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Little Folks Astray by Sophia May (Rebecca Sophia Clarke)

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"_I_ can't stare at her," said Maria, bitterly. "I suppose you don't
mean me, mother."

Mrs. Brooks only answered her poor daughter by a kiss.

"Well, little Katie, after you were born in _Nindiana_, you came to New
York. When did you come?"

"One of these other days I camed here with Hollis."

"Who's Hollis?"

"He's my own brother. Got a new cap. Had his hair cut."

"Who did you come to New York to see?" "My auntie."

"Her auntie! A great deal of satisfaction we are likely to get out of
this child," said Mr. Brooks, laughing. He had not laughed before for a

"What's your auntie's name?"

"Aunt Madge."

"Is she married?"

"O, yes; and so's Uncle 'Gustus. Married together, and live together,
just the same."

"Uncle 'Gustus who? Now we'll come at it!"

"Alling," replied Fly, her quick eyes roving about the room, for she was
tired of these questions.

"Allen, Augustus Allen!" said Mr. Brooks, in surprise; "I wonder if
there can be two of them. Tell me, child, how does he look?"

"Don't look like you," replied Fly, after a keen survey of Mr. Brooks.
"Your face is pulled away down long, like that;" (stretching her hand
out straight) "Uncle 'Gustus's face is squeezed up short" (doubling her
hand into a ball)

"I'll warrant it is the colonel himself," said Mrs. Brooks, smiling at
the description.

"Yes, that's the name of him; the 'kernil's' the name of him."

"Is it possible!" said Mr. Brooks, looking very much pleased.

"Uncle 'Gustus has curly hair on his cheeks, on his mouf, all round.
_Not_ little prickles, sticking out like needles."

"O, you girl!" said Bennie, frowning at Fly. "You mustn't laugh at my
pa's beard. There's a man comes in, sometimes, and shaves him nice; but
now the man's gone to Newark."

"Is it possible," repeated Mrs. Brooks, taking the child's hand, "that
this is Colonel Allen's little niece, and my Maria found her!"

"Your Maria didn't find me," said Fly, decidedly; "I founded Maria."

"So she did, pa. The first thing I knew, I heard somebody calling,
Doggie, doggie,' in such a sweet voice; and then I looked--no, of course
I _couldn't_ look."

Here the discouraged look came over Maria's mouth, and she said no more.

"There, there, cheer up, daughter," said Mr. Brooks, with tears in his
eyes; "I was only going on to say, it is passing strange that any of our
family should run afoul of one of the colonel's folks."

"It's the Lord's doings; I haven't the slightest doubt of it," said Mrs.
Brooks, earnestly. "You know what I've been saying to you, pa."

"There, there, ma'am, _don't_," said Mr. Brooks; "don't go to raising
false hopes. You know I'm too proud to beg of anybody's folks."

"Why, pa, I shouldn't call it begging just to tell Colonel Allen how you
are situated! Do you suppose, if he knew the facts of the case, he'd be
willing to let you suffer? Such a faithful man as you used to be to

"No, I think it's likely he wouldn't. He's got more heart than some rich
folks; but I hain't no sort of claim on the colonel, if I did help build
his house. And then, ma'am, you know I've been kind o' hopin'--"

"Guess I'll go now, and find Hollis," said Fly, slipping down from the
bed, for the talk did not interest her.

"O, but I want to go with you, Katie," said Mrs. Brooks, coaxingly.
"Bennie, you amuse her, while I change my dress."



"I know your uncle must feel dreadfully to lose you; but never
mind--he'll see you soon," said Mr. Brooks.

"O, Uncle 'Gustus isn't there."

"Not there?" said Mrs. Brooks, turning round from the cracked
looking-glass. "Where then?"

"O, he's gone off."

"Gone off? Why, pa, ain't that too bad? I'm right up and down
disappointed. But, then, the colonel has a wife; I can go to see her,
you know; and I'll tell her just how you're situ--"

"My Aunt Madge is gone off, too."

"You don't say so!"

"And my brother Hollis is gone."

"This is a funny piece of work if it's true," said Mr. Brooks, with
another genuine laugh; "you'd better ask her a few more questions before
you start out. Who else is gone? Have they shut the house up?"

"Yes, sir; shut it right up tight."

"Nobody in it, at all?"

"No, only the men and women. Prudy's gone, and Dotty Dimple's gone, and
I'm gone."

"Only the men and women, she says. That must be the servants. So the
house must be open, pa. At any rate, I shall take her. Say by-bye, my
pretty, and we'll be starting."

Fly was very glad to go, but Maria clung to her fondly, and Bennie ran
after her almost to Broadway, where Mrs. Brooks took a Fifth Avenue
stage. She knew Colonel Allen's house very well, for she had seen it
more than once, while it was in process of building. That was two or
three years ago, when her husband was well, and the family lived very
comfortably on Thirty-third Street. She sighed as she thought how
different it was now. Mr. Brooks would never be able to work any more;
they hardly had food enough to eat, and poor Maria had lost her

"Here we are, little Katie," said she.

But the child did not wait to be helped out; she danced down the steps,
and would have flown across the street, if Mrs. Brooks had not caught

"I see it--I see it; my auntie's house. But there isn't nobody to it."

The man who met them at the door was so surprised and delighted to see
Fly, that he forgot his manners, and did not ask Mrs. Brooks in.

"Bless us, the baby's found!" cried he, and ran to spread the news.

Aunt Madge was walking the parlor floor, and Horace sitting on the sofa,
as rigid as the marble elf Puck, just over his head. Prudy and Dotty had
joined hands, and were crying softly on the rug. As the police had been
notified of Fly's loss, all the family had to do was to wait. A servant
was at the nearest telegraph office, with a horse and carriage, and at
the first tidings would drive home and report.

The words "The baby's found" rang through the house like a peal of
bells. In an instant Flyaway Runaway was clasped in everybody's arms,
and wet with everybody's tears.

"Thought I'd come back," said the little truant, peeping up at her
agitated friends' with some surprise; "thought I'd come back and get my

Then they exclaimed, in chorus,--

"Topknot _shall_ have her skipt! The blessed baby! The darling old Fly!"

And Dotty wound up by saying,--

"Why, you see, we thought you's dead!"

Flyaway, who had at first been very much astonished at the fuss made
over her, now looked deeply offended.

"Who said I's dead? What--a--drefful--lie!"

"O, nobody said so, Fly; only we thought p'rhaps you was; and _what_
would we do without you, you know?"

"Why, if I's dead," said Fly, untying her bonnet strings, "then the
funy-yal would come round and take me; that's all."

"We are most grateful to you," said Aunt Madge, turning to Mrs. Brooks,
"for bringing home this lost child; but do tell us where you found her."

Then Mrs. Brooks related all she knew of Fly's wanderings, the little
one putting in her own explanations.

"I didn' be lost," said she sharply. "I feel jus' like frettin', when
you say I's lost. 'Tis the truly truth; I's walking on the streets, and
a naughty woman, she's got my hangerfiss--had ashes roses on it."

"Yes, I put some otto of rose on it this morning," said Prudy. "What a

"And I gave my flowers to the sick man. He was on the bed, with a blue
bed-kilt. A girl name o' Maria, tookened me home. The seeingness is all
gone out of her eyes, so she can't see."

"How long has your husband been sick?" asked Mrs. Allen of the woman,
while she was taking lunch in the dining-room. "Did you tell me he knew
Colonel Allen?"

Mrs. Brooks dropped her knife and fork; but her lips trembled so she
could not speak. Flyaway, who sat in Horace's lap, eating ginger-snaps,
exclaimed, "She wants some perjerves, auntie. She don't get no
perjerves, nor nuffin nice to her house."

"'Sh!" whispered Horace. The woman looked so respectable and well bred,
that it seemed a great rudeness to allude to her poverty.

But Mrs. Brooks drank some water, and then answered Aunt Madge,

"I'm not ashamed of being poor, Mrs. Allen; it's no disgrace, for there
never was an honester man than my husband, nor none that worked harder,
till a beam fell on him from the roof of a house, two years ago, and he
lost the use of his limbs.--Yes, ma'am; he did use to know your husband.
He was one of the workmen that helped build this house. I came and
looked on when he was setting these very doors."

"What is his name?" asked Aunt Madge, looking very much interested, and
taking out her note-book and pencil. "What street and number?"

"Cyrus Brooks, Number Blank, Blank Street, ma'am. Before the accident,
we lived on Thirty-third Street, in very good shape; but, little by
little, we were obliged to sell off, and finally had to move into pretty
snug quarters. But we've always got enough to eat, such as it was,"
added the good woman, trying not to show much she enjoyed her lunch.

"I am very glad Providence has sent you here, Mrs. Brooks," said Aunt
Madge, warmly. "I know Colonel Allen will seek you out when he comes
home next week; but I shall not wait for that; I shall write him this
very night."

Mrs. Brooks' heart was so full that she had to cry into a coarse purple
handkerchief of Bennie's, which happened to be in her pocket, and felt
very much ashamed because she could not find her voice again, or any
words in which to tell her gratitude. It was just as well, though. Mrs.
Allen knew words were not everything. It gave her pleasure to fill a
huge basket with nice things--wine and jelly for the sick man, plain
food for the family, and a pretty woolen dress for Maria, which had been
intended for Mrs. Fixfax, the housekeeper.

The children looked on delighted, while the basket was filled with
these articles, then passed over to Nathaniel, who was going home with
Mrs. Brooks. It was amusing to watch Nathaniel, with the monstrous
burden in his hands trying to help Mrs. Brooks down the front steps; for
Aunt Madge was not enough of a fine lady to send the pair around by the
servants' door.

It was pleasant, too, to watch Mrs. Brooks's happy face, half hidden in
the hood of her water-proof cloak, which kept puffing out, in the high
wind, like a sail. She was going home to tell her husband the Lord had
heard her prayers, and she had found a friend.

"And you may depend I never talked so easy to anybody in my life, pa;"
this was what she thought she should say. "I didn't _have_ to beg. Mrs.
Allen is one of the Lord's own; I saw it the minute I clapped my eyes
on her face."

"I am going to see that woman to-morrow, and ask some questions about
her blind daughter," said Aunt Madge, turning away from the window.

"Ask 'bout her nose, too."

"Whose nose, Fly?"

"The woman's. It keeps a-moving when she talks."

"There, who else noticed that?" exclaimed Horace, tossing his young
sister aloft. "It takes Fly, with her little eye, to see things."

"But I didn't ask her nuffin 'bout it, though, Horace Clifford. God made
her so, with a wire in."

Everybody smiled at the notion of Mrs. Brooks being a wax doll.

"What a queer day it has been!" said Prudy. "Nothing but hide and seek.
We'll all keep together next time, and lock hands tight."

"Of course," said Dotty, quickly; "but look here; don't you think
'twould be safer not to let Fly go with us? She was the one that made
all the fuss."

"Want to know if she was," said Horace, slyly. "Guess there are two
sides to that story."

"At any rate," struck in Aunt Madge, "Fly was the one that did the most
business. You went round doing good--didn't you, dear?"

"Little city missionary," said Horace.

Whereupon Miss Fly modestly dropped her head on her brother's shoulder.
She concluded she had done something wonderful in running after a dog.

"On the whole," continued auntie, "we've all had a very hard time. It's
only three o'clock; but seems to me the day has been forty hours long.
Let us rest, now, and have a quiet little evening, and go to bed early."



The next morning everybody felt fresh, and ready for new adventures.

"All going but the cat," said Fly, never doubting that her own company
was most desirable.

"Look up in my eyes, little Topknot with the blue bonnet on. Will you
run away from brother Hollis again?"

"Not if you don't take my skipt," replied Fly, looking as innocent as a
spring violet.

"And look up in _my_ eyes, Horace Clifford. Will you run away from
Cousin Dotty, again?" said Miss Dimple, in a hurry to speak before Aunt
Madge came up to them, and before Horace had time for a joke.

"I didn't run away from you, young lady, but I ran _after_ you, if I
remember," said Horace, dryly. "I don't mean to pursue you with my
attentions to-day. You seem to be able to take care of yourself."

"Look," cried Aunt Madge, coming up to them with Prudy; "did you ever
before see a span of horses with a dog running between them?"

"Never," said Doty; "what splendid horses! and don't the dog have to
trot, to keep up? How do you suppose he happened to get in there?"

"O, he has been trained to it; dogs often are. Now, my young friends, it
seems we have started for Brooklyn again; but on our way to Fulton
Ferry, I would like to stop and see the Brooks family. We must all go
together, though. 'United we stand, divided we fall.'"

"That's so," said Horace, as they entered the stage. "But, auntie, do
you have perfect faith in the story that woman tells? Perhaps her
hushand is only just lazy, and her daughter shams blindness. You know
what humbugs some of 'em are. I've read there's something they rub over
their eyes, that gives 'em the appearance of being as blind as a bat."

Prudy looked up at Horace with admiration and respect. He spoke like a
person of deep wisdom and wide experience.

"We will see for ourselves what we think of the family," said Aunt

"Now," said she, after they had ridden a mile or two, "we must get out
here, and walk a few blocks to the house. Fly, hold your brother's hand

"There's the chamer where the boy lives that says swear words; and
there's the boy, ahind the window."

"Have a free ride, little girl?" shouted Izzy Paul, laughing; for he
remembered faces as well as Fly did, and saw at once that it was the
same child he had frightened so the day before. But Fly never knew fear
where Horace was; she clung to him, and peeped out boldly between her

When they went "down cellow," as she called it, into Mr. Brooks's house,
Aunt Madge was surprised to see how bare it looked. But Dotty Dimple
need not have held her skirts so tightly about her, and brushed her
elbow so carefully when it hit against the wall; for the house was as
clean as hands could make it.

"Mrs. Brooks, I hope you will forgive me for coming down upon you with
this little army," said Mrs. Allen, with such a cheery smile that the
sick man on the bed felt as if a flood of pure sunshine had burst into
the room. He was so tired of lying there, day after day, like a great
rag baby, and so glad to see anybody, especially the good lady who, his
wife said, was "so easy to talk to!"

"Auntie, look! see the freckled doggie; and there's my flowers, true's
you live," cried Flyaway.

"Yes, pa wanted them in a vial, close to his bed; it's the first he's
seen this winter," said Maria, stroking Fly as if she had been a kitten.

"You may be sure, little lady, it will be as I said; they'll cure me
full as quick as camphire. And, thank the Lord, I can see as well as
smell," said Mr. Brooks, with a tender glance at Maria which made
Horace feel ashamed of himself. The idea of that poor child's rubbing
anything into her eyes? Why, she looked like a wounded bird that had
been out in a storm. Her face was really almost beautiful, but so sad
that you could not see it without a feeling of pity.

"She looks as if she was walking in her sleep," thought Prudy, and
turned away to hide a tear; for somehow there was a chord in her heart
that thrilled strangely. That "slow winter" came back to her with a
rush, and she was sure she knew how Maria felt.

"She is blind, and I was lame; but it is the same kind of a feeling. O,
how I wish I could help her!"

Dotty was as sorry for Maria as she knew how to be, but she could not be
as sorry as Prudy was; for she had never had any trouble greater than a
sore throat.

"I don't see why the tears don't come into my eyes as easy as they do
into Prudy's," thought she, trying to squeeze out a salt drop; "Mrs.
Brooks'll think I don't care a speck; but I do care."

As for wee Fly, she took Maria's blindness to heart about as much as she
did the murder of the Hebrew children off in Judea.

"Pitiful 'bout her seeingness; but I wished I had such a beauful dog!"

Aunt Madge was struck with the exalted expression of Maria's face. The
child was only thirteen, but suffering had made her look much older.

"My child," said she, putting her arm around the little girl, and
drawing her towards her, "I know you see a great deal with your mind,
even though your eyes are shut. Now, do tell me all about your
misfortune, and how it happened, for I came on purpose to hear."

"Yes, we camed to purpose to hear," said Fly, from the foot-board of the
bed, where she had perched and prattled every moment since she came in.
"I founded Maria, and then I went up to her, and says I, 'Doggie,

"That was a pretty way to speak to her, I should think," said Dotty;
"but can't you just please to hush while auntie is talking?"

"As near as I can tell the story," said Mrs. Brooks, rattling the poor
old coal-stove,--for she always had to be moving something else, as well
as her nose, when she talked,--"she lost her sight by studying too
hard, and then getting cold in her eyes."

"She was always a master hand to study," put in Mr. Brooks.

Maria looked as if she wanted to run and hide. She did not like to have
her father praise her before people.

"Yes," said Mrs. Brooks, setting a chair straight; "and by and by the
_leds_ began to draw together, and she couldn't keep 'em open; and there
was such a pain in her eyes, too, that I had to be up nights, bathing
'em in all kinds of messes."

"_Don't_ her nose jiggle?" whispered Fly to Horace.

"Of course you took her to a good physician?"

"Well, yes; we thought he was good. We went to three, off and on, but
she kept growing worse and worse. It was about the time her father was
hurt, and we spent an awful sight on her, till we couldn't spend any

"And it was all a cheat and a swindle," exclaimed Mr. Brooks,
indignantly. "We'd better have spent the money for a horsewhip, and
whipped them doctors with it!"

"Don't, pa, don't! You see, Mrs. Allen, he gets so excited about it he
don't know what he says."

"I wonder you did not take her to the City Hospital, Mrs. Brooks. There
she could be treated free of expense."

"The fact is, we didn't dare to," replied Mrs. Brooks, taking up an old
shoe of Bennie's, and beginning to brush it; "there are folks that have
told us it ain't safe; they try experiments on poor folks."

"O, I don't believe you need fear the City Hospital," said Mrs. Allen;
"the physicians there are honest men, and among the most skillful in
the country."

"But that's our feeling on the subject, ma'am, you see," spoke up Mr.
Brooks, so decidedly, that Aunt Madge saw it was of no use to say any
more about it. "We don't want her eyes put out; there are times when she
can just see a little glimmer, and we want to save all there is left."

"There are times when she can see? Then there must be hope, Mr. Brooks!
Let me take her to Dr. Blank; he can help her if any one can."

"Well, now, I take it you're joking, Mrs. Allen. That is the very doctor
I wanted her to see in the first place; but they do say he'd ask six
hundred dollars for looking into her eyes while you'd wink twice."

"You have been misinformed, Mr. Brooks; he never asks anything of
people who are unable to pay him. But even if he should in Maria's case,
I promise to take the matter into my own hands, and settle the bill

"Mother, do you hear what she says!" cried Mr. Brooks, forgetting
himself, and trying to sit up in bed.

But his wife had broken down, and was polishing Bennie's shoe with her

"O, will you take me? Can I go to that doctor?" cried Maria, forgetting
her timidity, and turning her sightless eyes towards Mrs. Allen with a
joyful look, which seemed to glow through the lids.

"Yes, dear child, I will take you with the greatest pleasure in life;
but remember, I don't promise you can be cured. Come with your mother,
to-morrow morning, at ten. Will that do, Mrs. Brooks? And now, good by,
all. Children, we must certainly be going."

"God bless her," murmured the sick man, as the little party passed out.

"Didn't I tell you she was an angel?" said his wife.

"No, mother; it's that little tot that's the 'angel.' The Lord sent her
on ahead to spy out the land; and afterwards there comes a
flesh-and-blood woman to see it laid straight."

"Pa thinks that baby is a spirit made out of air," said Maria, laughing
in high excitement. "And, mother, don't you really believe now the Lord
did send her, just as much as if she dropped down out of the sky?"

"Yes, I hain't a doubt of it, Maria, but what the Lord had us in his
mind when he let the child slip off and get lost.--Pa, I'm going to
give you some of that blackberry cordial now: you look all gone."



While the Brooks family were talking so gratefully, and Maria counting
over the cookies and cups of jelly for the twentieth time, Fly, was
holding on to Horace's thumb, saying, as she skipped along,--"I hope the
doctor'll take a knife, and pick Maria's eyes open, so she can see."

"Precious little _you_ care whether she can see or not," said Dotty. "I
don't think Fly has much feeling,--do you, Prudy?--not like you and I, I

"Pshaw! what do you expect of such a baby?" said Horace, indignantly.
"You never saw a child so full of pity as this one is, when she knows
what to be sorry for. But a great deal she understands about blindness!
And why should she?--Look here, Topknot; which would you rather do? Have
your eyes put out, and lots of candy to eat, _or_, your eyes all good,
and not a speck of candy as long as you live?"

"I'd ravver have the candy '_thout_ blind-eyed?"

"But supposing you couldn't have but one?"

Fly reflected seriously for half a minute, and then answered,

"I'd ravver have the candy _with_ blind-eyed!"

"There, girls, what did I tell you?"

"'Cause I could eat the candy athout looking, you know," added Fly,
shutting her eyes, and putting a sprig of cedar in her mouth, by way of

"You little goosie," said Prudy; "when Aunt Madge was crying so about
Maria, I did think you were a hard-hearted thing to look up and laugh;
but now, I don't believe you knew any better."

"Hard-hearted things will soften," said auntie, kissing the baby's
puzzled face. "Little bits of green apples, how hard they are! but they
keep growing mellow."

"O, you little green apple," cried Dotty, pinching Fly's cheek.

"I was rather hard-hearted, if I remember, when I was an apple of that
size," continued Aunt Madge. "I could tell you of a few cruel things I
said and did."

"Tell them," said Horace; "please 'fess."

"Yes, auntie, naughty things are so interesting. Do begin and tell all
about it."

"Not on the street, dears. Some time, during the holidays, I may turn
story-teller, if you wish it; but here we are at the ferry; now look out
for the mud."

"O, what a place," cried Fly, clinging to Horace, and trying to walk on
his boots. "Just like where grampa keeps his pig!"

"How true, little sister! but you needn't use my feet for a sidewalk.
I'll take you up in my arms. It snowed in the night; but that makes it
all the muddier."

"Yes, it doesn't do snow any good to fall into New York mud," said Aunt
Madge; "it is like touching pitch."

"I thought it felt like pitch," remarked Dotty; "sticks to your boots

"But, then, overhead how beautiful it is!" said Prudy. "I should think
the dirty earth would be ashamed to look up at such a clear sky."

"But the sky don't mind," returned Horace; "it always overlooks dirt."

"How very sharp we are getting!" laughed auntie; "we have begun the day
brilliantly. Any more remarks from anybody?"

"I should like to know," said Dotty, "what all those great wooden things
are made for? I never saw such big hen-houses before!"

"Hear her talk!" exclaimed auntie. "Hen-houses, indeed! Why, that is
Fulton Market. I shall take you through it when we come back. You can
buy anything in there, from a live eel to a book of poetry."

"'In mud eel is,'" quoted Horace. "Reckon I'll buy one, auntie, and
carry it home in a piece of brown paper. I believe Dotty is fond of

"Fond of eels! Why, Horace Clifford, you know I can't bear 'em, any
more'n a snake. If you do such a thing, Horace Clifford!"

Here Prudy gave her talkative sister a pinch; for they were surrounded
by people, and Aunt Madge was giving ferry-tickets to a man who stood in
a stall, and brushed them towards him into a drawer.

"Does he stay in it all night?" whispered Fly; "he can't lie down, no
more'n a hossy can."

"Here, child, don't try to get down out of my arms. I must carry you
into the boat. Do you suppose I'd trust those wee, wee feet to go flying
over East River?"

"For don't we know she has wings on her heels?" said Aunt Madge.

Fly twisted around one of her little rubbers, and looked at it. She
understood the joke, but thought it too silly to laugh at. East River
lay smiling in the sun, white with sails.

"Almost as pretty as our Casco Bay," said Dotty. "'Winona;' is that the
boat we are going in? But, Horace, you must cross to the other side,
where it says 'Gentlemen's Cabin.'"

"How kind you are to take care of me! Wish you'd take as good care of
yourself, Cousin Dimple."

And Horace walked straight into the "Ladies' Cabin." There were more men
in it, though, than women; so he had the best side of the argument.

"Horace," said Aunt Madge, as they seated themselves, "where is your

"Money? O, in the breast pocket of my coat."

"But don't you remember, my boy, I advised you to leave it at home? See
that placard, right before your eyes."

"'Beware of Pickpockets!'" read Horace. "Well, auntie, I intend to

Mrs. Allen did not like his lord-of-creation tone. It was not exactly
disrespectful. He adored his aunt, and did not mean to snub her. At the
same time he had paid no attention to her advice, and his cool,
self-possessed way of setting it one side was very irritating. If Mrs.
Allen had not been the sweetest of women, she would have enjoyed boxing
his ears.

"I wish he was two years younger, and then he would have to obey me,"
thought she; "but I don't like to lay my commands on a boy of fourteen."

The truth was, Horace had a large swelling on the top of his head, known
by the name of self-esteem; and it had got bruised a little the day
before, when he was obliged to stand one side, and let his aunt manage
about finding Flyaway.

"I suppose she thinks I'm a ninny, just because I don't understand this
bothersome city; but I reckon I know a thing or two, if I don't live in
New York!"

And the foolish boy really took some satisfaction in slapping his breast
pockets, and remarking to his friends,--

"'Twould take a smart chap to get his hand in there without my knowing
it. O, Prudy, where's your wallet? And yours, Dotty? I can carry them as
well as not. There's no knowing what kind of a muss you may be getting
into before night."

Prudy gave up hers without a word, but Dotty demurred.

"I guess I've got eyes both sides my head, just the same as Horace has,
if I am a girl."

She and Cousin Horace usually agreed, but this visit had begun wrong.

"Very well, Dot; if you think 'twould be any consolation to you to have
somebody come along with a pair of scissors, and snip off your pocket, I
don't know as it's any of my business."

"See if they do," replied Dotty, clutching her pocket in her right hand.

They had been speaking in loud tones, and perhaps had been overheard;
for two men, on the same seat, began to talk of the unusual number of
robberies that had happened within a few days and to wonder "what we
were coming to next." In consequence of this, Dotty pinned up her
pocket. When they reached Brooklyn, she gave her left hand to Horace, in
stepping off the boat, and walked up Fulton Street, with her right hand
firmly grasping the skirt of her dress.

"Good for you, Dimple!" said Horace, in a low tone; "that's one way of
letting people know you've got money. Look behind you! There's been a
man following you for some time."

"Where? O, where?" cried Dotty, whirling round and round in wild alarm;
"I don't see a man anywhere near."

"And there isn't one to be seen," said Aunt Madge, laughing; "there's
nobody following you but Horace himself. He had no right to frighten you

"Horace!" echoed Dotty, with infinite scorn; "I don't call _him_ a man!
He's nothing but a small boy!"

"A small boy!" She had finished the business now.

"The hateful young monkey!" thought Horace. "I shouldn't care much if
she did have her pocket picked."

If he had meant a word of this, which he certainly did not, he was well
paid for it afterwards.

They went to Greenwood Cemetery, which Dotty had to confess was
handsomer than the one in Portland. Fly thought there were nice places
to "hide ahind the little white houses," which frightened her brother so
much, that he carried her in his arms every step of the way. After
strolling for some time about Greenwood, and taking a peep at Prospect
Park, they left the "city of churches," and entered a crowded car to go
back to the ferry.

"Look out for _our_ money," whispered Prudy; "you know auntie says a car
is the very place to lose it in."

"Yes; I'll look out for your pile, Prue, though I dare say you don't
feel quite so easy about it as you would if Dot had it."

"Wow, Horace, don't be cross; you know it isn't often I have so much

Aunt Madge here gave both the children a very expressive glance, as much
as to say,--

"Don't mention private affairs in such a crowd."

Colonel Allen said if his wife had been born deaf and dumb nobody would
have mistrusted it, for she could talk with her eyes as well as other
people with their tongues.

When they were on the New York side once more, Mrs. Allen said,--

"Now I will take you through Dotty's hen-houses. What have we here? O,
Christmas greens."

A woman stood at one of the stands, tying holly and evergreens together
into long strips, which she sold by the yard.

"We must adorn the house, children. I will buy some of this, if you will
help carry it home."

"Load me down," said Horace; "I'll take a mile of it."

"Loaden me down, too; _I'll_ take it a mile," said Fly.

"Give me that beautiful cross to carry, auntie."

"Are you willing to carry crosses, Prudy? Ah, you've learned the lesson

"I like the star best," said Dotty; "why can't they make suns and moons,

"Will you have a _hanker_, my pretty miss?" said the woman, dropping a

"I never heard of a _hanker_; it looks some like a kettle-hook. Let's
buy it; see how nicely it fits on Fly's shoulder."

"It would look better for Fly to sit on the anchor," said Mrs. Allen,
smiling. "It is droll enough to see such a big thing walking off with a
little girl under it. Come, children, we have bought all we can carry."

"Thank you kindly, lady," said the evergreen woman, with another

"I don't see why she need thank you kindly, auntie," said Dotty. "You
wouldn't have bought her wreaths if you hadn't liked 'em."

They walked through a long space lined with such nice things that the
children's mouths watered--oranges, figs, grapes, pears, French
chestnuts larger than oil-nuts, and, as if that were not enough,
delicious-looking pies, cakes, cold ham, and doughnuts. On little
charcoal stoves stood coffee-pots; and there was a great clattering of
plates and cups and saucers, which men were washing in little pans, and
wiping on rather dark towels.

"It strikes me I should enjoy going into one of those cuddy-holes and
eating my dinner," said Horace. "I feel about starved."

"You have a right to be hungry. It is two o'clock. How would you like
some oysters? In here is a large room, with tables; rather more
comfortable than these 'cuddy-holes,' as you call them."

"Only not nice," said Prudy. "O, Horace, if you should go once to an
oyster saloon in Boston, you'd see the difference!"

"The probability is, I've been in Boston saloons twice to your once,

Which was correct. She had been once, and he twice.



Aunt Madge seated her four guests at a little table.

"Will you have oysters or scallops?"

"What are scallops?"

"They are a sort of fish; taste a little like oysters. They come out of
those small shells, such as you've seen pin-cushions made of."

The children thought they should prefer oysters; and after the stews
were ordered, Mrs. Allen went out, and soon returned with a dessert of
cake, pie, and fruit.

"I thought I would bring it all at once," said she, "just what I know
you will like; and then sit down and be comfortable. We'll lay the
wreaths under the table. There are no napkins, girls (this isn't Boston,
you know); so you'd better tuck your handkerchiefs under your chins."

"But is this the handsomest place they've got in New York, without any
carpet to it?" whispered Dotty.

"We'll see, one of these days," replied auntie, with a smile that spoke

It was a very jolly dinner, and Mrs. Allen had to send for three plates
of scallops; for the children found, after tasting hers, that they were
very nice; all but Fly, who did not relish them, and thought it was
because she did not like to eat pin-cushions.

"Now, little folks, if you have eaten sufficiently, and are thoroughly
rested, shall we start for home? I think a journey to Brooklyn is about
enough for one day--don't you? But you musn't leave without seeing


"Yes, I call her so, and it pleases her. She has had a little table in
the market for a long while, and I like to buy some of her goodies just
to encourage her, for she has such a way of looking on the bright side
that she wins my respect. Listen, now, while I speak to her."

Auntie's old woman had on a hood and shawl, and was curled up in a
little heap, half asleep.

"Pleasant day," said Mrs. Allen, going up to the table.

"Yes, mum; nice weather _underful_," returned the old woman, rousing
herself, and rubbing an apple with her shawl.

"And how do you do, Granny?"

"Why, is that you?" said she, the sun coming out all over her face.
"And how've you been, mum, since the last time I've seen yer?"

"Very well, Granny; and how do things prosper with you?"

"O, _I'm_ all right! I've had a touch of rheumaty, and this is the fust
I've stirred for two weeks."

"Sorry to hear it, Granny. Rheumatism can't be very comfortable."

"Well, no; it's bahd for the jints," said the old woman, holding up her
fingers, which were as shapeless as knobby potatoes.

"Poor Granny! How hard that is!"

"Well, they be hard, and kind o' stiff-like. But bless ye," laughed she,
"that's nothing. I wouldn't 'a' cared, only I's afeared I'd lose this
stand. There was a gyurl come and kep' it for me, what time she could

"I'm glad you havn't lost the stand, Granny; but I don't see how you can
laugh at the rheumatism."

"Well, mum, what'd be the use to cry? Why, bless ye, there's wus
things'n that! As long's I hain't got no husband, I don't feel to

She shook her sides so heartily at this, that Fly laughed aloud.

"So you don't approve of husbands, Granny?"

"No more I don't, mum; they're troublesome craychers, so fur as I've

"But don't you get down-hearted, living all alone?"

"O, no, mum; I do suppose I'm the happiest woman in the city o' New
Yorruk. When I goes to bed, I just gives up all my thrubbles to the
Lord, and goes to sleep."

"But when you are sick, Granny?"

"O, then, sometimes I feels bahd, not to be airnin' nothin', and gets
some afeard o' the poorhouse; but, bless ye, I can't help thinking the
Lord'll keep me out."

"I'm pretty sure He will," said Aunt Madge, resolving on the spot that
the good old soul never should go to a place she dreaded so much. "Have
you any butter-scotch to-day, Granny?"

"O, yes, mum; sights of it. Help yourself. I want to tell you
something'll please you," said the old woman, bending forward, and
speaking in a low tone, and with sparkling eyes. "I've put some money in
the bank, mum; enough to bury me! _Ain't_ that good!"

Prudy and Dotty were terribly shocked. She must be crazy to talk about
her own funeral. As if she was glad of it, too? But Horace thought it a
capital joke.

"That's a jolly way to use your money," whispered he to Prudy; "much
good may it do her?" And then aloud, in a patronizing tone, "I'll take a
few of your apples, Granny. How do you sell 'em?"

"These here, a penny apiece; them there, two pennies; and them, three."

Horace felt in his coat pocket for his purse; and drew out his hand
quickly, as if a bee had stung it.

"Why, what! What does this mean?"

"What is it, Horace?"

"Nothing, auntie, only my wallet's gone," replied the boy, very white
about the mouth.

"Gone? Look again. Are you sure?"

"Yes, as sure as I want to be?"

"Mine,--is mine gone too?" cried Prudy.

Horace did not seem willing to answer.

"Where did you have your purse last?"

"Just before we came out of Dorlon's oyster saloon. Just before we came
here for butter-scotch," replied Horace, glaring fiercely at Granny.

"Are you quite sure?"

"Is mine gone, too?" cried Prudy again. "Did you put mine in the same

"Yes, Prue; I put yours in the same pocket; and it's gone, too."

"O, Horace!"

"A pretty clean sweep, Prue."

"The _vilyins_!" cried Granny; looking, auntie thought, as if her whole
soul was stirred with pity for the children; but, as Horace thought, as
if she were trying to put a bold face on a very black crime.

"Let us go back to Dorlon's, and ask the waiters if you dropped it in
there," suggested Aunt Madge.

"Yes, but _I know I didn't,"_ said Horace, with another scowl at Granny.

"_My_ money is safe," said self-righteous Dotty, as they walked away;
"don't you wish you _had_ given yours to me, Prudy?"

"The deceitful old witch!" muttered Horace; meaning Granny, of course.

And lo, there she stood close behind them! She was beckoning Mrs. Allen
back to her fruit-stand.

"Wait here one minute, children; I'll be right back."

"Nothin', mum," said Granny, looking very much grieved; "nothin' only I
wants to say, mum, if that youngster thinks as I took his money, I wisht
you'd sarch me."

"Fie, Granny! Never mind what a boy like that says, when he is excited.
I know you too well to think you'd steal."

"The Lord bless you, mum," cried the old woman, all smiles again.

"And, Granny, I mean to come here next week, and I'll bring you some
flannel and liniment for your rheumatism. Where shall I leave them if
you're sick, and can't be here?"

"O, thank ye, mum; thank ye kindly. The ain't many o' the likes of you,
mum. And if ye does bring the things for my rheumaty, and I ain't here,
just ye leave 'em with the gyurl at this stand, if yer will."

"Did she give it back?" cried Horace, the moment his aunt appeared.

"No, my boy; how could she when she hadn't it to give?"

"But, auntie, I'm up and down sure I felt that wallet in my
breast-pocket, when we came out of Dorlon's," persisted Horace. "I don't
see how on earth that old woman contrived it; but I can't help
remembering how she kept leaning forward when she talked; and once she
hit square against me. And just about that time I was drawing out my
handkerchief to wipe my nose."

"Yes, he did! He wiped his nose. And the woman tookened the money; I saw
her do it."

"There, I told you so!"

"You saw her, Miss Policeman Flyaway?" said Aunt Madge. "And pray how
did she take it?"

"Just so,--right in her hand."

"O, you mean the money for the butter-scotch, you little tease!"

"Yes," replied the child, with a roguish twinkle over the sensation she
had made.

"Just like little bits o' flies," said Dotty. "Don't care how folks
feel. And here's her brother ready to cry; heart all broken."

"Needn't be concerned about my heart, Dot; 'tisn't broken yet; only
cracked. But how anybody could get at my pocket, without my knowing it,
is a mystery to me, unless Granny is a witch."

"Horace, I pledge you my word Granny is innocent."

"And I'm sure nobody else could take it, auntie. The clerks at Dorlon's
had no knowledge of the money; neither had any of the apple or pie
merchants along the market. Things look darker for us, Prue; but I will
give you the credit of behaving like a lady. And one thing is sure--the
moment I get home to Indiana I shall send you back your money."

"Horace," said Aunt Madge, "I am very suspicious that you lost your
purse in one of those cars, on the Brooklyn side."

"But, auntie, I tell you there couldn't anybody get at my pockets
without my knowing it!"

"Just as Prudy told you you would, you lost it in that car," echoed
Dotty. "Don't you remember what you said, Prudy?"

"That's right; hit him again," growled Horace.

"Now, Dotty," said Prudy, suppressing a great sob in her effort to
"behave like a lady," "what's the use? Don't you suppose Horace feels
bad enough without being scolded at?"

"Auntie don't scold, nor Prudy don't, 'cause he didn't mean to lose
it," said Fly, frowning at Dotty, and caressing Horace, with her hands
full of evergreens.

"Besides, he has lost more than I have," continued Prudy.

"Well, a trifle more! Fifty times as much, say. I shouldn't care a
fig,--speaking figuratively,--only it was all I had to get home with."

"Don't fret about that," said Aunt Madge; "I'll see that you go home
with as full a purse as you brought to my house."

"O, auntie, how can I thank you? But you know father never would allow

"I could tell you how to thank me," thought Mrs. Allen, though she was
so kind she would _not_ tell; "you could thank me by saying, 'Auntie,
I've been a naughty boy.'"

But Horace had no idea of making such a confession as that. "The
money'll come up," said he; "I'm one of the lucky kind. Let's see;
wouldn't it be best to advertise?"

"Thieves won't answer advertisements," said Mrs. Allen.

"But, I tell you, auntie, I dropped that wallet. I could take my oath of

"Well, in such a case an advertisement is the proper thing. But, my boy,
your positiveness on this subject is extraordinary. How could you drop
the wallet? Do you keep it in the same pocket with your handkerchief?"

"On, no, auntie; right in here."

"And you haven't bought anything?"

"No, auntie; you wouldn't let me pay the car fare, or anything else. But
still I must have taken out the wallet by mistake. You see I _know_
nobody's picked my pockets."

"Why, Horace, you just said Granny picked 'em."

"No, Dot, I didn't! I only spoke of the queer way she had of leaning

"But you scowled at her sharp enough to take head off."

"If I were you, Dot, I wouldn't be any more disagreeable than I was
absolutely obliged to.--Now, auntie, how much does it cost to

"A dollar or so I believe."

"Well, if you'll lend me the money, I want to do it."

"To be plain with you, Horace, I really do not think it will be of the
slightest use in this case; but I will consent to it if it will be any
relief to your mind. We shall be obliged to cross the ferry again, for
the advertisement ought to go into a Brooklyn paper."

"We are tired enough to drop," said Dotty; "and all these stars and
things, too!"

"Yes, we are all tired; but we will leave you little girls at the
ferry-house on the other side."

"But, auntie," said Prudy, anxiously, "I shouldn't really dare have the
care of Fly. You know just how it is."

"Yes, I do know just how it is. Fly must walk, with her tired little
feet, to the Eagle office, with Horace and me; or else she must make a
solemn promise not to go out of the ferry-house."

"But I don't want to make a _solomon_ promise, auntie; I want to see the

Mrs. Allen sighed. She began to think she had undertaken a great task
in inviting these children to visit her. Instead of a pleasure, they had
proved, thus far, a weariness--always excepting Prudy. She, dear,
self-forgetting little girl, could not fail to be a comfort wherever she



To the "Eagle" office they went--obstinate Horace, patient Annt Madge,
and between them the "blue-bottle Fly."

"I do feel right sorry, auntie," said Horace, a sudden sense of shame
coming over him; "but I'm so sure I dropped the money, you know; or I
wouldn't drag you up this hill when you're so tired."

A sharp answer rose to Mrs. Allen's lips, but she held it back.

"Only a boy! In a fair way to learn a useful lesson, too. Let me keep my
temper! If I scold, I spoil the whole."

They entered the office, and left with the editor this advertisement:--

"Lost.--Between Prospect Park and Fulton Ferry, a porte-monnaie, marked
'Horace S. Clifford,' containing thirty-five dollars. The finder will be
suitably rewarded by leaving the same at No. ----, Cor. Fifth Ave. and
---- Street."

"It is no matter about advertising Prudy's purse, it was so shabby,"
said Aunt Madge; and on their way back to the ferry-house she bought her

"O, thank you, auntie, darling," said Prudy; "and thank you, too,
Horace, for losing my old one; it wasn't fit to be seen. And here is a
whole dollar inside! O, Aunt Madge, _are_ you an angel?"

"Prue, you deserve your good luck; you don't come down on a fellow,
hammer and tongs, because he happens to meet with an accident."

"Horace," said Dotty, meekly, "are you willing to carry my gloves?"

"Yes, to be sure; but you don't want to go home bare-handed--do you?"

"Why, I was thinking how nice 'twould be, Horace, to have you take 'em,
and lose 'em, and me have a new pair. There's a hole in the thumb."

This little sally amused everybody, and Horace had the grace not to be
sensitive, though the laugh was against him.

"Another queer day," said he, when they were at last at home again. "I
don't know what will become of us all, if we keep on like this."

The poor boy was trying his best to brave it out; but Aunt Madge could
see that his heart was sore.

"Lost every cent I'm worth," mused he, turning his coat-pocket inside
out, and scowling at it. "Got to be a beggar as long as I stay in New

The whole party were tired, and Horace's gloom seemed to fill the parlor
like a fog, and make even the gas look dim.

"I feel dreffly," said Fly, curling her head under her brother's arm,
like a chicken under its mother's wing--a way she had when she was
troubled. "I feel just zif I didn't love nobody in the world, and there
didn't nobody love me."

This brought Horace around in a minute, and called forth a pickaback

"Music! let us have music," said Aunt Madge, flying to the piano. "When
little folks grow so cold-hearted, in my house, that they don't love
anybody, it's time to warm their hearts with some happy little songs.
Come, girls!"

She played a few simple tunes, and the children all sang till the fog
of gloom had disappeared, and the gas burned brightly once more.

Half an hour afterwards, just as Fly was told she ought to be sleepy,
because her bye-low hymn had been sung,--"Sleep, little one, like a lamb
in the fold,"--and she had answered that she "couldn't be sleepy, athout
auntie would hurry quick to come in with a drink of water," there was a
strange arrival. Nathaniel, the waiting man, ushered into the parlor a
droll little old woman, dressed in a short calico gown, with gay figures
over it as large as cabbages; calf-skin shoes; and a green pumpkin hood,
with a bow on top.

"Good evening, ma'am," said Horace, rising, and offering her a chair.
She did not seem to see very well, in spite of her enormous spectacles;
for she took no notice of the chair, and remained standing in the
middle of the floor.

[Illustration: THE PUMPKIN HOOD.]

"She stares at me so hard!" thought Horace--"that's the reason she can't
see anything else."--"Please take a chair, ma'am."

"Can't stop to sit down. Is your name Horace S. Clifford?" said the old
woman, in a very feeble voice.

Horace looked at her; she had not a tooth in her head.

"Yes, ma'am; my name is Horace Clifford," said he, respectfully. He had
great reverence for age, and could keep his mouth from twitching; but
I'm sorry to say Prudy's danced up at the corners, and Dotty's opened
and showed her back teeth The woman must have had all those clothes made
when she was young, for nobody wore such things now; but it wasn't
likely she knew that, poor soul!

"Did you go to the 'Brooklyn Eagle' office, to-day, to ad-_ver_-tise
some lost money, little boy?"

"Yes, ma'am.--Why, that advertisement can't have been printed _so_

"No, I calculate not. Did you go in with a lady, and a leetle, oneasy,
springy kind of a leetle girl?"

"Why, that's me," put in Fly.

"Yes, ma'am--yes; were you there? What do you know about it?"

"Don't be in a hurry, little boy. I want to be safe and sure. I expect
you took notice of a young man in a bottle-green coat,--no, a
greenish-black coat,--a-sittin' down by the door."

"O, I don't know. Yes, I think I did. Was he the one? Did he find the

"Did you walk up Orange Street?" continued the old woman. "No, I mean
Cranberry Street?"

"O, _dear_, I don't know! Prudy, run, call Aunt Madge. Please tell me,
ma'am, have you got it with you? Is my name on the inside?"

"Wait till the little girl calls your aunt. Perhaps she'd be willing to
let me tell the story in my own way. I'd ruther deal with grown folks,"
said the provoking old lady.

Horace's eyes flashed, but he contrived to keep his temper.

"It is my purse, ma'am, and my aunt knows nothing about it. I can tell
you just how it looks, and all there is in it."

"Perhaps you are one of the kind that can tell folks a good deal, and
thinks nobody knows things so well as yourself," returned the
disagreeable old woman, smiling and showing her toothless gums. "From
what I can learn, I should judge you talked ruther too loud about your
money; for there was a pusson heerd you in the ferry-boat, and took
pains to go in the same car afterwards, and pick your pocket."


"Yes, your pocket. You wise, wonderful young man!"

"How? When? Where?"

"This is how," said the old woman, quick as a thought putting out her
hand, and thrusting it into Horace's breast pocket.

"O, it's auntie's rings--it's auntie's rings," cried Fly, jumping up,
and seizing the pretended old woman by her calico sleeve.

"Why, Aunt Madge, that isn't you!"

"But how'd you take out yer teeth?" said Fly; "your teeth? your teeth?"

"O, I didn't take them out, Miss Bright-eyes. I only put a little spruce
gum over them."

"Horace, I can't find auntie anywhere in this house," said Prudy,
appearing at the parlor door. "Do you suppose she's gone off and hid?"

"Yes, she's hid inside that old gown."

"What do you mean?"

"That's auntie, and her teeth's _in_," explained Fly.

"Only I wish she was an old woman, and had really brought me my money,"
said Horace, in a disappointed tone. "I declare, there was one time I
thought the old nuisance was coming round to it, and going to give me
the wallet."

"What a wise, wonderful youth!" said the aged dame, in a cracked voice.
"Thinks I can give him his wallet, when he's got it himself, right close
to his heart."

Horace put his hand in his breast pocket.

Wonder of wonders! There was the wallet! And not only his, but Prudy's!
Had he been asleep all day? Or was he asleep now?

"Money safe? Not a cent gone. Hoo-rah! Hoo-ra-ah!"

And for want of a cap to throw, he threw up Fly.

"Where did it come from? Where did the old woman find it? O, no; the man
in the green-bottle coat?--O, no; there wasn't any old woman," cried the
children, hopelessly confused. "But who found the money? Did I drop it
on Cranberry Street?" "Did he drop it on Quamby Street?" "Who brought
it?" "Who bringed it?"

Aunt Madge stuffed her fingers into her ears. "They are all talking at
once; they're enough to craze a body! They forget how old I am! Came all
the way from the Eagle office, afoot and alone, with only four children

"O, auntie, don't play any more! Talk sober! Talk honest! Did Horace
have his pockets picked?"

"Yes, he did," replied Aunt Madge, speaking in her natural tones, and
throwing off the pumpkin hood; "if you want the truth, he did."

"Why Aunt Madge Allen! It does not seem possible! Who picked my

"Some one who heard you talking so loud about your money."

"But how could it be taken out, and I not know it?"

"Quite as easily as it could be put back, and you not know it."

"That's true, Horace Clifford! Auntie put it back, and you never knew

"So she did," said Horace, looking as bewildered as if he had been
whirling around with his eyes shut; "so she did--didn't she? But that
was because I was taken by surprise, seeing her without a tooth in her
head, you know."

"You have been taken by surprise twice to-day, then," said Aunt Madge,
demurely. "It is really refreshing, Horace, to find that such a sharp
young man _can_ be caught napping!"

"Well, I--I--I must have been thinking, of something else, auntie."

"So I conclude. And you must be thinking of something else still, or
you'd ask me--"

"O, yes, auntie; how did the thief happen to give it up? There, there,
you needn't say a word! I see it all in your eyes! You took the money
yourself. O, Aunt Madge!"

"Well, if that wasn't queer doings!" cried Dotty.

"Yes, it is quite contrary to my usual habits. I never robbed anybody
before. I hadn't the faintest idea I could do it without Horace's

"Why, auntie, I never was so astonished in my life!" said the youth,
looking greatly confused.

"I never heard of a person's being robbed that wasn't astonished," said
Aunt Madge, with a mischievous smile. "Will you be quite as sure of
yourself another time, think?"

"No, auntie, I shan't; that's a fact."

"That's my good, frank boy," said Aunt Madge, kissing his forehead. "And
he won't toss his head,--just this way,--like a young lord of creation,
when meddlesome aunties venture to give him advice."

Horace kissed Mrs. Allen's cheek rather thoughtfully, by way of reply.

"I don't see, Aunt Madge," said Prudy, "why you went back across the
river to put that piece in the paper, when you were the one that had the
money all the time."

"I did it to pacify Horace. He _knew_ his pockets hadn't been pieked.
Besides I felt guilty. It was rather cruel in me--wasn't it?--to let him
suffer so long."

"Not cruel a bit; good enough for me," cried Horace, with a generous
outburst. "You're just the jolliest woman, auntie--the jolliest woman!
There you are; you look so little and sweet! But if folks think they're
going to get ahead of you, why, just let 'em try it, say I!"

DEAR READERS: Horace was scarcely more astonished, when his pocket was
picked, than I am this minute, to find myself at the end of my book! I
had very much more to tell; but now it must wait till another time.

Meanwhile the Parlins and Cliffords are "climbing the dream tree." Let
us hope they are destined to meet with no more misfortunes during the
rest of their stay in New York.

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