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round the form of the depressed Judith, thus transforming her into a valiant captain in the French service.
The next thing was to place them behind the screen with Mabel's help, their heads and scarlet cloaks appearing above.
“ There ! now they look just like soldiers peering over the walls to see if the enemy is coming. Now then, Mabel, you must be the queen, and Minnie your maid of honour, so you must go and sit over there, and wait until I have taken the place. I'm the king going in front, and all the army is following behind. See, this is my sword,” he explained, brandishing one of the longest and stoutest of his grandpapa's walking-sticks, which he had fetched from the hall ; " and now I'm going to make the attack. I'm very brave, you know, and I'm going to try and run General Lang through the body. I must bring him down first, and then the others."
“Take care, Charlie! Oh, do take care :” shrieked Minnie, as she saw her brother prepare to make a thrust at Lady Geraldine, and for the first time realised the danger that threatened her favourite. But her entreaty came too late ; for Charlie's valour had led him to niake such an exceedingly vigorous onset, that not only did the general, the captain, and the private all disappear together behind the walls at the first blow, but the walls themselves came tumbling down, burying beneath them the brave defenders of the fortress.
He stood aghast, contemplating the wreck, whilst Minnie set up a dismal wail as she perceived the fate which had overtaken her family. It certainly was trying to know that her best-beloved belong. ings lay buried beneath the walls of Calais, having been slain in indiscriminate slaughter by her own brother.
" It's too bad of you!" she sobbed, accompanying her words with a thump on Charlie's back. “It's very cruel to kill them all at once! And I would never have lent them to you if I had known what you were going to do.”
“I didn't mean to do it," returned Charlie, taking no notice of the thumps wherewith Minnie was relieving her feelings. “I meant to send them down in turn, and then pretend they had surrendered the place to us, and go in and take possession. But I suppose I hit too hard.”
" It was a great shame to kill my dolls,” still wailed Minnie. “I only had Lady Geraldine on my last birthday, and she was such a beauty!" she added, with a fresh burst of sobs.
" I'm very sorry," said the boy, putting his arm round her, and trying to give her a kiss to comfort her, though he did not succeed in doing so.
But how do you know they are killed ?" interposed Mabel. “Perhaps they may not be so badly hurt as you think. Let us pull them out from under the screen."
But it was a forlorn hope, and sad was the spectacle that met their gaze when, after some little difficulty, they had succeeded in raising the screen. There lay the Lady Geraldine, her beautiful face and arms broken into fragments, whilst Judith beside her was in the same pitiable plight. Both were entirely past recovery. It was only wooden Sally that was at all recognisable amidst the havoc and ruin. Minnie's tears redoubled.
“Don't cry any more, there's a pet," said Charlie. “I didn't mean to do it, and I'm very sorry; and I'll give you all my pocket-money for ever so long to buy some new dolls. And we'll get a handsomer one than Miss Judith, for you know she wasn't a beauty. There now, you won't cry any more, will you ?"
But the prospect held out of replacing Lady Geraldine and Miss Judith seemed so vague and distant in little Minnie's eyes, whilst her loss was so fresh and real, that she could not at once conquer her grief, and she was still sitting on the floor sobbing when the door opened, and Mrs. Lang appeared. Her eye fell
upon a scene of confusion. "What does all this mean? What have you been doing, children ? And why is Minnie crying?”
“ I've killed both her dolls,” explained Charlie ruefully. “ Really, you know, though, I only meant to pretend. But they've been killed in battle, and that was a glorious end, so I don't think Minnie need cry so much about it."
The little girl, however, did not seem to derive much consolation from the thought of their having thus fallen in the service of their country.
“But what is this?” suddenly exclaimed Mrs. Lang, taking hold of the general's martial cloak. “It is actually the cashmere cushion I am working, all tumbled and crumpled up into
a rag. Charlie, is this your doing?”
“Yes, grandma," returned the delinquent, looking a little abashed. “I thought you would lend it, because we couldn't find anything else that would do for a soldier, and we were playing at the taking of Calais. It was going to be such fun, only the screen came down with a smash and stopped it all."
“ It is a wonder it did not do still more harm in falling. And here is my knitting, with one-half of it at least pulled out,” went on Mrs. Lang, as she disentangled the remains of her comforter from the motionless form of the defunct Judith. “Really, Charlie, this is very naughty of you. You ought to
know better than to be so thoughtless, and spoil Charlie tried to console her, but his efforts did things in this reckless fashion.”
not seem to meet with much success. “ i deserve quite as much of the blame as "?"ll tell you what we'll do,” cried Mabel sudCharlie, for we were all playing together," said denly, with almost startling energy, as if she felt Mabel, feeling it was not fair to let him have all she had hit upon a plan which would be effectual the reproach.
in comforting the child under her bereavement. “Well, as you are our little visitor, we will say no “We'll give them an honourable burial.” more about it,” returned Mrs. Lang kindly. “But “ Give them what ?” asked little Minnie. if you can check
1 “A grand fuCharlie when he
neral: a soldier's is contemplating
funeral. That mischief, I shall
is what is done be very glad.
to great people He is so very
-generals like reckless.”
the Duke Miss Howard
Wellington was ; would have said
and as they fell he had his match
in battle, all pos. in Mabel, and
sible honour, of that she
course, must be more likely to
paid them." lead him into
“Capital!” mischief than she
exclaimed Charwas to keep him
lie approvingly ; out of it.
whilst : Minnie Mrs. Lang
doubtfully said, turned to little
“Where shall Minnie, and was
you bury them?” about to endea
“Well, great vour to console
generals are buher under her
ried in Westminmisfortune and
ster Abbey, 1 her bereavement
know, because when dinner was
Miss Poole has announced, and
told me all about the general en
it. But we can't tering the room
put them there, at the same mo
so we must think ment, the three
of some other children were at
place.” once sent up
ANA Miles. “I know what to the nursery. "HE STOOD AGHAST" (P. 163)
will do for their
coffin," replied CHAPTER VI.-LAST HONOURS TO THE Charlie, producing out of a cupboard a light,
oblong wooden box, in which were some old toys, HE nursery was a spacious room of irregular which he hastily turned out. “This will be the shape, with two latticed windows on one side,
very thing.” and a large bay window at the farther end. The next step was to lay therein the headless Nurse and her assistant, Jane, were sitting at and armless trunk of the late Lady Geraldine, work at a round table at the top of the room, alias General Lang, as well as that of Judiih, and the children, betaking themselves to the whose short-lived promotion to the dignity of broad, old-fashioned window.seat in the bay, were captain had brought with it such disastrous results. far enough off to be out of earshot of their elders. The lid was closed down after Minnie hau taken
Minnie was still holding in her arms the a last tearful glance, and then the three resumed mutilated forms of her unfortunate family, whilst their places in the window-seat, in grave cunsuliaher little face still wore a sorrowful expression. tion as to the next step in their programme,
“We must bury them by night," announced roll in. So it possessed one quality at least in Mabel abruptly.
common with a grave: it retained what had once “By night!” cried Minnie aghast, her dimpled been committed to it. Thus it appeared to comface lengthening considerably. “Why must it be bine all that was necessary. by night?"
That will be the very thing," agreed Mabel. “Because it's the funeral of a general, and a “And we can let down the box-the coffin I meangeneral killed in battle too, so everything must by cords, and pretend it is some place on the city be different and much grander than for other walls. Because, as the people were shut up in people. There's a bit of poetry I learnt once about Calais, I dare say they couldn't get out to the a great general who was killed, and one line of it cemetery to bury their friends. Or perhaps they
didn't have cemeteries in those days; I don't know • They buried him darkly at dead of night.'
about that. But at any rate this must do for us So it must be by night, you see.” And she looked this time.” very wise.
“ Yes ; and we must bury them to-night,” said “Yes, of course ; and it will be more fun," Charlie, “because you' won't be here to-morrow assented Charlie.
night. Now, Minnie, you must keep awake till “I'd rather it was in the day-time,” pleaded his nurse is gone off fast asleep, and then slip out sister.
quietly." “ Nonsense, Minnie! you aren't a coward, are Minnie, thinking remonstrance useless, and hav. you, to be afraid of the dark ? And I shall be ing, moreover, a habit of assenting to everything with you,” he added patronisingly, “But where Charlie wished, made no further objection. Becan we bury them, Mabel ? That's the next thing sides, she was in a measure relieved to find that it to consider."
was only half-way down the staircase she would "In under the bed," suggested Minnie, who have to go, instead of out into the garden, perhaps was more anxious to escape a nocturnal expedi- even the shrubbery, as she had at one time feared. tion than to pay due honours to the memory of the And yet, if Charlie had insisted upon that latter brave officers. “If we push the box back to the course she would have yielded the point, so acfar end it will be quite out of sight.”
customed was she to follow him in everything he "Minnie, you're a goose !” remarked her brother, wished. not over politely. “Don't you know they must be The conversation had all along been carried on put somewhere where nobody can ever get at them? in guarded tones, so that nurse and Jane at the or else they wouldn't be properly buried. What other end of the room, talking together over their do you say to digging a” hole in the garden?” he work, were quite unaware of the plot the three little said, throwing out the idea as a suggestion, and heads had been forming. glancing at Mabel to see if she approved of it, It was finally arranged that Charlie should give or not.
the signal for starting by tapping gently at Mabel's Oh, no, no, Charlie, don't do that !” cried door ; for as his little room opened out of that in Minnie, alarmed at the idea of being led out in the which , nurse and Minnie slept, and the door of dead of the night upon such a dismal errand as communication was left, open at night, he could that would be.
easily ascertain when nurse had fallen safely asleep, "And it would be difficult to get out of doors and intimate the same to Minnie. without any one's knowing, wouldn't it?” said “Mind you both try and keep awake,” was his Mabel.
last whispered injunction when bed-time at last “Yes, I suppose it would,” assented the boy, reluctantly.
The hour arrived at length : that mysterious After a moment's profound consideration a bright hour,“ at dead of night,” fixed upon for the celeidea seemed to occur to him, and he proceeded bration of the obscquies of the brave, but unfortuto divulge it to his companions.
nate, defenders of Calais. At an angle of the staircase was a curiously It was not so late, however, as Charlie thought, shaped projecting Gothic window, below which for nurse had come up to bed earlier than usual stood a tank for the reception of rain-water. He that night, and had fallen asleep almost directly had before now amused himself, when unobserved, she had lain down. But her heavy breathing by dropping things into it, and trying to fish them testified to the soundness of her repose ; and out again, in which latter endeavour he never suc- having ascertained, by peeping through the crack ceeded ; whilst he had once unintentionally lost a in his door, that the gas on the stairs was already favourite top by letting it slip out of his hands and out, and therefore, as he supposed, everybody in the
house safe in their beds, he considered that the save an old black scarf, which he tied round his right moment had come.
arm, observing that Minnie was black enough for Stealing noiselessly through the half-open door into both. Then producing two bits of cord, which he the next room, he stood for a few moments on tip- had secured and placed ready for use before going toe beside nurse's bed, eagerly scanning her face, to bed, he passed them under the box, and giving and intently listening to her breathing. Then giving two ends to his sister, took the others in his own a little nod of satisfaction, he passed round to his hand, that they might thus carry the coffin slung sister's bed.
between them. “Minnie, dear, you must come now ; it's time for Mabel was all on the alert, and soon after receivthe funeral.”
ing Charlie's signal issued from her room, attired in A little half-smothered sigh and a few rubs of her dark waterproof, which she had wrapped round her sleepy eyes, and then she prepared obediently her over her scarlet dressing-gown, as being of a to follow her brother's bidding by getting out of more suitable colour for the occasion. her bed.
As they emerged upon the landing Minnie found, The room was not in total darkness, as nurse al- to her relief, that it was not so dark as she had feared ways burnt a night-light : and though it was only it would be, for the moon was shining in brightly giving a feeble glimmer, it was better than nothing, through the oriel window, shedding a broad white as it enabled them to grope their way about with- streak of light full on that part of the staircase out fear of running against chairs or tables, and which they had to descend. The three children thus making a noise that might have disturbed the were just crossing this belt, and standing full in the sleeper. As it was, Charlie kept his eye well on her, flood of silver light which fell upon them, when a with his finger on his lips to enforce silence upon door facing them-a swing door, which shut off a Minnie, whilst he hurried her into his own little long passage, leading to another part of the house room adjoining.
-suddenly opened, and the figure of a man stood On the way he had taken possession of a black before them! shawl of nurse's, which was lying on the top of the Minnie uttered a low startled shriek of terror, but chest of drawers, and which had not escaped his Charlie and Mabel retained their self-possession, quick eye.
considering it would be cowardly to turn and fee ; “This will do capitally for you to put on, Minnie; though, as the figure was in shadow they neither of because, you know, you ought to be in mourning, as them recognised it for the moment, and, it must you are chief mourner; and this will cover you be confessed, both of them felt a little inward right over.”
quaking. It was folded square, and on being opened out “ Charlie and Minnie !” exclaimed the voice of and pinned round the child's neck, it not only en- General Lang, in tones of utter astonishment ;“and veloped her, but quite trailed on the ground be- Mabel too! Why, children, what in the world are hind her.
you doing here?" Minnie's sleepy blue eyes would scarcely keep His eye was taking in with no little sense of open, so heavy were the little lids ; but Charlie amusement the picture before him : the broad oak was all life and animation, looking as if he really staircase bathed in moonlight, with three barewere so devoid of proper feeling as to enjoy the footed little figures standing upon it, one in long idea of a funeral. But there was, to say the least, trailing funereal garments, which set off her golden a certain novelty and excitement attending a cere- curls and fair face, whilst behind appeared Mabel's mony that had to be performed in the middle of the dark eyes, gleaming with fun and daring. His night, when all the other members of the house- glance also took in the deal box, suspended on hold were in their beds buried in slumber, thus ropes, which he saw was swung between the two leaving the house free for the children to roam in children. as they chose.
“What is the meaning of all this?” he demanded. “I wonder I never thought of this sort of thing “ What are you up to, my young man ?” before; it was a capital idea of Mabel's,” remarked “We are going to bury two of the brave defenders Charlie, feeling very brisk and somewhat elated, in of Calais, who were killed on the walls," returned spite of his little sister's want of alacrity and rather Charlie, nothing daunted, or, at least, trying to depressed air ; which, however, was more befitting appear so. the occasion than his own lively spirits, had he “Ah ! I heard of their being slain just now," said stayed to consider in any way the propriety of the general, unable to refrain from entering into the the thing.
joke. “But why are you burying them by night? Nothing could be found for Charlie's mourning Such things generally take place in the day-time."
Charlie gave their authority for thinking it more you only followed Charlie's bidding.
entreated Minnie, clasping him round the legs. “But where were you intending to lay their re- “Do please say you won't tell her anything mains?” he demanded of Charlie.
about it !” The latter explained.
“I'll put the case into grandmamma's hands, “A nice young man you are, I must say,” laughed and leave it to her discretion whether to speak the general, “to be poisoning the water by burying of it or not,” was all the general would promise ; dead men in the tank!—though, to be sure, it is not and then, without further parley, he sent them all drinking water. Still, my fine fellow, and you back to their rooms. young ladies, though I am sorry to disturb your But he had more than one hearty laugh as he little arrangements, I feel bound to order you at once told his wife about the little apparitions he had to the right-about, and send you ignominiously back come upon whilst making his nightly rounds, and to your beds. There's Minnie shivering, and she'll the comical look of consternation written on the be catching cold next. You deserve a good scold- three faces on being detected in their secret entering, all of you," he added, again trying to look fierce prise. as he shook his fist at them.
Mabel was very sorry when her visit came to Minnie thought it was meant in earnest, and was an end next day, and she had to say farewell to beginning to cry.
her new friends. But Mrs. Lang kindly said she This was too much for the kind-hearted general. must come again. Catching her up in his arms he gave her little “I wish I could stay with you always, and pale cheek a kiss, which partly chased away the never go away again !” exclaimed the little girl, as frightened look in her eyes.
she flung her arms round her kind hostess. “You “I'm not angry with you, my child, for I know are much more like mamma than Aunt Alicia.”
(To be continued.)
IN THE LAND OF NOD.
things—wee Nell, and baby, and Joan :-a the road was dusty and dreary and straight,
a fairy with
and the sun was so scorching and hot ; so they turned at length through a narrow gate that led to a shady spot, and they rested awhile ’neath a spreading tree, and at once all their fancies they seemed to see.
Wee Nell saw a gnome all wrinkled and old, who guarded the mines underground ; and Joan saw a palace of jewels and gold, where the queen of the fairies was crowned ; and baby, well, baby saw nothing at all—for she couldn't read yet, you see, and a story to her was just sound let fall with a sort of
melody; and how could she hope to see fairies with wings, when she never
had heard of such wonderful things ?