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“saint” or hypocrite. Believe us, he belonged to neither of these classes. Those are persons we have met, and who are odious to us. Great-heart never paraded his charity, or made his goodness apparent by choice. He never thrust his kind actions down the throats of others. What he did was in that spirit which might call up such a blush to the cheek one is not ashamed to own to friend or foe. He truly was one of those who “did good by stealth.” It almost enraged him if any of his acts became traced to their proper source. The only approach to disagreement we or our parents ever had, was when they, or we on their behalf, recalled the memory of that sad adventure when he had behaved so nobly. In time we saw that any allusion thereto annoyed and vexed him, so with that keen tact for which our tribe is famous, we learnt to avoid the subject entirely.
Unworthy have we felt ourselves to try and trace out the beauties underlying the character of this good man, yet fondly would we linger over our task. Forgive us, if in our earnestness we have drawn what may appear to be an "impossible” being. Take our united words that it is not
We knew and loved our hero. Let what you may gather of his character in this short story so impress itself upon your minds
as to produce a more faithful picture of his goodness and wisdom than we are able to do for you.
Yet one word ere we close this chapter. We, like so many of you, feel the duties of a collaboration of authorship too great for us. You will readily understand that where two young people sit down to set forth a narrative such as this, an inevitable conflict of ideas must ensue; especially where both are clever and sharp, as we told you
After due consideration therefore, we, Trixie and Dot, have decided to place ourselves in the hands of another discriminating party, who has done much already in this way. In his style will the story be told you, with such remarks and comments thereon as he may deem fit and appropriate. But bear in mind that it is from our groundwork of notes and observations he compiles. We have really done the work; he but the method of telling as acceptable to you up above there. Montaigne has said : “I have gathered a posy of other men's flowers, but the thread that binds them is mine own." This is very nearly what our friend might say in respect to this narrative of
So, under Great-heart's sheltering care, up we go to see something of that world of which we had dreamt so much, yet knew so little.
THE FIRST STUDY, WESTWARD.
“ Now, little ones, what is it to be? Into
what pleasure shall we first plunge headlong? where shall the feast begin? We must set to work at once, you know, no time to be lost. 'Tis the bright month of June, and a right lovely day in that month, too. 'Uprouse ye then, my merry, merry elves, for 'tis our opening day,' to parody a well-known glee. Town or country, ride or drive, idleness or work? With fashion and folly, or away to rest and quiet in green field or by hedgerow, to bask in the glorious sun of Heaven, and doze our time away? shall we seek the twopenny chair of state, and for that modest outlay study human kind from under
the broad-spreading trees ? Again I ask, whither away, whither away, my little tadpoles ? "
Bewildered were the upturned faces of Misses Trixie and Dot as these words fell upon their
Their half-awakened senses but slowly grasped their meaning, or the place of their surroundings. Yet, when they saw Great-heart standing over them, swiftly fled the doubt. The four eyes opened widely, the two tiny mouths wider still. Then from between their lips came cries of childish joy.
Great-heart placed a hand on each rough head and kissed each forehead. With a smile he looked down upon his little visitors, saying,
“ Indeed, you have slept well and soundly; what do you think the time may be now?” Trixie thought it might be seven, Dot about eight. It was really—ten !
“What, London habits already! For shame! for shame!” and. Great-heart tried to look terribly shocked.
It was a trifle early in the children's experience for such banter, for Trixie looked a little hurt, and Dot's eyes began to fill with tears.
Both cried out,“ Oh, we are so sorry, dear Great-heart!” and looked rather like beginning the day with a good cry. This immediately showed their friend the necessity of prompt treatment of a kindly nature. So he laughingly exclaimed, as he patted their heads : “Did the little ones really think me serious ? Now, darlings, half-anhour for dressing, then breakfast." And he left them.
Alone, up sprang the young ladies, and finished off their toilettes in no time. Fancy the excitement of a first entry upon the great world, with a carte blanche to taste where you might of its dainty pleasures ! Think of the joy in those two little female breasts at the first opening of the bud of almost life to them! No need to explain the feverish anxiety of that half-hour to get ready, or the headlong rush into the breakfast-chamber when it was over.
Now although Great-heart was a bachelor, and as such might have been reasonably expected to be ignorant of the most wholesome dishes for maidens of tender years, it must be owned that he made a great success at this first meal. How, do you suppose ? By providing his visitors with large basins of bread and milk. Think of that. Was there not kindly forethought shown in this? There were many other delicacies on the table besides, kidneys, to which a terrible adjective was applied, being one of them,—and the children did ample justice thereto. But Great-heart insisted on a good "foundation ” of