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nature into a serious mood, than that of the more thoughtful little Dot. But he knew it would come in time : it was early days yet,
People were now beginning to ride and drive away. So these three rose also and retraced their steps to Lowther Street. The little ones' appetites had certainly been sharpened by their morning's outing, for they ate a hearty meal. Afterwards Great-heart insisted on their remaining quite quiet until it was time for them to go out again to the place they had left (how well did he know what was good for little children !) So they went upstairs to rest until he should come and fetch them down. At six o'clock they sallied forth once more.
A change, and a great one, had come over the Park since their last visit, a few short hours ago. If then there had been enough people to make up a crowd at times, now the throng was thicker,--dense, in fact, in parts. Where before the carriages and horses had got along comfortably, was now an endless string of them as far as the eye could reach, crawling onward at a snail's pace; carriages of every conceivable size and shape; people of all degrees and positions of life. There were more driving than riding now. Many who rode seemed tired with their pastime, for they had formed a line at the entrance to the tancovered "Row," watching the gay people that drove or walked by them. Those few sensible ones bent upon the healthy enjoyment of the waning evening, were galloping at great speed further up towards where the trees were thickest, and where the children could just catch å glimpse of the bright sparkle of water on the lake beyond.
The party had walked along the same path they had traversed in the morning, the tongues of the little girls going merrily with a constant fire of question or comment, their mentor hand-in-hand with them ; nor did he check their spirits or their questionings. Trixie was of the two the more light-hearted ; for little Dot could not forget that serious talk she had had with Great-heart in the morning. Yet, childlike, could she but be pleased and delighted with all she saw. She fain hoped that, in the anxiety to teach his lesson, Great-heart might have overdrawn the picture of the sham underlying all these people ; that, perchance, he would be able to say something less unkindly of them when he came to talk of them later on. Often did the child glance searchingly at his face, but there she read nothing. It was set in that quiet, kindly calm so habitual to it.
Where the roads converged, and where there had been but a few before, now there were many, waiting for something, or looking on. The block was thickest here, as there was another line of carriages pouring in at the gates near the arch, and joining the other which came from opposite. Some of the policemen were mounted, and rode hither and thither eagerly, directing the traffic, stopping it, or keeping it moving, as need might be. It was now a matter of time and patience to get across to the other side. But the three were across at last, right in the midst of all that was going on. Then they sat down once more, at a point where they could see most, and this time nearer to the angle where the drivers and riders parted company.
There was this difference in the crowd around them : it was much more mixed and motley. In the morning nearly all those who walked or rode had been fashionables, rich, or appearing so, and with the day at their disposal to do what they would with it, to kill the time in that fashion that had most attraction for them. Now there were many who could only come then, business or other matters keeping them away before ; many less favoured as regards wealth and position than their noontide brethren. Hence the dresses of the women the children Saw the paths or in the carriages were, for the most part, not so gorgeous in texture or colour, or if they were, their effect got lost amid the throng.
The men, too, were not nearly so much of the dandy”
» class that had attracted them before. Indeed, many looked quite poor and shabby by contrast. Trixie wondered why they need come to spoil the look of the place, and asked Greatheart about it. He said that one of the golden rules that must influence all the children would see, was this : they must be sure and not judge people by external appearances only. He entreated them to bear in mind that these, although known to the fashionables only by the ungenerous term of “nobodies," were yet as much, and in every sense, God's creatures as they were. Not because Fate, Destiny, or whatever it were, had in worldly sense raised many of those pleasure-seekers above their fellows, were his charges to think for one moment that the richer ones were morally the better for it. Far from that.
Far from that. Often it was much the other way.
He bade them, with great earnestness, note that the apparel of the body was not worth the looking at, and left no clue to the soul within. They were to try, by his aid, to take a peep into the hearts of those they saw.
From them were the lessons to be learnt. Not by outward show, or often by words or actions, were they to judge. Many, odd as it might seem to his listeners, purposely hid their good deeds from the world. If the children heeded not the truth of what he thus told them, then all the lessons he hoped to teach, all the experience he wished them to carry back to use for good when they became possessed of all their fairy attributes, would be lost and thrown áway. And this he felt sure they did not want.
The children assured their friend they would remember and lay to heart all he told them. They would try their utmost to benefit by his teachings. Great-heart was rejoiced to note the serious tone of their reply ; that Trixie too showed signs of becoming weaned from her more frivolous mood.
“I suppose, Great-heart, that this present time is what is called the height of the London Season?” inquired that maiden after a while, when they were seated. Dot also looked up and awaited her mentor's reply eagerly.
He answered slowly and rather mournfully :
“I suppose you may so rightly conjecture it. But to my mind there is a great deal of nonsense spoken and written about this season, as it is termed, both as to what it is, its commencement, when it reaches its meridian, and as to its close."
“ Would you mind, dear, telling us at first then exactly what this season is?” interrupted Dot.