« PreviousContinue »
THE ADVENTURES OF PIPPIN
Doffin cried, as she opened the window of her
bedroom early one summer morning and glanced up at the beautiful blue sky. “Do get up, Pippin ; it's such a lovely day!"
Pippin turned over very lazily, opened first one eye and then another, and finally sat up in bed, yawning a good deal. Presently she joined Doffin at the window, and stood lost in wonder.
It was the first time she had ever seen a real early summer morning, with the dew glistening in great drops on the grass, the flowers slowly unfolding themselves, and the birds singing away joyously. Then
there came such a sweet odour of hay from the meadows, mixing with the perfume of the roses and lilies in the garden ; such a cheerful lively hum of voices from the farmyard, where Jim was getting out Might and Majesty, the two great farm
horses, and presently the merry music of their bells
was heard tinkling, tinkling down the lane, while the hens and chickens chatted away to each other merrily. And over and above all was the sweet freshness to be felt at five o'clock on a summer's morning.
Pippin and Doffin stood at the open window, enjoying it all very much.
Their real names were Alice and Ethel Lee, and they had come on a visit to their aunt and Tal uncle at Two Elm Farm because their own
mother was very ill, and their father had to
take her away to the south of France, where for the weather was warm and bright, and Pippin
and Doffin were sent on a long-promised visit to Uncle Fred and Aunt Louie. The first day they felt very sad and solitary. Hetty, their old nurse, had gone with their mother, and Barbara, Aunt Louie's servant, was
always in such a hurry that the children (p. 278); 2.
seemed afraid to speak to her. Their aunt GAVE HIM THE BIGGEST AND ROSIEST APPLE" (p. 278). was whisking about the house too, in the
I. "DOFFIN TOOK THE BASKET
« DOFFIN PRESSED HER LITTLE SISTER CLOSER TO HER (p. 279); 2."'I SHOWED THEM THE WAY,'
HE CRIED (p. 279).
fast. It seemed a very, very long morning, but it his bare brown legs all scratched, his straw hat was over at last. Barbara whisked away the torn and battered, and his jacket quite in rags. breakfast-things, then went into the dairy, and “ Please give me a piece of bread,” he said in a from there into the pantry, and just as the chil- whining voice. " I'm very hungry-didn't 'ave dren were beginning to think she had forgotten nothink to eat all day.” all about the promised basket she came with it. “Poor boy!” Doffin said, handing him the
“Now then, my lassies, away to the fields with largest sandwich, which he devoured greedily, you, and don't come back till sundown. Keep while Pippin gave him the biggest and rosiest near the haymakers, and if you look round I apple. He seemed evidently surprised at their should think you'll find strawberries on the banks kindness, and a little taken aback, for he had down there, and flowers in plenty. Don't eat all meant to help himself had they refused. “Wculd your lunch at once, or you'll be hungry later on. you like a piece of bread-and-butter ? ” Doffin
Doffin took the basket (how heavy it was, and asked, when the sandwich had disappeared. And how she longed for a peep at its contents !) and the boy said he would; or two, “if miss has 'em to with Pippin beside her, walked gravely down the spare.” And then they gave him a drink of milk lane, Barbara standing at the door watching them. from the horn cup Barbara had put in the basket,
“They're not like young folk at all,” she observed and then they put up all that was left of the feast, to Aunt Louie. “Miss Doffin is that quiet and not very much, for the ragged boy had quite a steady you might trust her anywhere," and then dreadful appetite, and prepared for another walk. she went into the kitchen.
“I say, would you like to get some strawberries, Just as soon as they reached the first meadow, good 'uns ?” the boy said, after a minute's silence ; Doffin laid down the precious basket, and away he felt he should do something in return for his they scampered through the hay, tossing it right good dinner.
good dinner. “Leave your basket here under the over each other's head, and having a glorious romp tree, and I'll show you." till they were too hot and tired to play any more ; “ Thank you very much,” Doffin said. So the then they lay down and rested for awhile. At last basket containing the two tarts, the empty bottle, little Doffin took up her basket again, and on and the horn cup was concealed under some they went through the beautiful shady lanes, filling ferns, and away they scampered after the ragged their hands with wild flowers-and all the time boy, down a narrow lane, across a turnip-field, and the haymakers were at work on either side, and into a wood, where the boy declared there were great farm-horses stood in the lane rubbing their stacks of strawberries. noses over the gates, and Doffin thought they were “You just look right under the leaves, that's Might and Majesty all the time, for she never where the best 'uns grow," he said. noticed that they had quite lost sight of the red Doffin and Pippin found searching for the strawchimneys and sharp-pointed gables of Two Elm berries very amusing, and they never missed the Farm, and that they were all quite strange hay- ragged little boy, who had run away as soon as he makers that they saw about them.
got a chance, and went right back to where the At length they came to a pretty mossy spot
basket was left. First he ate one tart, then he ate where a little brook chatted away merrily, and a the other, and finally ran away as quickly as ever tall tree cast a delightful shadow, and it was the he could in an opposite direction. But after a few cosiest place they had seen since they.set out.
hours he began to think it was very, very mean of “Let's have our dinner here, Pippin,” she said, him to have robbed the little girls who had been so putting down her basket; “I am so hungry : ” kind to him ; so he went back again to where the
Pippin was tired and hungry too. So they sat basket was, feeling determined to tell them how down and opened the little parcels Barbara had sorry he was. For a long time he waited, but no packed up. First there were some sandwiches, little girls came back. Sitting on the fence, then lots of delicious brown bread and butter, throwing stones into the brook, and otherwise cake, apples, and a bottle of milk, and in a amusing himself, till he began to get hungry again, snug corner two of Barbara's special raspberry and having eaten up the few scraps of bread that tarts.
remained, he lay down and soon fell fast asleep. It “I'll have a sandwich,” Doffin said, helping her- was long past sunset then, and when he awoke he self, and Pippin followed her example. Just as could see the stars shining quite clearly, and there they were in the middle of their feast, there passed was the basket still by his side. down the lane a little boy, and as soon as he saw Presently he heard the sound of voices coming them he came to where they were sitting. Such down the lane, and the barking of dogs, and a ragged little boy, with no boots or socks, and starting up he ran to see what could be the matter.
There were two men with lanterns, and in a Pippin ran forward with a great cry of delight, for moment he guessed they were coming to look for there stood Uncle Fred and Jim and Tiger. the children.
Uncle took Pippin in his arms, Jim swung “They went into the wood, sir, to look for straw- Doffin on his shoulder, Tiger ran on in front, and berries. I showed them the way," he cried in his so they all went towards home, the ragged little shrill voice, “and I was waiting for them here with boy following a step behind. Presently he ran on the basket, when I fell asleep. This way, sir," and in front and got the basket, which he gave to he ran quickly in the direction he had taken the Jim. “I ate them tarts,” he said, holding down children in the morning.
his head. “I'm very sorry, but I was so hungry, Doffin and Pippin, meantime, had eaten straw. and I kem back to tell you, and waited for you berries till they could eat no more, and walked so ever so long." far that they lay down under a tree to rest, and so “And if you hadn't come back, I'm afraid we fell fast asleep, which was not at all surprising. should not have found our little wanderers to
When they opened their eyes it was quite dark, night,” Uncle Fred said. “So we will forgive and cold too, and round on every side were tall you, Johnnie Simms. Yes, I know you very well, trees, looking quite weird in the pale moonlight. and though you deserve to be punished for steal
It was impossible to tell which way to turn ing, I'll give you something for having helped to even to search for the basket. So Doffin pressed find my little girls, if you come up to the farm toher little sister closer to her, and determined morrow.” to stay just where they were till someone "I don't want nothing," Johnnie replied. "It came to look for them. She thought of the story was me got 'em into the wood, and it was me got of the Babes in the Wood, but she was not afraid 'em out, and them tarts were uncommon good,” of their being so harshly treated, and it made her and without another word he disappeared down happy to remember that there were no cruel the lane like a dusty little shadow, and Pippin and animals in English forests; but poor little Pippin Doffin got home safely, and were petted first and was cold, tired, hungry, and frightened, and wept scolded after, and Aunt Louie herself tucked them very bitterly. Presently there was a sound of into bed and gave them some nice hot milk, and voices in the distance, and the children jumped declared over and over again to Barbara, that she up and clung closer to each other; then came a was truly thankful matters were no worse. And strange flashing of light through the trees, followed that was the end of the adventures of Pippin and by two or three sharp barks, and a shrill voice Doffin in the country, for never again were they cried, “Here they are, sir, where the best straw- allowed to go out a long way, or for a long time by berries in the whole wood grow," and Doffin and themselves.
H. J. B. H.