of doing it wrong."

She spoke kindly and cheerfully.

"What a nice nurse!" thought Beata, with a feeling of relief--a sort
of hope that Martha might help to make things easier for her somehow,
especially as there was something very kindly in the way the maid
began to help her to unfasten her jacket and lay aside her travelling
things. To her surprise, Rosy made no answer.

"Miss Rosy, please," said Martha again, and then Rosy looked up
crossly.

"'Miss Rosy, please,'" she said mockingly. "You're just putting on all
that politeness to show off. No, I won't please. You can put the dolls
away yourself, and, if you do them wrong, it's your own fault. You've
seen lots of times how I do them."

"Miss Rosy!" said Martha, as if she wanted to beg Rosy to be good, and
her voice was still kind, though her face had got very red when Rosy
told her she was "showing off."

Beata stood in shocked silence. She had had no idea that Rosy could
speak so, and, sad as it was, Martha did not seem surprised.

"I wonder if she is often like that," thought little Bee, and in
concern for Rosy her own troubles began to be forgotten.

They went into the nursery to tea. Martha had cleared away Rosy's
things and had done her best to lay them as the little girl liked. But
before sitting down to the table, Rosy would go to the drawer where
they were kept, and was in the middle of scolding at finding something
different from what she liked when Colin and Fixie came in to tea.

"I say, Rosy," said Colin, "you might let us have one tea-time in
peace,--Bee's first evening."

Rosy turned round upon him.

"_I_'m not a pretender," she said. "_I_'m not going to sham
being good and all that, like Martha and you, because Bee has just
come."

"I don't know what you've been saying to Martha," said Colin, "but I
can't see why you need begin at me about shamming before Bee. You've
not seen me for two minutes since she came. What's the matter, Fix?
Wait a minute and I'll help you," for Fixie was tugging away at his
chair, and could not manage to move it as he wanted.

"I want to sit, aside Bee," he said.

Rosy threw an angry look at him--he understood what she meant.

"I'll sit, aside you again to-morrow, Losy," he hastened to say. But
it did no good. Rosy was now determined to find nothing right. There
came a little change in their thoughts, however, for the kitchen-maid
appeared at the door with a plate of nice cold ham and some of the
famous strawberry jam.

"Cook thought the young lady would be hungry after her journey," she
said.

"Yes, indeed," cried Colin, "the young lady's very hungry, and so are
the young gentlemen, and so is the other young lady--aren't you,
Rosy?" he said good-naturedly, turning to her. "He is really a very
kind boy," thought Beata. "Tell cook, with my best compliments, that
we are very much obliged to her, and she needn't expect to see any of
the ham or the strawberry jam again."

It was later than the usual tea-hour, so all the children were hungry
and, thanks to this, the meal passed quietly. Beata said little,
though she could not help laughing at some of Colin's funny speeches.
But for the shock of Rosy's temper and the confusion in her mind that
Rosy's way of speaking had made, Bee would have been quite happy, as
happy at least, she would have said, "as I can be till mamma comes
home again," but Rosy seemed to throw a cloud over everybody. There
was never any knowing from one minute to another how she was going to
be. Only one thing became plainer to Bee. It was not only because
_she_ had come that Rosy was cross and unhappy. It was easy to
see that she was at all times very self-willed and queer-tempered,
and, though Bee was too good and kind to be glad of this, yet, as she
was a very sensible little girl, it made things look clearer to her.

"I will not begin fancying it is because I am in her place, or
anything like that," she said to herself. "I will be as good as I can
be, and perhaps she will get to like me," and Rosy was puzzled and
perhaps, in her strange contradiction, a little vexed at the brighter
look that came over Bee's face, and the cheery way in which she spoke.
For at the first, when she saw how much Bee had taken to heart what
she said, though her _best_ self felt sorry for the little
stranger, she had liked the feeling that she would be a sort of master
over her, and that the fear of seeming to take _her_ place would
prevent Bee from making friends with the others more than she, Rosy,
chose to allow.

Poor Rosy! She would have herself been shocked had she seen written
down in plain words all the feelings her jealous temper caused her.
But almost the worst of jealousy is that it hides itself in so many
dresses, and gives itself so many names, sometimes making itself seem
quite a right and proper feeling; often, very often making one think
oneself a poor, ill-treated martyr, when in reality, the martyrs are
the unfortunate people that have to live with the foolish person who
has allowed jealousy to become his master.

Beata's uncle left that evening, but before he went away he had the
pleasure of seeing his little niece quite herself again.

"That's right," he said, as he bade her good-bye, "I don't know what
came over you this afternoon."

Beata did not say anything, but she just kissed her uncle, and
whispered, "Give my love to dear grandmother, and tell her I am going
to try to be very good."



CHAPTER IV.

UPS AND DOWNS.


  "Mary, Mary, quite contrary."--NURSERY RHYME.

That night when Bee was in her little bed, though not yet asleep, for
the strangeness of everything, and all she had to think over of what
had happened in the day, had kept her awake longer than usual, she
heard some one softly open the door and look in.

"Are you awake still, dear?" said a voice which Bee knew in a moment
was that of Rosy's mother.

"Yes, oh yes. I'm quite awake. I'm not a bit sleepy," Beata answered.

"But you must try to go to sleep soon," said Mrs. Vincent. "Rosy is
fast asleep. I have just been in to look at her. It is getting late
for little girls to be awake."

"Yes, I know," said Bee. "But I often can't go to sleep so quick the
first night--while everything is--different, you know--and new."

"And a little strange and lonely, as it were--just at first. Don't be
afraid I would be vexed with you for feeling it so."

"But I don't think I do feel lonely," said Bee, sitting up and looking
at Rosy's mother quite brightly. "It seems quite natural to be with
you and Fixie again."

"I'm very glad of that," said Mrs. Vincent. "And was it not then the
strange feeling that made you so unhappy this afternoon for a little?"

Beata hesitated.

"Tell me, dear," said Mrs. Vincent. "You know if I am to be a 'make-up
mother' for a while, you must talk to me as much as you _can_, as
if I were your own mother."

She listened rather anxiously for Bee's answer, for two or three
little things--among them something Colin had said of the bad temper
Rosy had been in at tea-time--had made her afraid there had been some
reason she did not understand for Beata's tears. Bee lay still for a
minute or two. Then she said gently and rather shyly,

"I am so sorry, but I don't know what's right to do. Isn't it
sometimes difficult to know?"

"Yes, sometimes it is." Then Mrs. Vincent, in her turn, was silent for
a minute, and at last she said,

"Would you very much rather I did not ask you why you cried?"

"Oh yes," cried Bee, "much, much rather."

"Very well then, but you will promise me that if the same thing makes
you cry again, you _will_ tell me?"

"_Should_ I?" said Bee. "I thought--I thought it wasn't right to
tell tales," she added so innocently that Mrs. Vincent could not help
smiling to herself.

"It is not right," she said. "But what I ask you to promise is not to
tell tales. It is to tell me what makes you unhappy, so that I may
explain it or put it right. I could not do my duty among you and my
other children unless I knew how things were. It is the _spirit_
that makes tell-tales--the telling over for the sake of getting others
blamed or punished--_that_ is what is wrong."

"I see," said Beata slowly. "At least I think I see a little, and I'll
try to think about it. I'll promise to tell you if anything makes me
unhappy, _really_ unhappy, but I don't think it will now. I think
I understand better what things I needn't mind."

"Very well, dear. Then good-night," and Rosy's mother kissed Bee very
kindly, though in her heart she felt sad. It was plain to her that
Rosy had made Bee unhappy, and as she passed through Rosy's room she
stopped a moment by the bed-side and looked at the sleeping child.
Nothing could be prettier than Rosy asleep--her lovely fair hair made
a sort of pale golden frame to her face, and her cheeks had a
beautiful pink flush. But while her mother was watching her, a frown
darkened her white forehead, and her lips parted sharply.

"I won't have her put before me. I tell you I _won't_," she
called out angrily. Then again, a nicer look came over her face and
she murmured some words which her mother only caught two or three of.

"I didn't mean"--"sorry"--"crying," she said, and her mother turned
away a little comforted.

"O Rosy, poor Rosy," she said to herself. "You _do_ know what is
right and sweet. When will you learn to keep down that unhappy
temper?"

       *       *        *       *        *

The next morning was bright and sunny, the garden with its beautiful
trees and flowers, which Beata had only had a glimpse of the night
before, looked perfectly delicious in the early light when she drew up
the window-blind to look out. And as soon as she was dressed she was
only too delighted to join Rosy and Colin for a run before breakfast.
Children are children all the world over--luckily for themselves and
luckily for other people too--and even children who are sometimes
ill-tempered and unkind are sometimes, too, bright and happy and
lovable. Rosy was after all only a child, and by no means
_always_ a disagreeable spoilt child. And this morning seeing Bee
so merry and happy, she forgot her foolish and unkind feelings about
her, and for the time they were all as contented and joyous as
children should be.

"Where is Fixie?" asked Beata. "May he not come out a little before
breakfast too?"

"Martha won't let him," said Rosy. "Nasty cross old thing. She says it
will make him ill, and I am sure it's much more likely to make him ill
keeping him poking in there when he wanted so much to come out with
us."

"I don't see how you can call Martha cross," said Colin. "And
certainly she's never _cross_ to Fixie."

"How do _you_ know?" said Rosy, sharply. "You don't see her half
as much as I do. And she can always pretend if she likes."

Beata looked rather anxiously at Colin. He was on the point of
answering Rosy crossly in his turn, and again Bee felt that sort of
nervous fear of quarrels or disagreeables which it was impossible to
be long in Rosy's company without feeling. But Colin suddenly seemed
to change his mind.

"Shall we run another race?" he said, without taking any notice of
Rosy's last speech.

"Yes," said Bee, eagerly, "from here to the library window. But you
must give me a little start--I can't run half so fast as you and
Rosy."

She said it quite simply, but it pleased Rosy all the same, and she
began considering how much of a start it was fair for Bee to have.

When that important point was settled, off they set. Bee was the first
to arrive.

"You must have given me too much of a start," she said, laughing.
"Look here, Colin and Rosy, there's the big cat on the window-seat.
Doesn't he look solemn?"

"He looks very cross and nasty--he always does," said Rosy. Then,
safely sheltered behind the window, she began tapping on the pane.

"Manchon, Manchon," she said, "you can't scratch me through the glass,
so I'll just tell you what I think of you for once. You're a cross,
mean, _pretending_ creature. You make everybody say you're so
pretty and so sweet when _really_ you're--" she stopped in a
fright--"Bee, Bee," she cried, "just look at his face. I believe he's
heard all I said."

"Well, what if he did?" said Beata. "Cats don't understand what one
means."

"_Manchon_ does," said Rosy. "Come away, Bee, do. Quick, quick.
We'd better go in to breakfast."

The two little girls ran off, but Colin stayed behind at the library
window.

"I've been talking to Manchon," he said when he came up to them. "He
told me to give you his compliments, Rosy, and to say he is very much
obliged to you for the pretty things you said to him, and the next
time he has the pleasure of seeing you he hopes to have the honour of
scratching you to show his gratitude."

Rosy's face got red.

"Colin, how _dare_ you laugh at me?" she called out in a fury.
She was frightened as well as angry, for she really had a strange fear
of the big cat.

"I'm not laughing," Colin began again, looking quite serious. "I had
to give you Manchon's message."

 [Illustration: 'WHAT IS ZE MATTER WIF YOU, BEE?' HE SAID]

Rosy looked at Bee. If there had been the least shadow of a smile on
Bee's face it would have made her still more angry. But Beata looked
grave, because she felt so.

"Oh, I wish they wouldn't quarrel," she was thinking to herself. "It
does so spoil everything. I can't _think_ how Colin can tease
Rosy so."

And sadly, feeling already tired, and not knowing what was best to do,
Beata followed the others to the nursery. _They_ did not seem to
care--Colin was already whistling, and though Rosy's face was still
black, no one paid any attention to it.

But little Fixie ran to Bee and held up his fresh sweet face for a
kiss.

"What is ze matter wif you, Bee?" he said. "You's c'ying. Colin, Losy,
Bee's c'ying," he exclaimed.

"You're _not_, are you, Bee?" said Colin.

"Are you, really?" said Rosy, coming close to her and looking into her
face.

The taking notice of it made Bee's tears come more quickly. All the
children looked sorry, and a puzzled expression came into Rosy's face.

"Come into my room a minute, Bee," she said. "Do tell me," she went
on, "what are you crying for?"

Beata put her arms round Rosy's neck.

"I can't quite tell you," she said, "I'm afraid of vexing you. But,
oh, I do so wish--" and then she stopped.

"What?" said Rosy.

"I wish you would never get vexed with Colin or anybody, and I wish
Colin wouldn't tease you," said Bee.

"Was that all?" said Rosy. "Oh, _that_ wasn't anything--you
should hear us sometimes."

"_Please_ don't," entreated Beata. "I can't bear it. Oh, dear
Rosy, don't be vexed with me, but please do let us be all happy and
not have anything like that."

Rosy did not seem vexed, but neither did she seem quite to understand.

"What a funny girl you are, Bee," she said. "I suppose it's because
you've lived alone with big people always that you're like that. I
daresay you'll learn to tease too and to squabble, after you've been a
while here."

"Oh, I _hope_ not," said Bee. "Do you really think I shall,
Rosy?"

"I shall like you just as well if you do," said Rosy, "at least if you
do a _little_. Anyway, it would be better than setting up to be
better than other people, or _pretending_."

"But I _don't_ want to do that," said Beata. "I want to _be_
good. I don't want to think about being better or not better than
other people, and I'm _sure_ I don't want to pretend. I don't
ever pretend like that, Rosy. Won't you believe me? I don't know what
I can say to make you believe me. I can't see that you should think it
such a very funny thing for me to want to be good. Don't _you_
want to be good?"

"Yes," said Rosy, "I suppose I do. I do just now, just at this minute.
And just at this minute I believe what you say. But I daresay I won't
always. The first time Colin teases me I know I shall leave off
wanting to be good. I shall want nothing at all except just to give
him a good hard slap--really to hurt him, you know. I do want to
_hurt_ him when I am very angry--just for a little. And if you
were to say anything to me _then_ about being good, I'd very
likely not believe you a bit."

Just then Martha's voice was heard calling them in to breakfast.

"Be quiet, Martha," Rosy called back. "We'll come when we're ready. Do
leave us alone. Just when we're talking so nicely," she added, turning
to Bee. "What a bother she is"

"_I_ think she's very kind," said Bee, "but I don't like to say
anything like that to you, for fear you should think I'm pretending or
'setting up,' or something like that."

Rosy laughed.

"I don't think that just now," she said. "Well, let's go into the
nursery, then," and, as they came in, she said to Martha with
wonderful amiability, "We aren't very hungry this morning, I don't
think, for we had each such a big hunch of bread and some milk before
we ran out."

"That was quite right, Miss Rosy," said Martha, and by the sound of
her voice it was easy to see she was pleased. "It is never a good
thing to go out in the morning without eating something, even if it's
only a little bit."

Breakfast passed most comfortably, and by good luck Fixie hadn't
forgotten his promise to sit "aside Losy." "It was her turn," he said,
and he seemed to think the honour a very great one.

"Do you remember on the steamer, Fixie?" said Bee, "how we liked to
sit together, and how hot it was sometimes, and how we used to wish we
were in nice cool England?"

"Oh ses," said Fixie, "oh it _were_ hot! And the poor young lady,
Bee, that was so ill?"

"Oh, do you remember her, Fixie? What a good memory you have!"

Fixie got rather red.

"I'm not sure that I 'membered her all of myself," he said, "but mamma
telled me about her one day. Her's quite welldened now."

Bee smiled a little at Fixie's funny way of speaking, but she thought
to herself it was very nice for him to be such an honest little boy.

"How do you know she's got well?" said Rosy, rather sharply.

"Mamma telled me," said Fixie.

"Yes," said Colin, "it's quite true. And the young lady's father's
going to come to see us some day. I don't remember his name, do you,
Bee?"

"Not quite," said Bee, "yes, I think it was something like
_furniture_."

"Furniture," repeated Colin, "it couldn't be that. Was it 'Ferguson'?"

"No," said Bee, "it wasn't that."

"Well, never mind," said Colin. "It was something like it. We'll ask
mamma. He is going to come to see us soon. I'm sure of that."

Later in the day Colin remembered about it, and asked his mother about
it.

"What was the name of the gentleman that you said was coming to see us
soon, mamma?" he said--"the gentleman whose daughter was so ill in the
ship coming home from India."

"Mr. Furnivale," replied his mother. "You must remember him and his
daughter, Bee. She is much better now. They have been all these months
in Italy, and they are going to stay there through next winter, but
Mr. Furnivale is in England on business and is coming to see us very
soon. He is a very kind man, and always asks for Fixie and Bee when he
writes."

"That is very kind of him," said Bee, gratefully.

But a dark look came over Rosy's face.

"It's just as if _she_ was mamma's little girl, and not me," she
said to herself. "I hate people mamma knew when Bee was with her and I
wasn't."

"Mr. Furnivale doesn't know you are with us," Mrs. Vincent went on;
"he will be quite pleased to see you. He says Cecilia has never
forgotten you; Cecilia is his daughter, you know."

"Yes, I remember _her_ name," said Bee. "I wish she could come to
see us too. She was so pretty, wasn't she, Aunt--Lillias?" she added,
stopping a little and smiling. Lillias was Mrs. Vincent's name, and it
had been fixed that Beata should call her "aunt," for to say "Mrs.
Vincent" sounded rather stiff. "You would think her pretty, Rosy," she
went on again, out of a wish to make Rosy join in what they were
talking of.

"No," said Rosy, with a sort of burst, "I shouldn't. I don't know
anything about what you're talking of, and I don't want to hear about
it," and she turned away with a very cross and angry face.

Bee was going to run after her, but Mrs. Vincent stopped her.

"No," she said. "When she is so very foolish, it is best to leave her
alone."

But though she said it as if she did not think Rosy's tempers of very
much consequence, Beata saw the sad disappointed look on her face.

"Oh," thought the little girl, "how I _do_ wish I could do
anything to keep Rosy from vexing her mother."

It was near bed-time when they had been talking about Mr. Furnivale
and his daughter, and soon after the children all said good-night.
Rather to Bee's surprise, Rosy, who had hidden herself in the window
with a book, came out when she was called and said good-night quite
pleasantly.

"I wonder she doesn't feel ashamed," thought Bee, "I'm sure I never
spoke like that to my mamma, but if ever I had, I couldn't have said
good-night without saying I was sorry."

And it was with a slight feeling of self-approval that Beata went up
to bed. When she was undressed she went into the nursery for a moment
to ask Martha to brush her hair. Fixie was not yet asleep, and the
nurse looked troubled.

"Is Fixie ill?" said Bee.

"No, I hope not," said Martha, "but he's troubled. Miss Rosy's been in
to say good-night to him, and she's set him off his sleep, I'm sure."

"I'm so unhappy, Bee," whispered Fixie, when Beata stooped over him to
say good-night. "Losy's been 'peaking to me, and she says nobody loves
her, not _nobody_. She's so unhappy, Bee."

A little feeling of pain went through Bee. Perhaps Rosy _was_
really unhappy and sorry for what she had said, though she had not
told any one so. And the thought of it kept Bee from going to sleep as
quickly as usual. "Rosy is so puzzling," she thought. "It is so
difficult to understand her."



CHAPTER V.

ROSY THINKS THINGS OVER.


  "Whenever you find your heart despair
     Of doing some goodly thing,
   Con over this strain, try bravely again,
     And remember the spider and king."
          --TRY AGAIN.

She did go to sleep at last, and she slept for a while very soundly.
But suddenly she awoke, awoke quite completely, and with the feeling
that something had awakened her, though what she did not know. She sat
up in bed and looked about her, if you can call staring out into the
dark where you can see nothing "looking about you." It seemed to be a
very dark night; there was no chink of moonlight coming in at the
window, and everything was perfectly still. Beata could not help
wondering what had awakened her, and she was settling herself to sleep
again when a little sound caught her ears. It was a kind of low,
choking cry, as if some one was crying bitterly and trying to stuff
their handkerchief into their mouth, or in some way prevent the sound
being heard. Beata felt at first a very little frightened, and then,
as she became quite sure that it was somebody crying, very sorry and
uneasy. What could be the matter? Was it Fixie? No, the sounds did not
come from the nursery side. Beata sat up in bed to hear more clearly,
and then amidst the crying she distinguished her own name.

"Bee," said the sobbing voice, "Bee, I wish you'd come to speak to me.
Are you asleep, Bee?"

In a moment Beata was out of bed, for there was no doubt now whose
voice it was. It was Rosy's. Bee was not a timid child, but the room
was very dark, and it took a little courage to feel her way among the
chairs and tables till at last she found the door, which she opened
and softly went into Rosy's room. For a moment she did not speak, for
a new idea struck her,--could Rosy be crying and talking in her sleep?
It was so very unlike her to cry or ask any one to go to her. There
was no sound as Beata opened the door; she could almost have believed
it had all been her fancy, and for a moment she felt inclined to go
back to her own bed and say nothing. But a very slight sound, a sort
of little sobbing breath that came from Rosy's bed, made her change
her mind.

"Rosy," she said, softly, "are you awake? Were you speaking to me?"

She heard a rustle. It was Rosy sitting up in bed.

"Yes," she said, "I am awake. I've been awake all night. It's dedful
to be awake all night, Bee. I've been calling and calling you. I'm so
unhappy."

"Unhappy?" said Bee, in a kind voice, going nearer the bed. "What are
you so unhappy about, Rosy?"

"I'll tell you," said Rosy, "but won't you get into my bed a little,
Bee? There is room, if we scrudge ourselves up. One night Fixie slept
with me, and you're not so very much bigger."

"I'll get in for a little," said Beata, "just while you tell me what's
the matter, and why you are so unhappy."

She was quite surprised at Rosy's way of speaking. She seemed so much
gentler and softer, that Bee could not understand it.

"I'll tell you why I'm so unhappy," said Rosy. "I can't be good, Bee.
I never have cared to be good. It's such a lot of trouble, and lots of
peoples that think they're very good, and that other peoples make a
fuss about, are very pretending. I've noticed that often. But when we
had been talking yesterday morning all of a sudden I thought it would
be nice to be good--not pretending, but _real_ good--never cross,
and all that. And so I fixed I would be quite good, and I thought how
pleased you'd be when I never quarrelled with Colin, or was cross to
Martha, or anything like that. And it was all right for a while; but
then when mamma began talking about Mr. Furniture, and how nice he
was, and his daughter, and you knew all about them and I didn't, it
_all went away_. I told you it would--all the wanting to be
good--and I was as angry as angry. And then I said that, you remember,
and then everybody thought I was just the same, and it was all no
use."

"Poor Rosy," said Bee. "No, I don't think it was no use."

"Oh yes," persisted Rosy, "it was all no use. But nobody knew, and I
didn't mean anybody to know. Mamma and Colin and nobody could see I
was sorry when I said good-night--_could_ they?" she said, with a
tone of satisfaction. "No, I didn't mean anybody to know, only after I
was in bed it came back to me, and I was so vexed and so unhappy. I
thought everybody would have been _so_ surprised at finding I
could be just as good as anybody if I liked. But I don't like; so just
remember, Bee, to-morrow morning I'm not going to try a bit, and it's
no use saying any more about it. It's just the way I'm made."

"But you do care, Rosy," said Bee, "I know you care. If you didn't you
wouldn't have been thinking about it, and been sorry after you were in
bed."

"Yes, I _did_ care," said Rosy, with again a little sob. "I had
been thinking it would be very nice, But I'm not going to care--that's
just the thing, Bee--that's what I wanted to tell you--I'm not going
to go on caring."

"Don't you always say your prayers, Rosy?" asked Bee, rather solemnly.

"Yes, _of course_ I do. But I don't think they're much good. I've
been just as naughty some days when I'd said them _beautifully_,
as some days when I'd been in a hurry."

Beata felt puzzled.

"I can't explain about it properly," she said. "But that isn't the
way, I don't think. Mother told me if I thought just saying my prayers
would make me good, it was like thinking they were a kind of magic,
and that isn't what we should think them."

"What good are they then?" said Rosy.

"Oh, I know what I mean, but it's very hard to say it," said poor Bee.
"Saying our prayers is like opening the gate into being good; it gives
us a sort of feeling that _He_, you know, Rosy, that God is
smiling at us all day, and makes us remember that He's _always_
ready to help us."

"_Is_ He?" said Rosy. "Well, I suppose there's something worser
about me than other peoples, for I've often said, 'Do make me good, do
make me good, quick, quick,' and I didn't get good."

"Because you pushed it away, Rosy. You're always saying you're not
good and you don't care. But I think you _do_ care, only," with a
sigh, "I know one has to try a great, great lot."

"Yes, and I don't like the bother," said Rosy, coolly.

"There, now you've said it," said Bee. "Then that shows it isn't that
you can't be good but you don't like to have to try so much. But
please, Rosy, don't say you'll leave off. _Do_ go on. It will get
easier. I know it will. It's like skipping and learning to play on the
piano and lots of things. Every time we try makes it a little easier
for the next time."

"I never thought of that," said Rosy, with interest in her tone.
"Well, I'll think about it any way, and I'll tell you in the morning
what I've settled. Perhaps I'll fix just to be naughty again
to-morrow, for a rest you know. How would it do, I wonder, if I was to
be good and naughty in turns? I could settle the days, and then the
naughty ones you could keep out of my way."

"It wouldn't do at all," said Bee, decidedly. "It would be like going
up two steps and then tumbling back two steps. No, it would be worse,
it would be like going up two and tumbling back three, for every
naughty day would make it still harder to begin again on the good
day."

"Well, I won't do that way, then," said Rosy, with wonderful
gentleness. "I'll either _go on_ trying to climb up the steps--how
funnily you say things, Bee!--or I'll not try at all. I'll tell you
to-morrow morning. But remember you're not to tell anybody.
If I fix to be good I want everybody to be surprised."

"But you won't get good all of a sudden, Rosy," said Bee, feeling
afraid that Rosy would again lose heart at the first break-down.

"Well, I daresay I won't," returned Rosy. "But don't you see if nobody
but you knows it won't so much matter. But if I was to tell everybody
then it would all seem pretending, and there's nothing so horrid as
pretending."

There was some sense in Rosy's ideas, and Bee did not go against them.
She went back to her own bed with a curious feeling of respect for
Rosy and a warm feeling of affection also.

"And it was very horrid of me to be thinking of her that way
to-night," said honest Bee to herself. "I'll never think of her that
way again. Poor Rosy, she has had no mother all these years that I've
had my mother doing nothing but trying to make me good. But I am so
glad Rosy is getting to like me."

For Rosy had kissed her warmly as they bade each other good-night for
the second time.

"It was very nice of Bee to get out of bed in the dark to come to me,"
she said to herself. "She is good, but I don't think she is
pretending," and it was this feeling that made the beginning of Rosy's
friendship for Beata--_trust_.

The little girls slept till later than usual the next morning, for
they had been a good while awake in the night. Rosy began grumbling
and declaring she would not get up, and there was very nearly the
beginning of a stormy scene with Martha when the sound of Bee's voice
calling out "Good-morning, Rosy," from the next room reminded her of
their talk in the night, and though she did not feel all at once able
to speak good-naturedly to Martha, she left off scolding. But her face
did not look as pleasant as Beata had hoped to see it when she came
into the nursery.

"Don't speak to me, please," she said in a low voice, "I haven't
settled yet what I'm going to do. I'm still thinking about it."

Bee did not say any more, but the morning passed peacefully, and once
or twice when Colin began some of the teasing which seemed as
necessary to him as his dinner or his breakfast, Rosy contented
herself with a wriggle or a little growl instead of fiery words and
sometimes even blows. And when Colin, surprised at her patience went
further and further, ending by tying a long mesh of her hair to the
back of her chair, while she was busy fitting a frock on to one of the
little dolls, and then, calling her suddenly, made her start up and
really hurt herself, Beata was astonished at her patience. She gave a
little scream, it is true--who could have helped it?--and then rushed
out of the room, but not before the others had seen the tears that
were running down her cheeks.

"Colin," said Bee, and, for a moment or two, it almost seemed to the
boy as if Rosy's temper had passed into the quiet little girl, "I am
ashamed of you. You naughty, _cruel_ boy, just when poor Rosy
was----"

She stopped suddenly--"just when poor Rosy was beginning to try to be
good," she was going to have said, forgetting her promise to tell no
one of Rosy's plans,--"just when we were all quiet and comfortable,"
she said instead.

Colin looked ashamed.

"I won't do it any more," he said, "I won't really. Besides there's no
fun in only making her cry. It was only fun when it put her into a
rage."

"Nice _fun_," said Bee, with scorn.

"Well, you know what I mean. I daresay it wasn't right, but I never
meant really to hurt her. And all the fellows at school tease like
that--one can't help getting into the way of it."

"I never heard such a foolish way of talking," answered Bee, who was
for once quite vexed with Colin. "I don't think that's a reason for
doing wrong things--that other people do them.'"

"It's bad example--the force of bad example," said Colin so gravely
that Beata, who was perhaps a little matter-of-fact, would have
answered him gravely had she not seen a little twinkle in his eyes,
which put her on her guard.

"You are trying to tease _me_ now, Colin," she said. "Well, I
don't mind, if you'll promise me to leave Rosy alone--any way for a
few days; I've a very particular reason for asking it. Do promise,
won't you?"

She looked up at him with her little face glowing with eagerness, her
honest gray eyes bright with kindly feeling for Rosy. "You may tease
me"--she went on--"as much as you like, if you must tease somebody."

Colin could not help laughing.

"There wouldn't be much fun in teasing you, Bee," he said. "You're far
too good-natured. Well, I will promise you--I'll promise you more than
you ask--listen, what a grand promise--I'll promise you not to tease
Rosy for three whole months--now, what do you say to that, ma'am?"

Bee's eyes glistened.

"Three whole months!" she exclaimed. "Yes, that is a good promise.
Why, by the end of the three months you'll have forgotten how to
tease! But, Colin, please, it must be a secret between you and me
about you promising not to tease Rosy. If she knew I had asked you it
wouldn't do half as well."

"Oh, it's easy enough to promise that," said Colin. "Poor Bee," he went
on, half ashamed of having taken her in, "you don't understand why I
promised for three months. It's because to-morrow I'm going back to
school for three months."

"_Are_ you?" said Beata, in a disappointed tone. "I'm very sorry.
I had forgotten about you going to school with your being here when I
first came, you know."

"Yes; and your lessons--yours and Rosy's and Fixie's, for he does a
little too--they'll be beginning again soon. We've all been having
holidays just now."

"And who will give us lessons?" asked Beata.

"Oh, Miss Pink, Rosy's governess. Her real name's Miss Pinkerton, but
it's so long, she doesn't mind us saying Miss Pink, for short."

"Is she nice?" asked Bee. She felt a little dull at the idea of having
still another stranger to make friends with.

"Oh yes, she's nice. Only she spoils Rosy--she's afraid of her
tempers. You'll see. But you'll get on all right. I really think Rosy
is going to be nicer, now you've come, Bee."

"I'm so glad," said Bee. "But I'm sorry you're going away, Colin. In
three months you'll have forgotten how to tease, won't you?" she said
again, smiling.

"I'm not so sure of that," he answered laughingly. In her heart Bee
thought perhaps it was a good thing Colin was going away for a while,
for Rosy's sake. It might make it easier for her to carry out her good
plans. But for herself Bee was sorry, for he was a kind, merry boy,
and even his teasing did not seem to her anything very bad.

Rosy came back into the nursery with her eyes rather red, but the
other children saw that she did not want any notice taken. She looked
at Colin and Bee rather suspiciously. "Have you been talking about
_me_?" her look seemed to say.

"I've been telling Bee about Miss Pink," said Colin. "She hadn't heard
about her before."

"She's a stupid old thing," said Rosy respectfully.

"But she's kind, isn't she?" asked Beata.

"Oh yes; I daresay you'll think her kind. But I don't care for
her--much. She's rather pretending."

"I can't understand why you think so many people pretending," said
Bee. "I think it must be very uncomfortable to feel like that."

"But if they _are_ pretending, it's best to know it," said Rosy.

Beata felt herself getting puzzled again. Colin came to the rescue.

"I don't think it is best to know it," he said, "at least not Rosy's
way, for she thinks it of everybody."

"No, I don't," said Rosy, "not _everybody_."

"Well, you think it of great lots, any way. I'd rather think some
people good who aren't good than think some people who _are_ good
_not_ good--wouldn't you, Bee?"

Beata had to consider a moment in order to understand quite what Colin
meant; she liked to understand things clearly, but she was not always
very quick at doing so.

"Yes," she said, "I think so too. Besides, there _are_ lots of
very kind and good people in the world--really kind and good, not
pretending a bit. And then, too, mother used to tell me that feeling
kind ourselves made others feel kind to us, without their quite
knowing how sometimes."

Rosy listened, though she said nothing; but when she kissed Beata in
saying good-night, she whispered, "I did go on trying, Bee, and I
think it does get a very little easier. But I don't want
_anybody_ to know--you remember, don't you?"

"Yes, I won't forget," said Bee. "But if you go on, Rosy, everybody
will find out for themselves, without _my_ telling."

And in their different ways both little girls felt very happy as they
fell asleep that night.



CHAPTER VI.

A STRIKE IN THE SCHOOLROOM.


   "Multiplication's my vexation,
   Division is as bad."

Colin went off to school "the day after to-morrow," as he had said.
The house seemed very quiet without him, and everybody felt sorry he
had gone. The day after he left Miss Pinkerton came back, and the
little girls' lessons began.

"How do you like her?" said Rosy to Beata the first morning.

"I think she is kind," said Bee, but that was all she said.

It was true that Miss Pinkerton meant to be kind, but she did not
manage to gain the children's hearts, and Bee soon came to understand
why Rosy called her "pretending." She was so afraid of vexing anybody
that she had got into the habit of agreeing with every one without
really thinking over what they meant, and she was so afraid also of
being blamed for Rosy's tempers that she would give in to her in any
way. So Rosy did not respect her, and was sometimes really rude to
her.

"Miss Pink," she said one morning a few days after lessons had begun
again, "I don't want to learn any more arithmetic."

"No, my dear?" said Miss Pink, mildly. "But what will you do when you
are grown-up if you cannot count--everybody needs to know how to
count, or else they can't manage their money."

"I don't want to know how to manage my money," replied Rosy, "somebody
must do it for me. I won't learn any more arithmetic, Miss Pink."

Miss Pink, as was a common way of hers in a difficulty with Rosy,
pretended not to hear, but Beata noticed, and so, you may be sure, did
Rosy, that they had no arithmetic that morning, though Miss Pink said
nothing about it, leaving it to seem as if it were by accident.

Beata liked sums, and did them more quickly than her other lessons.
But she said nothing. When lessons were over and they were alone, Rosy
threw two or three books up in the air, and caught them again.

"Aha!" she said mischievously, "we'll have no more nasty sums--you'll
see."

"Rosy," said Bee, "you can't be in earnest. Miss Pink won't leave off
giving us sums for always."

"Won't she?" said Rosy. "She'll have to. _I_ won't do them."

"I will," said Bee.

"How can you, if she doesn't give you any to do?"

"If she really doesn't give us any to do I'll ask her for them, and if
she still doesn't, then I'll tell your mother that we're not learning
arithmetic any more."

"You'll tell mamma," said Rosy, standing before her and looking very
fierce.

"Yes," said Beata. "Arithmetic is one of the things my mother wants me
to learn very well, and if Miss Pink doesn't teach it me I shall tell
your mother."

"You mean tell-tale," cried Rosy, her face getting red with anger.
"That's what you call being a friend to me and helping me to be good,
when you know there's nothing puts me in such a temper as those
_horrible_ sums. I know now how much your kindness is worth," and
what she would have gone on to say there is no knowing had not Fixie
just then come into the room, and Rosy was not fond of showing her
tempers off before her little brother.

Beata was very sorry and unhappy. She said nothing more, hoping that
Rosy would come to see how mistaken she was, and the rest of the day
passed quietly. But the next morning it was the same thing. When they
came to the time at which they usually had their arithmetic, Rosy
looked up at Miss Pink with a determined air.

"No arithmetic, Miss Pink, you know," she said.

Miss Pink gave a sort of little laugh.

"My dear Rosy," she said, "you are so very comical! Come now, get your
slate--see there is dear Beata all ready with hers. You shall not have
very hard sums to-day, I promise you."

"Miss Pink," said Rosy, "I won't do _any_ sums. I told you so
yesterday, and you know I mean what I say. If Bee chooses to tell
tales, she may, but _I_ won't do any sums."

Miss Pink looked from one to the other.

"There is no use my doing sums without Rosy," said Bee. "We are at the
same place and it would put everything wrong."

"Yes," said Miss Pink. "I cannot give you separate lessons. It would
put everything wrong. But I'm sure you're only joking, Rosy dear. We
won't say anything about the sums to-day, and then to-morrow we'll go
on regularly again, and dear Beata will see it will all be right."

"No," said Rosy, "it won't be all right if you try to make me do any
sums to-morrow or any day."

Bee said nothing. She did not know what to say. She could hardly
believe Rosy was the same little girl as the Rosy whom she had heard
crying in the night, who had made her so happy by talking about trying
to be good. And how many days the silly dispute might have gone on,
there is no telling, had it not happened that the very next morning,
just as they came to the time for the arithmetic lesson, the door
opened and Mrs. Vincent came in.

"Good morning, Miss Pinkerton," she said. "I've come to see how you
are all getting on,"--for Miss Pinkerton did not live in the house,
she only came every morning at nine o'clock--"you don't find your new
pupil _very_ troublesome, I hope?" she went on, with a smile at
Beata.

"Oh dear, no! oh, certainly not," said Miss Pinkerton nervously; "oh
dear, no--Miss Beata is very good indeed. Everything's very nice--oh
we're very happy, thank you--dear Rosy and dear Beata and I."

"I am very glad to hear it," said Mrs. Vincent, but she spoke rather
gravely, for on coming into the room it had not looked to her as if
everything _was_ "very nice." Beata looked grave and troubled,
Miss Pinkerton flurried, and there was a black cloud on Rosy's face
that her mother knew only too well. "What lessons are you at now?" she
went on.

"Oh, ah!" began Miss Pinkerton, fussing among some of the books that
lay on the table. "We've just finished a chapter of our English
history, and--and--I was thinking of giving the dear children a
dictation."

"It's not the time for dictation," said Rosy. And then to Bee's
surprise she burst out, "Miss Pink, I wonder how you can tell such
stories! Everything is not quite nice, mamma, for I've just been
telling Miss Pink I won't do any sums, and it's just the time for
sums. I wouldn't do them yesterday, and I won't do them to-day, or any
day, because I hate them."

"You 'won't' and you 'wouldn't,' Rosy," said her mother, so sternly
and coldly that Bee trembled for her, though Rosy gave no signs of
trembling for herself. "Is that a way in which I can allow you to
speak? You must apologise to Miss Pinkerton, and tell her you will be
ready to do _any_ lessons she gives you, or you must go upstairs
to your own room."

"I'll go upstairs to my own room then," said Rosy at once. "I'd
'pologise to you, mamma, if you like, but I won't to Miss Pink,
because she doesn't say what's true."

"Rosy, be silent," said her mother again. And then, turning to Miss
Pinkerton, she added in a very serious tone, "Miss Pinkerton, I do not
wish to appear to find fault with you, but I must say that you should
have told me of all this before. It is most mistaken kindness to Rosy
to hide her disobedience and rudeness, and it makes things much more
difficult for me. I am _particularly_ sorry to have to punish
Rosy to-day, for I have just heard that a friend is coming to see us
who would have liked to find all the children good and happy."

Rosy's face grew gloomier and gloomier. Beata was on the point of
breaking in with a request that Rosy might be forgiven, but something
in Mrs. Vincent's look stopped her. Miss Pinkerton grew very red and
looked very unhappy--almost as if she was going to cry.

"I'm--I'm very sorry--very distressed. But I thought dear Rosy was
only joking, and that it would be all right in a day or two. I'm sure,
dear Rosy, you'll tell your mamma that you did not mean what you said,
and that you'll do your best to do your sums nicely--now won't you,
dear?"

"No," said Rosy, in a hard, cold tone, "I won't. And you might know by
this time, Miss Pink, that I always mean what I say. I'm not like
you."

After this there was nothing for it but to send Rosy up to her own
room. Mrs. Vincent told Miss Pinkerton to finish the morning lessons
with Beata, and then left the schoolroom.

Bee was very unhappy, and Miss Pink by this time was in tears.

"She's so naughty--so completely spoilt;" she said. "I really don't
think I can go on teaching her. She's not like you, dear Beata. How
happily and peacefully we could go on doing our lessons--you and
I--without that self-willed Rosy."

Bee looked very grave.

"Miss Pink," she said, "I don't like you to speak like that at all.
You don't say to Rosy to her face that you think her so naughty, and
so I don't think you should say it to me. I think it would be better
if you said to Rosy herself what you think."

"I couldn't," said Miss Pink. "There would be no staying with her if I
didn't give in to her. And I don't want to lose this engagement, for
it's so near my home, and my mother is so often ill. And Mr. and Mrs.
Vincent have been very kind--very kind indeed."

"I think Rosy would like you better if you told her right out what you
think," said Bee, who couldn't help being sorry for Miss Pinkerton
when she spoke of her mother being ill. And Miss Pink was really
kind-hearted, only she did not distinguish between weak indulgence and
real sensible kindness.

When lessons were over Mrs. Vincent called Bee to come and speak to
her.

"It is Mr. Furnivale who is coming to see us to-day," she said. "It is
for that I am so particularly sorry for Rosy to be again in disgrace.
And she has been so much gentler and more obedient lately, I am really
_very_ disappointed, and I cannot help saying so to you, Bee,
though I don't want you to be troubled about Rosy."

"I do think Rosy wants--" began Bee, and then she stopped, remembering
her promise. "Don't you think she will be sorry now?" she said. "Might
I go and ask her?"

"No, dear, I think you had better not," said Mrs. Vincent. "I will see
her myself in a little while. Yes, I believe she is sorry, but she
won't let herself say so."

Beata felt sad and dull without Rosy; for the last few days had really
passed happily. And Rosy shut up in her own room was thinking with a
sort of bitter vexation rather than sorrow of how quickly her
resolutions had all come to nothing.

"It's not my fault," she kept saying to herself, "it's all Miss
Pink's. She knew I hated sums--that horrid kind of long rows worst of
all--and she just gave me them on purpose; and then when I said I
wouldn't do them, she went on coaxing and talking nonsense--that way
that just _makes_ me naughtier. I'd rather do sums all day than
have her talk like that--and then to go and tell stories to mamma--I
hate her, nasty, pretending thing. It's all her fault; and then she'll
be going on praising Bee, and making everybody think how good Bee is
and how naughty I am. I wish Bee hadn't come. I didn't mind it so much
before. I wonder if _she_ told mamma as she said she would, and
if that was why mamma came in to the schoolroom this morning. I
_wonder_ if Bee could be so mean;" and in this new idea Rosy
almost forgot her other troubles. "If Bee did do it I shall never
forgive her--never," she went on to herself; "I wouldn't have minded
her doing it right out, as she said she would, but to go and tell
mamma that sneaky way, and get her to come into the room just at that
minute, no, I'll never--"

A knock at the door interrupted her, and then before she had time to
answer, she heard her mother's voice outside. "I'll take it in myself,
thank you, Martha," she was saying, and in a moment Mrs. Vincent came
in, carrying the glass of milk and dry biscuit which the children
always had at twelve, as they did not have dinner till two o'clock
with their father's and mother's luncheon.

"Here is your milk, Rosy," said her mother, gravely, as she put it
down on the table. "Have you anything to say to me?"

Rosy looked at her mother.

"Mamma," she said, quickly, "will you tell me one thing? Was it Bee
that made you come into the schoolroom just at sums time? Was it
because of her telling you what I had said that you came?"

Mrs. Vincent in her turn looked at Rosy. Many mothers would have
refused to answer--would have said it was not Rosy's place to begin
asking questions instead of begging to be forgiven for their naughty
conduct; but Rosy's mother was different from many. She knew that Rosy
was a strange character to deal with; she hoped and believed that in
her real true heart her little girl _did_ feel how wrong she was;
and she wished, oh, how earnestly, to _help_ the little plant of
goodness to grow, not to crush it down by too much sternness. And in
Rosy's face just now she read a mixture of feelings.

"No, Rosy," she answered very gently, but so that Rosy never for one
instant doubted the exact truth of what she said, "no, Beata had not
said one word about you or your lessons to me. I came in just then
quite by accident. I am very sorry you are so suspicious, Rosy--you
seem to trust no one--not even innocent-hearted, honest little Bee."

Rosy drew a long breath, and grew rather red. Her best self was glad
to find Bee what she had always been--not to be obliged to keep to her
terrible resolutions of "never forgiving," and so on; but her
_worst_ self felt a strange kind of crooked disappointment that
her suspicions had no ground.

"Bee _said_ she would tell you," she murmured, confusedly, "she
said if I wouldn't go on with sums she'd complain to you."

"But she would have done it in an open, honest way," said her mother.
"You _know_ she would never have tried to get you into disgrace
in any underhand way. But I won't say any more about Bee, Rosy. I must
tell you that I have decided not to punish you any more to-day, and I
will tell you that the reason is greatly that an old friend of
ours--of your father's and mine----"

"Mr. Furniture!" exclaimed Rosy, forgetting her tempers in the
excitement of the news.

"Yes, Mr. Furnivale," said her mother, and she could not keep back a
little smile; "he is coming this afternoon. It would be punishing not
only you, but your father and Bee and myself--all of us indeed--if we
had to tell our old friend the moment he arrived that our Rosy was in
disgrace. So you may go now and ask Martha to dress you neatly. Mr.
Furnivale _may_ be here by luncheon-time, and no more will be
said about this unhappy morning. But Rosy, listen--I trust to your
honour to try to behave so as to please me. I will say no more about
your arithmetic lessons; will you act so as to show me I have not been
foolish in forgiving you?"

The red flush came back to Rosy's face, and her eyes grew bright; she
was not a child that cried easily. She threw her arms round her
mother's neck, and whispered in a voice which sounded as if tears were
not very far off,

"Mamma, I _do_ thank you. I will try. I will do my sums as much
as you like to-morrow, only--"

"Only what, Rosy?"

"Can you tell Miss Pink that it is to please _you_ I want to do
them, not to please _her_, mamma--she isn't like you. I don't
believe what she says."

"I will tell Miss Pink that you want to please me certainly, but you
must see, Rosy, that obeying her, doing the lessons she gives you by
my wish, _is_ pleasing me," said her mother, though at the same
time in her own mind she determined to have a little talk with Miss
Pink privately.

"Yes," said Rosy, "I know that."

She spoke gently, and her mother felt happier about her little girl
than for long.

Mr. Furnivale did arrive in time for luncheon. He had just come when
the little girls and Fixie went down to the drawing-room at the sound
of the first gong. He came forward to meet the children with kindly
interest in his face.

"Well, Fixie, my boy, and how are you?" he said, lifting the fragile
little figure in his arms. "Why, I think you are a little bit fatter
and a little bit rosier than this time last year. And this is your
sister that I _don't_ know," he went on, turning to Rosy,
"and--why, bless my soul! here's another old friend--my busy Bee. I
had no idea Mrs. Warwick had left her with you," he exclaimed to Mrs.
Vincent.

Mrs. Warwick was Beata's mother. I don't think I have before told you
Bee's last name.

"I was just going to tell you about it, when the children came in,"
said Rosy's mother. "I knew Cecilia would be so glad to know Bee was
with us, and not at school, when her poor grandmother grew too ill to
have her."

"Yes, indeed," said Mr. Furnivale, "Cecy will be glad to hear it. She
had no idea of it. And so when you all come to pay us that famous
visit we have been talking about, Bee must come too--eh, Bee?"

Bee's eyes sparkled. She liked kind, old Mr. Furnivale, and she had
been very fond of his pretty daughter.

"Is Cecy much better?" she asked, in her gentle little voice.

"_Much_ better. We're hoping to come back to settle in England
before long, and have a nice house like yours, and then you are all to
come to see us," said Mr. Furnivale.

They went on talking for a few minutes about these pleasant plans, and
in the interest of hearing about Cecilia Furnivale, and hearing all
her messages, Rosy, who had never seen her, and who was quite a
stranger to her father too, was naturally left a little in the
background. It was quite enough to put her out again.

"I might just as well have been left upstairs in my own room," she
said to herself. "Nobody notices me--nobody cares whether I am here or
not. _I_ won't go to stay with that ugly old man and his stupid
daughter, just to be always put behind Bee."

And when Beata, with a slight feeling that Rosy might be feeling
herself neglected, and full of pleasure, too, at Mrs. Vincent's having
forgiven her, slipped behind the others and took Rosy's hand in hers,
saying brightly, "_Won't_ it be nice to go and stay with them,
Rosy?" Rosy pulled away her hand roughly, and, looking very cross,
went back to her old cry.

"I wish you'd leave me alone, Bee. I hate that sort of pretending. You
know quite well nobody would care whether _I_ went or not."

And poor Bee drew back quite distressed, and puzzled again by Rosy's
changeableness.



CHAPTER VII.

MR. FURNITURE'S PRESENT.


  "And show me any courtly gem more beautiful than these."
          --SONG OF THE STRAWBERRY GIRL.

"Your little girl is very pretty, unusually pretty," Mr. Furnivale was
saying to Rosy's mother, as he sat beside her on the sofa during the
few minutes they were waiting for luncheon, "and she looks so strong
and well."

"Yes," said Mrs. Vincent, "she is very strong. I am glad you think her
pretty," she went on. "It is always difficult to judge of one's own
children, I think, or indeed of any face you see constantly. I thought
Rosy very pretty, I must confess, when I first saw her again after our
three years' separation, but now I don't think I could judge."

Mrs. Vincent gave a little sigh as she spoke, which made Mr. Furnivale
wonder what she was troubled about. The truth was that she was
thinking to herself how little she would care whether Rosy was pretty
or not, if only she could feel more happy about her really trying to
be a good little girl.

"Your little girl was with Miss Vincent while you were away, was she
not?" said Mr. Furnivale.

"Yes," said Rosy's mother, "her aunt is very fond of her. She gave
herself immense trouble for Rosy's sake."

"By-the-bye, she is coming to see you soon, is she not?" said Mr.
Furnivale. "She is, as of course you know, an old friend of ours, and
she writes often to ask how Cecy is. And in her last letter she said
she hoped to come to see you soon."

"I have not heard anything decided about it," replied Mrs. Vincent. "I
had begun to think she would not come this year--she was speaking of
going to some seaside place."

"Ah, but I rather think she has changed her mind, then," said Mr.
Furnivale, and then he went on to talk of something else to him of
more importance. But poor Mrs. Vincent was really troubled.

"I should not mind Edith herself coming," she said to herself. "She is
_really_ good and kind, and I think I could make her understand
how cruel it is to spoil Rosy. But it is the maid--that Nelson--I
cannot like or trust her, and I believe she did Rosy more harm than
all her aunt's over-indulgence. And Edith is so fond of her; I cannot
say anything against her," for Miss Vincent was an invalid, and very
dependent on this maid.

Little Beata noticed that during luncheon Rosy's mother looked
troubled, and it made her feel sorry. Rosy perhaps would have noticed
it too, had she not been so very much taken up with her own fancied
troubles. She was running full-speed into one of her cross jealous
moods, and everything that was said or done, she took the wrong way.
Her father helped Bee before her--that, she could not but allow was
right, as Bee was a guest--but now it seemed to her that he chose the
nicest bits for Bee, with a care he never showed in helping her. Rosy
was not the least greedy--she would have been ready and pleased to
give away anything, _so long_ as she got the credit of it, and
was praised and thanked, but to be treated second-best in the way in
which she chose to imagine she was being treated--_that_, she
could not and would not stand. She sat through luncheon with a black
look on her pretty face; so that Mr. Furnivale, whom she was beside,
found her much less pleasant to talk to than Bee opposite, though Bee
herself was less bright and merry than usual.

Mrs. Vincent felt glad that no more was said about Aunt Edith's
coming. She felt that she did not wish Rosy to hear of it, and yet she
did not like to ask Mr. Furnivale not to mention it, as it seemed
ungrateful to think or speak of a visit from Miss Vincent except with
pleasure. After luncheon, when they were again in the drawing-room,
Mr. Furnivale came up to her with a small parcel in his hand.

"I am so sorry," he began, with a little hesitation, "I am so sorry
that I did not know Beata Warwick was with you. Cecy had no idea of
it, and she begged me to give _your_ little girl this present we
bought for her in Venice, and now I don't half like giving it to the
one little woman when I have nothing for the other."

He opened the parcel as he spoke; it contained a quaint-looking little
box, which in its turn, when opened, showed a necklace of glass beads
of every imaginable colour. They were not very large--each bead
perhaps about the size of a pea--of a large pea, that is to say. And
some of them were long, not thicker, but twice as long as the others.
I can scarcely tell you how pretty they were. Every one was different,
and they were beautifully arranged so that the colours came together
in the prettiest possible way. One was pale blue with little tiny
flowers, pink or rose-coloured raised upon it; one was white with a
sort of rainbow glistening of every colour through it; two or three
were black, but with a different tracery, gold or red or bright green,
on each; and some were a kind of mixture of colours and patterns which
seemed to change as you looked at them, so that you could _fancy_
you saw flowers, or figures, or tiny landscapes even, which again
disappeared--and no two the same.

"Oh how lovely," exclaimed Rosy's mother, "how very, very pretty."

"Yes," said Mr. Furnivale, "they _are_ pretty. And they are now
rare. These are really old, and the imitation ones, which they make in
plenty, are not half so curious. Cecy thought they would take a
child's fancy."

"More than a _child's_," said Mrs. Vincent, smiling. "I think
they are lovely--and what a pretty ornament they will be--fancy them
on a white dress!"

"I am only sorry I have not two of them," said Mr. Furnivale, "or at
least _something_ else for the other little girl. You would not
wish me, I suppose, to give the necklace to Beata instead of to Rosy?"
he added.

Now Mrs. Vincent's own feeling was almost that she _would_ better
like it to be given to Beata. She was very unselfish, and her natural
thought was that in anything of the kind, Bee, the little stranger,
the child in her care, whose mother was so far away, should come
first. But there was more to think of than this feeling of hers--

"It would be doing no real kindness to Bee," she said to herself, "to
let Mr. Furnivale give it to her. It would certainly rouse that
terrible jealousy of Rosy's, and it might grow beyond my power to undo
the harm it would do. As it is, seeing, as I know she will, how simply
and sweetly Beata behaves about it may do her lasting good, and draw
the children still more together."

So she looked up at Mr. Furnivale with her pretty honest eyes--Rosy's
eyes were honest too--and like her mother's when she was sweet and
good--and said frankly,

"You won't think me selfish I am sure--I think you will believe that I
do it from good motives--when I ask you not to change, but still to
give it to Rosy. I will take care that little Bee does not suffer for
it in the end."

"And I too," said Mr. Furnivale, "If I _can_ find another
necklace when I go back to Venice. I shall not forget to send
it--indeed, I might write to the dealer beforehand to look out for
one. I am sure you are right, and on the whole I am glad, for Cecy did
buy it for your own little girl."

"Would you like to give it her now?" said Mrs. Vincent, and as Mr.
Furnivale said "Yes," she went to the window opening out on to the
lawn where the three children were now playing, and called Rosy.

"I wonder what mamma wants," thought Rosy to herself, as she walked
towards the drawing-room rather slowly and sulkily, leaving Bee and
Fixie to go on running races (for when I said "the children" were
playing, I should have said Beata and Felix--not Rosy). "I daresay she
will be going to scold me, now luncheon's over. I wish that ugly old
Mr. Furniture would go away," for all the cross, angry, jealous
thoughts had come back to poor Rosy since she had taken it into her
head again about Bee being put before her, and all her good wishes and
plans, which had grown stronger through her mother's gentleness, had
again flown away, like a flock of frightened white doves, looking back
at her with sad eyes as they flew.

Rosy's good angel, however, was very patient with her that day. Again
she was to be tried with _kindness_ instead of harshness; surely
this time it would succeed.

"Rosy dear," said her mother, quite brightly, for she had not noticed
Rosy's cross looks at dinner, and she felt a natural pleasure in the
thought of her child's pleasure, "Mr. Furnivale--or perhaps I should
say _Miss_ Furnivale--whom we all speak of as "Cecy," you know,
has sent you such a pretty present. See, dear--you have never, I
think, had anything so pretty," and she held up the lovely beads
before Rosy's dazzled eyes.

"Oh, how pretty!" exclaimed the little girl, her whole face lighting
up, "O mamma, how very pretty! And they are for _me_. Oh, how
very kind of Miss Furni--of Miss Cecy," she went on, turning to the
old gentleman, "Will you please thank her for me _very_ much?"

No one could look prettier or sweeter than Rosy at this moment, and
Mr. Furnivale began to think he had been mistaken in thinking the
little Vincent girl a much less lovable child than his old friend
Beata Warwick.

"How very, very pretty," she repeated, touching the beads softly with
her little fingers. And then with a sudden change she turned to her
mother.

"Is there a necklace for Bee, too?" she said.

Mrs. Vincent's first feeling was of pleasure that Rosy should think of
her little friend, but there was in the child's face a look that made
her not sure that the question _was_ quite out of kindness to
Bee, and the mother's voice was a little grave and sad, as she
answered.

"No, Rosy. There is not one for Bee. Mr. Furnivale brought it for you
only."

Then Rosy's face was a curious study. There was a sort of pleasure in
it--and this, I must truly say, was not pleasure that Bee had
_not_ a present also, for Rosy was not greedy or even selfish in
the common way, but it was pleasure at being put first, and joined to
this pleasure was a nice honest sorrow that Bee was left out. Now that
Rosy was satisfied that she herself was properly treated she found
time to think of Bee. And though the necklace had been six times as
pretty, though it had been all pearls or diamonds, it would not have
given Mrs. Vincent half the pleasure that this look of real unselfish
sorrow in Rosy's face sent through her heart. More still, when the
little girl, bending to her mother, whispered softly,

"Mamma, would it be right of me to give it to Bee? I wouldn't mind
very much."

"No, darling, no; but I am _very_ glad you thought of it. We will
do something to make up for it to Bee." And she added aloud,

"Mr. Furnivale may _perhaps_ be able to get one something like it
for Bee, when he goes back to Italy."

"Then I may show it to her. It won't be unkind to show it her?" asked
Rosy. And when her mother said "No, it would not be unkind," feeling
sure, with her faith in Bee's goodness that Rosy's pleasure would be
met with the heartiest sympathy--for "sympathy," dears, can be shown
to those about us in their joys as well as in their sorrows--Rosy ran
off in the highest spirits. Mr. Furnivale smiled as he saw her
delight, and Mrs. Vincent was, oh so pleased to be able to tell him,
that Rosy, of herself, had offered to give it to Bee, that that was
what she had been whispering about.

"Not that Beata would have been willing to take it," she added, "she
is the most unselfish child possible."

[Illustration: 'DID YOU EVER SEE ANYTHING SO PRETTY, BEE?' ROSY
REPEATED.]

"And unselfishness is sometimes, catching, luckily for poor human
nature," said the old gentleman, laughing. And Mrs. Vincent laughed
too--the whole world seemed to have grown brighter to her since the
little gleam she believed she had had of true gold at the bottom of
Rosy's wayward little heart.

And Rosy ran gleefully off to her friend.

"Bee, Bee," she cried, "stop playing, do. I have something to show
you. And you too, Fixie, you may come and see it if you like. See," as
the two children ran up to her breathlessly, and she opened the box,
"see," and she held up the lovely necklace, lovelier than ever as it
glittered in the sunshine, every colour seeming to mix in with the
others and yet to stand out separate in the most beautiful way. "Did
you _ever_ see anything so pretty, Bee?" Rosy repeated.

"_Never_," said Beata, with her whole heart in her voice.

"Nebber," echoed Fixie, his blue eyes opened twice as wide as usual.

"And is it _yours_, Rosy?" asked Bee.

"Yes mine, my very own. Mr. Furniture brought it me from--from
somewhere. I don't remember the name of the place, but I know it's
somewhere in the country that's the shape of a boot."

"Italy," said Bee, whose geography was not quite so hazy as Rosy's.

"Yes, I suppose it's Italy, but I don't care where it came from as
long as I've got it. Oh, isn't it lovely? I may wear it for best.
Won't it be pretty with a quite white frock? And, Bee, they said
something, but perhaps I shouldn't tell."

"Don't tell it then," said Bee, whose whole attention was given to the
necklace. "O Rosy, I _am_ so glad you've got such a pretty thing.
Don't you feel happy?" and she looked up with such pleasure in her
eyes that Rosy's heart was touched.

"Bee," she said quickly, "I do think you're very good. Are you not the
least bit vexed, Bee, that _you_ haven't got it, or at least that
you haven't got one like it?"

Beata looked up with real surprise.

"Vexed that I haven't got one too," she repeated, "of course not, Rosy
dear. People can't always have everything the same. I never thought of
such a thing. And besides it is a pleasure to me even though it's not
my necklace. It will be nice to see you wearing it, and I know you'll
let me look at it in my hand sometimes, won't you?" touching the beads
gently as she spoke. "See, Fixie," she went on, "what lovely colours!
Aren't they like fairy beads, Fixie?"

"Yes," said Fixie, "they is welly _pitty_. I could fancy I saw
fairies looking out of some of them. I think if we was to listen welly
kietly p'raps we'd hear fairy stories coming out of them."

"Rubbish, Fixie," said Rosy, rather sharply. She was too fond of
calling other people's fancies "rubbish." Fixie's face grew red, and
the corners of his mouth went down.

"Rosy's only in fun, Fixie," said Bee. "You shouldn't mind. We'll try
some day and see if we can hear any stories--any way we could fancy
them, couldn't we? Are you going to put on the beads now, Rosy? I
think I can fasten the clasp, if you'll turn round. Yes, that's right.
Now don't they look lovely? Shall we run back to the house to let your
mother see it on? O Rosy, you can't _think_ how pretty it looks."

Off ran the three children, and Mrs. Vincent, as she saw them coming,
was pleased to see, as she expected, the brightness of Rosy's face
reflected in Beata's.

"Mother," whispered Rosy, "I didn't say anything to Bee about her
perhaps getting one too. It was better not, wasn't it? It would be
nicer to be a surprise."

"Yes, I think it would. Any way it is better to say nothing about it
just yet, as we are not at all _sure_ of it, you know. Does Bee
think the beads very pretty, Rosy?"

"_Very_," said Rosy, "but she isn't the least _bit_ vexed
for me to have them and not her. She's _quite_ happy, mamma."

"She's a dear child," said Mrs. Vincent, "and so are you, my Rosy,
when you let yourself _be_ your best self. Rosy," she went on, "I
have a sort of feeling that this pretty necklace will be a kind of
_talisman_ to you--perhaps it is silly of me to say it, but the
idea came into my mind--I was so glad that you offered to give it up
to Bee, and I am so glad for you really to see for yourself how sweet
and unselfish Bee is about it. Do you know what a talisman is?"

"Yes, mamma," said Rosy, with great satisfaction. "Papa explained it
to me one day when I read it in a book. It is a kind of charm, isn't
it, mamma?--a kind of nice fairy charm. You mean that I should be so
pleased with the necklace, mamma, that it should make me feel happy
and good whenever I see it, and that I should remember, too, how nice
Bee has been about it."

"Yes, dear," said her mother. "If it makes you feel like that, it
_will_ be a talisman."

And feeling remarkably pleased with herself and everybody else, Rosy
ran off.

Mr. Furnivale left the next day, but not without promises of another
visit before very long.

"When Cecy will come with you," said Mrs. Vincent.

"And give her my bestest love," said Fixie.

"Yes, indeed, my little man," said Mr. Furnivale, "and I'll tell her
too that she would scarcely know you again--so fat and rosy!"

"And my love, please," said Beata, "I would _so_ like to see her
again."

"And mine," added Rosy. "And please tell her how _dreadfully_
pleased I am with the beads."

And then the kind old gentleman drove away.

For some time after this it really seemed as if Rosy's mother's half
fanciful idea was coming true. There was such a great improvement in
Rosy--she seemed so much happier in herself, and to care so much more
about making other people happy too.

"I really think the necklace _is_ a talisman," said Mrs. Vincent,
laughing, to Rosy's father one day.

Not that Rosy always wore it. It was kept for dress occasions, but to
her great delight her mother let her take care of it herself, instead
of putting it away with the gold chain and locket her aunt had given
her on her last birthday, and the pearl ring her other godmother had
sent her, which was much too large for her small fingers at present,
and her ivory-bound prayer-book, and various other treasures to be
enjoyed by her when she should be "a big girl." And many an hour the
children amused themselves with the lovely beads, examining them till
they knew every one separately. They even, I believe, had a name for
each, and Fixie had a firm belief that inside each crystal ball a
little fairy dwelt, and that every moonlight night all these fairies
came out and danced about Rosy's room, though he never could manage to
keep awake to see them.

Altogether, there was no end to the pretty fancies and amusement which
the children got from "Mr. Furniture's present."



CHAPTER VIII.

HARD TO BEAR.


 "Give unto me, made lowly-wise,
 The spirit of self-sacrifice."
          --ODE TO DUTY.

For some weeks things went on very happily. Of course there were
little troubles among the children sometimes, but compared with a
while ago the nursery was now a very comfortable and peaceful place.

Martha was quietly pleased, but she had too much sense to say much
about it. Miss Pink was so delighted, that if Bee had not been a
modest and sensible little girl, Miss Pink's over praise of her, as
the cause of all this improvement, might have undone all the good. Not
that Miss Pink was not ready to praise Rosy too, and in a way that
would have done her no good either, if Rosy had cared enough for her
to think much of her praise or her blame. But one word or look even
from her mother was getting to be more to Rosy than all the
good-natured little governess's chatter; a nice smile from Martha
even, she felt to mean _really_ more, and one of Beata's sweet,
bright kisses would sometimes find its way straight to Rosy's queerly
hidden-away heart.

"You see, Rosy, it _does_ get easier," Bee ventured to say one
day. She looked up a little anxiously to see how Rosy would take it,
for since the night she had found Rosy sobbing in bed they had never
again talked together quite so openly. Indeed, Rosy was not a person
whose confidence was easy to gain. But she was honest--that was the
best of her.

She looked up quickly when Bee spoke.

"Yes," she said, "I think it's getting easier. But you see, Bee, there
have only been nice things lately. If anything was to come to vex me
very much, I daresay it would be just like it used to be again.
There's not even been Colin to tease me for a long time!"

Rosy's way of talking of herself puzzled Bee, though she couldn't
quite explain it. It was right, she knew, for Rosy not to feel too
sure of herself, but still she went too far that way. She almost
talked as if she had nothing to do with her own faults, that they must
come or not come like rainy days.

"What are you thinking, Bee?" she said, as Bee did not answer at once.

"I can't tell you quite how I mean, for I don't know it myself," said
Bee. "Only I think you are a little wrong. You should try to say, 'If
things come to vex me, I'll _try_ not to be vexed.'"

Rosy shook her head.

"No," she said, "I can't say that, for I don't think I should
_want_ to try," and Beata felt she could not say any more, only
she very much hoped that things to vex Rosy would _not_ come!

The first thing at all out of the common that did come was, or was
going to be, perhaps I should say, a very nice thing. A note came one
day to Rosy's mother to say that a lady, a friend of hers living a few
miles off, wanted to see her, to talk over a plan she had in her head
for a birthday treat to her two little daughters. These two children
were twins; they were a little younger than Rosy, and she did not know
them _very_ well, as they lived some way off; but Mrs. Vincent
had often wished they could meet oftener, as they were very nice and
good children.

And when Lady Esther had been, and had had her talk with Rosy's
mother, she looked in at the schoolroom a moment in passing, and
kissed the little girls, smiling, and seeming very pleased, for she
was so kind that nothing pleased her so much as to give pleasure to
others.

"Your mother will tell you what we have been settling," she said,
nodding her head and looking very mysterious.

And that afternoon Mrs. Vincent told the children all about it. Lady
Esther was going to have a fête for the twins' birthday--a
garden-fête, for it was to be hoped by that time the weather could be
counted upon, and all the children were to have fancy dresses! That
was to be the best fun of it all. Not very grand or expensive dresses,
and nothing which would make them uncomfortable, or prevent their
running about freely. Lady Esther's idea was that the children should
be dressed in _sets_, which would look very pretty when they came
into the big hall to dance before leaving. Lady Esther had proposed
that Rosy and Bee should be dressed as the pretty French queen, Marie
Antoinette, whom no doubt you have heard of, and her sister-in-law the
good princess, Madame Elizabeth. Fixie was to be the little prince,
and Lady Esther's youngest little girl the young princess, while the
twins were to be two maids of honour. But Rosy's mother had said she
would like better for her little girls to be the maids of honour, and
the twins to be the queen and princess, which seemed quite right, as
the party was to be in their house. And so it was settled.

A few days later Lady Esther sent over sketches of the dresses she
proposed to have, and the children were greatly pleased and
interested.

"May I wear my beads, mamma?" asked Rosy.

Mrs. Vincent smiled.

"I daresay you can," she said, and Rosy clapped her hands with
delight, and everything seemed as happy as possible.

"But remember," said Mrs. Vincent, "it is still quite a month off. Do
not talk or think about it _too_ much, or you will tire yourselves
out in fancy before the real pleasure comes."

This was good advice. Bee tried to follow it by doing her lessons as
usual, and giving the same attention to them. But Rosy, with some of
her old self-will, would not leave off talking about the promised
treat. She was tiresome and careless at her lessons, and Miss Pink was
not firm enough to check her. Morning, noon, and night, Rosy went on
about the fete, most of all about the dresses, till Bee sometimes
wished the birthday treat had never been thought of, or at least that
Rosy had never been told of it.

One morning when the children came down to see Mr. and Mrs. Vincent at
their breakfast, which they often were allowed to do, though they
still had their own breakfast earlier than the big people, in the
nursery with Martha, Beata noticed that Rosy's mother looked grave and
rather troubled. Bee took no notice of it, however, except that when
she kissed her, she said softly,

"Are you not quite well, auntie?" for so Rosy's mother liked her to
call her.

"Oh yes, dear, I am quite well," she answered, though rather wearily,
and a few minutes after, when Mr. Vincent had gone out to speak to
some of the servants, she called Rosy and Bee to come to her.

"Rosy and Bee," she said kindly but gravely, "do you remember my
advising you not to talk or to think too much about Lady Esther's
treat?"

"Yes," said Bee, and "Yes," said Rosy, though in a rather sulky tone
of voice.

"Well, then, I should not have had to remind you both of my advice. I
am really sorry to have to find fault about anything to do with the
birthday party. I wanted it to have been nothing but pleasure to you.
But Miss Pink has told me she does not know what to do with you--that
you are so careless and inattentive, and constantly chattering about
Lady Esther's plan, and that at last she felt she must tell me."

Bee felt her cheeks grow red. Mrs. Vincent thought she felt ashamed,
but it was not shame. Poor Bee, she had _never_ before felt as
she did just now. It was not true--how could Miss Pink have said so of
her? She knew it was not true, and the words, "I _haven't_ been
careless--I did do just what you said," were bursting out of her lips
when she stopped. What good would it do to defend herself except to
make Mrs. Vincent more vexed with Rosy, and to cause fresh bad
feelings in Rosy's heart? Would it not be better to say nothing, to
bear the blame, rather than lose the kind feelings that Rosy was
getting to have to her? All these thoughts were running through her
mind, making her feel rather puzzled and confused, for Bee did not
always see things very quickly; she needed to think them over, when,
to her surprise, Rosy looked up.

"It isn't true," she said, not very respectfully it must be owned, "it
isn't true that Bee has been careless. If Miss Pink thinks telling
stories about Bee will make me any better, she's very silly, and I
shall just not care what she says about anything."

"Rosy," said Mrs. Vincent sternly, "you shall care what _I_ say.
Go to your room and stay there, and you, Beata, go to yours. I am
surprised that you should encourage Rosy in her naughty contradiction,
for it is nothing else that makes her speak so of what Miss Pink felt
obliged to say of you."

Rosy turned away with the cool sullen manner that had not been seen
for some time. Bee, choking with sobs--never, _never_, she said
to herself, not even when her mother went away, had she felt so
miserable, never had Aunt Lillias spoken to her like that before--poor
Bee rushed off to her room, and shutting the door, threw herself on
the floor and wondered _what_ she should do!

Mrs. Vincent, if she had only known it, was nearly as unhappy as she.
It was not often she allowed herself to feel worried and vexed, as she
had felt that morning, but everything had seemed to go wrong--Miss
Pink's complaints, which were _not_ true, about Bee had really
grieved her. For Miss Pink had managed to make it seem that it was
mostly Bee's fault---and she had said little things which had made
Mrs. Vincent really unhappy about Bee being so very sweet and good
before people, but not _really_ so good when one saw more of her.

Mrs. Vincent would not let Miss Pink see that she minded what she
said; she would hardly own it to herself. But for all that it had left
a sting.

"_Can_ I have been mistaken in Bee?" was the thought that kept
coming into her mind. For Miss Pink had mixed up truth with untruths.

"_Rosy,_" she had said, "whatever her faults, is so very honest,"
which her mother knew to be true, but Mrs. Vincent did not--for she
was too honest herself to doubt other people--see that Miss Pink liked
better to throw the blame on Bee, not out of ill-will to Bee, but
because she was so very afraid that if there was any more trouble
about Rosy, she would have to leave off being her governess.

Then this very morning too had brought a letter from Rosy's aunt,
proposing a visit for the very next week, accompanied, of course, by
the maid who had done Rosy so much harm! Poor Mrs. Vincent--it really
was trying--and she did not even like to tell Rosy's father how much
she dreaded his sister's visit. For Aunt Edith had meant and wished to
be so truly kind to Rosy that it seemed ungrateful not to be glad to
see her.

Rosy and Bee were left in their rooms till some time later than the
usual school-hour, for Mrs. Vincent, wanting them to think over what
she had said, told Miss Pink to give Fixie his lessons first, and
then, before sending for the little girls to come down, she had a talk
with Miss Pink.

"I have spoken to both Rosy and Bee very seriously, and told them of
your complaints," she said.

Miss Pink grew rather red and looked uncomfortable.

"I should be sorry for them to think I complained out of any
unkindness," she said.

"It is not unkindness. It is only telling the truth to answer me when
I ask how they have been getting on," said Mrs. Vincent, rather
coldly. "Besides I myself saw how very badly Rosy's exercises were
written. I am very disappointed about Beata," she added, looking Miss
Pink straight in the face, and it seemed to her that the little
governess grew again red. "I can only hope they will both do better
now."

Then Rosy and Bee were sent for. Rosy came in with a hard look on her
face. Bee's eyes were swollen with crying, and she seemed as if she
dared not look at her aunt, but she said nothing. Mrs. Vincent
repeated to them what she had just said about hoping they would do
better.

"I will do my best," said Beata tremblingly, for she felt as if
another word would make her burst out crying again.

"Oh, I am sure they are both going to be very good little girls now,"
said Miss Pink, in her silly, fussy way, as if she was in a hurry to
change the subject, which indeed she was.

Bee raised her poor red eyes, and looked at her quietly, and Mrs.
Vincent saw the look. Rosy, who had not yet spoken, muttered
something, but so low that nobody could quite hear it; only the words
"stories" and "not true" were heard.

"Rosy," said her mother very severely, "be silent!" and soon after she
left the room.

The schoolroom party was not a very cheerful one this morning, but
things went on quietly. Miss Pink was plainly uncomfortable, and made
several attempts to make friends, as it were, with Bee. Bee answered
gently, but that was all, and as soon as lessons were over she went
quietly upstairs.

Two days after, Miss Vincent arrived. Rosy was delighted to hear she
was coming, and her pleasure in it seemed to make her forget about
Bee's undeserved troubles. So poor Bee had to try to forget them
herself. Her lessons were learnt and written without a fault--it was
impossible for Miss Pink to find anything to blame; and indeed she did
not wish to do so, or to be unkind, to Beata, so long as things went
smoothly with Rosy. And for these two days everything was very smooth.
Rosy did not want to be in disgrace when her aunt came, and she, too,
did her best, so that the morning of the day when Miss Vincent was
expected, Miss Pink told the children, with a most amiable face, that
she would be able to give a very good report of them to Rosy's mother.

Bee said nothing. Rosy, turning round, saw the strange, half-sad look
on Bee's face, and it came back into her mind how unhappy her little
friend had been, and how little she had deserved to be so. And in her
heart, too, Rosy knew that in reality it was owing to _her_ that
Beata had suffered, and a sudden feeling of sorrow rushed over her,
and, to Miss Pink's and Bee's astonishment, she burst out,

"You may say what you like of me to mamma, Miss Pink. It is true I
have done my lessons well for two days, and it is true I did them
badly before. But if you can't tell the truth about Bee, it would be
much better for you to say nothing at all."

Miss Pink grew pinker than usual, and she was opening her lips to
speak, when Beata interrupted her.

"Don't say anything, Miss Pink," she said. "It's no good. _I_
have said nothing, and--and I'll try to forget--you know what. I don't
want there to be any more trouble. It doesn't matter for me. O Rosy
dear," she went on entreatingly, "_don't_ say anything more that
might make more trouble, and vex your mamma with you, just as your
aunt's coming. Oh, _don't_."

She put her arms round Rosy as if she would have held her back, Rosy
only looking half convinced. But in her heart Rosy _was_ very
anxious not to be in any trouble when her aunt came. She didn't quite
explain to herself why. Some of the reasons were good, and some were
not very good. One of the best was, I think, that she didn't want her
mother to be more vexed, or to have the fresh vexation of her aunt
seeming to think--as she very likely would, if there was any excuse
for it--that Rosy was less good under her mother's care than she had
been in Miss Vincent's.

Rosy was learning truly to love, and what, for her nature, was almost
of more consequence, really to _trust_ her mother, and a feeling
of _loyalty_--if you know what that beautiful word means, dear
children,--I hope you do--was beginning for the first time to grow in
her cross-grained, suspicious little heart. Then, again, for her own
sake, Rosy wished all to be smooth when her aunt and Nelson arrived,
which was not a _bad_ feeling, if not a very good or unselfish
one. And then, again, she did not want to have any trouble connected
with Bee. She knew her Aunt Edith had not liked the idea of Bee
coming, and that if she fancied the little stranger was the cause of
any worry to her darling she would try to get her sent away. And Rosy
did not now _at all_ want Bee to be sent away!

These different feelings were all making themselves heard rather
confusedly in her heart, and she hardly knew what to answer to Bee's
appeal, when Miss Pink came to the rescue.

"Bee is right, Rosy," she said, her rather dolly-looking face flushing
again. "It is much better to leave things. You may trust me to--to
speak very kindly of--of you _both_. And if I was--at all
mistaken in what I said of you the other day, Bee--perhaps you had
been trying more than I--than I gave you credit for--I'm very sorry.
If I can say anything to put it right, I will. But it is very
difficult to--to tell things quite correctly sometimes. I had been
worried and vexed, and then Mrs. Vincent rather startled me by asking
me about you, Rosy, and by something she said about my not managing
you well. And--oh, I don't know _what_ we would do, my mother and
I, if I lost this nice situation!" she burst out suddenly, forgetting
everything else in her distress. "And poor mamma has been _so_
ill lately, I've often scarcely slept all night. I daresay I've been
cross sometimes"--and Miss Pink finished up by bursting into tears.
Her distress gave the finishing touch to Bee's determination to bear
the undeserved blame.

"No, poor Miss Pink," she said, running round to the little
governess's side of the table, "I _don't_ think you are cross. I
shouldn't mind if you were a little sometimes. And I know we are often
troublesome--aren't we, Rosy?" Rosy gave a little grunt, which was a
good deal for her, and showed that her feelings, too, were touched.
"But just then I _had_ been trying. Aunt Lillias had spoken to us
about it, and I _did_ want to please her"--and the unbidden tears
rose to Bee's eyes. "Please, Miss Pink, don't think I don't know when
I _am_ to blame, but--but you won't speak that way of me another
time when I've not been to blame." A sort of smothered sob here came
from Miss Pink, as a match to Rosy's grunt. "And _please_," Bee
went on, "don't say _anything_ more about that time to Aunt
Lillias. It's done now, and it would only make fresh trouble."

That it would make trouble for _her_, Miss Pink felt convinced,
and she was not very difficult to persuade to take Bee's advice.

"It would indeed bring _me_ trouble," she thought, as she walked
home more slowly than usual that the fresh air might take away the
redness from her eyes before her mother saw her. "I know Mrs. Vincent
would never forgive me if she thought I had exaggerated or
misrepresented. I'm sure I didn't want to blame Bee; but I was so
startled; and Mrs. Vincent seemed to think so much less of it when I
let her suppose they had _both_ been careless and tiresome. But
it has been a lesson to me. And Beata is _very_ good. I could
never say a word against her again."

Miss Vincent arrived, and with her, of course, her maid Nelson.
Everything went off most pleasantly the first evening. Aunt Edith
seemed delighted to see Rosy again, and that was only kind and
natural. And she said to every one how well Rosy was looking, and how
much she was grown, and said, too, how nice it was for her to have a
companion of her own age. She had been so pleased to hear about little
Miss Warwick from Cecy Furnivale, whom she had seen lately.

Bee stared rather at this. She hardly knew herself under the name of
little Miss Warwick; but she answered Miss Vincent's questions in her
usual simple way, and told Rosy, when they went up to bed, that she
did not wonder she loved her aunt--she seemed so very kind.

"Yes," said Rosy. Then she sat still for a minute or two, as if she
was thinking over something very deeply. "I don't think I'd like to go
back to live with auntie," she said at last.

"To leave your mother! No, _of course_ you wouldn't," exclaimed
Bee, as if there could be no doubt about the matter.

"But I did think once I would," said Rosy, nodding her head--"I did."

"I don't believe you really did," said Bee calmly. "Perhaps you
_thought_ you did when you were vexed about something."

"Well, I don't see much difference between wanting a thing, and
_thinking_ you want it," said Rosy.

This was one of the speeches which Bee did not find it very easy to
answer all at once, so she told Rosy she would think it over in her
dreams, for she was very sleepy, and she was sure Aunt Lillias would
be vexed if they didn't go to bed quickly.



CHAPTER IX.

THE HOLE IN THE FLOOR.


  "And the former called the latter 'little Prig.'"--EMERSON.

"And how well that sweet child is looking, Nelson," said Miss Vincent
that evening to her maid as she was brushing her hair.

"I am glad you think so, ma'am," replied Nelson, in a rather queer
tone of voice.

"Why, what do you mean?" said Miss Vincent. "Do _you_ not think
so? To be sure it was by candlelight, and I am very near-sighted, but
I don't think any one could say that she looks ill. She is both taller
and stouter."

"Perhaps so, ma'am. I wasn't thinking so much of her healthfulness.
With the care that _was_ taken of her, she couldn't but be a fine
child. But it's her _feelin's_, ma'am, that seems to be so
changed. All her spirits, her lovely high spirits, gone! Why, this
evening, that Martha--or whatever they call her--a' upsetting thing
_I_ call her--spoke to her that short about having left the
nursery door open because Master Fixie chose to fancy he was cold,
that I wonder any young lady would take it. And Miss Rosy, bless her,
up she got and shut it as meek as meek, and 'I'm very sorry, Martha--I
forgot,' she said. I couldn't believe my ears. I could have cried to
see her so kept down like. And she's so quiet and so grave."

"She is certainly quieter than she used to be," said Miss Vincent,
"but surely she can't be unhappy. She would have told me--and I
thought it was so nice for her to have that little companion."

"Umph," said Nelson. She had a way of her own of saying "umph" that it
is impossible to describe. Then in a minute or two she went on again.
"Well, ma'am, you know I'm one as must speak my mind. And the truth is
I _don't_ like that Miss Bee, as they call her, at all. She's far
too good, by way of being too good, I mean, for a child. Give me Miss
Rosy's tempers and fidgets--I'd rather have them than those
smooth-faced ways. And she's come round Miss Rosy somehow. Why, ma'am,
you'd hardly believe it, she'd hardly a word for me when she first saw
me. It was 'Good-evening, Nelson. How do you do?' as cool like as
could be. And it was all that Miss Bee's doing. I saw Miss Rosy look
round at her like to see what she thought of it."

"Well, well, Nelson," said Miss Vincent, quite vexed and put out, "I
don't see what is to be done. We can't take the child away from her
own parents. All the same, I'm very glad to have come to see for
myself, and if I find out anything not nice about that child, I shall
stand upon no ceremony, I assure you," and with this Nelson had to be
content.

It was true that Rosy had met Nelson very coldly. As I have told you
before, Rosy was by no means clever at _pretending_, and a very
good thing it is _not_ to be so. She had come to take a dislike
to Nelson, and to wonder how she could ever have been so under her.
Especially now that she was learning to love and trust Beata, she did
not like to let her know how many wrong and jealous ideas Nelson had
put in her head, and so before Beata she was very cold to the maid.
But in this Rosy was wrong. Nelson had taught her much that had done
her harm, but still she had been, or had meant to be, very good and
kind to Rosy, and Rosy owed her for this real gratitude. It was a
pity, too, for Bee's sake that Rosy had been so cold and stiff to
Nelson, for on Bee, Nelson laid all the blame of it, and the harm did
not stop here, as you will see.

Miss Vincent never got up early, and the next morning passed as usual.
But she sent for Rosy to come to her room while she was dressing,
after the morning lessons were over, which prevented the two little
girls having their usual hour's play in the garden, and Beata wandered
about rather sadly, feeling as if Rosy was being taken away from her.
At luncheon Rosy came in holding her aunt's hand and looking very
pleased.

"You don't know what lovely things auntie's been giving me," she said
to Bee as she passed her. "And Nelson's making me such a
_beautiful_ apron--the newest fashion."

Nelson had managed to get into Rosy's favour again--that was clear.
Beata did not think this to herself. She was too simple and
kind-hearted to think anything except that it was natural for Rosy to
be glad to see her old nurse again, though Bee had a feeling somehow
that she didn't much care for Nelson and that Nelson didn't care for
her!

"By-the-bye, Rosy," said Mrs. Vincent, in the middle of luncheon, "did
you show your aunt your Venetian beads?"

"Yes," said Miss Vincent, answering for Rosy, "she did, and great
beauties they are."

"_Nelson_ didn't think so--at least not at first," said Rosy,
rather spitefully. She had always had a good deal of spite at Nelson,
even long ago, when Nelson had had so much power of her. "Nelson said
they were glass trash, till auntie explained to her."

"She didn't understand what they were," said Miss Vincent, seeming a
little annoyed. "She thinks them beautiful now."

"Yes _now_, because she knows they must have cost a lot of
money," persisted Rosy. "Nelson never thinks anything pretty that
doesn't cost a lot."

These remarks were not pleasant to Miss Vincent. She knew that Mrs.
Vincent thought Nelson too free in her way of speaking, and she did
not like any of her rather impertinent sayings to be told over.

"Certainly," she thought to herself, "I think it is quite a mistake
that Rosy is too much kept down," but just as she was thinking this,
Rosy's mother looked up and said to her quietly, "Rosy, I don't think
you should talk so much. And you, Bee, are almost too silent!" she
added, smiling at Beata, for she had a feeling that since Miss
Vincent's arrival Bee looked rather lonely.

"Yes," said Rosy's aunt, "we don't hear your voice at all, Miss Beata.
You're not like my chatter-box Rosy, who always must say out what she
thinks."

The words sounded like a joke--there was nothing in them to vex Bee,
but something in the tone in which they were said made the little girl
grow red and hot.

"I--I was listening to all of you," she said quietly. She was anxious
to say something, not to seem to Mrs. Vincent as if she was cross or
vexed.

"Yes," said Rosy's mother. "Rosy and her aunt have a great deal to say
to each other after being so long without meeting," and Miss Vincent
looked pleased at this, as Rosy's mother meant her to be.

"By-the-bye," continued Mrs. Vincent, "has Rosy told you all about the
fête there is going to be at Summerlands?" Summerlands was the name of
Lady Esther's house.

"Oh yes," said Miss Vincent, "and very charming it will be, no doubt,
only _I_ should have liked my pet to be the queen, as she tells
me was at first proposed."

This was what Mrs. Vincent thought one of Aunt Edith's silly speeches,
and Rosy could not help wishing when she heard it that she had not
told her aunt that her being the queen had been thought of at all. She
looked a little uncomfortable, and her mother, glancing at her,
understood her feelings and felt sorry for her.

"I think it is better as it is," she said. "Would you like to hear
about the dresses Rosy and Bee are to wear?" she went on. "I think
they will be very pretty. Lady Esther has ordered them in London with
her own little girls'." And then she told Miss Vincent all about the
dresses, so that Rosy's uncomfortable feeling went away, and she felt
grateful to her mother.

After luncheon the little girls went out together in the garden.

"I'm so glad to be together again," said Bee, "it seems to me as if I
had hardly seen you to-day, Rosy."

"What nonsense!" said Rosy. "Why, I was only in auntie's room for
about a quarter of an hour after Miss Pink went."

"A quarter of an hour," said Bee. "No indeed, Rosy. You were more than
an hour, I am sure. I was reading to Fixie in the nursery, for he's
got a cold and he mayn't go out, and you don't know what a great lot I
read. And oh, Rosy, Fixie wants so to know if he may have your beads
this afternoon, just to hold in his hand and look at. He can't hurt
them."

"Very well," said Rosy. "He may have them for half an hour or so, but
not longer."

"Shall I go and give them to him now?" said Bee, ready to run off.

"Oh no, he won't need them just yet. Let's have a run first. Let's see
which of us will get to the middle bush first--you go right and I'll
go left."

This race round the lawn was a favourite one with the children. They
were playing merrily, laughing and calling to each other, when a
messenger was seen coming to them from the house. It was Samuel the
footman.

"Miss Rosy," he said as he came within hearing, "you must please to
come in _at onst_. Miss Vincent is going a drive and you are to
go with her."

"Oh!" exclaimed Rosy, "I don't think I want to go."

"I think you must," said Bee, though she could not help sighing a
little.

"Miss Vincent is going to Summerlands," said Samuel.

"Oh, then I _do_ want to go," said Rosy. "Never mind, Bee--I wish
you were going too. But I'll tell you all I hear about the party when
I come' back. But I'm sorry you're not going."

She kissed Bee as she ran off. This was a good deal more than Rosy
would have done some weeks ago, and Bee, feeling this, tried to be
content. But the garden seemed dull and lonely after Rosy had gone,
and once or twice the tears would come into Bee's eyes.

"After all," she said to herself, "those little girls are much the
happiest who can always live with their own mammas and have sisters
and brothers of their own, and then there can't be strange aunts who
are not their aunts." But then she thought to herself how much better
it was for her than for many little girls whose mothers had to be away
and who were sent to school, where they had no such kind friend as
Mrs. Vincent.

"I'll go in and read to Fixie," she then decided, and she made her way
to the house.

Passing along the passage by the door of Rosy's room, it came into her
mind that she might as well get the beads for Fixie which Rosy had
given leave for. She went in--the room was rather in confusion, for
Rosy had been dressing in a hurry for her drive--but Bee knew where
the beads were kept, and, opening the drawer, she found them easily.
She was going away with them in her hand when a sharp voice startled
her. It was Nelson. Bee had not noticed that she was in a corner of
the room hanging up some of Rosy's things, for, much to Martha's
vexation, Nelson was very fond of coming into Rosy's room and helping
her to dress.

"What are you doing in Miss Rosy's drawers?" said Nelson; and Bee,
from surprise at her tone and manner, felt herself get red, and her
voice trembled a little as she answered.

"I was getting something for Master Fixie--something for him to play
with." And she held up the necklace.

Nelson looked at her still in a way that was not at all nice. "And who
said you might?" she said next.

"Rosy--_of course_, Miss Rosy herself," said Bee, opening her
eyes, "I would not take anything of hers without her leave."

Nelson gave a sort of grunt. But she had an ill-will at the pretty
beads, because she had called them rubbish, not knowing what they
were; so she said nothing more, and Bee went quietly away, not hearing
the words Nelson muttered to herself, "Sly little thing. I don't like
those quiet ways."

When Bee got to the nursery, she was very glad she had come. Fixie was
sitting in a corner looking very desolate, for Martha was busy looking
over the linen, as it was Saturday, and his head was "a'ting
dedfully," he said. He brightened up when he saw Bee and what she had
brought, and for more than an hour the two children sat perfectly
happy and content examining the wonderful beads, and making up little
fanciful stories about the fairies who were supposed to live in them.
Then when Fixie seemed to have had enough of the beads, Bee and he
took them back to Rosy's room and put them carefully away, and then
returned to the nursery, where they set to work to make a house with
the chairs and Fixie's little table. The nursery was not carpeted all
over--that is to say, round the edge of the room the wood of the floor
was left bare, for this made it more easy to lift the carpet often and
shake it on the grass, which is a very good thing, especially in a
nursery. The house was an old one, and so the wood floor was not very
pretty; here and there it was rather uneven, and there were queer
cracks in it.

"See, Bee," said Fixie, while they were making their house, "see what
a funny place I've found in the f'oor," and he pointed to a small,
dark, round hole. It was made by what is called a knot in the wood
having dried up and dropped out long, long ago probably, for, as I
told you, the house was very old.

"What is there down there, does you fink?" said Fixie, looking up at
Bee and then down again at the mysterious hole. "Does it go down into
the middle of the world, p'raps?"

Beata laughed.

"Oh no, Fixie, not so far as that, I am sure," she said. "At the most,
it can't go farther than the ceiling of the room underneath."

Fixie looked puzzled, and Bee explained to him that there was a small
space left behind the wood planking which make the floor of one room
and the thinner boards which are the ceiling of an under room.

[Illustration: 'WHAT IS THERE DOWN THERE, DOES YOU FINK?' SAID FIXIE]

"The ceiling doesn't need to be so strong, you see," she said. "We
don't walk and jump on the ceiling, but we do on the floor, so the
ceiling boards would not be strong enough for the floor."

"Yes," said Fixie, "on'y the flies walks on the ceiling, and they's
not very heavy, is they, Bee? But," he went on, "I would like to see
down into this hole. If I had a long piece of 'ting I could
_fish_ down into it, couldn't I, Bee? You don't fink there's
anything dedful down there, do you? Not fogs or 'nakes?"

"No," said Bee, "I'm sure there are no frogs or snakes. There
_might_ be some little mice."

"Is mice the same as mouses?" said Fixie; and when Bee nodded, "Why
don't you say mouses then?" he asked, "it's a much samer word."

"But I didn't make the words," said Bee, "one has to use them the way
that's counted right."

But Fixie seemed rather grumbly and cross.

"_I_ like mouses," he persisted; and so, to change his ideas, Bee
went on talking about the knot hole. "We might get a stick to-morrow,"
she said, "and poke it down to see how far it would go."

"Not a 'tick," said Fixie, "it would hurt the little mouses. I didn't
say a 'tick--I said a piece of 'ting. I fink you'se welly unkind, Bee,
to hurt the poor little mouses," and he grew so very doleful about it
that Bee was quite glad when Martha called them to tea.

"I don't know what's the matter with Fixie," she said to Martha, in a
low voice.

"He's not very well," said Martha, looking at her little boy
anxiously. But tea seemed to do Fixie good, and he grew brighter
again, so that Martha began to think there could not be much wrong.

Nursery tea was long over before Rosy came home, and so she stayed
down in the drawing-room to have some with her mother and aunt. And
even after that she did not come back to the other children, but went
into her aunt's room to look over some things they had bought in the
little town they had passed, coming home. She just put her head in at
the nursery door, seeming in very high spirits, and called out to Bee
that she would tell her how nice it had been at Summerlands.

But the evening went on. Fixie grew tired and cross, and Martha put
him to bed; and it was not till nearly the big people's dinner-time
that Rosy came back to the nursery, swinging her hat on her arm, and
looking rather untidy and tired too. "I think I'll go to bed," she
said. "It makes me feel funny in my head, driving so far."

"Let me put away your hat, Miss Rosy," said Martha, "it's getting all
crushed and it's your best one."

"Oh, bother," said Rosy, and the tone was like the Rosy of some months
ago. "What does it matter? _You_ won't have to pay for a new
one."

Martha said nothing, but quietly put away the hat, which had fallen on
the floor. Bee, too, said nothing, but her heart was full. She had
been alone, except for poor little Fixie, all the afternoon; and the
last hour or so she had been patiently waiting for Rosy to come to the
nursery to tell her, as she had promised, all her adventures.

"I'm going to bed," repeated Rosy.

"Won't you stay and talk a little?" said Bee; "you said you would tell
me about Summerlands."

"I'm too tired," said Rosy. Then suddenly she added, sharply, "What
were you doing in my drawers this afternoon?"

"In your drawers?" repeated Bee, half stupidly, as it were. She was
not, as I have told you, very quick in catching up a meaning; she was
thoughtful and clear-headed but rather slow, and when any one spoke
sharply it made her still slower. "In your drawers, Rosy?" she said
again, for, for a moment, she forgot about having fetched the
necklace.

"Yes," said Rosy, "you were in my drawers, for Nelson told me. She
said I wasn't to tell you she'd told me, but I told her I would. I
don't like mean ways. But I'd just like to know what you were doing
among my things."

It all came back to Bee now.

"I only went to fetch the beads for Fixie," she said, her voice
trembling. "You said I might."

"And did you put them back again? And did you not touch anything
else?" Rosy went on.

"Of course I put them back, and--_of course_ I didn't touch
anything else," exclaimed Bee. "Rosy, how can you, how dare you speak
to me like that? As if I would steal your things. You have no
_right_ to speak that way, and Nelson is a bad, horrible woman. I
will tell your mother all about it to-morrow morning."

And bursting into tears, Beata ran out of the nursery to take refuge
in her own room. Nor would she come out or speak to Rosy when she
knocked at the door and begged her to do so. But she let Martha in to
help her to undress, and listened gently to the good nurse's advice
not to take Miss Rosy's unkindness to heart.

"She's sorry for it already," said Martha. "And, though perhaps I
shouldn't say it, you can see for yourself, Miss Bee dear, that it's
not herself, as one may say." And Martha gave a sigh. "I'm sorry for
Miss Rosy's mamma," she added, as she bid Bee good-night. And the
words went home to Bee's loving, grateful little heart. It was very
seldom, very seldom indeed, that unkind or ungentle thoughts or
feelings rested there. Never hardly in all her life had Beata given
way to anger as she had done that afternoon.



CHAPTER X.

STINGS FOR BEE.


 "And I will look up the chimney,
 And into the cupboard to make quite sure."
          --AUTHOR OF LILLIPUT LEVEE.

Fixie was not quite well the next morning, as Martha had hoped he
would be. Still he did not seem ill enough to stay in bed, so she
dressed him as usual. But at breakfast he rested his head on his hand,
looking very doleful, "very sorry for himself," as Scotch people say.
And Martha, though she tried to cheer him up, was evidently anxious.

Mother came up to see him after breakfast, and she looked less uneasy
than Martha.

"It's only a cold, I fancy," she said, but when Martha followed her
out of the room and reminded her of all the children's illnesses Fixie
had _not_ had, and which often look like a cold at the beginning,
she agreed that it might be better to send for the doctor.

"Have you any commissions for Blackthorpe?" she said to Miss Vincent
when she, Aunt Edith, came down to the drawing-room, a little earlier
than usual that morning. "I am going to send to ask the doctor to come
and see Fixie."

Aunt Edith had already heard from Nelson about Felix not being well,
and that was why she had got up earlier, for she was in a great
fright.

"I am thankful to hear it," she said; "for there is no saying what his
illness may be going to be. But, Lillias, _of course_ you won't
let darling Rosy stay in the nursery."

"I hadn't thought about it," said Rosy's mother. "Perhaps I am a
little careless about these things, for you see all the years I was in
India I had only Fixie, and he was quite out of the way of infection.
Besides, Rosy has had measles and scarlet fever, and----"

"But not whooping-cough, or chicken-pox, or mumps, or even smallpox.
Who knows but what it may be smallpox," said Aunt Edith, working
herself up more and more.

Mrs. Vincent could hardly help smiling. "I _don't_ think that's
likely," she said. "However, I am glad you mentioned the risk, for I
think there is much more danger for Bee than for Rosy, for Bee, like
Fixie, has had none of these illnesses. I will go up to the nursery
and speak to Martha about it at once," and she turned towards the
door.

"But you will separate Rosy too," insisted Miss Vincent, "the dear
child can sleep in my room. Nelson will be only too delighted to have
her again."

"Thank you," said Rosy's mother rather coldly. She knew Nelson would
be only too glad to have the charge of Rosy, and to put into her head
again a great many foolish thoughts and fancies which she had hoped
Rosy was beginning to forget. "It will not be necessary to settle so
much till we hear what the doctor says. Of course I would not leave
Rosy with Fixie and Bee by herself. But for to-day they can stay in
the schoolroom, and I will ask Miss Pinkerton to remain later."

The doctor came in the afternoon, but he was not able to say much. It
would take, he said, a day or two to decide what was the matter with
the little fellow. But Fixie was put to bed, and Rosy and Bee were
told on no account to go into either of the nurseries. Fixie was not
sorry to go to bed; he had been so dull all the morning, playing by
himself in a comer of the nursery, but he cried a little when he was
told that Bee must not come and sit by him and read or tell him
stories as she always was ready to do when he was not quite well. And
Bee looked ready to cry too when she saw his distress!

It was not a very cheerful time. The children felt unsettled by being
kept out of their usual rooms and ways. Rosy was constantly running
off to her aunt's room, or to ask Nelson about something or other, and
Bee did not like to follow her, for she had an uncomfortable feeling
that neither Nelson nor her mistress liked her to come. Nelson was in
a very gloomy humour.

"It will be a sad pity to be sure," she said to Rosy, "if Master
Fixie's gone and got any sort of catching illness."

"How do you mean?" said Rosy. "It won't much matter except that Bee
and I can't go into the nursery or my room. Bee's room has a door out
into the other passage, I heard mamma saying we could sleep there if
the nursery door was kept locked. I think it would be fun to sleep in
Bee's room. I shouldn't mind."

Nelson grunted. She did not approve of Rosy's liking Beata.

"Ah, well," she said, "it isn't only your Aunt Edith that's afraid of
infection. If it's measles that Master Fixie's got, you won't go to
Lady Esther's party, Miss Rosy."

Rosy opened her eyes. "Not go to the party! we _must_ go," she
exclaimed, and before Nelson knew what she was about, off Rosy had
rushed to confide this new trouble to Bee, and hear what she would say
about it. Bee, too, looked grave, for her heart was greatly set on the
idea of the Summerlands fete.

"I don't know," she replied. "I hope dear little Fixie is not going to
be very ill. Any way, Rosy, I don't think Nelson should have said
that. Your mother would have told us herself if she had wanted us to
know it."

"Indeed," said a harsh voice behind her, "I don't require a little
chit like you, Miss Bee, to teach me my duty," and turning round,
Beata saw that Nelson was standing in the doorway, for she had
followed Rosy, a little afraid of the effect of what she had told her.
Bee felt sorry that Nelson had overheard what she had said, though
indeed there was no harm in it.

"I did not mean to vex you, Nelson," she said, "but I'm sure it is
better to wait till Aunt Lillias tells us herself."

Nelson looked very angry, and walked off in a huff, muttering
something the children could not catch.

"I wish you wouldn't always quarrel with Nelson," said Rosy crossly.
"She always gets on with _me_ quite well. I shall have to go and
get her into a good humour again, for I want her to finish my apron."

Rosy ran off, but Bee stayed alone, her eyes filled with tears.

"It _isn't_ my fault," she said to herself. "I don't know what to
do. Nothing is the same since they came. I'll write to mother and ask
her not to leave me here any longer. I'd rather be at school or
anywhere than stay here when they're all so unkind to me now."

But then wiser thoughts came into her mind. They weren't "all" unkind,
and she knew that Mrs. Vincent herself had troubles to bear.
Besides--what was it her mother had always said to her?--that it was
at such times that one's real wish to be good was tried; when all is
smooth and pleasant and every one kind and loving, what is easier than
to be kind and pleasant in return? It is when others are _not_
kind, but sharp and suspicious and selfish, that one _has_ to
"try" to return good for evil, gentleness for harshness, kind thoughts
and ways for the cold looks or angry words which one cannot help
feeling sadly, but which lose half their sting when not treasured up
and exaggerated by dwelling upon them.

And feeling happier again, Bee went back to what she was busy
at--making a little toy scrap-book for Fixie which she meant to send
in to him the next morning as if it had come by post. And she had need
of her good resolutions, for she hardly saw Rosy again all day, and
when they were going to bed Nelson came to help Rosy to undress and
went on talking to her so much all the time about people and places
Bee knew nothing about, that it was impossible for her to join in at
all. She kissed Rosy as kindly as usual when Nelson had left the room,
but it seemed to her that her kiss was very coldly returned.

"You're not vexed with me for anything, are you, Rosy?" she could not
help saying.

"Vexed with you? No, I never said I was vexed with you," Rosy
answered. "I wish you wouldn't go on like that, Bee, it's tiresome. I
can't be always kissing and petting you."

And that was all the comfort poor Bee could get to go to sleep with!

For a day or two still the doctor could not say what was wrong with
Fixie, but at last he decided that it was only a sort of feverish
attack brought on by his having somehow or other caught cold, for
there had been some damp and rainy weather, even though spring was now
fast turning into summer.

The little fellow had been rather weak and out of sorts for some time,
and as soon as he was better, Mrs. Vincent made up her mind to send
him off with Martha for a fortnight to a sheltered seaside village not
far from their home. Beata was very sorry to see them go. She almost
wished she was going with them, for though she had done her best to be
patient and cheerful, nothing was the same as before the coming of
Rosy's aunt. Rosy scarcely seemed to care to play with her at all. Her
whole time, when not at her lessons, was spent in her aunt's room,
generally with Nelson, who was never tired of amusing her and giving
in to all her fancies. Bee grew silent and shy. She was losing her
bright happy manner, and looked as if she no longer felt sure that she
was a welcome little guest. Mrs. Vincent saw the change in her, but
did not quite understand it, and felt almost inclined to be vexed with
her.

"She knows it is only for a short time that Rosy's aunt is here. She
might make the best of it," thought Mrs. Vincent. For she did not know
fully how lonely Bee's life now was, and how many cold or unkind words
she had to bear from Rosy, not to speak of Nelson's sharp and almost
rude manner; for, though Rosy was not cunning, Nelson was so, and she
managed to make it seem always as if Bee, and not Rosy, was in fault.

"Where is Bee?" said Mrs. Vincent one afternoon when she went into the
nursery, where, at this time of day, Nelson was now generally to be
found.

"I don't know, mamma," said Rosy. Then, without saying any more about
Bee, she went on eagerly, "Do look, mamma, at the lovely opera-cloak
Nelson has made for my doll? It isn't _quite_ ready--there's a
little white fluff----"

"Swansdown, Miss Rosy, darling," said Nelson.

"Well, swansdown then--it doesn't matter--mamma knows," said Rosy
sharply, "there's white stuff to go round the neck. Won't it be
lovely, mother?"

She looked up with her pretty face all flushed with pleasure, for
nobody could be prettier than Rosy when she was pleased.

"Yes dear, _very_ pretty," said her mother. It was impossible to
deny that Nelson was very kind and patient, and Mrs. Vincent would
have felt really pleased if only she had not feared that Nelson did
Rosy harm by her spoiling and flattery. "But where can Bee be?" she
said again. "Does she not care about dolls too?"

"She used to," said Rosy. "But Bee is very fond of being alone now,
mamma. And I don't care for her when she looks so gloomy."

"But what makes her so?" said Mrs. Vincent. "Are you quite kind to
her, Rosy?"

"Oh indeed, yes, ma'am," interrupted Nelson, without giving Rosy time
to answer. "Of that you may be very sure. Indeed many's the time I say
to myself Miss Rosy's patience is quite wonderful. Such a free,
outspoken young lady as she is, and Miss Bee _so_ different. I
don't like them secrety sort of children, and Miss Rosy feels it
too--she--"

"Nelson, I didn't ask for your opinion of little Miss Warwick," said
Mrs. Vincent, very coldly. "I know you are very kind to Rosy. But I
cannot have any interference when I find fault with her."

Nelson looked very indignant, but Mrs. Vincent's manner had something
in it which prevented her answering in any rude way.

"I'm sure I meant no offence," she said sourly, but that was all.

Beata was alone in the schoolroom, writing, or trying to write, to her
mother. Her letters, which used to be such a pleasure, had grown
difficult.

"Mamma said I was to write everything to her," she said to herself,
"but I _can't_ write to tell her I'm not happy. I wonder if it's
any way my fault."

Just then the door opened and Mrs. Vincent looked in.

"All alone, Bee," she said. "Would it not be more cheerful in the
nursery with Rosy? You have no lessons to do now?

"No" said Bee, "I was beginning a letter to mamma. But it isn't to go
just yet."

"Well, dear, go and play with Rosy. I don't like to see you moping
alone. You must be my bright little Bee--you wouldn't like any one to
think you are not happy with us?"

"Oh no," said Bee. But there was little brightness in her tone, and
Mrs. Vincent felt half provoked with her.

"She has not really anything to complain of,"

she said to herself, "and she cannot expect me to speak to her against
Aunt Edith and Nelson. She should make the best of it for the time."

As Bee was leaving the schoolroom Mrs. Vincent called her back.

"Will you tell Rosy to bring me her Venetian necklace to the
drawing-room?" she said; "I want it for a few minutes." She did not
tell Beata why she wanted it. It was because she had had a letter that
morning from Mr. Furnivale asking her to tell him how many beads there
were on Rosy's necklace and their size, as he had found a shop where
there were two or three for sale, and he wanted to get one as nearly
as possible the same for Beata.

Beata went slowly to the nursery. She would much rather have stayed in
the schoolroom, lonely and dull though it was. When she got to the
nursery she gave Rosy her mother's message, and asked her kindly if
she might bring her dolls so that they could play with them together.

"I shan't get no work done," said Nelson crossly, "if there's going to
be such a litter about."

"I'm going to take my necklace to mamma," said Rosy. "You may play
with my doll till I come back, Bee."

She ran off, and Bee sat down quietly as far away from Nelson as she
could. Five or ten minutes passed, and then the door suddenly opened
and Rosy burst in with a very red face.

"Bee, Nelson," she exclaimed, "my necklace is _gone_. It is
indeed. I've hunted _everywhere_. And somebody must have taken
it, for I always put it in the same place, in its own little box. You
know I do--don't I, Bee?"

Bee seemed hardly able to answer. Her face looked quite pale with
distress.

"Your necklace gone, Rosy," she repeated. Nelson said nothing.

"Yes, _gone,_ I tell you," said Rosy. "And I believe it's stolen.
It couldn't go of itself, and I _never_ left it about. I haven't
had it on for a good while. You know that time I slept in your room,
Bee, while Fixie was ill, I got out of the way of wearing it. But I
always knew where it was, in its own little box in the far-back corner
of the drawer where I keep my best ribbons and jewelry."

"Yes," said Bee, "I know. It was there the day I had it out to amuse
Fixie."

Rosy turned sharply upon her.

"Did you put it back that day, Bee?" she said, "I don't believe I've
looked at it since. Answer, _did_ you put it back?"

"Yes," said Bee earnestly, "yes, indeed; _indeed_ I did. O Rosy,
don't get like that," she entreated, clasping her hands, for Rosy's
face was growing redder and redder, and her eyes were flashing. "O
Rosy, _don't_ get into a temper with me about it. I did, _did_
put it back."

But it is doubtful if Rosy would have listened to her. She was fast
working herself up to believe that Bee had lost the necklace the day
she had had it out for Pixie, and she was so distressed at the loss
that she was quite ready to get into a temper with _somebody_--when,
to both the children's surprise, Nelson's voice interrupted
what Rosy was going to say.

"Miss Warwick," she said, with rather a mocking tone--she had made a
point of calling Bee "Miss Warwick" since the day Mrs. Vincent had
spoken of the little girl by that name--"Miss Warwick did put it back
that day, Miss Rosy dear," she said. "For I saw it late that evening
when I was putting your things away to help Martha as Master Fixie was
ill." She did not explain that she had made a point of looking for the
necklace in hopes of finding Bee had _not_ put it back, for you
may remember she had been cross and rude to Bee about finding her in
Rosy's room.

"Well, then, where has it gone? Come with me, Bee, and look for it,"
said Rosy, rather softening down,--"though I'm _sure_ I've looked
everywhere."

"I don't think it's any use your taking Miss Warwick to look for it,"
said Nelson, getting up and laying aside her work. "I'll go with you,
Miss Rosy, and if it's in your room I'll undertake to find it. And
just you stay quietly here, Miss Bee. Too many cooks spoil the broth."

So Bee was left alone again, alone, and even more unhappy than before,
for she was _very_ sorry about Rosy's necklace, and besides, she
had a miserable feeling that if it was never found she would somehow
be blamed for its loss. A quarter of an hour passed, then half an
hour, what could Rosy and Nelson be doing all this time? The door
opened and Bee sprang up.

"Have you found it, Rosy?" she cried eagerly.

But it was not Rosy, though she was following behind. The first person
that came in was Mrs. Vincent. She looked grave and troubled.

"Beata," she said, "you have heard about Rosy's necklace. Tell me all
about the last time you saw it."

"It was when Rosy let Fixie have it to play with," began Bee, and she
told all she remembered.

"And you are sure--_quite_ sure--you never have seen it since?"

"_Quite_ sure," said Bee. "I never touch Rosy's things without
her leave."

Nelson gave a sort of cough. Bee turned round on her. "If you've
anything to say you'd better say it now, before Mrs. Vincent," said
Bee, in a tone that, coming from the gentle kindly little girl,
surprised every one.

"Bee!" exclaimed Mrs. Vincent, "What do you mean? Nelson has said
_nothing_ about you." This was quite true. Nelson was too clever
to say anything right out. She had only hinted and looked wise about
the necklace to Rosy, giving her a feeling that Bee was more likely to
have touched it than any one else.

Bee was going to speak, but Rosy's mother stopped her. "You have told
us all you know," she said. "I don't want to hear any more. But I am
surprised at you, Bee, for losing your temper about being simply asked
if you had seen the necklace. You might have forgotten at first if you
had had it again for Fixie, and you _might_ the second time have
forgotten to put it back. But there is nothing to be offended at, in
being asked about it."

She spoke coldly, and Bee's heart swelled more and more, but she dared
not speak.

"There is nothing to do," said Mrs. Vincent, "that I can see, except
to find out if Fixie could have taken it. I will write to Martha at
once and tell her to ask him, and to let us know by return of post."

The letter was written and sent. No one waited for the answer more
anxiously than Beata. It came by return of post, as Mrs. Vincent had
said. But it brought only disappointment. "Master Fixie," Martha
wrote, "knew nothing of Miss Rosy's necklace." He could not remember
having had it to play with at all, and he seemed to get so worried
when she kept on asking about it, that Martha thought it better to say
no more, for it was plain he had nothing to tell.

"It is very strange he cannot remember playing with it that
afternoon," said Mrs. Vincent. "He generally has such a good memory.
You are sure you _did_ give it to him to play with, Bee?"

"We played with it together. I told him stories about each bead," the
little girl replied. And her voice trembled as if she were going to
burst into tears.

"Then his illness since must have made him forget it," said Mrs.
Vincent. But that was all she said. She did not call Bee to her and
tell her not to feel unhappy about it--that she knew she could trust
every word she said, as she once would have done. But she did give
very strict orders that nothing more was to be said about the
necklace, for though Nelson had not dared to hint anything unkind
about Bee to Mrs. Vincent herself, yet Rosy's mother felt sure that
Nelson blamed Bee for the loss, and wished others to do so, and she
was afraid of what might be said in the nursery if the subject was
still spoken about.

So nothing unkind was actually said to Beata, but Rosy's cold manner
and careless looks were hard to bear.

And the days were drawing near for the long looked forward to fete at
Summerlands.



CHAPTER XI.

A PARCEL AND A FRIGHT.


  "She ran with wild speed, she rushed in at the door,
  She gazed in her terror around."
          --SOUTHEY.

But Beata could not look forward to it now. The pleasure seemed to
have gone out of everything.

"Nobody loves me now, and nobody trusts me," she said sadly to
herself. "And I don't know why it is. I can't think of anything I have
done to change them all."

Her letter to her mother was already written and sent before the
answer came from Martha. Bee had hurried it a little at the end
because she wanted to have an excuse to herself for not telling her
mother how unhappy she was about the loss of the necklace.

"If an answer comes from Martha that Fixie had taken it away or put it
somewhere, it will be all right again and I shall be quite happy, and
then it would have been a pity to write unhappily to poor mother, so
far away," she said to herself. And when Martha's letter came and all
was not right again, she felt glad that she could not write for
another fortnight, and that perhaps by that time she would know better
what to say, or that "somehow" things would have grown happier again.
For she had promised, "faithfully" promised her mother to tell her
truly all that happened, and that if by any chance she was unhappy
about anything that she could not speak easily about to Mrs.
Vincent,--though Bee's mother had little thought such a thing
likely,--she would still write all about it to her own mother.

But a week had already passed since that letter was sent. It was
growing time to begin to think about another. And no "somehow" had
come to put things right again. Bee sat at the schoolroom window one
day after Miss Pink had left, looking out on to the garden, where the
borders were bright with the early summer flowers, and everything
seemed sunny and happy.

"I wish I was happy too," thought Bee. And she gently stroked
Manchon's soft coat, and wondered why the birds outside and the cat
inside seemed to have all they wanted, when a little girl like her
felt so sad and lonely. Manchon had grown fond of Bee. She was gentle
and quiet, and that was what he liked, for he was no longer so young
as he had been. And Rosy's pullings and pushings, when she was not in
a good humour and fancied he was in her way, tried his nerves very
much.

"Manchon," said Bee softly, "you look very wise. Why can't you tell me
where Rosy's necklace is?"

Manchon blinked his eyes and purred. But, alas, that was all he could
do.

Just then the door opened and Rosy came in. She was dressed for going
out. She had her best hat and dress on, and she looked very well
pleased with herself.

"I'm going out a drive with auntie," she said. "And mamma says you're
to be ready to go a walk with her in half an hour."

She was leaving the room, when a sudden feeling made Bee call her
back.

"Rosy," she said, "do stay a minute. Rosy, I am so unhappy. I've been
thinking if I can't write a letter to ask mother to take me away from
here. I would, only it would make her so unhappy."

Rosy looked a little startled.

"Why would you do that?" she said. "I'm sure I've not done anything to
you."

"But you don't love me any more," said Bee. "You began to leave off
loving me when your aunt and Nelson came,--I know you did,--and then
since the necklace was lost it's been worse. What can I do, Rosy, what
can I say?"

"You might own that you've lost it--at least that you forgot to put it
back," said Rosy.

"But I _did_ put it back. Even Nelson says that," said Bee. "I
can't say I didn't when I know I did," she added piteously.

"But Nelson thinks you took it another time, and forgot to put it
back. And I think so too," said Rosy. To do her justice, she never,
like Nelson, thought that Bee had taken the necklace on purpose. She
did not even understand that Nelson thought so.

"Rosy," said Bee very earnestly, "I did _not_ take it another
time. I have never seen it since that afternoon when Fixie had had it
and I put it back. Rosy, _don't_ you believe me?"

Rosy gave herself an impatient shake.

"I don't know," she said. "You might have forgotten. Anyway it was you
that had it last, and I wish I'd never given you leave to have it; I'm
sure it wouldn't have been lost."

Bee turned away and burst into tears.

"I _will_ write to mamma and ask her to take me away," she said.

Again Rosy looked startled.

"If you do that," she said, "it will be very unkind to _my_
mamma. Yours will think we have all been unkind to you, and then
she'll write letters to my mamma that will vex her very much. And I'm
sure _mamma's_ never been unkind to you. I don't mind if you say
_I'm_ unkind; perhaps I am, because I'm very vexed about my
necklace. I shall get naughty now it's lost--I know I shall," and so
saying, Rosy ran off.

Bee left off crying. It was true what Rosy had said. It _would_
make Mrs. Vincent unhappy and cause great trouble if she asked her
mother to take her away. A new and braver spirit woke in the little
girl.

"I won't be unhappy any more," she resolved. "I know I didn't touch
the necklace, and so I needn't be unhappy. And then I needn't write
anything to trouble mother, for if I get happy again it will be all
right."

Her eyes were still rather red, but her face was brighter than it had
been for some time when she came into the drawing-room, ready dressed
for her walk.

"Is that you, Bee dear?" said Mrs. Vincent kindly. She too was ready
dressed, but she was just finishing the address on a letter. "Why, you
are looking quite bright again, my child!" she went on when she looked
up at the little figure waiting patiently beside her.

"I'm very glad to go out with you," said Bee simply.

"And I'm very glad to have you," said Mrs. Vincent.

"Aunt Lillias," said Bee, her voice trembling a little, "may I ask you
one thing? _You_ don't think I touched Rosy's necklace?"

Mrs. Vincent smiled.

"_Certainly_ not, dear," she said. "I did at first think you
might have forgotten to put it back that day. But after your telling
me so distinctly that you _had_ put it back, I felt quite
satisfied that you had done so."

"But," said Bee, and then she hesitated.

"But what?" said Mrs. Vincent, smiling.

"I don't think--I _didn't_ think," Bee went on, gaining courage,
"that you had been quite the same to me since then."

"And you have been fancying all kinds of reasons for it, I suppose!"
said Mrs. Vincent. "Well, Bee, the only thing I have been not quite
pleased with you for _has_ been your looking so unhappy. I was
surprised at your seeming so hurt and vexed at my asking you about the
necklace, and since then you have looked so miserable that I had begun
seriously to think it might be better for you not to stay with us. If
Rosy or any one else has disobeyed me, and gone on talking about the
necklace, it is very wrong, but even then I wonder at your allowing
foolish words to make you so unhappy. _Has_ any one spoken so as
to hurt you?"

"No," said Bee, "not exactly, but--"

"But you have seen that there were unkind thoughts about you. Well, I
am very sorry for it, but at present I can do no more. You are old
enough and sensible enough to see that several things have not been as
I like or wish lately. But it is often so in this world. I was very
sorry for Martha to have to go away, but it could not be helped, Now,
Bee, think it over. Would you rather go away, for a time any way, or
will you bravely determine not to mind what you know you don't
deserve, knowing that _I_ trust you fully?"

"Yes," said Bee at once, "I will not mind it any more. And Rosy
perhaps," here her voice faltered, "Rosy perhaps will like me better
if I don't seem so dull."

Mrs. Vincent looked grave when Bee spoke of Rosy, so grave that Bee
almost wished she had not said it.

"It is very hard," she heard Rosy's mother say, as if speaking to
herself, "just when I thought I had gained a better influence over
her. _Very_ hard."

Bee threw her arms round Mrs. Vincent's neck.

"Dear auntie," she said, "_don't_ be unhappy about Rosy. I will
be patient, and I know it will come right again, and I won't be
unhappy any more."

Mrs. Vincent kissed her.

"Yes, dear Bee," she said, "we must both be patient and hopeful."

And then they went out, and during the walk Beata noticed that Mrs.
Vincent talked about other things--old times in India that Bee could
remember, and plans for the future when her father and mother should
come home again to stay. Only just as they were entering the house on
their return, Bee could not help saying,

"Aunt Lillias, I _wonder_ if the necklace will never be found."

"So do I," said Mrs. Vincent. "I really cannot understand where it can
have gone. We have searched so thoroughly that even if Fixie
_had_ put it somewhere we would have found it. And, if possibly,
he had taken it away with him by mistake, Martha would have seen it."

But that was all that was said.

A day or two later Rosy came flying into the schoolroom in great
excitement. Miss Pinkerton was there at the time, for it was the
middle of morning lessons, and she had sent Rosy upstairs to fetch a
book she had left in the nursery by mistake. "Miss Pink, Bee!" she
continued, "our dresses have come from London. I'm sure it must be
them. Just as I passed the backstair door I heard James calling to
somebody about a case that was to be taken upstairs, and I peeped over
the banisters, and there was a large white wood box, and I saw the
carter's man standing waiting to be paid. Do let me go and ask about
them, Miss Pink."

"No, Rosy, not just now," said Miss Pink. She spoke more firmly than
she used to do now, for I think she had learnt a lesson, and Rosy was
beginning to understand that when Miss Pink said a thing she meant it
to be done. Rosy muttered something in a grumbling tone, and sat down
to her lessons.

"You are always so ill-natured," she half whispered to Bee. "If you
had asked too she would have let us go, but you always want to seem
better than any one else."

"No, I don't," said Bee, smiling. "I want dreadfully to see the
dresses. We'll ask your mother to let us see them together this
afternoon."

Rosy looked at her with surprise. Lately Beata had never answered her
cross speeches like this, but had looked either ready to cry, or had
told her she was very unkind or very naughty, which had not mended
matters!

Rosy was right. The white wood box did contain the dresses, and though
Mrs. Vincent was busy that day, as she and Aunt Edith were going a
long drive to spend the afternoon and evening with friends at some
distance, she understood the little girls' eagerness to see them, and
had the box undone and the costumes fully exhibited to please them.
They were certainly very pretty, for though the material they were
made of was only cotton, they had been copied exactly from an old
picture Lady Esther had sent on purpose. The only difference between
them was that one of the quilted under skirts was sky blue to suit
Rosy's bright complexion and fair hair, and the other was a very
pretty shade of rose colour, which, went better with Bee's dark hair
and paler face.

The children stood entranced, admiring them.

"Now, dears, I must put them away," said Mrs. Vincent. "It is really
time for me to get ready."

"O mamma!" exclaimed Rosy, "do leave them out for us to try on. I can
tell Nelson to take them to my room."

"No, Rosy," said her mother decidedly. "You must wait to try them on
till to-morrow. I want to see them on myself. Besides, they are very
delicate in colour, and would be easily soiled. You must be satisfied
with what you have seen of them for to-day. Now run and get ready. It
is already half-past three."

For it had been arranged that Rosy and Bee, with Nelson to take care
of them, were to drive part of the way with Mrs. Vincent and her
sister-in-law, and to walk back, as it was a very pretty country road.

Rosy went off to get ready, shaking herself in the way she often did
when she was vexed; and while she was dressing she recounted her
grievances to Nelson.

"Never mind, Miss Rosy," said that foolish person, "we'll perhaps have
a quiet look at your dress this evening when we're all alone. There's
no need to say anything about it to Miss Bee."

"But mamma said we were not to try them on till to-morrow," said Rosy.

"No, not to try them on by yourselves, very likely you would get them
soiled. But we'll see."

It was pretty late when the children came home. They had gone rather
farther than Mrs. Vincent had intended, and coming home they had made
the way longer by passing through a wood which had tempted them at the
side of the road. They were a little tired and very hungry, and till
they had had their tea Rosy was too hungry to think of anything else.
But tea over, Bee sat down to amuse herself with a book till bed-time,
and Rosy wandered about, not inclined to read, or, indeed, to do
anything. Suddenly the thought of the fancy dresses returned to her
mind. She ran out of the nursery, and made her way to her aunt's room,
where Nelson was generally to be found. She was not there, however.
Rosy ran down the passages at that part of the house where the
servants' rooms were, to look for her, though she knew that her mother
did not like her to do so.

"Nelson, Nelson," she cried.

Nelson's head was poked out of her room.

"What is it, Miss Rosy? It's not your bed-time yet."

"No, but I want to look at my dress again. You promised I should."

"Well, just wait five minutes. I'm just finishing a letter that one of
the men's going to post for me. I'll come to your room, Miss Rosy, and
bring a light. It's getting too dark to see."

"Be quick then," said Rosy, imperiously.

She went back to her room, but soon got tired of waiting there. She
did not want to go to the nursery, for Bee was there, and would begin
asking her what she was doing.

"I'll go to mamma's room," she said to herself, "and just look about
to see where she has put the frocks. I'm _almost_ sure she'll
have hung them up in her little wardrobe, where she keeps new things
often."

No sooner said than done. Off ran Rosy to her mother's room. It was
getting dusk, dark almost, any way too dark to see clearly. Rosy
fumbled about on the mantelpiece till she found the match-box, and
though she was generally too frightened of burning her fingers to
strike a light herself, this time she managed to do so. There were
candles on the dressing-table, and when she had lighted them she
proceeded to search. It was not difficult to find what she wanted. The
costumes were hanging up in the little wardrobe, as she expected, but
too high for her to reach easily. Rosy went to the door, and a little
way down the passage, and called Nelson. But no one answered, and it
was a good way off to Nelson's room.

"Nasty, selfish thing," said Rosy; "she's just going on writing to
tease me."

But she was too impatient, to go back to her own room and wait there.
With the help of a chair she got down the frocks. Bee's came first, of
course, because it wasn't wanted--Rosy flung it across the back of a
chair, and proceeded to examine her own more closely than she had been
able to do before. It _was_ pretty! And so complete--there was
even the little white mob-cap with blue ribbons, and a pair of blue
shoes with high, though not very high, heels! These last she found
lying on the shelf, above the hanging part of the wardrobe.

"It is _too_ pretty," said Rosy. "I _must_ try it on."

And, quick as thought, she set to work--and nobody could be quicker or
cleverer than Rosy when she chose--taking off the dress she had on,
and rapidly attiring herself in the lovely costume. It all seemed to
fit beautifully,--true, the pale blue shoes looked rather odd beside
the sailor-blue stockings she was wearing, and she wondered what kind
of stockings her mother intended her to wear at Summerlands--and she
could not get the little lace kerchief arranged quite to her taste;
but the cap went on charmingly, and so did the long mittens, which
were beside the shoes.

"There must be stockings too," thought Rosy, "for there seems to be
everything else; perhaps they are farther back in the shelf."

[Illustration: BY STRETCHING A GOOD DEAL SHE THOUGHT SHE COULD REACH
THEM.]

She climbed up on the chair again, but she could not see farther into
the shelf, so she got down and fetched one of the candles. Then up
again--yes--there were two little balls, a pink and a blue, farther
back-by stretching a good deal she thought she could reach them. Only
the candle was in the way, as she was holding it in one hand. She
stooped and set it down on the edge of the chair, and reached up
again, and had just managed to touch the little balls she could no
longer see, when--what was the matter? What was that rush of hot air
up her left leg and side? She looked down, and, in her fright,
fell--chair, Rosy, and candle, in a heap on the floor--for she had
seen that her skirts were on fire! and, as she fell, she uttered a
long piercing scream.



CHAPTER XII.

GOOD OUT OF EVIL.


  "Sweet are the uses of adversity."--SHAKESPEARE.

A scream that would probably have reached the nursery, which was not
very far from Mrs. Vincent's room, had there been any one there to
hear it! But as it was, the person who had been there--little Bee--was
much nearer than the nursery at the time of Rosy's accident. The house
was very silent that evening, and Nelson had not thought of bringing a
light; so when it got too dark to read, even with the book pressed
close against the window-panes, Bee grew rather tired of waiting there
by herself, with nothing to do.

"I wonder where Rosy is," she thought, opening the door, and looking
out along the dusky passages.

And just then she heard Rosy's voice, at some little distance,
calling, "Nelson, Nelson."

"If she is with Nelson I won't go," thought Bee. "I'll wait till she
comes back;" and she came into the empty nursery again, and wished
Martha was home.

"She always makes the nursery so comfortable," thought Bee. Then it
struck her that perhaps it was not very kind of her not to go and see
what Rosy wanted--she had not heard any reply to Rosy's call for
Nelson.

"Her voice sounded as if she was in Aunt Lillias's room," she said to
herself. "What can she be wanting? perhaps I'd better go and see."

And she set off down the passage. The lamps were not yet lighted;
perhaps the servants were less careful than usual, knowing that the
ladies would not be home till late, but Bee knew her way about the
house quite well. She was close to the door of Mrs. Vincent's room,
and had already noticed that it stood slightly ajar, for a light was
streaming out, when--she stood for a second half-stupefied with
terror--what was it?--what could be the matter?--as Rosy's fearful
scream reached her ears. Half a second, and she had rushed into the
room--there lay a confused heap on the floor, for Rosy, in her fall,
had pulled over the chair; but the first glance showed Bee what was
wrong--Rosy was on fire!

It was a good thing she had fallen, otherwise, in her wild fright, she
would probably have made things worse by rushing about; as it was, she
had not had time to get up before Bee was beside her, smothering her
down with some great heavy thing, and calling to her to keep still, to
"squeeze herself down," so as to put out the flames. The "great thing"
was the blankets and counterpane of the bed, which somehow Bee, small
as she was, had managed to tear off. And, frightened as Rosy was, the
danger was not, after all, so very great, for the quilted under skirt
was pretty thick, and her fall had already partly crushed down the
fire. It was all over more quickly than it has taken me to tell it,
and Rosy at last, half choked with the heavy blankets, and half soaked
with the water which Bee had poured over her to make sure, struggled
to her feet, safe and uninjured, only the pretty dress hopelessly
spoilt!

And when all the danger was past, and there was nothing more to do,
Nelson appeared at the door, and rushed at her darling Miss Rosy,
screaming and crying, while Beata stood by, her handkerchief wrapped
round one of her hands, and nobody paying any attention to her.
Nelson's screams soon brought the other servants; among them, they got
the room cleared of the traces of the accident, and Rosy undressed and
put to bed. She was crying from the fright, but she had got no injury
at all; her tears, however, flowed on when she thought of what her
mother would have to be told, and Bee found it difficult to comfort
her.

"You saved me, Bee, dear Bee," she said, clinging to her. "And it was
because I disobeyed mamma, and I might have been burnt to death. O
Bee, just think of it!" and she would not let Beata leave her.

It was like this that Mrs. Vincent found them on her return late in
the evening. You can fancy how miserable it was for her to be met with
such a story, and to know that it was all Rosy's own fault. But it was
not all miserable, for never had she known her little girl so
completely sorry and ashamed, and so truly grateful to any one as she
was now feeling to Beata.

And even Aunt Edith's prejudice seemed to have melted away, for she
kissed Bee as she said goodnight, and called her a brave, good child.

So it was with a thankful little heart that Beata went to bed. Her
hand was sore--it had got badly scorched in pressing down the
blankets--but she did not think it bad enough to say anything about it
except to the cook, who was a kind old woman, and wrapped it up in
cotton wool, after well dredging it with flour, and making her promise
that if it hurt her in the night she would call her.

It did not hurt her, and she slept soundly; but when she woke in the
morning her head ached, and she wished she could stay in bed! Rosy was
still sleeping--the housemaid, who came to draw the curtains, told
her--and she was not to be wakened.

"After the fright she had, it is better to sleep it off," the servant
said, "though, for some things, it's to be hoped she won't forget it.
It should be a lesson to her. But you don't look well, Miss Bee," she
went on; "is your head aching, my dear?"

"Yes," Bee allowed, "and I can't think why, for I slept very well.
What day is it, Phoebe? Isn't it Sunday?"

"Yes, Miss Bee. It's Sunday."

"I don't think I can go to church. The organ would make my head
worse," said Bee, sitting up in bed.

"Shall I tell any one that you're not well, Miss Bee?" asked Phoebe.

"Oh no, thank you," said Bee, "I daresay it will get better when I'm
up."

It did seem a little better, but she was looking pale when Mrs.
Vincent came to the nursery to see her and Rosy, who had wakened up,
none the worse for her fright, but anxious to do all she could for
poor Bee when she found out about her sore hand and headache,

"Why did you not tell me about your hand last night, dear Bee?" Mrs.
Vincent asked.

"It didn't hurt much. It doesn't hurt much now," said Bee, "and Fraser
looked at it and saw that it was not very bad, and--and--you had had
so many things to trouble you, Aunt Lillias," she added,
affectionately.

"Yes, dear; but, when I think how much worse they might have been, I
dare not complain," Rosy's mother replied.

Bee did not go to church that day. Her headache was not very bad, but
it did not seem to get well, and it was still rather bad when she woke
the next morning.

And that next morning brought back to all their minds what, for the
moment, had been almost forgotten--that it was within three days of
the fete at Summerlands!--for there came a note from Lady Esther,
giving some particulars about the hour she hoped they would all come,
and rejoicing in the promise of fine weather for the children's treat.

Rosy's mother read the note aloud. Then she looked at Aunt Edith, and
looked at the little girls. They were all together when the letter
came.

"What is to be done?" said Miss Vincent; "I had really forgotten the
fête was to be on Wednesday. Is it impossible to have a new dress made
in time?"

"Quite impossible," said Mrs. Vincent, "Rosy must cheerfully, or at
least patiently, bear what she has brought on herself, and be, as I am
sure she is, very thankful that it was no worse."

Rosy glanced up quickly. She seemed as if she were going to say
something, and the look in her face was quite gentle.

"I--I--I _will_ try to be good, mamma," she broke out at last.
"And I know I might have been burnt to death if it hadn't been for
Bee. And--and--I hope Bee will enjoy the fête."

But that was all she could manage. She hurried over the last words;
then, bursting into tears, she rushed out of the room.

"Poor darling!" said Aunt Edith. "Lillias, are you sure we can do
nothing? Couldn't one of her white dresses be done up somehow?"

"No," said Mrs. Vincent. "It would only draw attention to her if she
was to go dressed differently from the others, and I should not wish
that. Besides--oh no--it is much better not."

She had hardly said the words when she felt something gently pulling
her, and, looking down, there was Bee beside her, trying to whisper
something.

"Auntie," she said, "would you, oh! _would_ you let Rosy go
instead of me, wearing my dress? It would fit her almost as well as
her own. And, do you know, I _wouldn't_ care to go alone. It
wouldn't be _any_ happiness to me, and it would be such happiness
to know that Rosy could go. And I'm afraid I've got a little cold or
something, for I've still got a headache, and I'm not sure that it
will be better by Wednesday."

She looked up entreatingly in Mrs. Vincent's face, and then Rosy's
mother noticed how pale and ill she seemed.

"My dear little Bee," she said, "you must try to be better by
Wednesday. And, you know, dear, though we are all very sorry for Rosy,
it is only what she has brought on herself. I hope she has learnt a
lesson--more than one lesson--but, if she were to have the pleasure of
going to Summerlands, she might not remember it so well."

Beata said no more--she could not oppose Rosy's mother--but she shook
her head a little sadly.

"I don't think Rosy's like that, Aunt Lillias," she said; "I don't
think it would make her forget."

Beata's headache was not better the next day; and, as the day went on,
it grew so much worse that Mrs. Vincent at last sent for the doctor.
He said that she was ill, much in the same way that Fixie had been.
Not that it was anything she could have caught from him--it was not
that kind of illness at all--but it was the first spring either of
them had been in England, and he thought that very likely the change
of climate had caused it with them both. He was not, he said, anxious
about Bee, but still he looked a little grave. She was not strong, and
she should not be overworked with lessons, or have anything to trouble
or distress her.

"She has not been overworked," Mrs. Vincent said.

"And she seems very sweet-tempered and gentle. A happy disposition, I
should think," said the doctor, as he hastened away.

His words made Mrs. Vincent feel rather sad. It was true--Bee had a
happy disposition--she had never, till lately, seen her anything but
bright and cheery.

"My poor little Bee," she thought, "I was hard upon her. I did not
quite understand her. In my anxiety about Rosy when her aunt and
Nelson came I fear I forgot Bee. But I do trust all that is over, and
that Rosy has truly learnt a lesson. And we must all join to make
little Bee happy again."

She returned to Bee's room. The child was sitting up in bed, her eyes
sparkling in her white face--she was very eager about something.

"Auntie," she said, "you see I cannot possibly go to-morrow. And you
must go, for poor Lady Esther is counting on you to help her. Auntie,
you _will_ forgive poor Rosy now _quite_, won't you, and let
her go in my dress?"

The pleading eyes, the white face, the little hot hands laid coaxingly
on hers--it would not have been easy to refuse! Besides, the doctor
had said she was neither to be excited nor distressed.

The tears were in Mrs. Vincent's eyes as she bent down to kiss the
little girl, but she did not let her see them.

"I will speak to Rosy, dear," she said. "I will tell her how much you
want her to go in your place; and I think perhaps you are right--I
don't think it will make her forget."

"_Thank_ you, dear auntie," said Bee, as fervently as if Mrs.
Vincent had promised her the most delightful treat in the world.

That afternoon Bee fell asleep, and slept quietly and peacefully for
some time. When she woke she felt better, and she lay still, thinking
it was nice and comfortable to be in bed when one felt tired, as she
had always done lately; then her eyes wandered round her little room,
and she thought how neat and pretty it looked, how pleased her mother
would be to see how nice she had everything; and, just as she was
thinking this, her glance fell on a little table beside her bed, which
had been placed there with a little lemonade and a few grapes. There
was something there that had not been on the table before she went to
sleep. In a delicate little glass, thin and clear as a soap-bubble,
was the most lovely rose Bee had ever seen--rich, soft, _rose_
colour, glowing almost crimson in the centre, and melting into a
somewhat paler shade at the edge.

[Illustration: 'IT'S A ROSE FROM ROSY.']

"Oh you beauty!" exclaimed Bee, "I wonder who put you there. I would
like to scent you"--Bee, like other children I know, always talked of
"scenting" flowers; she said "smell" was not a pretty enough word for
such pretty things--"but I am afraid of knocking over that lovely
glass. It must be one of Aunt Lillias's that she has lent."

A little soft laugh came from the side of her bed, and, leaning over,
Bee caught sight of a tangle of bright hair. It was Rosy. She had been
watching there for Bee to wake. Up she jumped, and, carefully lifting
the glass, held it close to Bee.

"It isn't mother's glass," she said; "it's your own. It _was_
mother's, but I've bought it for you. Mother let me, because I
_did_ so want to do something to please you; and she let me
choose the beautifullest rose for you, Bee. I am so glad you like it;
It's a rose from Rosy. I've been sitting by you such a time. And
though I'm so pleased you like the rose, I _have_ been crying a
little, Bee, truly, because you are so good, and about my going
to-morrow."

"You _are_ going?" said Bee, anxiously. In Rosy's changed way of
thinking she became suddenly afraid that she might not wish to go.

"Yes," said Rosy, rather gravely, "I am going. Mother is quite pleased
for me to go, to please you. In one way I would rather not go, for I
know I don't deserve it; and I can't help thinking you wouldn't have
been ill if I hadn't done that, and made you have a fright. And it
seems such a shame for me to wear _your_ dress, when you've been
quite good and _deserve_ the pleasure, and just when I've got to
see how kind you are, and we'd have been so happy to go together. And
then I've a feeling, Bee, that I _shall_ enjoy it when I get
there, and perhaps I shall forget a little about you, and it will be
so horrid of me, if I do--and that makes me, wish I wasn't going."

"But I want you to enjoy it," said Bee, simply, in her little weak
voice. "It wouldn't be nice of me to want you to go if I thought you
wouldn't enjoy it. And it's nice of you to tell me how you feel. But I
would like you to think of me _this_ way--every time you are
having a very nice dance, or that any one says you look so nice, just
think, "I wish Bee could see me," or "How nice it will be to tell Bee
about it," and, that way, the more you enjoy it the more you'll think
of me."

"Yes," said Rosy, "that's putting it a very nice way; or, Bee, if
there are very nice things to eat, I might think of you another way. I
might, perhaps, bring you back some nice biscuits or bonbons--any kind
that wouldn't squash in my pocket, you know. I might ask mamma to ask
Lady Esther."

"Yes," said Bee, "I'm not very hungry, but just a few very nice,
rather dry ones, you know, I would like." "I could keep them for Fixie
when he comes back," was the thought in her mind.

She had not heard anything about when Fixie and Martha were coming
back, but she was to have a pleasant surprise the next day. It was a
little lonely; for, though Rosy meant to be very, very kind, she was
rather too much of a chatterbox not to tire Bee after a while.

"Mamma said I wasn't to stay very long," she said; "but don't you mind
being alone so much?"

"No, I don't think so," said Bee, "and, you know, Phoebe is in the
next room if I want her."

"I know what you'd like," said Rosy, and off she flew. In two minutes
she was back again with something in her arms. It was Manchon! She
laid him gently down at the foot of Bee's bed. "He's so 'squisitely
clean, you know," she went on, "and I know you're fond of him."

"_Very_" said Bee, with great satisfaction.

"I like him better than I did," said Rosy, "but still I think he's a
sort of a fairy. Why, it shows he is, for now that I'm so good--I mean
now that I'm going to be good always--he seems to like me ever so much
better. He used to snarl if ever I touched him, and to-day when I said
'I'm going to take you to Bee, Manchon,' he let me take him as good
as good."

But that evening brought still better company for Bee.

She went to sleep early, and she slept well, and when she woke in the
morning who do you think was standing beside her? Dear little Fixie,
his white face ever so much rounder and rosier, and kind Martha, both
smiling with pleasure at seeing her again, though feeling sorry, too,
that she was ill.

"Zou'll soon be better, Bee, and Fixie will be so good to you, and
then p'raps we'll go again to that nice place where we've been, for
you to get kite well."

So Bee, after all, did not feel at all dull or lonely when Rosy came
in to say good-bye, in Bee's pretty dress. And Mrs. Vincent, and even
Miss Vincent, kissed her so kindly! Even Nelson, I forgot to say, had
put her head in at the door to ask how she was; and when Bee answered
her nicely, as she always did, she came in for a moment to tell her
how sorry she was Bee could not go to the fete. "For I must say, Miss
Bee," she added, "I must say as I think you've acted very pretty, very
pretty, indeed, about lending your dress to dear Miss Rosy, bless her."

"And, if there's anything I can do for you--" Here Bee's breakfast
coming in interrupted her, which Bee, on the whole, was not sorry for.

She did not see Rosy that evening, for it was late when they came
home, and she was already asleep. But the next morning Bee woke much
better, and quite able to listen to Rosy's account of it all. She had
enjoyed it very much--of course not _as_ much as if Bee had been
there too, she said; but Lady Esther had thought it so sweet of Bee to
beg for Rosy to go, and she had sent her the loveliest little basket
of bonbons, tied up with pink ribbons, that ever was seen, and still
better, she had told Rosy that she had serious thoughts of having a
large Christmas-tree party next winter, at which all the children
should be dressed out of the fairy tales.

"Wouldn't it be lovely?" said Rosy. "We were thinking perhaps you
would be Red Riding Hood, and I the white cat. But we can look over
all the fairy tales and think about it when you're better, can't we,
Bee?"

Beata got better much more quickly than Fixie had done. The first day
she was well enough to be up she begged leave to write two little
letters, one to her mother and one to Colin, who had been very kind;
for while she was ill he had written twice to her, which for a
schoolboy was a great deal, I think. His letters were meant to be very
amusing; but, as they were full of cricket and football, Bee did not
find them very easy to understand. She was sitting at the
nursery-table, thinking what she could say to show Colin she liked to
hear about his games, even though the names puzzled her a little, when
Fixie came and stood by her, looking rather melancholy.

"What's the matter?" she said.

"Zou's writing such a long time," said Fixie, "and Rosy's still at her
lessons. I zought when zou was better zou'd play wif me."

"I can't play much," said Bee, "for I've still got a funny buzzy
feeling in my head, and I'm rather tired."

"Yes, I know," said Fixie, with great sympathy, "mine head was like
fousands of trains when I was ill. We won't play, Bee, we'll only
talk."

"Well, I'll just finish my letter," said Bee. "I'll just tell Colin he
must tell me all about innings and outings, and all that, when he
comes home. Yes--that'll do. "Your affectionate--t-i-o-n-a-t-e--Bee."
Now I'll talk to you, Fixie. What a pity we haven't got Rosy's beads
to tell stories about!"

A queer look came into Fixie's face.

"Rosy's beads," he said.

"Yes, Rosy's necklace that was lost. And you didn't know where it was
gone when Martha asked you--when your mother wrote a letter about it."

As she spoke, she drew their two little chairs to what had always been
their favourite corner, near a window, which was low enough for them
to look out into the pretty garden.

"Don't sit there," said Fixie, "I don't like there."

"Why not? Don't you remember we were sitting here the last afternoon
we were in the nursery--before you went away. You liked it then, when
I told you stories about the beads, before they were lost."

"Before _zem_ was lost," said Fixie, his face again taking the
troubled, puzzled look; "I didn't know it was _zem_--I mean it
was somefin else of Rosy's that was lost--lace for her neck, that I'd
_never_ seen."

Bee's heart began to beat faster with a strange hope. She had seen
Fixie's face looking troubled, and she remembered Martha saying how
her questioning about the necklace had upset him, and it seemed almost
cruel to go on talking about it. But a feeling had come over her that
there was something to find out, and now it grew stronger and
stronger.

"Lace for Rosy's neck," she repeated, "no, Fixie, you must be
mistaken. Lace for her neck--" and then a sudden idea struck her,--"can
you mean a _necklace?_ Don't you know that a necklace means
beads?"

Fixie stared at her for a moment, growing very red. Then the redness
finished up, like a thundercloud breaking into rain, by his bursting
into tears, and hiding his face in Bee's lap.

"I didn't know, I didn't know," he cried, "I thought it was some lace
that Martha meant. I didn't mean to tell a' untrue, Bee. I didn't like
Martha asking me, 'cos it made me think of the beads I'd lost, and I
thought p'raps I'd get them up again when I came home, but I can't.
I've poked and poked, and I think the mouses have eatened zem."

By degrees Bee found out what the poor little fellow meant. The
morning after the afternoon when Bee and he had had the necklace, and
Bee had put it safely back, he had, unknown to any one, fetched it
again for himself, and sat playing with it by the nursery-window, in
the corner where the hole in the floor was. Out of idleness, he had
amused himself by holding the string of beads at one end, and dropping
them down the mysterious hole, "like fishing," he said, till,
unluckily, he had dropped them in altogether; and there, no doubt,
they were still lying! He was frightened at what he had done, but he
meant to tell Bee, and ask her advice. But that very afternoon the
doctor came, and he was separated from the other children; and, while
he was ill, he seemed to have forgotten about it. When Martha
questioned him at the seaside, he had no idea she was speaking of the
beads; but he did not like her questions, because they made him
remember what he _had_ lost. And then he thought he would try to
get the beads out of the hole by poking with a stick when he came
home; but he had found he could not manage it, and then he had taken a
dislike to that part of the room.

All this was told with many sobs and tears, but Bee soothed him as
well as she could; and when his mother soon after came to the nursery
and heard the story, she was very kind indeed, and made him see how
even little wrong-doings, like taking the beads to play with without
leave, always bring unhappiness; and still more, how wise and right it
is for children to tell at once when they have done wrong, instead of
trying to put the wrong right themselves. That was all she said,
except that, as she kissed her poor little boy, she told him to tell
no one else about it, except Martha, and that she would see what could
be done.

Bee and Fixie said no more about it; but on that account, I daresay,
like the famous parrot, "they thought the more." And once or twice
that afternoon, Fixie _could_ not help whispering to Bee,
"_Do_ you fink mamma's going to get the beads hooked out?" or, "I
hope they won't hurt the mouses that lives down in the hole. _Do_
you fink the mouses has eaten it, p'raps?"

Beata was sent early to bed, as she was not yet, of course, counted as
quite well; and both she and Fixie slept very soundly--whether they
dreamt of Rosy's beads or not I cannot tell.

But the next morning Bee felt so much better that she begged to get up
quite early.

"Not till after you've had your breakfast, Miss Bee," said Martha.
"But Mrs. Vincent says you may get up as soon as you like after that,
and then you and Miss Rosy and Master Fixie are all to go to her room.
She has something to show you."

Bee and Fixie looked at each other. They felt sure _they_ knew
what it was! But Rosy, who had also come to Bee's room to see how she
was, looked very mystified.

"I wonder what it can be," she said. "Can it be a parcel come for us?
And oh, Martha, by-the-bye, what was that knocking in the nursery last
night after we were in bed? I heard Robert's voice, I'm sure. What was
he doing?"

"He came up to nail down something that was loose," said Martha,
quietly; but that was all she would say.

They all three marched off to Mrs. Vincent's room as soon as Beata was
up and dressed. She was waiting for them.

"I am so glad you are so much better this morning, Bee," she said, as
she kissed them all; "and now" she went on, "look here, I have a
surprise for you all." She lifted a handkerchief which she had laid
over something on a little table; and the three children, as they
pressed forward, could hardly believe their eyes. For there lay Rosy's
necklace, as bright and pretty as ever, and there beside it lay
another, just like it at the first glance, though, when it was closely
examined, one could see that the patterns on the beads were different;
but any way it was just as pretty.

"Two," exclaimed Fixie, "_two_ lace-beads, what _is_ the
name? Has the mouses made a new one for Bee, dear Bee?"

"Yes, for dear Bee," said his mother, smiling, "it is for Bee, though
it didn't come from the mouses;" and then she explained to them how
"Mr. Furniture" had sent the second necklace for Bee, but that she had
thought it better to keep it a while in hopes of Rosy's being found,
as she knew that Bee's pleasure in the pretty beads would not have
been half so great if Rosy were without hers.

How happy they all looked!

"What lotses of fairy stories we can make now!" said Fixie--"one for
every bead-lace, Bee!"

"And, mamma," said Rosy, "I'll keep on being very good now. I daresay
I'll be dreadfully good soon; and Bee will be always good too, now,
because you know we've got our talismans."

Mrs. Vincent smiled, but she looked a little grave.

"What is it, mamma?" said Rosy. "Should I say talis_men_, not
talismans?"

Her mother smiled more this time.

"No, it wasn't that. 'Talismans' is quite right. I was only thinking
that perhaps it was not very wise of me to have put the idea into your
head, Rosy dear, for I want you to learn and feel that, though any
little outside help may be a good thing as a reminder, it is only your
own self, your own heart, earnestly wishing to be good, that can
really make you succeed; and you know where the earnest wishing comes
from, and where you are always sure to get help if you ask it, don't
you, Rosy?"

Rosy got a little red, and looked rather grave.

"I _nearly_ always remember to say my prayers," she answered.

"Well, let the 'talisman' help you to remember, if ever you are
inclined to forget. And it isn't _only_ at getting-up time and
going-to-bed time that one may _pray_, as I have often told you,
dear children. I really think, Rosy," she went on more lightly, "that
it would be nice for you and Bee to wear your necklaces always. I
shall like to see them, and I believe it would be almost impossible to
spoil or break them."

"Only for my fairy stories," said Fixie, "I should have to walk all
round Bee and Rosy to see the beads. You will let them take them off,
_sometimes_, won't you, mamma?"

"Yes, my little man, provided you promise not to send them visits down
the 'mouses' holes,'" said his mother, laughing.

This is all I can tell you for the present about Rosy and her brothers
and little Bee. There is more to tell, as you can easily fancy, for,
of course, Rosy did not grow "quite good" all of a sudden, though
there certainly was a great difference to be seen in her from the time
of her narrow escape--nor was Beata, in spite of _her_ talisman,
without faults and failings. Nor was either of them without sorrows
and disappointments and difficulties in their lives, bright and happy
though they were. If you have been pleased with what I have told you,
you must let me know, and I shall try to tell you some more.

And again, dear children,--little friends, whom I love so much, though
I may never have seen your faces, and though you only know me as
somebody who is _very_ happy, when her little stories please
you--again, my darlings, I wish you the merriest of merry Christmases
for 1882, and every blessing in the new year that will soon be coming!


THE END.





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operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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