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Title: A Gallery of Children
Author: Milne, A. A. (Alan Alexander)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Gallery of Children" ***

                           _A_ GALLERY _of_

                              A. A. MILNE

                          _Illustrations by_
                        (H. WILLEBEEK LE MAIR)


                          DAVID MCKAY COMPANY
                           WASHINGTON SQUARE



The Princess and the Apple-Tree                                       10

Sparrow Tree Square                                                   18

The Twins                                                             26

Miss Waterlow in Bed                                                  34

Sand Babies                                                           42

Poor Anne                                                             50

A Voyage to India                                                     58

Barbara’s Birthday                                                    66

The Baby Show                                                         74

The Magic Hill                                                        84

The Three Daughters of M. Dupont                                      92

Castles by the Sea                                                   100



The Princess and the Apple-Tree                                       11

Sparrow Tree Square                                                   19

The Twins                                                             27

Miss Waterlow in Bed                                                  35

Sand Babies                                                           43

Poor Anne                                                             51

A Voyage to India                                                     59

Barbara’s Birthday                                                    67

The Baby Show                                                         75

The Magic Hill                                                        85

The Three Daughters of M. Dupont                                      93

Castles by the Sea                                                   101


[Illustration: The Princess and the Apple-Tree]

Once upon a time there was a beautiful Princess, who loved all lovely
things, and most she loved the flowers and the blossoming trees in her
father’s garden. Now there was a humble man called Silvio, whose
business it was to tend the flowers and the trees in the King’s garden,
and to him also they were a never-ending happiness, because of their
beauty. So it was that their love for lovely things drew them together,
and Silvio loved the Princess, and sometimes they walked hand-in-hand

But the King was angry, for it was in his mind that the Princess should
marry a greater man than this; and he came upon Silvio in the garden,
and commanded him to leave that country, and never to be found there
again. And Silvio said, “How can I leave the garden which I love?”
Whereupon the King laughed, and said, “Stay, then,” and touched him
with the wand which he carried ... and in a moment there was no Silvio
there, but only another apple-tree in the garden. For the King of that
country was a great magician, and many were afraid of him.

The days went by, and still the Princess sought Silvio in the garden,
but he did not come. So she went to her father, the King, and asked of
him. And the King laughed, and said, “He was pruning an apple-tree. I
did not like the way he pruned it. He will never come back.” Then the
Princess said, “Which was the tree he was pruning?” And the King led her
to the window, and showed her the tree. And the Princess was astonished,
for she did not know that there had been an apple-tree there. And, when
she was alone, she went to the apple-tree, saying, “It is the last thing
which he touched;” so she touched it with her hand. And the apple-tree
trembled gently, and the blossom fell upon her head. So it was on the
next day, and the next....

And Summer came, but Silvio did not come, and Autumn came, and still she
thought of Silvio. One day, while she was beneath the apple-tree, she
cried out suddenly, “O Silvio, let me not forget you!"--and the tree
shook, and an apple fell into her lap. The Princess took a little silver
knife, and peeled the apple, so that the peel was unbroken, and she
threw the peel over her shoulder, saying, “See whom I love!” And she
looked behind her, and there was the letter “S” upon the ground. So it
was upon the next day and the next. And upon the fourth day she took an
apple from another tree, and the peel broke beneath her knife; and she
picked a second apple, and the peel fell in this shape or that;
whereupon she went quickly back to her own tree. And always an apple
fell into her lap, and always it told her that it was Silvio whom she

There came a day when there was only one apple upon the tree. Then was
she afraid, for she said, “How shall I know whom I love when the tree is
empty?” So she went near to it. Very close, then, she felt to Silvio,
and he to her; and suddenly she stretched out her arms, and said,
“Apple-tree, apple-tree, you have seen whom it is that I love. Send him
back to me!” And she put her arms round the tree, and clung to it,
crying, “Comfort me!” And it moved within her arms. Whereupon she was
frightened, and drew her arms away, putting her hands before her eyes
... and when she opened her eyes, there was Silvio waiting for her, a
golden apple in his hand. But there was no apple-tree.

Then Silvio said to the Princess, “Whom is it that you love?” And she
said, “Silvio.” So they kissed each other. And the King, seeing them
from his window, said, “Let him marry her, for he is a greater man than
I.” So they were married, and lived happily ever afterwards, walking in
the garden together, hand-in-hand.

       *       *       *       *       *

This is the story which the eldest Vanderdecken girl read aloud
underneath the Umbrella Tree. And they said, “Now read us another.” But
Diana, who had never had a story read to her before, said, “I’m glad
they were together again.”


[Illustration: Sparrow Tree Square]

We will take the lady in green first. Her name is Diana Fitzpatrick
Mauleverer James. She is the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Fitzpatrick
Mauleverer James, who live at Number 27. Mrs. F. M. James wanted a boy,
so that he could support them in their old age; but Mr. F. M. James said
loftily: “No F. M. James, my dear, was ever any good at supporting.
Where the F. M. Jameses shine is at being supported. Let it be a girl,
and let her marry some very rich man when she grows up. It shall be
_his_ proud privilege to tend the last of the F. M. James’s in their
middle-age.” So it was a girl.

Mrs. F. M. James was very fond of Diana, but she was fond of Mr. F. M.
James, too, and a time came when she found that she couldn’t look after
both of them; for it would happen sometimes that, when Diana wanted to
play trains, Mr. F. M. James didn’t, or that when Mr. F. M. James did,
then Diana had thought of some other game. So one day she said:

“I think, dear, we had better get Diana a nurse, and then I can devote
myself entirely to you.”

“Certainly, my love, you should devote yourself entirely to me,” said
Mr. F. M. James, “but I cannot allow a common nurse to look after Diana
Fitzpatrick Mauleverer. The F. M. James’s have their pride.”

“Then who is to look after her?” asked Diana’s Mother.

“She must look after herself.”

So from that day Diana looked after herself. She woke herself in the
morning, dressed herself, took herself out for a walk, told herself to
get-on-with-her-dinner-there-was-a-darling, sang herself to sleep in the
afternoon, gave herself tea, brushed her hair and took herself
downstairs to her Father and Mother, took herself back again if they
were out, gave herself a bath, read to herself while she had her supper,
and at the end of the day said good-night to herself and left herself in
bed. When she was there, she made up little rhymes for herself, before
going to sleep. One of them went like this:

    Diana Fitzpatrick Mauleverer James
    Was lucky to have the most beautiful names.
    How awful for Fathers and Mothers to call
    Their children Jemima!--or nothing at all!
    But _hers_ were much wiser and kinder and cleverer,
    They called her Diana Fitzpatrick Mauleverer James.

I am telling you all this because I want you to understand how proud she
felt on that first morning when she took herself to Sparrow Tree Square
to feed the birds. There were other children there, but they had nurses
with them. Sometimes the children ran away and pretended they didn’t
belong to the nurses and sometimes the nurses lagged behind and
pretended they didn’t belong to the children, but Diana Fitzpatrick
Mauleverer James knew! She was the only entirely-all-by-herself person
there. And she had given herself a bag full of bread-crusts to feed the
sparrows with, and she had let herself wear the green coat with fur
trimmings, and she was utterly and entirely happy. She nodded to William
and Wilhelmina Good, who were walking up and down in a very correct way,
William in green, too, and Wilhelmina, who had been growing rather
quickly lately, in blue. She laughed like anything at a little boy who
was trying to count the sparrows, and kept making it thirty instead of
thirty-one, because one of them hid between his legs. How angry he was
because he couldn’t make it thirty-one! Silly little boy! She bowed
politely to the Vanderdecken girls--over-dressed as usual--and agreed
with them that it was a fine morning. They were feeding the sparrows,
too, but they just had little bits of bread which their nurses gave them
out of their pockets. Not like Diana, who had her crusts in a real
grown-up bag!

Now then!

The sparrows flew round Diana Fitzpatrick Mauleverer James, and sat
waiting for her.

“All right, darlings,” she said as she opened her bag.

Oh, dear! Oh, dear! Oh, dear!

She had forgotten to put the bread-crusts in!


[Illustration: The Twins]

They are twins, and their names are William and Wilhelmina Good. When
Mr. Good was told about them, he lit a cigar, and said, “I shall call
the boy William--after myself;” and then he thought for a long time, and
said, “And I shall call the girl Wilhelmina--after her brother.” He
threw his cigar away, and went and told Mrs. Good, who had wanted to
call them John and Jane. Mrs. Good said, “Very well, dear, but I don’t
like the name of William, and I shall call my dear little boy Billy for
short.” And Mr. Good said, “Certainly, my love, but if it comes to that,
I don’t much care about the name of Wilhelmina, not for shouting up the
stairs with, so my dear little girl had better be called Billy, too.”
Mrs. Good said, “Very well, dear, but won’t it be rather confusing?” And
Mr. Good said, “No, dear, not to people of any intelligence;” and he
took out his watch at the end of its chain, and swung it round and
round and round, and looked at it, and said, “My watch is a fortnight
fast,” and put it back in his pocket, and returned to his library.

The twins grew up, and they were so like each other that nobody knew
which was which. Of course they ought to have had their names on their
vests--_William Good_, _Wilhelmina Good_--but Nurse made a mistake about
this. She bought the tape and marking ink, and she wrote the names, and
she stitched them on; and, when all the vests were marked, she showed
them proudly to Mrs. Good. And then it was discovered that by an
accident she had marked them all “_Billy Good_.” When Mr. Good was told
about this, he lit a cigar, and said, “Have people no intelligence at
all? Next year, when they have grown out of these vests, I will mark the
new ones myself.” So next year he marked them all, in very neat
printing, _W. Good_.

Luckily by this time Wilhelmina’s hair had begun to curl. Every night
Nurse spent ten minutes with a wet comb, combing it round her finger.
William’s hair curled naturally, too, but not so naturally as this, and
in a little while you could tell at once which was Wilhelmina and which
wasn’t. If you will look at the picture, you will see how right I am
about this. Mr. Good always says that he and I are the only people of
any _real_ intelligence left in the world ... and that I am not what I
was. However, I do my best; and I know I am right about this. The one
with the curly hair is Wilhelmina.

One night when they were fast-asleep-like-good-children, Wilhelmina

“I’m very clever, I can hear in the dark I’m so clever.”

“I’m as clever as anything,” said William. “I’m too clever.”

“I can hear snails breathing,” said Wilhelmina.

“I can hear snails not breathing,” said William.

Wilhelmina thought again.

“I can hear somebody out of the window calling Billy,” she said.

“I told him to do it,” said William.

“I’m going to see what he wants,” said Wilhelmina....

“Yes, I am,” said Wilhelmina....

“Shall I?” said Wilhelmina....

“I think he meant _you_,” said Wilhelmina.

“He meant you,” said William. “He says it in a different sort of voice
when he means me.”

“You’re afraid to go,” said Wilhelmina.

“I’m not afraid, but he gets very angry when the wrong person goes.”

“He has a long red cap with a tassel on it,” said Wilhelmina.

“He has a long beard and green stockings,” said William.

“I’m going to see him,” said Wilhelmina firmly.

“So am I going to see him.”

“I’ll go if you’ll go.”

“I’ll go if you’ll go.”

“Let’s both go.”

“Yes, let’s both go.”

Very unwillingly they got out of bed, and stood, hand in hand, on the
nursery floor.

“I can’t hear him now,” said Wilhelmina hopefully.

“Nor can I can’t hear him,” said William at once.

“Yes, I can,” said Wilhelmina unexpectedly, “because I’m so clever I
hear so well.”

“So can I,” said William quickly.

They moved a little closer to the window.

“Does he get _very_ angry if it’s the wrong person?” asked Wilhelmina.

“He doesn’t know, because his face is turned the wrong way round, so
he’s never quite sure.”

“I knew his face was the wrong way round,” said Wilhelmina hurriedly,
“but I thought perhaps he had an Ooglie man with him to tell him.”

William wondered anxiously what an Ooglie man was. So did Wilhelmina.

“No,” said William. “He hasn’t. Not this one.”

“I’m not afraid,” said both together. Tremblingly they pushed open the
window, and leant out....


[Illustration: Miss Waterlow in Bed]

This is Miss Waterlow in bed.

Mrs. Waterlow is kissing her good-night, and saying:

“God bless you and keep you, my darling darlingest, my sweetheart, my
little baby one.”

Miss Waterlow gives a little far-away smile. She is thinking:

“I know a funny thing to think when I’m alone.”

Mrs. Waterlow is looking at her as if she could never stop looking, and

“Thank you, and thank you, God, for giving me my darling darlingest. You
do understand, don’t you, that it doesn’t matter what happens to _me_,
but oh! don’t let anything terrible happen to _her_!”

Miss Waterlow is thinking:

“I shall pretend I’m big as the moon, and nobody can catch me I’m so
big. Isn’t that funny?”

“Good-night, beloved. Sleep well, my darling darlingest.”

Miss Waterlow is remembering something ... something very beautiful ...
but it all happened so long ago that she has forgotten the beginning of
it before she remembers the end.

“Oh, my lovely, when you look like that you make me want to cry. What
are you thinking of, darlingest?”

Miss Waterlow won’t tell.

Yet perhaps for a moment Mrs. Waterlow has been there, too.

“God bless you, my lovely,” she says, and puts out the light.

Miss Waterlow is alone.

       *       *       *       *       *

Miss Waterlow at this time was one. It is a tremendous age to be, and
often she would lie on her back and laugh to think of all the babies who
were None. When she was six months old, Mr. Waterlow, who was a poet,
wrote some verses about her and he slipped them proudly into Mrs.
Waterlow’s hand one evening. Owing to a misunderstanding, they were used
to wedge the nursery window, which rattled at night; and though they
wedged very delightfully for some time, Mr. Waterlow couldn’t help
feeling a little disappointed. Mrs. Waterlow was, of course, as sorry as
she could be when she understood what had happened, but it was then too
late. As Mr. Waterlow said: Once you have bent a piece of poetry, it is
never quite the same again. Fortunately for all of us, two lines at the
end, torn off so as to make the wedge the right thickness, have
survived. They go like this:

“She never walks, and she never speaks--
And we’ve had her for _weeks_ and _weeks_ and _weeks_!”

Now the truth was that Miss Waterlow could speak if she wanted to, but
she had decided to wait until she was quarter-past-one. The reason was
that she had such lovely things to remember, _if only she could remember
them_. You can’t talk _and_ think. For a year and a quarter she would
just lie on her back and remember ... and then when she had it all quite
clear in her mind, she would tell them all about it. But nobody can
speak without practice. So every night, as soon as she was alone, she

She practised now.

“Teddy!” she called.

Down on the floor, at the foot of her bed, Teddy-bear, whose head was
nodding on his chest, woke up with a start.

“What is it?” he grumbled.

“Are you asleep, Teddy?”

“I are and I aren’t,” said Teddy.

“I forght I were, and I weren’t,” said Miss Waterlow.

“Well, well, what is it?”

“What’s a word for a lovely--a lovely--_you_ know what I mean--and all
of a sudden--only you don’t because--what _is_ the word, Teddy?”

“Condensedmilk,” said Teddy.

“I don’t _fink_ it is,” said Miss Waterlow.

“As near as you can get nowadays.”

Miss Waterlow sighed. She never seemed to get very near.

“Perhaps I shall never tell them,” said Miss Waterlow sadly. “Perhaps
they don’t have the word.”

“Perhaps they don’t,” said Teddy. “It’s a funny thing about them,” he
went on, waking up slightly, “what a few words they _have_ got. Take
‘condensedmilk’ as an example. It does, but it isn’t _really_, if you
see what I mean. That’s why I never talk to ’em now. They don’t get any
_richness_ into their words--they don’t get any what I call flavour.
There’s no _bite_.”

“I want a word--”

“Better go to sleep,” said Teddy, his head nodding suddenly again.

“Shan’t I ever be able to tell them?” asked Miss Waterlow wistfully.

“Never,” said Teddy sleepily. “They’ve got the wrong words.”

Miss Waterlow lay there, wrapt in drowsy and enchanted memories of that
golden land to which she could never quite return. She would tell them
all about it some day ... but not now ... not now ... not now....

She gave a little sigh, and was asleep.


[Illustration: Sand Babies]

They had never been to the seaside before, so you can imagine how
pleased they were when Mr. Merryweather said, “I think we will go to the
sea this summer, it will do the children good.”

They all began to jump about and get very excited, all except John. John
had heard about the sea, but he didn’t quite believe it. So he said to
his Father:

“When you go to the theathide, do you weally _thee_ the thea?”

All the other children laughed, and Mary the eldest, who knew
everything, said, “Silly, of _course_ you do!”

John kept his eyes on his Father, and said, “Do you weally?” And his
Father said, “Yes, old boy, you do.” Then John gave a great sigh of
happiness and said, “I fort perhaps you did.” And he walked round and
round the garden, singing, “I’m going to thee the thea!”

Mary went off with her Mother to talk about what sort of clothes they
would all want. Mary was ten; and when you are ten and the eldest,
almost everything depends upon you. John was three and the youngest, and
sometimes Mary was not quite sure whether she was John’s mother or not.
If you could have two mothers, then she was one of them.

“The great question,” said Mr. Merryweather next day, “is, where shall
we go?”

John looked at him as if he could hardly believe. “I _fort_ we were
going to the thea,” he said, almost crying.

“Silly, of course we are,” said Mary. “But there are lots of places by
the sea. Let’s go to a place where there are heaps of lovely shells.”

“And sand,” said Margaret.

“And rocks,” said Joan. “And pools.”

“SHELLS--SAND--ROCKS--POOLS,” wrote Mr. Merryweather on his cuff.
“Anything else?”

John tried to speak once or twice, but nothing happened.

“Yes, darling?” said his Mother.

“Thea,” said John faintly.

“AND SEA,” wrote Mr. Merryweather. “And what do _you_ want, Stephen?”

Stephen was four. He thought a good deal, but never said anything, so if
it hadn’t been for Joan, nobody would ever have known what he wanted.

“Stephen wants the same as me, don’t you, Stephen?” said Joan quickly.

Stephen nodded. He was thinking of something else.

On the Monday they all went off. As soon as they got out at the station,
Mr. Merryweather said, “I can smell the sea,” and Mary said, “So can I,”
but she couldn’t really. John very nearly cried again, because he
thought the sea was something you saw, not just something you smelt, but
Mary told him that to-morrow after breakfast he would really _see_ it,
Wouldn’t he, Mother? And Mrs. Merryweather said, Yes, it was too late
now; better wait till to-morrow.

So they waited till to-morrow. As soon as they had finished breakfast,
and they were all too excited to eat much (except Stephen, who could
think just as well, whether he was eating or whether he wasn’t), Mary
took them out. Mr. Merryweather stayed behind to read his paper, and
Mrs. Merryweather stayed behind to see about dinner, because they knew
they could trust Mary. Joan and Stephen walked in front, Joan chattering
to Stephen, and Stephen thinking; then came Margaret, talking eagerly
over her shoulder to Mary; and then came Mary holding John’s hand, and
saying, “We’re nearly there, dear.”

Suddenly they turned the corner, and there they were.

Mary said proudly: “There, darling, _there’s_ the sea.”

Margaret said: “Isn’t it _lovely_?”

Joan said: “Oh, _look_, Stephen!”

Stephen said nothing, of course.

And John opened his mouth to say something, turned very red, and burst
into tears.

They were all very sorry for John--except Stephen, who was thinking of
something else. The worst of it was that none of them knew what was the
matter with him. Had he had too much breakfast? Or too little? Was he
tired? Would he like Margaret to take him back? John couldn’t tell them.
He didn’t know.

“What would you like to do, darling?” said Mary. “Shall we pick some
lovely shells?”

John sniffed and nodded.

They went on to the beach. There were many other children there, but
they were much too happy to take any notice of the Merryweather family.

“Now,” said Mary, “let’s see who can find the prettiest shell. Oh, look
at _this_ one!”

“Oh, and _this_ one, Mary!” said Margaret.

“Well put them in my bag,” said Mary. “Would you like to hold the bag,

“Yeth,” said John meekly. Afraid to look at it again, he stood with his
back to the sea, and dropped the shells into the bag as they were given
to him. Why had the sea made him cry like that? He didn’t know. Perhaps

He looked at Stephen.

No, it was no good asking Stephen.


[Illustration: Poor Anne]

She was christened Anne Lavender, so that her full name was Anne
Lavender Lavender. This was an idea of Mr. Lavender’s. He was very proud
of his family, and it distressed him to think that when his daughter,
the beautiful Miss Lavender, married, her name might be something quite
ugly, like Winks.

“Whereas,” he explained to Anne’s Mamma, “if we call her Anne Lavender
Lavender, her name, when she marries this man Winks, will be Anne
Lavender-Winks, and people will know at once that she is one of us.”

“They will know that anyhow,” said Mrs. Lavender, bending over her baby.
“She is just like her old Daddy, aren’t you, darling?”

Anne, being then about none, did not reply.

“She has my hair, certainly,” said Mr. Lavender, and he stroked his
raven locks proudly.

He was very dark, and Mrs. Lavender was very fair, and they had often
wondered which of them Anne would be like. He used to say “I do hope she
will be like _you_, darling,” and she would say, “I would rather she
were like _you_, dearest,” and he would say, “Well, well, we shall see.”
And now she was dark. She was dark, like him; and she was called Anne
Lavender Lavender, which was his own idea; and he felt very happy about
it all.

And then one day a surprising thing happened. All her dark hair fell
off, and she became as fair as fair--just like her Mamma.

“What a pity!” said Mrs. Lavender, “I did want her to be like you.”

“She’s much prettier like you,” said Mr. Lavender gallantly, though
secretly he was a little hurt.

But he soon got over it. By the time Anne was one and a bit, he had
decided that the only color for very small fat girls was fair. He used
to gaze at her sometimes, and say to himself, “I shan’t let her marry
that fellow Winks now, she’s much too good for him. She’s lovely--and
just like her Mother.”

And then another very surprising thing happened. Her hair suddenly
became red. Not golden-red or chestnut-red, but really-carrotty-red.
Red! And nobody in Mr. Lavender’s family or Mrs. Lavender’s family had
ever had red hair before!

It was then that one or two people began calling her Poor Anne. They
didn’t all do it at first--just one or two of them. “What a pity about
Poor Anne,” they said. “She used to have such lovely flaxen hair.” And
when they were talking about Christmas presents, they used to say, “And,
of course, there’s Poor Anne; we mustn’t forget _her_.”

Mr. Lavender was terribly upset about it all. He wrote to the editors of
several papers, and asked them to say whether, if a child’s hair had
once _not_ been red, and then _was_ red, whether it would ever _not_ be
red again, if it once _hadn’t_ been. Some of them didn’t answer, and
some said that Time Would Show, and two of them said that Red Hair was
Very Becoming. But, of course, that wasn’t what Mr. Lavender wanted to

Mrs. Lavender didn’t mind so much. She had just decided to have another
baby called David Lavender.

David was fair. Fairer than Anne had ever been, fairer than his Mother
had ever been. All his aunts came and looked at him, and they said to
each other, “Isn’t his hair lovely?” And then they _all_ said to each
other, “What a pity about Poor Anne!”

Poor Anne didn’t mind. She was much too happy taking care of her little
brother. You see, she knew why her own hair had gone red. It was because
she had caught that terrible cold when she was two, through getting her
feet wet. So it was _most important_ that David should never, never
catch cold, because a girl with carrotty hair was just Poor Anne, but a
boy with carrotty hair was Oh-_poor_-David. And her Father would be so
miserable that he wouldn’t ever write to the papers again, and it would
be all her fault.

So she did all she possibly could to keep David’s hair the right color,
and she did it so well that one day Mr. Lavender said:

“Poor Anne. She won’t be beautiful, but she’ll be very useful, and I
think I shall let her marry the Winks fellow after all.”

And then he murmured to himself, “Anne Lavender-Winks. How _right_ I was
about that!”


[Illustration: A Voyage to India]

Raining, still raining! Oh dear, oh dear! But what, you say to yourself,
is a little rain? Jane Ann must be patient. She must stay at home and
play with her delightful toys this afternoon, and then perhaps to-morrow
morning the sun will come out, and she will be able to run about in the
fields again. After all, it isn’t every little girl who has a rabbit,
and a horse and cart, and an india-rubber ball to play with. Come, come,
Jane Ann!

How little you understand!

To-day was the day. To-morrow will be too late. Perhaps even now if it
cleared up--but each time that she has said this, down has come another
cloud. She tried shutting her eyes; she did try that. She tried shutting
her eyes and saying, “One, two, three, four--I’ll count twenty and then
I’ll open them, and please, will you let the rain stop by then, please,
because it’s too terribly important, you know why.” Yes, she counted
twenty; quickly up to twelve, and then more slowly to fifteen, and then
sixteen ... seventeen ... eighteen ... nineteen ... and then, so slowly
that it wasn’t really fair, but she wanted to make it easier for God,
twe ... twe ... twe ... TWENTY! But it went on raining. She tried
holding her breath; she said that if she held her breath a very long
time, longer than anyone in the whole world had ever held it before,
then when she stopped holding it, it would stop raining. Wouldn’t it?
But it didn’t. So she stood at the window and watched the raindrops
sliding down the pane; and she said--and she _knew_ this would do
it--that if _this_ raindrop got to the bottom of the pane before the
other, then it would stop raining, but that if the other one did, then
it wouldn’t stop ... and when they were half-way down, she said, No, it
was the other way about, and if this one got there _last_, then.... But
still it went on raining.

You see, it was the day she was going to India. Her Father and Mother
lived in India, and she remembered them quite well. At first she
remembered they were black, because all Indians were black, and then
when Aunt Mary told her they were white, she remembered how white they
were. She was to live with Aunt Mary until they came home, which was
next year, and sometimes she got tired of waiting.

“Couldn’t they come to-morrow?” she asked.

“Not to-morrow,” said Aunt Mary, “because they are very busy, but it
won’t be long now.”

Then Jane Ann had her lovely idea. If they were too busy to come to her,
she would go to them.

She counted up all her money, and thought it would be just enough, if
she walked all the way. And every day that week, when she went out with
her Nurse, she bought something nourishing, like buns or chocolates, and
put them in her special box. And every evening she looked inside the
box, and then shut her eyes and thought very hard of her Father and
Mother, and didn’t eat any of it. And when the box was full, it was
Friday night, and to-morrow was the day.

She said good-bye to Rabbit that night. They all wanted to come, but
Rabbit most. Rabbit had a special pink ribbon round his neck to come by,
and he had never been to India before, so he was terribly excited. But
Jane Ann said, No, he couldn’t, because India was full of fierce tigers,
and tigers ate rabbits. Rabbit saw that it wouldn’t do to be eaten by a
tiger, but he thought he could dodge them. He was very disappointed
when Jane Ann told him that even dodgy rabbits got eaten by tigers in
India. “Even _very_ dodgy rabbits?” he asked wistfully. “Yes,” said Jane
Ann, “even _very_ dodgy rabbits.” But she felt so sorry for him when she
said this that she took off his pink ribbon and hid it away in a drawer,
in case she felt she _couldn’t_ leave him behind in the morning.

They were all to see her off. She arranged them in the window--Horse and
Cart, Horse, Ball and Rabbit--so that she would be able to wave to them
for quite a long way. Of course, after you had gone a long way you had
to turn to the right, and then you wouldn’t see them any more. That was
when she would first open her box, because she would be feeling so
lonely. It was wonderful how unlonely chocolate made you.

Looking out of the window next morning, Rabbit saw that it was raining.

“Perhaps she won’t go now,” he said, and he was very excited.

After breakfast Jane Ann looked out of the window, too.

“It will stop soon,” she said cheerfully.

And she stood there waiting for it to stop....


[Illustration: Barbara’s Birthday]

They are being photographed. Names, reading from left to right:

Susan, Henry Dog, Barbara, Mrs. Perkins, Helen.

Of course, they are not really being photographed, but Helen said,
“Let’s pretend that we are, and that it’s going to be in the papers
to-morrow.” So she put one hand on Mrs. Perkins, to show how fond she
was of the cat, and took the other one off the table, to show how
well-brought-up she was, and said “Go!”

Well, you see what happened. Susan and Barbara weren’t ready for it.
They were both eating, and both had their elbows on the table. It would
be a terrible thing if the photograph came out in the paper like that.
Couldn’t the man take another one?

Helen said, No, it was the last one he had. He had been taking
photographs all the day of “Scenes in the Village on the Occasion of
Miss Barbara’s Sixth Birthday” and he only had two left when he came to
the house. One was “A Corner of the Stables Taken from the North Side of
the Lake,” and the other was “Miss Barbara Entertains a Few Friends to
Tea, reading from left to right.”

Barbara said, “Oh!”

Susan said, “Well, I don’t mind, because it’s not my birthday.”

Helen said, “It was the man’s fault for taking all those ones in the

Susan said, “_My_ birthday’s on April the Fifteenth and I’m five and
Henry’s three and his birthday’s the same day as mine, isn’t that

And Barbara said, “Well, I know I’m six.”

Then they all began to eat again.

But if Barbara was six, where was the big birthday-cake with six
candles on it? Ah!

You see, Barbara lived in a big town, and the Doctor looked at her one
day and said “H’m!” Then he asked her to put out her tongue, and when he
saw it, he said, “Tut-tut-tut!” Then he put his fingers on her wrist and
looked at his watch, and the watch was even worse than the tongue, for
he said, “Come, come, this won’t do.” And just when Barbara was going to
say, “Would you like to try _my_ watch?” the Doctor turned to Barbara’s
Father and Mother and said, “She wants a change.” So it was decided that
on Monday Barbara should take her Nurse into the country for a Change.

“But what about my birthday?” said Barbara. “Will I be at home for my

Barbara’s Father brought out his Pocket Diary, and it was found that
she couldn’t get home again until two days after her birthday.

“Never mind,” said her Mother; “you can have your birthday three days
later this year.”

“And a very extra special one to make up,” said her Father.

So that was that, and Barbara didn’t really mind a bit, because she
loved being in the country, and she had her birthday to look forward to
when she got home again.

Now there was a family living in the village called--I forget the name,
and the family was Mr. and Mrs. Somebody, Helen Somebody, Susan
Somebody, Henry Dog and Mrs. Perkins. Barbara got very friendly with
them, and one day Helen and Susan were coming to tea with her, because
it was her last day but one.

“I wish you could stay to April the Fifteenth,” said Susan, “because
it’s my birthday and I’m five, and Henry’s three, isn’t it funny?”

“I’m six as soon as I get back,” said Barbara. “I would have been six
to-day, if I had been well.”

“Do you mean it’s your birthday?” said Helen excitedly.

Barbara explained how, because of having a Change, she wasn’t being six
till three days later this year.

“But you _are_ six, you _are_ six,” said Helen, jumping up and down.
“Isn’t she, Susan?”

Susan said: “I’m five on April the--”

“Of _course_ you’re six, so we must make it a birthday party. And please
will you invite Mr. Henry Dog and Mrs. Perkins as well as us, so as to
make it a big party?”

Barbara promised; and when her guests arrived, Helen had brought some
flowers to make the party look more exciting. She had also made up a
rhyme to say; at least, she and her Father had made it up between them,
and Helen said it.

    _Barbara is six to-day,_
    _Hooray, hooray, hooray, hooray!_

Then they all had tea.

And Helen and Susan and Henry Dog and Mrs. Perkins thought it was a
lovely tea. But all the time Barbara was saying to herself, “Only three
more days, and then I shall have my _real_ birthday.”


[Illustration: The Baby Show]

Mr. Theophilus Banks was a very important man. His friends called him
Theo. I forget what he did exactly, but it was very important, and if he
didn’t do it, then where should we all be? I don’t know. Everything
depended on Mr. Banks.

He had three children. The first was a girl, and she was called Jessica
Banks after her Mother. The next was a boy, and he was called Theophilus
Banks, after his Father, Theophilus Banks. Some people thought it would
be rather confusing having two Theophiluses Bankses in the family, but
Mr. Banks thought not. He said that for many years the child would be
Master Banks, and if they liked they could call him Phil for short; and
that by the time he was old enough to be Mr. Banks, his Father would be
Judge Banks or Professor Banks, or Colonel Banks or President Banks--he
hadn’t quite decided yet. So the baby was called Phil for short. And
then, later on, there was a third child, and as Mr. Banks couldn’t very
well call him Theophilus, too, he decided to keep as much of the name in
the family as was possible. So the Baby was called Theodore, or Toddy
for short.

Mr. Banks played golf. He was a very active man, and he played more golf
in an afternoon than anybody else at his club. Sometimes the friends he
was playing with would stop for tea after hitting the ball only
seventy-five times, but Mr. Banks would never stop until he had hit it a
hundred and twenty times. He was that sort of man. You would have
thought that they would have given him a prize for being so active, but
they didn’t. They always gave it to the others. Almost everybody in the
club was given a little silver cup except Mr. Banks. He used to feel
very unhappy about it. Whenever he and Mrs. Banks went out to dinner
with their friends, they would always see a silver cup on the table, and
Mr. Binks (if that was the name of the friend) would explain to Mr.
Banks how he had won the cup last Saturday, and Mrs. Binks would explain
to Mrs. Banks how her husband had won it. And Mr. and Mrs. Banks would
go home feeling very disheartened about it.

One day Mrs. Banks read in the paper that there was going to be a Baby
Show in the town. She told Jessica, and Jessica said at once, “Oh, let’s
put Toddy in! What fun!”

“Put Toddy in, put Toddy in,” cried Phil, thinking it was some sort of
pond, and how funny Toddy would look in it.

“Oh, do let’s,” said Jessica, “and then if he won, Father would have a
silver cup like the others.”

Mrs. Banks suddenly remembered that it was Father’s birthday next week.
He had everything he wanted except a silver cup. How happy he would be
if he could win one just in time for his birthday!

So Master Theodore Banks was entered for the Baby Show. Of course it was
to be a secret from Mr. Banks, so every day when he was at the office
where everything depended on him, the others used to get together and
wonder how they could improve Toddy, so as to make sure that he would
win the prize.

Mrs. Banks thought that he was perfect as he was.

Jessica thought that he would have been perfect if his hair had been a
little more curly.

Phil thought that if he was put in a pond and made to swim, he would be
much stronger. _And_ perfecter.

So Jessica brushed and brushed and brushed his hair every day; and every
day Phil tried to get hold of him so as to strengthen him. But Mrs.
Banks kept him on the chest of drawers, so that Jessica could brush his
hair and Phil couldn’t quite reach him, and she thought to herself, “I
believe he _will_ win the prize after all.” And every day when Mr. Banks
came home from golf, she looked at him to see if he had won a silver
cup; but he hadn’t.

Mr. Banks hadn’t been thinking much about his birthday. He knew he was
35 or 107 or something, and he knew it was this week, but nobody was
more surprised than he when he came down to breakfast on Thursday, and
found a beautiful parcel on his plate. You can guess how excited he

“Well, well, well, what can this be?” he said, and Phil nudged Jessica,
and Jessica smiled at her Mother, and Phil jumped about and said, “Open
it! Open it!” So Mr. Banks opened it.

“Well, well, well!” he said.

It was a silver cup.

“But what--?” he said.

Then he turned it round, and on the other side he saw:

                              FIRST PRIZE
                      (Division I)

                                WON BY

                              THEO BANKS

“But who--?” he said.

Then they explained how Theodore had won the prize, and how there hadn’t
been room to get _all_ his name in, so they had had to put Theo.

“Well, well, well,” said Mr. Theo. Banks again.

So, from that day, whenever Mr. and Mrs. Binks came to dinner, there was
the silver cup on the table!

“Now we shall all live happy ever after, shan’t we?” said Jessica to her

And they did.


[Illustration: The Magic Hill]

Once upon a time there was a King who had seven children. The first
three were boys, and he was glad about this because a King likes to have
three sons; but when the next three were sons also, he was not so glad,
and he wished that one of them had been a daughter. So the Queen said,
“The next shall be a daughter.” And it was, and they decided to call her

When the Princess Daffodil was a month old, the King and Queen gave a
great party in the Palace for the christening, and the Fairy Mumruffin
was invited to be Godmother to the little Princess.

“She is a good fairy,” said the King to the Queen, “and I hope she will
give Daffodil something that will be useful to her. Beauty or Wisdom or
Riches or--”

“Or Goodness,” said the Queen.

“Or Goodness, as I was about to remark,” said the King.

So you will understand how anxious they were when Fairy Mumruffin looked
down at the sleeping Princess in her cradle and waved her wand.

“They have called you Daffodil,” she said, and then she waved her wand

    “Let Daffodil
     The gardens fill.
     Wherever you go
     Flowers shall grow.”

There was a moment’s silence while the King tried to think this out.

“What was that?” he whispered to the Queen. “I didn’t quite get that.”

“Wherever she walks flowers are going to grow,” said the Queen. “I think
it’s sweet.”

“Oh,” said the King. “Was that all? She didn’t say anything about--”


“Oh, well.”

He turned to thank the Fairy Mumruffin, but she had already flown away.

It was nearly a year later that the Princess first began to walk, and by
this time everybody had forgotten about the Fairy’s promise. So the King
was rather surprised, when he came back from hunting one day, to find
that his favourite courtyard, where he used to walk when he was
thinking, was covered with flowers.

“What does this mean?” he said sternly to the chief gardener.

“I don’t know, your Majesty,” said the gardener, scratching his head.
“It isn’t _my_ doing.”

“Then who has done it? Who has been here to-day?”

“Nobody, your Majesty, except her Royal Highness, Princess Daffodil, as
I’ve been told, though how she found her way there, such a baby and all,
bless her sweet little--”

“That will do,” said the King. “You may go.”

For now he remembered. This was what the Fairy Mumruffin had promised.

That evening the King and the Queen talked the matter over very
seriously before they went to bed.

“It is quite clear,” said the King, “that we cannot let Daffodil run
about everywhere. That would never do. She must take her walks on the
beds. She must be carried across all the paths. It will be annoying in a
way, but in a way it will be useful. We shall be able to do without most
of the gardeners.”

“Yes, dear,” said the Queen.

So Daffodil as she grew up was only allowed to walk on the beds, and the
other children were very jealous of her because they were only allowed
to walk on the paths; and they thought what fun it would be if only
they were allowed to run about on the beds just once. But Daffodil
thought what fun it would be if she could run about the paths like other
boys and girls.

One day, when she was about five years old, a Court Doctor came to see
her. And when he had looked at her tongue, he said to the Queen:

“Her Royal Highness needs more exercise. She must run about more. She
must climb hills and roll down them. She must hop and skip and jump. In
short, your Majesty, although she is a Princess she must do what other
little girls do.”

“Unfortunately,” said the Queen, “she is not like other little girls.”
And she sighed and looked out of the window. And out of the window, at
the far end of the garden, she saw a little green hill where no flowers
grew. So she turned back to the Court Doctor and said, “You are right;
she must be as other little girls.”

So she went to the King, and the King gave the Princess Daffodil the
little green hill for her very own. And every day the Princess Daffodil
played there, and flowers grew; and every evening the girls and boys of
the countryside came and picked the flowers.

So they called it the Magic Hill. And from that day onward flowers have
always grown on the Magic Hill, and boys and girls have laughed and
played and picked them.


[Illustration: The Three Daughters of M. Dupont]

When Monsieur Dupont was a Frenchman, he had three daughters, and their
names were Anne-Marie, Therèse and _la p’tite_ Georgette. But when he
became an American for a change, he called himself Mr. Dewpond, and his
daughters were called Anne Mary, Terry and George.

Mrs. Dewpond (who still called herself Madame Dupont when nobody was
looking) had a linen-cupboard of which she was very proud, and it was
her one delight to keep it always full of the most beautiful linen.
Linen fascinated her, just as kittens fascinate other people, and money
fascinates my Uncle James. She was never tired of buying it, and running
her fingers over it, and holding it against her cheek, and then tucking
it lovingly away in her cupboard; and whenever she had a birthday, her
three daughters would put all their savings together and buy her a
table-cloth or a pair of dusters, so that Mrs. Dewpond should say, “My
darlings, but how they are ravishing!” They loved to hear her say this.

One day Mrs. Dewpond was not very well; and then there were more days
when she was no better; and first a doctor came, and then a nurse came,
and then she and the nurse went away into the country together to see if
that would do her any good. And all the time Mr. Dewpond went about the
house saying “T’chk, t’chk, t’chk” to himself, and looking very
miserable; and Anne Mary wrote to her Mother every day to say that they
were all getting on all right and did want her back so badly; and Terry
ended up her prayers every night with, “And may she suddenly come back
to-morrow morning about half past seven, so that I can wake up and there
she is”; and George kissed the door of her Mother’s empty bedroom every
time she passed it, as a sort of friendly habit; and all the house
called to her to come back to it.

And at last there came a day when Mr. Dewpond had a letter saying that
Mrs. Dewpond was very nearly well again, and would be home again on
Saturday afternoon. This was on the Monday, so they had less than a week
to wait, and they were all just as happy as they could be, thinking of

“We must celebrate it,” said Terry solemnly.

George didn’t know what “celebrate” meant, so Anne Mary explained it to
her until she did know, and then they all wondered how they should do

“I know,” said Terry suddenly. “Let’s send all the linen to the wash,
and then it will be lovely and clean and smelling lavendery when she
comes back to it.”

Anne Mary was not sure if this was a good thing to do. There was such a
lot of it, and it would look so funny on the bill if they suddenly had
a hundred and twelve table-cloths, and only one white shirt, and--

“Well, anyhow, George thinks it’s a lovely idea,” said Terry carelessly,
“and you know what fun it will be putting it all back again.”

The thought of putting it all back again was too much for Anne Mary.

“Very well, darlings,” she said, “we’ll do it. Come along.”

So they counted it out. There were 112 table-cloths, 42 bath-towels, 73
small towels, 26 pairs of sheets, 229 pillow-cases, and more dusters
than I can possibly put down here. And they all went to the laundry
together. On the Saturday morning they all came back (except one duster)
and Anne Mary, Terry and George put them in the cupboard as neat as
neat, George being particularly helpful. And then they waited for their

She came at last. Anne Mary said that she was prettier than ever, and
Mr. Dewpond said she had never looked so well, and Terry and George
thought that she was even nicer to kiss than she had ever been before.
For some time they all talked together about everything, and you could
see that Mrs. Dewpond couldn’t help thinking of her linen-cupboard now
and then, but she didn’t say anything; and Terry and George kept
whispering to each other, “Won’t she be surprised when she sees?"--and
sometimes George said to Anne Mary, “How surprised do you think she’ll
be?” At last she got up, saying, “Well, I think I’ll just--” and they
knew where she was going, and they all went with her. She threw open the
chest, and of course she knew at once what had happened. She just
clasped her hands and cried, “My darlings, but how they are ravishing!”
And then they all four hugged each other.

Later on, when he saw the bill, Mr. Dewpond clasped his hands and cried,


[Illustration: Castles by the Sea]

This is a story about Belinda, and, as it is the last, I think I shall
tell it you in poetry. Belinda is the one in mauve, and I could have
written much better poetry if she had been in brown or blue, but Mothers
never think of things like this when they dress their children. However,
she has a little red on her cap, which may be useful. We shall see.

           _First Verse_

    Belinda Brown was six or so,
      Belinda had a grown-up spade,
    Belinda Brown was six, and oh!
      The castle that Belinda made!

That’s the first verse; and now, if anybody asks you what her name was,
you can answer at once “Belinda, because it says so in one of the

           _Second Verse_

    Belinda Brown was six or so,
      Although she looked a little more,
    But she was only six, and oh!
      The bonny cap Belinda wore!

Now you can tell everybody Belinda’s age. Six. With a good poem like
this one doesn’t want to be in a hurry.

           _Third Verse_

    Belinda’s cap was mauve and red--
      A pity that it wasn’t blue--
    But it was red and mauve instead,
      And very pretty colors, too.

I think I shall go straight on to the next verse without saying anything
about that one.

           _Fourth Verse_

  (_This is going to be a good one_)

    Belinda had a bathing-gown
      Which had been brown a week before;
    The envy of her native town
      The bathing-gown Belinda wore!

I like that verse. Besides being good poetry, it explains everything.
You see, Belinda’s Aunt Rotunda had given her the beautiful cap, and
when Belinda went to dig castles in the sand, she decided to wear the
cap to keep the sun off her head, but to wear the bathing-dress, too,
so as not to mind if she got wet, which was her own idea and none of the
other children had thought of it. So her Mother said, “Then we’d better
dye the dress mauve,” to which her Father replied, “Wouldn’t it be
easier to dye the cap brown?” And Belinda’s Mother said, “I think, dear,
it might hurt Aunt Rotunda’s feelings.” So--

    Belinda wore
      Her bathing-gown
      (A brilliant brown
    The week before).
    The local store
      Had toned it down,
      The bathing-gown
    Belinda wore.

I think it looks nicer spread out like that. I will tell you a secret
now. When people pay you to write poetry for them (as they often do),
they pay you so much for every line you write, so sometimes you feel
that a verse looks nice spread out, and sometimes the man who is paying
you feels that it doesn’t. It’s just a matter of taste.

           _Fifth Verse_

(_I’m not counting the last one, because it’s a different shape from the

    Belinda Brown was not afraid,
      (Belinda was as brave as three)
    And in the castle she had made
      She waited for the rising sea.
    Belinda was as brave as 3,
      Belinda was as brave as 8;
    She waited calmly while the sea
      Came in at a tremendous rate.

And now we are coming to the sad part of the story. There was Belinda,
as you see her in the picture, not a bit afraid, and suddenly--

           _Seventh Verse_

    A monster wave came rolling on,
      It washed Belinda’s castle down,
    And in a moment they were gone--
      The castle _and_ Belinda Brown.

But where was Belinda? That was what all the other children said. And
when Mr. and Mrs. Brown came down to the beach they began saying it,
too: “Where _is_ Belinda?” Nobody knew. However, it was all right.

           _Eighth Verse_

    They found her later on the hill
      A mile or so above the town,
    A little out of breath, but still
      _Undoubtedly_ Belinda Brown.

You can imagine how excited they all were. All but Belinda. They came
rushing up to her, saying, “Oh, Belinda, are you hurt?” and, “Are you
_sure_ you’re all right, Belinda darling?” and some of the more polite
ones, who had never seen her before, said, “I trust that you have not
injured yourself in any way, Miss Brown?” And what did Belinda say?

           _Last Verse_

    Belinda tossed a scornful head--
      Belinda was as brave as brave--
    Belinda laughed at them and said,
      “Oh, wasn’t that a _lovely_ wave?”

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Gallery of Children" ***

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