Part 3 out of 5
colours. It must be very tiresome if you don't."
"When you think of me what colour is it?" asked Peter curiously.
"Yellow," answered the Story Girl promptly. "And Cecily is a
sweet pink, like those mayflowers, and Sara Ray is very pale blue,
and Dan is red and Felix is yellow, like Peter, and Bev is
"What colour am I?" asked Felicity, amid the laughter at my
"You're--you're like a rainbow," answered the Story Girl rather
reluctantly. She had to be honest, but she would rather not have
complimented Felicity. "And you needn't laugh at Bev. His
stripes are beautiful. It isn't HE that is striped. It's just
the THOUGHT of him. Peg Bowen is a queer sort of yellowish green
and the Awkward Man is lilac. Aunt Olivia is pansy-purple mixed
with gold, and Uncle Roger is navy blue."
"I never heard such nonsense," declared Felicity. The rest of us
were rather inclined to agree with her for once. We thought the
Story Girl was making fun of us. But I believe she really had a
strange gift of thinking in colours. In later years, when we were
grown up, she told me of it again. She said that everything had
colour in her thought; the months of the year ran through all the
tints of the spectrum, the days of the week were arrayed as
Solomon in his glory, morning was golden, noon orange, evening
crystal blue, and night violet. Every idea came to her mind robed
in its own especial hue. Perhaps that was why her voice and words
had such a charm, conveying to the listeners' perception such fine
shadings of meaning and tint and music.
"Well, let's go and have something to eat," suggested Dan. "What
colour is eating, Sara?"
"Golden brown, just the colour of a molasses cooky," laughed the
We sat on the ferny bank of the pool and ate of the generous
basket Aunt Janet had provided, with appetites sharpened by the
keen spring air and our wilderness rovings. Felicity had made
some very nice sandwiches of ham which we all appreciated except
Dan, who declared he didn't like things minced up and dug out of
the basket a chunk of boiled pork which he proceeded to saw up
with a jack-knife and devour with gusto.
"I told ma to put this in for me. There's some CHEW to it," he
"You are not a bit refined," commented Felicity.
"Not a morsel, my love," grinned Dan.
"You make me think of a story I heard Uncle Roger telling about
Cousin Annetta King," said the Story Girl. "Great-uncle Jeremiah
King used to live where Uncle Roger lives now, when Grandfather
King was alive and Uncle Roger was a boy. In those days it was
thought rather coarse for a young lady to have too hearty an
appetite, and she was more admired if she was delicate about what
she ate. Cousin Annetta set out to be very refined indeed. She
pretended to have no appetite at all. One afternoon she was
invited to tea at Grandfather King's when they had some special
company--people from Charlottetown. Cousin Annetta said she could
hardly eat anything. 'You know, Uncle Abraham,' she said, in a
very affected, fine-young-lady voice, 'I really hardly eat enough
to keep a bird alive. Mother says she wonders how I continue to
exist.' And she picked and pecked until Grandfather King declared
he would like to throw something at her. After tea Cousin Annetta
went home, and just about dark Grandfather King went over to Uncle
Jeremiah's on an errand. As he passed the open, lighted pantry
window he happened to glance in, and what do you think he saw?
Delicate Cousin Annetta standing at the dresser, with a big loaf
of bread beside her and a big platterful of cold, boiled pork in
front of her; and Annetta was hacking off great chunks, like Dan
there, and gobbling them down as if she was starving. Grandfather
King couldn't resist the temptation. He stepped up to the window
and said, 'I'm glad your appetite has come back to you, Annetta.
Your mother needn't worry about your continuing to exist as long
as you can tuck away fat, salt pork in that fashion.'
"Cousin Annetta never forgave him, but she never pretended to be
"The Jews don't believe in eating pork," said Peter.
"I'm glad I'm not a Jew and I guess Cousin Annetta was too," said
"I like bacon, but I can never look at a pig without wondering if
they were ever intended to be eaten," remarked Cecily naively.
When we finished our lunch the barrens were already wrapping
themselves in a dim, blue dusk and falling upon rest in dell and
dingle. But out in the open there was still much light of a fine
emerald-golden sort and the robins whistled us home in it. "Horns
of Elfland" never sounded more sweetly around hoary castle and
ruined fane than those vesper calls of the robins from the
twilight spruce woods and across green pastures lying under the
pale radiance of a young moon.
When we reached home we found that Miss Reade had been up to the
hill farm on an errand and was just leaving. The Story Girl went
for a walk with her and came back with an important expression on
"You look as if you had a story to tell," said Felix.
"One is growing. It isn't a whole story yet," answered the Story
"What is it?" asked Cecily.
"I can't tell you till it's fully grown," said the Story Girl.
"But I'll tell you a pretty little story the Awkward Man told us--
told me--tonight. He was walking in his garden as we went by,
looking at his tulip beds. His tulips are up ever so much higher
than ours, and I asked him how he managed to coax them along so
early. And he said HE didn't do it--it was all the work of the
pixies who lived in the woods across the brook. There were more
pixy babies than usual this spring, and the mothers were in a
hurry for the cradles. The tulips are the pixy babies' cradles,
it seems. The mother pixies come out of the woods at twilight and
rock their tiny little brown babies to sleep in the tulip cups.
That is the reason why tulip blooms last so much longer than other
blossoms. The pixy babies must have a cradle until they are grown
up. They grow very fast, you see, and the Awkward Man says on a
spring evening, when the tulips are out, you can hear the
sweetest, softest, clearest, fairy music in his garden, and it is
the pixy folk singing as they rock the pixy babies to sleep."
"Then the Awkward Man says what isn't true," said Felicity
A SURPRISING ANNOUNCEMENT
"Nothing exciting has happened for ever so long," said the Story
Girl discontentedly, one late May evening, as we lingered under
the wonderful white bloom of the cherry trees. There was a long
row of them in the orchard, with a Lombardy poplar at either end,
and a hedge of lilacs behind. When the wind blew over them all
the spicy breezes of Ceylon's isle were never sweeter.
It was a time of wonder and marvel, of the soft touch of silver
rain on greening fields, of the incredible delicacy of young
leaves, of blossom in field and garden and wood. The whole world
bloomed in a flush and tremor of maiden loveliness, instinct with
all the evasive, fleeting charm of spring and girlhood and young
morning. We felt and enjoyed it all without understanding or
analyzing it. It was enough to be glad and young with spring on
the golden road.
"I don't like excitement very much," said Cecily. "It makes one
so tired. I'm sure it was exciting enough when Paddy was missing,
but we didn't find that very pleasant."
"No, but it was interesting," returned the Story Girl
thoughtfully. "After all, I believe I'd rather be miserable than
"I wouldn't then," said Felicity decidedly. "And you need never
be dull when you have work to do. 'Satan finds some mischief
still for idle hands to do!'"
"Well, mischief is interesting," laughed the Story Girl. "And I
thought you didn't think it lady-like to speak of that person,
"It's all right if you call him by his polite name," said Felicity
"Why does the Lombardy poplar hold its branches straight up in the
air like that, when all the other poplars hold theirs out or hang
them down?" interjected Peter, who had been gazing intently at the
slender spire showing darkly against the fine blue eastern sky.
"Because it grows that way," said Felicity.
"Oh I know a story about that," cried the Story Girl. "Once upon
a time an old man found the pot of gold at the rainbow's end.
There IS a pot there, it is said, but it is very hard to find
because you can never get to the rainbow's end before it vanishes
from your sight. But this old man found it, just at sunset, when
Iris, the guardian of the rainbow gold, happened to be absent. As
he was a long way from home, and the pot was very big and heavy,
he decided to hide it until morning and then get one of his sons
to go with him and help him carry it. So he hid it under the
boughs of the sleeping poplar tree.
"When Iris came back she missed the pot of gold and of course she
was in a sad way about it. She sent Mercury, the messenger of the
gods, to look for it, for she didn't dare leave the rainbow again,
lest somebody should run off with that too. Mercury asked all the
trees if they had seen the pot of gold, and the elm, oak and pine
pointed to the poplar and said,
"'The poplar can tell you where it is.'
"'How can I tell you where it is?' cried the poplar, and she held
up all her branches in surprise, just as we hold up our hands--and
down tumbled the pot of gold. The poplar was amazed and
indignant, for she was a very honest tree. She stretched her
boughs high above her head and declared that she would always hold
them like that, so that nobody could hide stolen gold under them
again. And she taught all the little poplars she knew to stand
the same way, and that is why Lombardy poplars always do. But the
aspen poplar leaves are always shaking, even on the very calmest
day. And do you know why?"
And then she told us the old legend that the cross on which the
Saviour of the world suffered was made of aspen poplar wood and so
never again could its poor, shaken, shivering leaves know rest or
peace. There was an aspen in the orchard, the very embodiment of
youth and spring in its litheness and symmetry. Its little leaves
were hanging tremulously, not yet so fully blown as to hide its
development of bough and twig, making poetry against the spiritual
tints of a spring sunset.
"It does look sad," said Peter, "but it is a pretty tree, and it
wasn't its fault."
"There's a heavy dew and it's time we stopped talking nonsense and
went in," decreed Felicity. "If we don't we'll all have a cold,
and then we'll be miserable enough, but it won't be very
"All the same, I wish something exciting would happen," finished
the Story Girl, as we walked up through the orchard, peopled with
its nun-like shadows.
"There's a new moon tonight, so may be you'll get your wish," said
Peter. "My Aunt Jane didn't believe there was anything in the
moon business, but you never can tell."
The Story Girl did get her wish. Something happened the very next
day. She joined us in the afternoon with a quite indescribable
expression on her face, compounded of triumph, anticipation, and
regret. Her eyes betrayed that she had been crying, but in them
shone a chastened exultation. Whatever the Story Girl mourned
over it was evident she was not without hope.
"I have some news to tell you," she said importantly. "Can you
guess what it is?"
We couldn't and wouldn't try.
"Tell us right off," implored Felix. "You look as if it was
"So it is. Listen--Aunt Olivia is going to be married."
We stared in blank amazement. Peg Bowen's hint had faded from our
minds and we had never put much faith in it.
"Aunt Olivia! I don't believe it," cried Felicity flatly. "Who
"Aunt Olivia herself. So it is perfectly true. I'm awfully sorry
in one way--but oh, won't it be splendid to have a real wedding in
the family? She's going to have a big wedding--and I am to be
"I shouldn't think you were old enough to be a bridesmaid," said
"I'm nearly fifteen. Anyway, Aunt Olivia says I have to be."
"Who's she going to marry?" asked Cecily, gathering herself
together after the shock, and finding that the world was going on
just the same.
"His name is Dr. Seton and he is a Halifax man. She met him when
she was at Uncle Edward's last summer. They've been engaged ever
since. The wedding is to be the third week in June."
"And our school concert comes off the next week," complained
Felicity. "Why do things always come together like that? And what
are you going to do if Aunt Olivia is going away?"
"I'm coming to live at your house," answered the Story Girl rather
timidly. She did not know how Felicity might like that. But
Felicity took it rather well.
"You've been here most of the time anyhow, so it'll just be that
you'll sleep and eat here, too. But what's to become of Uncle
"Aunt Olivia says he'll have to get married, too. But Uncle Roger
says he'd rather hire a housekeeper than marry one, because in the
first case he could turn her off if he didn't like her, but in the
second case he couldn't."
"There'll be a lot of cooking to do for the wedding," reflected
Felicity in a tone of satisfaction.
"I s'pose Aunt Olivia will want some rusks made. I hope she has
plenty of tooth-powder laid in," said Dan.
"It's a pity you don't use some of that tooth-powder you're so
fond of talking about yourself," retorted Felicity. "When anyone
has a mouth the size of yours the teeth show so plain."
"I brush my teeth every Sunday," asseverated Dan.
"Every Sunday! You ought to brush them every DAY."
"Did anyone ever hear such nonsense?" demanded Dan sincerely.
"Well, you know, it really does say so in the Family Guide," said
"Then the Family Guide people must have lots more spare time than
I have," retorted Dan contemptuously.
"Just think, the Story Girl will have her name in the papers if
she's bridesmaid," marvelled Sara Ray.
"In the Halifax papers, too," added Felix, "since Dr. Seton is a
Halifax man. What is his first name?"
"And will we have to call him Uncle Robert?"
"Not until he's married to her. Then we will, of course."
"I hope your Aunt Olivia won't disappear before the ceremony,"
remarked Sara Ray, who was surreptitiously reading "The Vanquished
Bride," by Valeria H. Montague in the Family Guide.
"I hope Dr. Seton won't fail to show up, like your cousin Rachel
Ward's beau," said Peter.
"That makes me think of another story I read the other day about
Great-uncle Andrew King and Aunt Georgina," laughed the Story
Girl. "It happened eighty years ago. It was a very stormy winter
and the roads were bad. Uncle Andrew lived in Carlisle, and Aunt
Georgina--she was Miss Georgina Matheson then--lived away up west,
so he couldn't get to see her very often. They agreed to be
married that winter, but Georgina couldn't set the day exactly
because her brother, who lived in Ontario, was coming home for a
visit, and she wanted to be married while he was home. So it was
arranged that she was to write Uncle Andrew and tell him what day
to come. She did, and she told him to come on a Tuesday. But her
writing wasn't very good and poor Uncle Andrew thought she wrote
Thursday. So on Thursday he drove all the way to Georgina's home
to be married. It was forty miles and a bitter cold day. But it
wasn't any colder than the reception he got from Georgina. She
was out in the porch, with her head tied up in a towel, picking
geese. She had been all ready Tuesday, and her friends and the
minister were there, and the wedding supper prepared. But there
was no bridegroom and Georgina was furious. Nothing Uncle Andrew
could say would appease her. She wouldn't listen to a word of
explanation, but told him to go, and never show his nose there
again. So poor Uncle Andrew had to go ruefully home, hoping that
she would relent later on, because he was really very much in love
"And did she?" queried Felicity.
"She did. Thirteen years exactly from that day they were married.
It took her just that long to forgive him."
"It took her just that long to find out she couldn't get anybody
else," said Dan, cynically.
A PRODIGAL RETURNS
Aunt Olivia and the Story Girl lived in a whirlwind of dressmaking
after that, and enjoyed it hugely. Cecily and Felicity also had
to have new dresses for the great event, and they talked of little
else for a fortnight. Cecily declared that she hated to go to
sleep because she was sure to dream that she was at Aunt Olivia's
wedding in her old faded gingham dress and a ragged apron.
"And no shoes or stockings," she added, "and I can't move, and
everyone walks past and looks at my feet."
"That's only in a dream," mourned Sara Ray, "but I may have to
wear my last summer's white dress to the wedding. It's too short,
but ma says it's plenty good for this summer. I'll be so
mortified if I have to wear it."
"I'd rather not go at all than wear a dress that wasn't nice,"
said Felicity pleasantly.
"I'd go to the wedding if I had to go in my school dress," cried
Sara Ray. "I've never been to anything. I wouldn't miss it for
"My Aunt Jane always said that if you were neat and tidy it didn't
matter whether you were dressed fine or not," said Peter.
"I'm sick and tired of hearing about your Aunt Jane," said
Peter looked grieved but held his peace. Felicity was very hard
on him that spring, but his loyalty never wavered. Everything she
said or did was right in Peter's eyes.
"It's all very well to be neat and tidy," said Sara Ray, "but I
like a little style too."
"I think you'll find your mother will get you a new dress after
all," comforted Cecily. "Anyway, nobody will notice you because
everyone will be looking at the bride. Aunt Olivia will make a
lovely bride. Just think how sweet she'll look in a white silk
dress and a floating veil."
"She says she is going to have the ceremony performed out here in
the orchard under her own tree," said the Story Girl. "Won't that
be romantic? It almost makes me feel like getting married myself."
"What a way to talk," rebuked Felicity, "and you only fifteen."
"Lots of people have been married at fifteen," laughed the Story
Girl. "Lady Jane Gray was."
"But you are always saying that Valeria H. Montague's stories are
silly and not true to life, so that is no argument," retorted
Felicity, who knew more about cooking than about history, and
evidently imagined that the Lady Jane Gray was one of Valeria's
The wedding was a perennial source of conversation among us in
those days; but presently its interest palled for a time in the
light of another quite tremendous happening. One Saturday night
Peter's mother called to take him home with her for Sunday. She
had been working at Mr. James Frewen's, and Mr. Frewen was driving
her home. We had never seen Peter's mother before, and we looked
at her with discreet curiosity. She was a plump, black-eyed
little woman, neat as a pin, but with a rather tired and care-worn
face that looked as if it should have been rosy and jolly. Life
had been a hard battle for her, and I rather think that her curly-
headed little lad was all that had kept heart and spirit in her.
Peter went home with her and returned Sunday evening. We were in
the orchard sitting around the Pulpit Stone, where we had,
according to the custom of the households of King, been learning
our golden texts and memory verses for the next Sunday School
lesson. Paddy, grown sleek and handsome again, was sitting on the
stone itself, washing his jowls.
Peter joined us with a very queer expression on his face. He
seemed bursting with some news which he wanted to tell and yet
hardly liked to.
"Why are you looking so mysterious, Peter?" demanded the Story Girl.
"What do you think has happened?" asked Peter solemnly.
"My father has come home," answered Peter.
The announcement produced all the sensation he could have wished.
We crowded around him in excitement.
"Peter! When did he come back?"
"Saturday night. He was there when ma and I got home. It give
her an awful turn. I didn't know him at first, of course."
"Peter Craig, I believe you are glad your father has come back,"
cried the Story Girl.
"'Course I'm glad," retorted Peter.
"And after you saying you didn't want ever to see him again," said
"You just wait. You haven't heard my story yet. I wouldn't have
been glad to see father if he'd come back the same as he went
away. But he is a changed man. He happened to go into a revival
meeting one night this spring and he got converted. And he's come
home to stay, and he says he's never going to drink another drop,
but he's going to look after his family. Ma isn't to do any more
washing for nobody but him and me, and I'm not to be a hired boy
any longer. He says I can stay with your Uncle Roger till the
fall 'cause I promised I would, but after that I'm to stay home
and go to school right along and learn to be whatever I'd like to
be. I tell you it made me feel queer. Everything seemed to be
upset. But he gave ma forty dollars--every cent he had--so I
guess he really is converted."
"I hope it will last, I'm sure," said Felicity. She did not say
it nastily, however. We were all glad for Peter's sake, though a
little dizzy over the unexpectedness of it all.
"This is what I'D like to know," said Peter. "How did Peg Bowen
know my father was coming home? Don't you tell me she isn't a
witch after that."
"And she knew about your Aunt Olivia's wedding, too," added Sara
"Oh, well, she likely heard that from some one. Grown up folks
talk things over long before they tell them to children," said
"Well, she couldn't have heard father was coming home from any
one," answered Peter. "He was converted up in Maine, where nobody
knew him, and he never told a soul he was coming till he got here.
No, you can believe what you like, but I'm satisfied at last that
Peg is a witch and that skull of hers does tell her things. She
told me father was coming home and he come!"
"How happy you must be," sighed Sara Ray romantically. "It's just
like that story in the Family Guide, where the missing earl comes
home to his family just as the Countess and Lady Violetta are
going to be turned out by the cruel heir."
"There's some difference, I guess. The earl had been imprisoned
for years in a loathsome dungeon."
Perhaps Peter's father had too, if we but realized it--imprisoned
in the dungeon of his own evil appetites and habits, than which
none could be more loathsome. But a Power, mightier than the
forces of evil, had struck off his fetters and led him back to his
long-forfeited liberty and light. And no countess or lady of high
degree could have welcomed a long-lost earl home more joyfully
than the tired little washerwoman had welcomed the erring husband
of her youth.
But in Peter's ointment of joy there was a fly or two. So very,
very few things are flawless in this world, even on the golden
"Of course I'm awful glad that father has come back and that ma
won't have to wash any more," he said with a sigh, "but there are
two things that kind of worry me. My Aunt Jane always said that
it didn't do any good to worry, and I s'pose it don't, but it's
kind of a relief."
"What's worrying you?" asked Felix.
"Well, for one thing I'll feel awful bad to go away from you all.
I'll miss you just dreadful, and I won't even be able to go to the
same school. I'll have to go to Markdale school."
"But you must come and see us often," said Felicity graciously.
"Markdale isn't so far away, and you could spend every other
Saturday afternoon with us anyway."
Peter's black eyes filled with adoring gratitude.
"That's so kind of you, Felicity. I'll come as often as I can, of
course; but it won't be the same as being around with you all the
time. The other thing is even worse. You see, it was a Methodist
revival father got converted in, and so of course he joined the
Methodist church. He wasn't anything before. He used to say he
was a Nothingarian and lived up to it--kind of bragging like. But
he's a strong Methodist now, and is going to go to Markdale
Methodist church and pay to the salary. Now what'll he say when I
tell him I'm a Presbyterian?"
"You haven't told him, yet?" asked the Story Girl.
"No, I didn't dare. I was scared he'd say I'd have to be a Methodist."
"Well, Methodists are pretty near as good as Presbyterians," said
Felicity, with the air of one making a great concession.
"I guess they're every bit as good," retorted Peter. "But that
ain't the point. I've got to be a Presbyterian, 'cause I stick to
a thing when I once decide it. But I expect father will be mad
when he finds out."
"If he's converted he oughtn't to get mad," said Dan.
"Well, lots o' people do. But if he isn't mad he'll be sorry, and
that'll be even worse, for a Presbyterian I'm bound to be. But I
expect it will make things unpleasant."
"You needn't tell him anything about it," advised Felicity. "Just
keep quiet and go to the Methodist church until you get big, and
then you can go where you please."
"No, that wouldn't be honest," said Peter sturdily. "My Aunt Jane
always said it was best to be open and above board in everything,
and especially in religion. So I'll tell father right out, but
I'll wait a few weeks so as not to spoil things for ma too soon if
he acts up."
Peter was not the only one who had secret cares. Sara Ray was
beginning to feel worried over her looks. I heard her and Cecily
talking over their troubles one evening while I was weeding the
onion bed and they were behind the hedge knitting lace. I did not
mean to eavesdrop. I supposed they knew I was there until Cecily
overwhelmed me with indignation later on.
"I'm so afraid, Cecily, that I'm going to be homely all my life,"
said poor Sara with a tremble in her voice. "You can stand being
ugly when you are young if you have any hope of being better
looking when you grow up. But I'm getting worse. Aunt Mary says
I'm going to be the very image of Aunt Matilda. And Aunt Matilda
is as homely as she can be. It isn't"--and poor Sara sighed--"a
very cheerful prospect. If I am ugly nobody will ever want to
marry me, and," concluded Sara candidly, "I don't want to be an
"But plenty of girls get married who aren't a bit pretty,"
comforted Cecily. "Besides, you are real nice looking at times,
Sara. I think you are going to have a nice figure."
"But just look at my hands," moaned Sara. "They're simply covered
"Oh, the warts will all disappear before you grow up," said
"But they won't disappear before the school concert. How am I to
get up there and recite? You know there is one line in my
recitation, 'She waved her lily-white hand,' and I have to wave
mine when I say it. Fancy waving a lily-white hand all covered
with warts. I've tried every remedy I ever heard of, but nothing
does any good. Judy Pineau said if I rubbed them with toad-spit
it would take them away for sure. But how am I to get any toad-
"It doesn't sound like a very nice remedy, anyhow," shuddered
Cecily. "I'd rather have the warts. But do you know, I believe
if you didn't cry so much over every little thing, you'd be ever
so much better looking. Crying spoils your eyes and makes the end
of your nose red."
"I can't help crying," protested Sara. "My feelings are so very
sensitive. I've given up trying to keep THAT resolution."
"Well, men don't like cry-babies," said Cecily sagely. Cecily had
a good deal of Mother Eve's wisdom tucked away in that smooth,
brown head of hers.
"Cecily, do you ever intend to be married?" asked Sara in a
"Goodness!" cried Cecily, quite shocked. "It will be time enough
when I grow up to think of that, Sara."
"I should think you'd have to think of it now, with Cyrus Brisk as
crazy after you as he is."
"I wish Cyrus Brisk was at the bottom of the Red Sea," exclaimed
Cecily, goaded into a spurt of temper by mention of the detested
"What has Cyrus been doing now?" asked Felicity, coming around the
corner of the hedge.
"Doing NOW! It's ALL the time. He just worries me to death,"
returned Cecily angrily. "He keeps writing me letters and putting
them in my desk or in my reader. I never answer one of them, but
he keeps on. And in the last one, mind you, he said he'd do
something desperate right off if I wouldn't promise to marry him
when we grew up."
"Just think, Cecily, you've had a proposal already," said Sara Ray
in an awe-struck tone.
"But he hasn't done anything desperate yet, and that was last
week," commented Felicity, with a toss of her head.
"He sent me a lock of his hair and wanted one of mine in
exchange," continued Cecily indignantly. "I tell you I sent his
back to him pretty quick."
"Did you never answer any of his letters?" asked Sara Ray.
"No, indeed! I guess not!"
"Do you know," said Felicity, "I believe if you wrote him just
once and told him your exact opinion of him in good plain English
it would cure him of his nonsense."
"I couldn't do that. I haven't enough spunk," confessed Cecily
with a blush. "But I'll tell you what I did do once. He wrote me
a long letter last week. It was just awfully SOFT, and every
other word was spelled wrong. He even spelled baking soda, 'bacon
"What on earth had he to say about baking soda in a love-letter?"
"Oh, he said his mother sent him to the store for some and he
forgot it because he was thinking about me. Well, I just took his
letter and wrote in all the words, spelled right, above the wrong
ones, in red ink, just as Mr. Perkins makes us do with our
dictation exercises, and sent it back to him. I thought maybe
he'd feel insulted and stop writing to me."
"And did he?"
"No, he didn't. It is my opinion you can't insult Cyrus Brisk.
He is too thick-skinned. He wrote another letter, and thanked me
for correcting his mistakes, and said it made him feel glad
because it showed I was beginning to take an interest in him when
I wanted him to spell better. Did you ever? Miss Marwood says it
is wrong to hate anyone, but I don't care, I hate Cyrus Brisk."
"Mrs. Cyrus Brisk WOULD be an awful name," giggled Felicity.
"Flossie Brisk says Cyrus is ruining all the trees on his father's
place cutting your name on them," said Sara Ray. "His father told
him he would whip him if he didn't stop, but Cyrus keeps right on.
He told Flossie it relieved his feelings. Flossie says he cut
yours and his together on the birch tree in front of the parlour
window, and a row of hearts around them."
"Just where every visitor can see them, I suppose," lamented
Cecily. "He just worries my life out. And what I mind most of
all is, he sits and looks at me in school with such melancholy,
reproachful eyes when he ought to be working sums. I won't look
at him, but I FEEL him staring at me, and it makes me so nervous."
"They say his mother was out of her mind at one time," said
I do not think Felicity was quite well pleased that Cyrus should
have passed over her rose-red prettiness to set his affections on
that demure elf of a Cecily. She did not want the allegiance of
Cyrus in the least, but it was something of a slight that he had
not wanted her to want it.
"And he sends me pieces of poetry he cuts out of the papers,"
Cecily went on, "with lots of the lines marked with a lead pencil.
Yesterday he put one in his letter, and this is what he marked:
"'If you will not relent to me
Then must I learn to know
Darkness alone till life be flown.
Here--I have the piece in my sewing-bag--I'll read it all to you."
Those three graceless girls read the sentimental rhyme and giggled
over it. Poor Cyrus! His young affections were sadly misplaced.
But after all, though Cecily never relented towards him, he did
not condemn himself to darkness alone till life was flown. Quite
early in life he wedded a stout, rosy, buxom lass, the very
antithesis of his first love; he prospered in his undertakings,
raised a large and respectable family, and was eventually
appointed a Justice of the Peace. Which was all very sensible of
THE RAPE OF THE LOCK
June was crowded full of interest that year. We gathered in with
its sheaf of fragrant days the choicest harvest of childhood.
Things happened right along. Cecily declared she hated to go to
sleep for fear she might miss something. There were so many dear
delights along the golden road to give us pleasure--the earth
dappled with new blossom, the dance of shadows in the fields, the
rustling, rain-wet ways of the woods, the faint fragrance in
meadow lanes, liltings of birds and croon of bees in the old
orchard, windy pipings on the hills, sunset behind the pines,
limpid dews filling primrose cups, crescent moons through
darklings boughs, soft nights alight with blinking stars. We
enjoyed all these boons, unthinkingly and light-heartedly, as
children do. And besides these, there was the absorbing little
drama of human life which was being enacted all around us, and in
which each of us played a satisfying part--the gay preparations
for Aunt Olivia's mid-June wedding, the excitement of practising
for the concert with which our school-teacher, Mr. Perkins, had
elected to close the school year, and Cecily's troubles with Cyrus
Brisk, which furnished unholy mirth for the rest of us, though
Cecily could not see the funny side of it at all.
Matters went from bad to worse in the case of the irrepressible
Cyrus. He continued to shower Cecily with notes, the spelling of
which showed no improvement; he worried the life out of her by
constantly threatening to fight Willy Fraser--although, as
Felicity sarcastically pointed out, he never did it.
"But I'm always afraid he will," said Cecily, "and it would be
such a DISGRACE to have two boys fighting over me in school."
"You must have encouraged Cyrus a little in the beginning or he'd
never have been so persevering," said Felicity unjustly.
"I never did!" cried outraged Cecily. "You know very well,
Felicity King, that I hated Cyrus Brisk ever since the very first
time I saw his big, fat, red face. So there!"
"Felicity is just jealous because Cyrus didn't take a notion to
her instead of you, Sis," said Dan.
"Talk sense!" snapped Felicity.
"If I did you wouldn't understand me, sweet little sister,"
rejoined aggravating Dan.
Finally Cyrus crowned his iniquities by stealing the denied lock
of Cecily's hair. One sunny afternoon in school, Cecily and Kitty
Marr asked and received permission to sit out on the side bench
before the open window, where the cool breeze swept in from the
green fields beyond. To sit on this bench was always considered a
treat, and was only allowed as a reward of merit; but Cecily and
Kitty had another reason for wishing to sit there. Kitty had read
in a magazine that sun-baths were good for the hair; so both she
and Cecily tossed their long braids over the window-sill and let
them hang there in the broiling sun-shine. And while Cecily sat
thus, diligently working a fraction sum on her slate, that base
Cyrus asked permission to go out, having previously borrowed a
pair of scissors from one of the big girls who did fancy work at
the noon recess. Outside, Cyrus sneaked up close to the window
and cut off a piece of Cecily's hair.
This rape of the lock did not produce quite such terrible
consequences as the more famous one in Pope's poem, but Cecily's
soul was no less agitated than Belinda's. She cried all the way
home from school about it, and only checked her tears when Dan
declared he'd fight Cyrus and make him give it up.
"Oh, no, You mustn't." said Cecily, struggling with her sobs. "I
won't have you fighting on my account for anything. And besides,
he'd likely lick you--he's so big and rough. And the folks at
home might find out all about it, and Uncle Roger would never give
me any peace, and mother would be cross, for she'd never believe
it wasn't my fault. It wouldn't be so bad if he'd only taken a
little, but he cut a great big chunk right off the end of one of
the braids. Just look at it. I'll have to cut the other to make
them fair--and they'll look so awful stubby."
But Cyrus' acquirement of the chunk of hair was his last triumph.
His downfall was near; and, although it involved Cecily in a most
humiliating experience, over which she cried half the following
night, in the end she confessed it was worth undergoing just to
get rid of Cyrus.
Mr. Perkins was an exceedingly strict disciplinarian. No
communication of any sort was permitted between his pupils during
school hours. Anyone caught violating this rule was promptly
punished by the infliction of one of the weird penances for which
Mr. Perkins was famous, and which were generally far worse than
One day in school Cyrus sent a letter across to Cecily. Usually
he left his effusions in her desk, or between the leaves of her
books; but this time it was passed over to her under cover of the
desk through the hands of two or three scholars. Just as Em
Frewen held it over the aisle Mr. Perkins wheeled around from his
station before the blackboard and caught her in the act.
"Bring that here, Emmeline," he commanded.
Cyrus turned quite pale. Em carried the note to Mr. Perkins. He
took it, held it up, and scrutinized the address.
"Did you write this to Cecily, Emmeline?" he asked.
"Who wrote it then?"
Em said quite shamelessly that she didn't know--it had just been
passed over from the next row.
"And I suppose you have no idea where it came from?" said Mr.
Perkins, with his frightful, sardonic grin. "Well, perhaps Cecily
can tell us. You may take your seat, Emmeline, and you will
remain at the foot of your spelling class for a week as punishment
for passing the note. Cecily, come here."
Indignant Em sat down and poor, innocent Cecily was haled forth to
public ignominy. She went with a crimson face.
"Cecily," said her tormentor, "do you know who wrote this letter
Cecily, like a certain renowned personage, could not tell a lie.
"I--I think so, sir," she murmured faintly.
"Who was it?"
"I can't tell you that," stammered Cecily, on the verge of tears.
"Ah!" said Mr. Perkins politely. "Well, I suppose I could easily
find out by opening it. But it is very impolite to open other
people's letters. I think I have a better plan. Since you refuse
to tell me who wrote it, open it yourself, take this chalk, and
copy the contents on the blackboard that we may all enjoy them.
And sign the writer's name at the bottom."
"Oh," gasped Cecily, choosing the lesser of two evils, "I'll tell
you who wrote it--it was--
"Hush!" Mr. Perkins checked her with a gentle motion of his hand.
He was always most gentle when most inexorable. "You did not obey
me when I first ordered you to tell me the writer. You cannot
have the privilege of doing so now. Open the note, take the
chalk, and do as I command you."
Worms will turn, and even meek, mild, obedient little souls like
Cecily may be goaded to the point of wild, sheer rebellion.
"I--I won't!" she cried passionately.
Mr. Perkins, martinet though he was, would hardly, I think, have
inflicted such a punishment on Cecily, who was a favourite of his,
had he known the real nature of that luckless missive. But, as he
afterwards admitted, he thought it was merely a note from some
other girl, of such trifling sort as school-girls are wont to
write; and moreover, he had already committed himself to the
decree, which, like those of Mede and Persian, must not alter. To
let Cecily off, after her mad defiance, would be to establish a
"So you really think you won't?" he queried smilingly. "Well, on
second thoughts, you may take your choice. Either you will do as
I have bidden you, or you will sit for three days with"--Mr.
Perkins' eye skimmed over the school-room to find a boy who was
sitting alone--"with Cyrus Brisk."
This choice of Mr. Perkins, who knew nothing of the little drama
of emotions that went on under the routine of lessons and
exercises in his domain, was purely accidental, but we took it at
the time as a stroke of diabolical genius. It left Cecily no
choice. She would have done almost anything before she would have
sat with Cyrus Brisk. With flashing eyes she tore open the
letter, snatched up the chalk, and dashed at the blackboard.
In a few minutes the contents of that letter graced the expanse
usually sacred to more prosaic compositions. I cannot reproduce
it verbatim, for I had no after opportunity of refreshing my
memory. But I remember that it was exceedingly sentimental and
exceedingly ill-spelled--for Cecily mercilessly copied down poor
Cyrus' mistakes. He wrote her that he wore her hare over his
hart--"and he stole it," Cecily threw passionately over her
shoulder at Mr. Perkins--that her eyes were so sweet and lovely
that he couldn't find words nice enuf to describ them, that he
could never forget how butiful she had looked in prar meeting the
evening before, and that some meels he couldn't eat for thinking
of her, with more to the same effect and he signed it "yours till
deth us do part, Cyrus Brisk."
As the writing proceeded we scholars exploded into smothered
laughter, despite our awe of Mr. Perkins. Mr. Perkins himself
could not keep a straight face. He turned abruptly away and
looked out of the window, but we could see his shoulders shaking.
When Cecily had finished and had thrown down the chalk with bitter
vehemence, he turned around with a very red face.
"That will do. You may sit down. Cyrus, since it seems you are
the guilty person, take the eraser and wipe that off the board.
Then go stand in the corner, facing the room, and hold your arms
straight above your head until I tell you to take them down."
Cyrus obeyed and Cecily fled to her seat and wept, nor did Mr.
Perkins meddle with her more that day. She bore her burden of
humiliation bitterly for several days, until she was suddenly
comforted by a realization that Cyrus had ceased to persecute her.
He wrote no more letters, he gazed no longer in rapt adoration, he
brought no more votive offerings of gum and pencils to her shrine.
At first we thought he had been cured by the unmerciful chaffing
he had to undergo from his mates, but eventually his sister told
Cecily the true reason. Cyrus had at last been driven to believe
that Cecily's aversion to him was real, and not merely the defence
of maiden coyness. If she hated him so intensely that she would
rather write that note on the blackboard than sit with him, what
use was it to sigh like a furnace longer for her? Mr. Perkins had
blighted love's young dream for Cyrus with a killing frost.
Thenceforth sweet Cecily kept the noiseless tenor of her way
unvexed by the attentions of enamoured swains.
AUNT UNA'S STORY
Felicity, and Cecily, Dan, Felix, Sara Ray and I were sitting one
evening on the mossy stones in Uncle Roger's hill pasture, where
we had sat the morning the Story Girl told us the tale of the
Wedding Veil of the Proud Princess. But it was evening now and
the valley beneath us was brimmed up with the glow of the
afterlight. Behind us, two tall, shapely spruce trees rose up
against the sunset, and through the dark oriel of their sundered
branches an evening star looked down. We sat on a little strip of
emerald grassland and before us was a sloping meadow all white
We were waiting for Peter and the Story Girl. Peter had gone to
Markdale after dinner to spend the afternoon with his reunited
parents because it was his birthday. He had left us grimly
determined to confess to his father the dark secret of his
Presbyterianism, and we were anxious to know what the result had
been. The Story Girl had gone that morning with Miss Reade to
visit the latter's home near Charlottetown, and we expected soon
to see her coming gaily along over the fields from the Armstrong
Presently Peter came jauntily stepping along the field path up the
"Hasn't Peter got tall?" said Cecily.
"Peter is growing to be a very fine looking boy," decreed
"I notice he's got ever so much handsomer since his father came
home," said Dan, with a killing sarcasm that was wholly lost on
Felicity, who gravely responded that she supposed it was because
Peter felt so much freer from care and responsibility.
"What luck, Peter?" yelled Dan, as soon as Peter was within earshot.
"Everything's all right," he shouted jubilantly. "I told father
right off, licketty-split, as soon as I got home," he added when
he reached us. "I was anxious to have it over with. I says,
solemn-like, 'Dad, there's something I've got to tell you, and I
don't know how you'll take it, but it can't be helped,' I says.
Dad looked pretty sober, and he says, says he, 'What have you been
up to, Peter? Don't be afraid to tell me. I've been forgiven to
seventy times seven, so surely I can forgive a little, too?'
'Well,' I says, desperate-like, 'the truth is, father, I'm a
Presbyterian. I made up my mind last summer, the time of the
Judgment Day, that I'd be a Presbyterian, and I've got to stick to
it. I'm sorry I can't be a Methodist, like you and mother and
Aunt Jane, but I can't and that's all there is to it,' I says.
Then I waited, scared-like. But father, he just looked relieved
and he says, says he, 'Goodness, boy, you can be a Presbyterian or
anything else you like, so long as it's Protestant. I'm not
caring,' he says. 'The main thing is that you must be good and do
what's right.' I tell you," concluded Peter emphatically, "father
is a Christian all right."
"Well, I suppose your mind will be at rest now," said Felicity.
"What's that you have in your buttonhole?"
"That's a four-leaved clover," answered Peter exultantly. "That
means good luck for the summer. I found it in Markdale. There
ain't much clover in Carlisle this year of any kind of leaf. The
crop is going to be a failure. Your Uncle Roger says it's because
there ain't enough old maids in Carlisle. There's lots of them in
Markdale, and that's the reason, he says, why they always have
such good clover crops there."
"What on earth have old maids to do with it?" cried Cecily.
"I don't believe they've a single thing to do with it, but Mr.
Roger says they have, and he says a man called Darwin proved it.
This is the rigmarole he got off to me the other day. The clover
crop depends on there being plenty of bumble-bees, because they
are the only insects with tongues long enough to--to--fer--
fertilize--I think he called it the blossoms. But mice eat
bumble-bees and cats eat mice and old maids keep cats. So your
Uncle Roger says the more old maids the more cats, and the more
cats the fewer field-mice, and the fewer field-mice the more
bumble-bees, and the more bumble-bees the better clover crops."
"So don't worry if you do get to be old maids, girls," said Dan.
"Remember, you'll be helping the clover crops."
"I never heard such stuff as you boys talk," said Felicity, "and
Uncle Roger is no better."
"There comes the Story Girl," cried Cecily eagerly. "Now we'll
hear all about Beautiful Alice's home."
The Story Girl was bombarded with eager questions as soon as she
arrived. Miss Reade's home was a dream of a place, it appeared.
The house was just covered with ivy and there was a most
delightful old garden--"and," added the Story Girl, with the joy
of a connoisseur who has found a rare gem, "the sweetest little
story connected with it. And I saw the hero of the story too."
"Where was the heroine?" queried Cecily.
"She is dead."
"Oh, of course she'd have to die," exclaimed Dan in disgust. "I'd
like a story where somebody lived once in awhile."
"I've told you heaps of stories where people lived," retorted the
Story Girl. "If this heroine hadn't died there wouldn't have been
any story. She was Miss Reade's aunt and her name was Una, and I
believe she must have been just like Miss Reade herself. Miss
Reade told me all about her. When we went into the garden I saw
in one corner of it an old stone bench arched over by a couple of
pear trees and all grown about with grass and violets. And an old
man was sitting on it--a bent old man with long, snow-white hair
and beautiful sad blue eyes. He seemed very lonely and sorrowful
and I wondered that Miss Reade didn't speak to him. But she never
let on she saw him and took me away to another part of the garden.
After awhile he got up and went away and then Miss Reade said,
'Come over to Aunt Una's seat and I will tell you about her and
her lover--that man who has just gone out.'
"'Oh, isn't he too old for a lover?' I said.
"Beautiful Alice laughed and said it was forty years since he had
been her Aunt Una's lover. He had been a tall, handsome young man
then, and her Aunt Una was a beautiful girl of nineteen.
"We went over and sat down and Miss Reade told me all about her.
She said that when she was a child she had heard much of her Aunt
Una--that she seemed to have been one of those people who are not
soon forgotten, whose personality seems to linger about the scenes
of their lives long after they have passed away."
"What is a personality? Is it another word for ghost?" asked Peter.
"No," said the Story Girl shortly. "I can't stop in a story to
"I don't believe you know what it is yourself," said Felicity.
The Story Girl picked up her hat, which she had thrown down on the
grass, and placed it defiantly on her brown curls.
"I'm going in," she announced. "I have to help Aunt Olivia ice a
cake tonight, and you all seem more interested in dictionaries
"That's not fair," I exclaimed. "Dan and Felix and Sara Ray and
Cecily and I have never said a word. It's mean to punish us for
what Peter and Felicity did. We want to hear the rest of the
story. Never mind what a personality is but go on--and, Peter,
you young ass, keep still."
"I only wanted to know," muttered Peter sulkily.
"I DO know what personality is, but it's hard to explain," said
the Story Girl, relenting. "It's what makes you different from
Dan, Peter, and me different from Felicity or Cecily. Miss
Reade's Aunt Una had a personality that was very uncommon. And
she was beautiful, too, with white skin and night-black eyes and
hair--a 'moonlight beauty,' Miss Reade called it. She used to
keep a kind of a diary, and Miss Reade's mother used to read parts
of it to her. She wrote verses in it and they were lovely; and
she wrote descriptions of the old garden which she loved very
much. Miss Reade said that everything in the garden, plot or
shrub or tree, recalled to her mind some phrase or verse of her
Aunt Una's, so that the whole place seemed full of her, and her
memory haunted the walks like a faint, sweet perfume.
"Una had, as I've told you, a lover; and they were to have been
married on her twentieth birthday. Her wedding dress was to have
been a gown of white brocade with purple violets in it. But a
little while before it she took ill with fever and died; and she
was buried on her birthday instead of being married. It was just
in the time of opening roses. Her lover has been faithful to her
ever since; he has never married, and every June, on her birthday,
he makes a pilgrimage to the old garden and sits for a long time
in silence on the bench where he used to woo her on crimson eves
and moonlight nights of long ago. Miss Reade says she always
loves to see him sitting there because it gives her such a deep
and lasting sense of the beauty and strength of love which can
thus outlive time and death. And sometimes, she says, it gives
her a little eerie feeling, too, as if her Aunt Una were really
sitting there beside him, keeping tryst, although she has been in
her grave for forty years."
"It would be real romantic to die young and have your lover make a
pilgrimage to your garden every year," reflected Sara Ray.
"It would be more comfortable to go on living and get married to
him," said Felicity. "Mother says all those sentimental ideas are
bosh and I expect they are. It's a wonder Beautiful Alice hasn't
a beau herself. She is so pretty and lady-like."
"The Carlisle fellows all say she is too stuck up," said Dan.
"There's nobody in Carlisle half good enough for her," cried the
Story Girl, "except--ex-cept--"
"Except who?" asked Felix.
"Never mind," said the Story Girl mysteriously.
AUNT OLIVIA'S WEDDING
What a delightful, old-fashioned, wholesome excitement there was
about Aunt Olivia's wedding! The Monday and Tuesday preceding it
we did not go to school at all, but were all kept home to do
chores and run errands. The cooking and decorating and arranging
that went on those two days was amazing, and Felicity was so happy
over it all that she did not even quarrel with Dan--though she
narrowly escaped it when he told her that the Governor's wife was
coming to the wedding.
"Mind you have some of her favourite rusks for her," he said.
"I guess," said Felicity with dignity, "that Aunt Olivia's wedding
supper will be good enough for even a Governor's wife."
"I s'pose none of us except the Story Girl will get to the first
table," said Felix, rather gloomily.
"Never mind," comforted Felicity. "There's a whole turkey to be
kept for us, and a freezerful of ice cream. Cecily and I are
going to wait on the tables, and we'll put away a little of
everything that's extra nice for our suppers."
"I do so want to have my supper with you," sighed Sara Ray, "but I
s'pose ma will drag me with her wherever she goes. She won't
trust me out of her sight a minute the whole evening--I know she
"I'll get Aunt Olivia to ask her to let you have your supper with
us," said Cecily. "She can't refuse the bride's request."
"You don't know all ma can do," returned Sara darkly. "No, I feel
that I'll have to eat my supper with her. But I suppose I ought
to be very thankful I'm to get to the wedding at all, and that ma
did get me a new white dress for it. Even yet I'm so scared
something will happen to prevent me from getting to it."
Monday evening shrouded itself in clouds, and all night long the
voice of the wind answered to the voice of the rain. Tuesday the
downpour continued. We were quite frantic about it. Suppose it
kept on raining over Wednesday! Aunt Olivia couldn't be married in
the orchard then. That would be too bad, especially when the late
apple tree had most obligingly kept its store of blossom until
after all the other trees had faded and then burst lavishly into
bloom for Aunt Olivia's wedding. That apple tree was always very
late in blooming, and this year it was a week later than usual.
It was a sight to see--a great tree-pyramid with high, far-
spreading boughs, over which a wealth of rosy snow seemed to have
been flung. Never had bride a more magnificent canopy.
To our rapture, however, it cleared up beautifully Tuesday
evening, and the sun, before setting in purple pomp, poured a
flood of wonderful radiance over the whole great, green, diamond-
dripping world, promising a fair morrow. Uncle Alec drove off to
the station through it to bring home the bridegroom and his best
man. Dan was full of a wild idea that we should all meet them at
the gate, armed with cowbells and tin-pans, and "charivari" them
up the lane. Peter sided with him, but the rest of us voted down
"Do you want Dr. Seton to think we are a pack of wild Indians?"
asked Felicity severely. "A nice opinion he'd have of our
"Well, it's the only chance we'll have to chivaree them," grumbled
Dan. "Aunt Olivia wouldn't mind. SHE can take a joke."
"Ma would kill you if you did such a thing," warned Felicity.
"Dr. Seton lives in Halifax and they NEVER chivaree people there.
He would think it very vulgar."
"Then he should have stayed in Halifax and got married there,"
retorted Dan, sulkily.
We were very curious to see our uncle-elect. When he came and
Uncle Alec took him into the parlour, we were all crowded into the
dark corner behind the stairs to peep at him. Then we fled to the
moonlight world outside and discussed him at the dairy.
"He's bald," said Cecily disappointedly.
"And RATHER short and stout," said Felicity.
"He's forty, if he's a day," said Dan.
"Never you mind," cried the Story Girl loyally, "Aunt Olivia loves
him with all her heart."
"And more than that, he's got lots of money," added Felicity.
"Well, he may be all right," said Peter, "but it's my opinion that
your Aunt Olivia could have done just as well on the Island."
"YOUR opinion doesn't matter very much to our family," said
But when we made the acquaintance of Dr. Seton next morning we
liked him enormously, and voted him a jolly good fellow. Even
Peter remarked aside to me that he guessed Miss Olivia hadn't made
much of a mistake after all, though it was plain he thought she
was running a risk in not sticking to the Island. The girls had
not much time to discuss him with us. They were all exceedingly
busy and whisked about at such a rate that they seemed to possess
the power of being in half a dozen places at once. The importance
of Felicity was quite terrible. But after dinner came a lull.
"Thank goodness, everything is ready at last," breathed Felicity
devoutly, as we foregathered for a brief space in the fir wood.
"We've nothing more to do now but get dressed. It's really a
serious thing to have a wedding in the family."
"I have a note from Sara Ray," said Cecily. "Judy Pineau brought
it up when she brought Mrs. Ray's spoons. Just let me read it to
DEAREST CECILY:--A DREADFUL MISFORTUNE has happened to me. Last
night I went with Judy to water the cows and in the spruce bush we
found a WASPS' NEST and Judy thought it was AN OLD ONE and she
POKED IT WITH A STICK. And it was a NEW ONE, full of wasps, and
they all flew out and STUNG US TERRIBLY, on the face and hands.
My face is all swelled up and I can HARDLY SEE out of one eye.
The SUFFERING was awful but I didn't mind that as much as being
scared ma wouldn't take me to the wedding. But she says I can go
and I'm going. I know that I am a HARD-LOOKING SIGHT, but it
isn't anything catching. I am writing this so that you won't get
a shock when you see me. Isn't it SO STRANGE to think your dear
Aunt Olivia is going away? How you will miss her! But your loss
will be her gain.
"'Your loving chum,
"That poor child," said the Story Girl.
"Well, all I hope is that strangers won't take her for one of the
family," remarked Felicity in a disgusted tone.
Aunt Olivia was married at five o'clock in the orchard under the
late apple tree. It was a pretty scene. The air was full of the
perfume of apple bloom, and the bees blundered foolishly and
delightfully from one blossom to another, half drunken with
perfume. The old orchard was full of smiling guests in wedding
garments. Aunt Olivia was most beautiful amid the frost of her
bridal veil, and the Story Girl, in an unusually long white dress,
with her brown curls clubbed up behind, looked so tall and grown-
up that we hardly recognized her. After the ceremony--during
which Sara Ray cried all the time--there was a royal wedding
supper, and Sara Ray was permitted to eat her share of the feast
"I'm glad I was stung by the wasps after all," she said
delightedly. "If I hadn't been ma would never have let me eat
with you. She just got tired explaining to people what was the
matter with my face, and so she was glad to get rid of me. I know
I look awful, but, oh, wasn't the bride a dream?"
We missed the Story Girl, who, of course, had to have her supper
at the bridal table; but we were a hilarious little crew and the
girls had nobly kept their promise to save tid-bits for us. By
the time the last table was cleared away Aunt Olivia and our new
uncle were ready to go. There was an orgy of tears and
leavetakings, and then they drove away into the odorous moonlight
night. Dan and Peter pursued them down the lane with a fiendish
din of bells and pans, much to Felicity's wrath. But Aunt Olivia
and Uncle Robert took it in good part and waved their hands back
to us with peals of laughter.
"They're just that pleased with themselves that they wouldn't mind
if there was an earthquake," said Felix, grinning.
"It's been splendid and exciting, and everything went off well,"
sighed Cecily, "but, oh dear, it's going to be so queer and
lonesome without Aunt Olivia. I just believe I'll cry all night."
"You're tired to death, that's what's the matter with you," said
Dan, returning. "You girls have worked like slaves today."
"Tomorrow will be even harder," said Felicity comfortingly.
"Everything will have to be cleaned up and put away."
Peg Bowen paid us a call the next day and was regaled with a feast
of fat things left over from the supper.
"Well, I've had all I can eat," she said, when she had finished
and brought out her pipe. "And that doesn't happen to me every
day. There ain't been as much marrying as there used to be, and
half the time they just sneak off to the minister, as if they were
ashamed of it, and get married without any wedding or supper.
That ain't the King way, though. And so Olivia's gone off at
last. She weren't in any hurry but they tell me she's done well.
"Why don't you get married yourself, Peg?" queried Uncle Roger
teasingly. We held our breath over his temerity.
"Because I'm not so easy to please as your wife will be," retorted
She departed in high good humour over her repartee. Meeting Sara
Ray on the doorstep she stopped and asked her what was the matter
with her face.
"Wasps," stammered Sara Ray, laconic from terror.
"Humph! And your hands?"
"I'll tell you what'll take them away. You get a pertater and go
out under the full moon, cut the pertater in two, rub your warts
with one half and say, 'One, two, three, warts, go away from me.'
Then rub them with the other half and say, 'One, two, three, four,
warts, never trouble me more.' Then bury the pertater and never
tell a living soul where you buried it. You won't have no more
warts. Mind you bury the pertater, though. If you don't, and
anyone picks it up, she'll get your warts."
SARA RAY HELPS OUT
We all missed Aunt Olivia greatly; she had been so merry and
companionable, and had possessed such a knack of understanding
small fry. But youth quickly adapts itself to changed conditions;
in a few weeks it seemed as if the Story Girl had always been
living at Uncle Alec's, and as if Uncle Roger had always had a
fat, jolly housekeeper with a double chin and little, twinkling
blue eyes. I don't think Aunt Janet ever quite got over missing
Aunt Olivia, or looked upon Mrs. Hawkins as anything but a
necessary evil; but life resumed its even tenor on the King farm,
broken only by the ripples of excitement over the school concert
and letters from Aunt Olivia describing her trip through the land
of Evangeline. We incorporated the letters in Our Magazine under
the heading "From Our Special Correspondent" and were very proud
At the end of June our school concert came off and was a great
event in our young lives. It was the first appearance of most of
us on any platform, and some of us were very nervous. We all had
recitations, except Dan, who had refused flatly to take any part
and was consequently care-free.
"I'm sure I shall die when I find myself up on that platform,
facing people," sighed Sara Ray, as we talked the affair over in
Uncle Stephen's Walk the night before the concert.
"I'm afraid I'll faint," was Cecily's more moderate foreboding.
"I'm not one single bit nervous," said Felicity complacently.
"I'm not nervous this time," said the Story Girl, "but the first
time I recited I was."
"My Aunt Jane," remarked Peter, "used to say that an old teacher
of hers told her that when she was going to recite or speak in
public she must just get it firmly into her mind that it was only
a lot of cabbage heads she had before her, and she wouldn't be
"One mightn't be nervous, but I don't think there would be much
inspiration in reciting to cabbage heads," said the Story Girl
decidedly. "I want to recite to PEOPLE, and see them looking
interested and thrilled."
"If I can only get through my piece without breaking down I don't
care whether I thrill people or not," said Sara Ray.
"I'm afraid I'll forget mine and get stuck," foreboded Felix.
"Some of you fellows be sure and prompt me if I do--and do it
quick, so's I won't get worse rattled."
"I know one thing," said Cecily resolutely, "and that is, I'm
going to curl my hair for to-morrow night. I've never curled it
since Peter almost died, but I simply must tomorrow night, for all
the other girls are going to have theirs in curls."
"The dew and heat will take all the curl out of yours and then
you'll look like a scarecrow," warned Felicity.
"No, I won't. I'm going to put my hair up in paper tonight and
wet it with a curling-fluid that Judy Pineau uses. Sara brought
me up a bottle of it. Judy says it is great stuff--your hair will
keep in curl for days, no matter how damp the weather is. I'll
leave my hair in the papers till tomorrow evening, and then I'll
have beautiful curls."
"You'd better leave your hair alone," said Dan gruffly. "Smooth
hair is better than a lot of fly-away curls."
But Cecily was not to be persuaded. Curls she craved and curls
she meant to have.
"I'm thankful my warts have all gone, any-way," said Sara Ray.
"So they have," exclaimed Felicity. "Did you try Peg's recipe?"
"Yes. I didn't believe in it but I tried it. For the first few
days afterwards I kept watching my warts, but they didn't go away,
and then I gave up and forgot them. But one day last week I just
happened to look at my hands and there wasn't a wart to be seen.
It was the most amazing thing."
"And yet you'll say Peg Bowen isn't a witch," said Peter.
"Pshaw, it was just the potato juice," scoffed Dan.
"It was a dry old potato I had, and there wasn't much juice in
it," said Sara Ray. "One hardly knows what to believe. But one
thing is certain--my warts are gone."
Cecily put her hair up in curl-papers that night, thoroughly
soaked in Judy Pineau's curling-fluid. It was a nasty job, for
the fluid was very sticky, but Cecily persevered and got it done.
Then she went to bed with a towel tied over her head to protect
the pillow. She did not sleep well and had uncanny dreams, but
she came down to breakfast with an expression of triumph. The
Story Girl examined her head critically and said,
"Cecily, if I were you I'd take those papers out this morning."
"Oh, no; if I do my hair will be straight again by night. I mean
to leave them in till the last minute."
"I wouldn't do that--I really wouldn't," persisted the Story Girl.
"If you do your hair will be too curly and all bushy and fuzzy."
Cecily finally yielded and went upstairs with the Story Girl.
Presently we heard a little shriek--then two little shrieks--then
three. Then Felicity came flying down and called her mother.
Aunt Janet went up and presently came down again with a grim
mouth. She filled a large pan with warm water and carried it
upstairs. We dared ask her no questions, but when Felicity came
down to wash the dishes we bombarded her.
"What on earth is the matter with Cecily?" demanded Dan. "Is she sick?"
"No, she isn't. I warned her not to put her hair in curls but she
wouldn't listen to me. I guess she wishes she had now. When
people haven't natural curly hair they shouldn't try to make it
curly. They get punished if they do."
"Look here, Felicity, never mind all that. Just tell us what has
"Well, this is what has happened her. That ninny of a Sara Ray
brought up a bottle of mucilage instead of Judy's curling-fluid,
and Cecily put her hair up with THAT. It's in an awful state."
"Good gracious!" exclaimed Dan. "Look here, will she ever get it out?"
"Goodness knows. She's got her head in soak now. Her hair is
just matted together hard as a board. That's what comes of
vanity," said Felicity, than whom no vainer girl existed.
Poor Cecily paid dearly enough for HER vanity. She spent a bad
forenoon, made no easier by her mother's severe rebukes. For an
hour she "soaked" her head; that is, she stood over a panful of
warm water and kept dipping her head in with tightly shut eyes.
Finally her hair softened sufficiently to be disentangled from the
curl papers; and then Aunt Janet subjected it to a merciless
shampoo. Eventually they got all the mucilage washed out of it
and Cecily spent the remainder of the forenoon sitting before the
open oven door in the hot kitchen drying her ill-used tresses.
She felt very down-hearted; her hair was of that order which,
glossy and smooth normally, is dry and harsh and lustreless for
several days after being shampooed.
"I'll look like a fright tonight," said the poor child to me with
trembling voice. "The ends will be sticking out all over my
"Sara Ray is a perfect idiot," I said wrathfully
"Qh, don't be hard on poor Sara. She didn't mean to bring me
mucilage. It's really all my own fault, I know. I made a solemn
vow when Peter was dying that I would never curl my hair again,
and I should have kept it. It isn't right to break solemn vows.
But my hair will look like dried hay tonight."
Poor Sara Ray was quite overwhelmed when she came up and found
what she had done. Felicity was very hard on her, and Aunt Janet
was coldly disapproving, but sweet Cecily forgave her
unreservedly, and they walked to the school that night with their
arms about each other's waists as usual.
The school-room was crowded with friends and neighbours. Mr.
Perkins was flying about, getting things into readiness, and Miss
Reade, who was the organist of the evening, was sitting on the
platform, looking her sweetest and prettiest. She wore a
delightful white lace hat with a fetching little wreath of tiny
forget-me-nots around the brim, a white muslin dress with sprays
of blue violets scattered over it, and a black lace scarf.
"Doesn't she look angelic?" said Cecily rapturously.
"Mind you," said Sara Ray, "the Awkward Man is here--in the corner
behind the door. I never remember seeing him at a concert
"I suppose he came to hear the Story Girl recite," said Felicity.
"He is such a friend of hers."
The concert went off very well. Dialogues, choruses and
recitations followed each other in rapid succession. Felix got
through his without "getting stuck," and Peter did excellently,
though he stuffed his hands in his trousers pockets--a habit of
which Mr. Perkins had vainly tried to break him. Peter's
recitation was one greatly in vogue at that time, beginning,
"My name is Norval; on the Grampian hills
My father feeds his flocks."
At our first practice Peter had started gaily in, rushing through
the first line with no thought whatever of punctuation--" My name
is Norval on the Grampian Hills."
"Stop, stop, Peter," quoth Mr. Perkins, sarcastically, "your name
might be Norval if you were never on the Grampian Hills. There's
a semi-colon in that line, I wish you to remember."
Peter did remember it. Cecily neither fainted nor failed when it
came her turn. She recited her little piece very well, though
somewhat mechanically. I think she really did much better than if
she had had her desired curls. The miserable conviction that her
hair, alone among that glossy-tressed bevy, was looking badly,
quite blotted out all nervousness and self-consciousness from her
mind. Her hair apart, she looked very pretty. The prevailing
excitement had made bright her eye and flushed her cheeks rosily--
too rosily, perhaps. I heard a Carlisle woman behind me whisper
that Cecily King looked consumptive, just like her Aunt Felicity;
and I hated her fiercely for it.
Sara Ray also managed to get through respectably, although she was
pitiably nervous. Her bow was naught but a short nod--"as if her
head worked on wires," whispered Felicity uncharitably--and the
wave of her lily-white hand more nearly resembled an agonized jerk
than a wave. We all felt relieved when she finished. She was, in
a sense, one of "our crowd," and we had been afraid she would
disgrace us by breaking down.
Felicity followed her and recited her selection without haste,
without rest, and absolutely without any expression whatever. But
what mattered it how she recited? To look at her was sufficient.
What with her splendid fleece of golden curls, her great,
brilliant blue eyes, her exquisitely tinted face, her dimpled
hands and arms, every member of the audience must have felt it was
worth the ten cents he had paid merely to see her.
The Story Girl followed. An expectant silence fell over the room,
and Mr. Perkins' face lost the look of tense anxiety it had worn
all the evening. Here was a performer who could be depended on.
No need to fear stage fright or forgetfulness on her part. The
Story Girl was not looking her best that night. White never
became her, and her face was pale, though her eyes were splendid.
But nobody thought about her appearance when the power and magic
of her voice caught and held her listeners spellbound.
Her recitation was an old one, figuring in one of the School
Readers, and we scholars all knew it off by heart. Sara Ray alone
had not heard the Story Girl recite it. The latter had not been
drilled at practices as had the other pupils, Mr. Perkins choosing
not to waste time teaching her what she already knew far better
than he did. The only time she had recited it had been at the
"dress rehearsal" two nights before, at which Sara Ray had not
In the poem a Florentine lady of old time, wedded to a cold and
cruel husband, had died, or was supposed to have died, and had
been carried to "the rich, the beautiful, the dreadful tomb" of
her proud family. In the night she wakened from her trance and
made her escape. Chilled and terrified, she had made her way to
her husband's door, only to be driven away brutally as a restless
ghost by the horror-stricken inmates. A similar reception awaited
her at her father's. Then she had wandered blindly through the
streets of Florence until she had fallen exhausted at the door of
the lover of her girlhood. He, unafraid, had taken her in and
cared for her. On the morrow, the husband and father, having
discovered the empty tomb, came to claim her. She refused to
return to them and the case was carried to the court of law. The
verdict given was that a woman who had been "to burial borne" and
left for dead, who had been driven from her husband's door and
from her childhood home, "must be adjudged as dead in law and
fact," was no more daughter or wife, but was set free to form what
new ties she would. The climax of the whole selection came in the
"The court pronounces the defendant--DEAD!" and the Story Girl was
wont to render it with such dramatic intensity and power that the
veriest dullard among her listeners could not have missed its
force and significance.
She swept along through the poem royally, playing on the emotions
of her audience as she had so often played on ours in the old
orchard. Pity, terror, indignation, suspense, possessed her
hearers in turn. In the court scene she surpassed herself. She
was, in very truth, the Florentine judge, stern, stately,
impassive. Her voice dropped into the solemnity of the all-
"'The court pronounces the defendant--'"
She paused for a breathless moment, the better to bring out the
tragic import of the last word.
"DEAD," piped up Sara Ray in her shrill, plaintive little voice.
The effect, to use a hackneyed but convenient phrase, can better
be imagined than described. Instead of the sigh of relieved
tension that should have swept over the audience at the conclusion
of the line, a burst of laughter greeted it. The Story Girl's
performance was completely spoiled. She dealt the luckless Sara a
glance that would have slain her on the spot could glances kill,
stumbled lamely and impotently through the few remaining lines of
her recitation, and fled with crimson cheeks to hide her
mortification in the little corner that had been curtained off for
a dressing-room. Mr. Perkins looked things not lawful to be
uttered, and the audience tittered at intervals for the rest of
Sara Ray alone remained serenely satisfied until the close of the
concert, when we surrounded her with a whirlwind of reproaches.
"Why," she stammered aghast, "what did I do? I--I thought she was
stuck and that I ought to prompt her quick."
"You little fool, she just paused for effect," cried Felicity
angrily. Felicity might be rather jealous of the Story Girl's
gift, but she was furious at beholding "one of our family" made
ridiculous in such a fashion. "You have less sense than anyone I
ever heard of, Sara Ray."
Poor Sara dissolved in tears.
"I didn't know. I thought she was stuck," she wailed again.
She cried all the way home, but we did not try to comfort her. We
felt quite out of patience with her. Even Cecily was seriously
annoyed. This second blunder of Sara's was too much even for her
loyalty. We saw her turn in at her own gate and go sobbing up her
lane with no relenting.
The Story Girl was home before us, having fled from the
schoolhouse as soon as the programme was over. We tried to
sympathize with her but she would not be sympathized with.
"Please don't ever mention it to me again," she said, with
compressed lips. "I never want to be reminded of it. Oh, that
"She spoiled Peter's sermon last summer and now she's spoiled your
recitation," said Felicity. "I think it's time we gave up
associating with Sara Ray."
"Oh, don't be quite so hard on her," pleaded Cecily. "Think of
the life the poor child has to live at home. I know she'll cry
"Oh, let's go to bed," growled Dan. "I'm good and ready for it.
I've had enough of school concerts."
BY WAY OF THE STARS
But for two of us the adventures of the night were not yet over.
Silence settled down over the old house--the eerie, whisperful,
creeping silence of night. Felix and Dan were already sound
asleep; I was drifting near the coast o' dreams when I was aroused
by a light tap on the door.
"Bev, are you asleep?" came in the Story Girl's whisper.
"No, what is it?"
"S-s-h. Get up and dress and come out. I want you."
With a good deal of curiosity and some misgiving I obeyed. What
was in the wind now? Outside in the hall I found the Story Girl,
with a candle in her hand, and her hat and jacket.
"Where are you going?" I whispered in amazement.
"Hush. I've got to go to the school and you must come with me. I
left my coral necklace there. The clasp came loose and I was so
afraid I'd lose it that I took it off and put it in the bookcase.
I was feeling so upset when the concert was over that I forgot all
The coral necklace was a very handsome one which had belonged to
the Story Girl's mother. She had never been permitted to wear it
before, and it had only been by dint of much coaxing that she had
induced Aunt Janet to let her wear it to the concert.
"But there's no sense in going for it in the dead of night," I
objected. "It will be quite safe. You can go for it in the
"Lizzie Paxton and her daughter are going to clean the school
tomorrow, and I heard Lizzie say tonight she meant to be at it by
five o'clock to get through before the heat of the day. You know
perfectly well what Liz Paxton's reputation is. If she finds that
necklace I'll never see it again. Besides, if I wait till the
morning, Aunt Janet may find out that I left it there and she'd
never let me wear it again. No, I'm going for it now. If you're
afraid," added the Story Girl with delicate scorn, "of course you
Afraid! I'd show her!
"Come on," I said.
We slipped out of the house noiselessly and found ourselves in the
unutterable solemnity and strangeness of a dark night. It was a
new experience, and our hearts thrilled and our nerves tingled to
the charm of it. Never had we been abroad before at such an hour.
The world around us was not the world of daylight. 'Twas an alien
place, full of weird, evasive enchantment and magicry.
Only in the country can one become truly acquainted with the
night. There it has the solemn calm of the infinite. The dim
wide fields lie in silence, wrapped in the holy mystery of
darkness. A wind, loosened from wild places far away, steals out
to blow over dewy, star-lit, immemorial hills. The air in the
pastures is sweet with the hush of dreams, and one may rest here
like a child on its mother's breast.
"Isn't it wonderful?" breathed the Story Girl as we went down the
long hill. "Do you know, I can forgive Sara Ray now. I thought
tonight I never could--but now it doesn't matter any more. I can
even see how funny it was. Oh, wasn't it funny? 'DEAD' in that
squeaky little voice of Sara's! I'll just behave to her tomorrow
as if nothing had happened. It seems so long ago now, here in the
Neither of us ever forgot the subtle delight of that stolen walk.
A spell of glamour was over us. The breezes whispered strange
secrets of elf-haunted glens, and the hollows where the ferns grew
were brimmed with mystery and romance. Ghostlike scents crept out
of the meadows to meet us, and the fir wood before we came to the
church was a living sweetness of Junebells growing in abundance.
Junebells have another and more scientific name, of course. But
who could desire a better name than Junebells? They are so perfect
in their way that they seem to epitomize the very scent and charm
of the forest, as if the old wood's daintiest thoughts had
materialized in blossom; and not all the roses by Bendameer's
stream are as fragrant as a shallow sheet of Junebells under the
boughs of fir.
There were fireflies abroad that night, too, increasing the
gramarye of it. There is certainly something a little
supernatural about fireflies. Nobody pretends to understand them.
They are akin to the tribes of fairy, survivals of the elder time
when the woods and hills swarmed with the little green folk. It
is still very easy to believe in fairies when you see those goblin
lanterns glimmering among the fir tassels.
"Isn't it beautiful?" said the Story Girl in rapture. "I wouldn't
have missed it for anything. I'm glad I left my necklace. And I
am glad you are with me, Bev. The others wouldn't understand so
well. I like you because I don't have to talk to you all the
time. It's so nice to walk with someone you don't have to talk
to. Here is the graveyard. Are you frightened to pass it, Bev?"
"No, I don't think I'm frightened," I answered slowly, "but I have
a queer feeling."
"So have I. But it isn't fear. I don't know what it is. I feel
as if something was reaching out of the graveyard to hold me--
something that wanted life--I don't like it--let's hurry. But
isn't it strange to think of all the dead people in there who were
once alive like you and me. I don't feel as if I could EVER die.
"No, but everybody must. Of course we go on living afterwards,
just the same. Don't let's talk of such things here," I said
When we reached the school I contrived to open a window. We
scrambled in, lighted a lamp and found the missing necklace. The
Story Girl stood on the platform and gave an imitation of the
catastrophe of the evening that made me shout with laughter. We
prowled around for sheer delight over being there at an unearthly
hour when everybody supposed we were sound asleep in our beds. It
was with regret that we left, and we walked home as slowly as we
could to prolong the adventure.
"Let's never tell anyone," said the Story Girl, as we reached
home. "Let's just have it as a secret between us for ever and
ever--something that nobody else knows a thing about but you and
"We'd better keep it a secret from Aunt Janet anyhow," I
whispered, laughing. "She'd think we were both crazy."
"It's real jolly to be crazy once in a while," said the Story
EXTRACTS FROM OUR MAGAZINE
As will be seen there is no Honour Roll in this number. Even
Felicity has thought all the beautiful thoughts that can be
thought and cannot think any more. Peter has never got drunk but,
under existing circumstances, that is not greatly to his credit.
As for our written resolutions they have silently disappeared from
our chamber walls and the place that once knew them knows them no
more for ever. (PETER, PERPLEXEDLY: "Seems to me I've heard
something like that before.") It is very sad but we will all make
some new resolutions next year and maybe it will be easier to keep
THE STORY OF THE LOCKET THAT WAS BAKED
This was a story my Aunt Jane told me about her granma when she
was a little girl. Its funny to think of baking a locket, but it
wasn't to eat. She was my great granma but Ill call her granma
for short. It happened when she was ten years old. Of course she
wasent anybodys granma then. Her father and mother and her were
living in a new settlement called Brinsley. Their nearest naybor
was a mile away. One day her Aunt Hannah from Charlottetown came
and wanted her ma to go visiting with her. At first granma's ma
thought she couldent go because it was baking day and granma's pa
was away. But granma wasent afraid to stay alone and she knew how
to bake the bread so she made her ma go and her Aunt Hannah took
off the handsome gold locket and chain she was waring round her
neck and hung it on granmas and told her she could ware it all
day. Granma was awful pleased for she had never had any jewelry.
She did all the chores and then was needing the loaves when she
looked up and saw a tramp coming in and he was an awful villenus
looking tramp. He dident even pass the time of day but just set
down on a chair. Poor granma was awful fritened and she turned
her back on him and went on needing the loaf cold and trembling--
that is, granma was trembling not the loaf. She was worried about
the locket. She didn't know how she could hide it for to get
anywhere she would have to turn round and pass him.
All of a suddent she thought she would hide it in the bread. She
put her hand up and pulled it hard and quick and broke the
fastening and needed it right into the loaf. Then she put the
loaf in the pan and set it in the oven.
The tramp hadent seen her do it and then he asked for something to
eat. Granma got him up a meal and when hed et it he began
prowling about the kitchen looking into everything and opening the
cubbord doors. Then he went into granma's mas room and turned the
buro drawers and trunk inside out and threw the things in them all
about. All he found was a purse with a dollar in it and he swore
about it and took it and went away. When granma was sure he was
really gone she broke down and cried. She forgot all about the
bread and it burned as black as coal. When she smelled it burning
granma run and pulled it out. She was awful scared the locket was
spoiled but she sawed open the loaf and it was there safe and
sound. When her Aunt Hannah came back she said granma deserved
the locket because she had saved it so clever and she gave it to
her and grandma always wore it and was very proud of it. And
granma used to say that was the only loaf of bread she ever
spoiled in her life.
(FELICITY: "Those stories are all very well but they are only true
stories. It's easy enough to write true stories. I thought Peter
was appointed fiction editor, but he has never written any fiction
since the paper started. That's not MY idea of a fiction editor.
He ought to make up stories out of his own head." PETER,
SPUNKILY: "I can do it, too, and I will next time. And it ain't
easier to write true stories. It's harder, 'cause you have to
stick to facts." FELICITY: "I don't believe you could make up a
story." PETER: "I'll show you!")
MY MOST EXCITING ADVENTURE
It's my turn to write it but I'm SO NERVOUS. My worst adventure
happened TWO YEARS AGO. It was an awful one. I had a striped
ribbon, striped brown and yellow and I LOST IT. I was very sorry
for it was a handsome ribbon and all the girls in school were
jealous of it. (FELICITY: "I wasn't. I didn't think it one bit
pretty." CECILY: "Hush!") I hunted everywhere but I couldn't find
it. Next day was Sunday and I was running into the house by the
front door and I saw SOMETHING LYING ON THE STEP and I thought it
was my ribbon and I made a grab at it as I passed. But, oh, it
was A SNAKE! Oh, I can never describe how I felt when I felt that
awful thing WRIGGLING IN MY HAND. I let it go and SCREAMED AND
SCREAMED, and ma was cross at me for yelling on Sunday and made me
read seven chapters in the Bible but I didn't mind that much after