Part 1 out of 7
This etext was prepared by Judy Boss, Omaha, NE
& Other Stories
MARY E. WILKINS FREEMAN
I. THE COPY-CAT . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
II. THE COCK OF THE WALK . . . . . . . . . 33
III. JOHNNY-IN-THE-WOODS . . . . . . . . . 55
IV. DANIEL AND LITTLE DAN'L . . . . . . . . 83
V. BIG SISTER SOLLY . . . . . . . . . . 107
VI. LITTLE LUCY ROSE . . . . . . . . . . 137
VII. NOBLESSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
VIII. CORONATION . . . . . . . . . . . . 183
IX. THE AMETHYST COMB . . . . . . . . . . 211
X. THE UMBRELLA MAN . . . . . . . . . . 237
XI. THE BALKING OF CHRISTOPHER . . . . . . . 267
XII. DEAR ANNIE . . . . . . . . . . . . 293
THAT affair of Jim Simmons's cats never became
known. Two little boys and a little girl can
keep a secret -- that is, sometimes. The two little
boys had the advantage of the little girl because they
could talk over the affair together, and the little
girl, Lily Jennings, had no intimate girl friend to
tempt her to confidence. She had only little Amelia
Wheeler, commonly called by the pupils of Madame's
school "The Copy-Cat."
Amelia was an odd little girl -- that is, everybody
called her odd. She was that rather unusual crea-
ture, a child with a definite ideal; and that ideal was
Lily Jennings. However, nobody knew that. If
Amelia's mother, who was a woman of strong charac-
ter, had suspected, she would have taken strenuous
measures to prevent such a peculiar state of affairs;
the more so because she herself did not in the least
approve of Lily Jennings. Mrs. Diantha Wheeler
(Amelia's father had died when she was a baby)
often remarked to her own mother, Mrs. Stark, and
to her mother-in-law, Mrs. Samuel Wheeler, that she
did not feel that Mrs. Jennings was bringing up Lily
exactly as she should. "That child thinks entirely
too much of her looks," said Mrs. Diantha. "When
she walks past here she switches those ridiculous
frilled frocks of hers as if she were entering a ball-
room, and she tosses her head and looks about to see
if anybody is watching her. If I were to see Amelia
doing such things I should be very firm with her."
"Lily Jennings is a very pretty child," said
Mother-in-law Wheeler, with an under-meaning, and
Mrs. Diantha flushed. Amelia did not in the least
resemble the Wheelers, who were a handsome set.
She looked remarkably like her mother, who was a
plain woman, only little Amelia did not have a square
chin. Her chin was pretty and round, with a little
dimple in it. In fact, Amelia's chin was the pretti-
est feature she had. Her hair was phenomenally
straight. It would not even yield to hot curling-
irons, which her grandmother Wheeler had tried sur-
reptitiously several times when there was a little
girls' party. "I never saw such hair as that poor
child has in all my life," she told the other grand-
mother, Mrs. Stark. "Have the Starks always had
such very straight hair?"
Mrs. Stark stiffened her chin. Her own hair was
very straight. "I don't know," said she, "that the
Starks have had any straighter hair than other
people. If Amelia does not have anything worse to
contend with than straight hair I rather think she
will get along in the world as well as most people."
"It's thin, too," said Grandmother Wheeler, with
a sigh, "and it hasn't a mite of color. Oh, well,
Amelia is a good child, and beauty isn't everything."
Grandmother Wheeler said that as if beauty were
a great deal, and Grandmother Stark arose and shook
out her black silk skirts. She had money, and loved
to dress in rich black silks and laces.
"It is very little, very little indeed," said she, and
she eyed Grandmother Wheeler's lovely old face,
like a wrinkled old rose as to color, faultless as to
feature, and swept about by the loveliest waves of
shining silver hair.
Then she went out of the room, and Grandmother
Wheeler, left alone, smiled. She knew the worth of
beauty for those who possess it and those who do not.
She had never been quite reconciled to her son's
marrying such a plain girl as Diantha Stark, although
she had money. She considered beauty on the
whole as a more valuable asset than mere gold.
She regretted always that poor little Amelia, her
only grandchild, was so very plain-looking. She
always knew that Amelia was very plain, and yet
sometimes the child puzzled her. She seemed to see
reflections of beauty, if not beauty itself, in the
little colorless face, in the figure, with its too-large
joints and utter absence of curves. She sometimes
even wondered privately if some subtle resemblance
to the handsome Wheelers might not be in the child
and yet appear. But she was mistaken. What she
saw was pure mimicry of a beautiful ideal.
Little Amelia tried to stand like Lily Jennings;
she tried to walk like her; she tried to smile like
her; she made endeavors, very often futile, to dress
like her. Mrs. Wheeler did not in the least approve
of furbelows for children. Poor little Amelia went
clad in severe simplicity; durable woolen frocks in
winter, and washable, unfadable, and non-soil-show-
ing frocks in summer. She, although her mother had
perhaps more money wherewith to dress her than had
any of the other mothers, was the plainest-clad little
girl in school. Amelia, moreover, never tore a frock,
and, as she did not grow rapidly, one lasted several
seasons. Lily Jennings was destructive, although
dainty. Her pretty clothes were renewed every
year. Amelia was helpless before that problem.
For a little girl burning with aspirations to be and
look like another little girl who was beautiful and
wore beautiful clothes, to be obliged to set forth for
Madame's on a lovely spring morning, when thin
attire was in evidence, dressed in dark-blue-and-
white-checked gingham, which she had worn for
three summers, and with sleeves which, even to
childish eyes, were anachronisms, was a trial. Then
to see Lily flutter in a frock like a perfectly new white
flower was torture; not because of jealousy -- Amelia
was not jealous; but she so admired the other little
girl, and so loved her, and so wanted to be like her.
As for Lily, she hardly ever noticed Amelia. She
was not aware that she herself was an object of
adoration; for she was a little girl who searched for
admiration in the eyes of little boys rather than
little girls, although very innocently. She always
glanced slyly at Johnny Trumbull when she wore a
pretty new frock, to see if he noticed. He never did,
and she was sharp enough to know it. She was also
child enough not to care a bit, but to take a queer
pleasure in the sensation of scorn which she felt in
consequence. She would eye Johnny from head to
foot, his boy's clothing somewhat spotted, his bulging
pockets, his always dusty shoes, and when he twisted
uneasily, not understanding why, she had a thrill
of purely feminine delight. It was on one such occa-
sion that she first noticed Amelia Wheeler particularly.
It was a lovely warm morning in May, and Lily
was a darling to behold -- in a big hat with a wreath
of blue flowers, her hair tied with enormous blue silk
bows, her short skirts frilled with eyelet embroidery,
her slender silk legs, her little white sandals. Ma-
dame's maid had not yet struck the Japanese gong,
and all the pupils were out on the lawn, Amelia, in
her clean, ugly gingham and her serviceable brown
sailor hat, hovering near Lily, as usual, like a common,
very plain butterfly near a particularly resplendent
blossom. Lily really noticed her. She spoke to her
confidentially; she recognized her fully as another of
her own sex, and presumably of similar opinions.
"Ain't boys ugly, anyway?" inquired Lily of
Amelia, and a wonderful change came over Amelia.
Her sallow cheeks bloomed; her eyes showed blue
glitters; her little skinny figure became instinct with
nervous life. She smiled charmingly, with such
eagerness that it smote with pathos and bewitched.
"Oh yes, oh yes," she agreed, in a voice like a quick
flute obbligato. "Boys are ugly."
"Such clothes!" said Lily.
"Yes, such clothes!" said Amelia.
"Always spotted," said Lily.
"Always covered all over with spots," said Amelia.
"And their pockets always full of horrid things,"
"Yes," said Amelia.
Amelia glanced openly at Johnny Trumbull; Lily
with a sidewise effect.
Johnny had heard every word. Suddenly he arose
to action and knocked down Lee Westminster, and
sat on him.
"Lemme up!" said Lee.
Johnny had no quarrel whatever with Lee. He
grinned, but he sat still. Lee, the sat-upon, was a
sharp little boy. "Showing off before the gals!" he
said, in a thin whisper.
"Hush up!" returned Johnny.
"Will you give me a writing-pad -- I lost mine, and
mother said I couldn't have another for a week if I
did -- if I don't holler?" inquired Lee.
"Yes. Hush up!"
Lee lay still, and Johnny continued to sit upon his
prostrate form. Both were out of sight of Madame's
windows, behind a clump of the cedars which graced
"Always fighting," said Lily, with a fine crescendo
of scorn. She lifted her chin high, and also her nose.
"Always fighting," said Amelia, and also lifted her
chin and nose. Amelia was a born mimic. She
actually looked like Lily, and she spoke like her.
Then Lily did a wonderful thing. She doubled her
soft little arm into an inviting loop for Amelia's little
claw of a hand.
"Come along, Amelia Wheeler," said she. "We
don't want to stay near horrid, fighting boys. We
will go by ourselves."
And they went. Madame had a headache that
morning, and the Japanese gong did not ring for
fifteen minutes longer. During that time Lily and
Amelia sat together on a little rustic bench under a
twinkling poplar, and they talked, and a sort of
miniature sun-and-satellite relation was established
between them, although neither was aware of it.
Lily, being on the whole a very normal little girl, and
not disposed to even a full estimate of herself as
compared with others of her own sex, did not dream
of Amelia's adoration, and Amelia, being rarely
destitute of self-consciousness, did not understand the
whole scope of her own sentiments. It was quite
sufficient that she was seated close to this wonderful
Lily, and agreeing with her to the verge of immo-
"Of course," said Lily, "girls are pretty, and boys
are just as ugly as they can be."
"Oh yes," said Amelia, fervently.
"But," said Lily, thoughtfully, "it is queer how
Johnny Trumbull always comes out ahead in a fight,
and he is not so very large, either."
"Yes," said Amelia, but she realized a pang of
jealousy. "Girls could fight, I suppose," said she.
"Oh yes, and get their clothes all torn and messy,"
"I shouldn't care," said Amelia. Then she added,
with a little toss, "I almost know I could fight."
The thought even floated through her wicked little
mind that fighting might be a method of wearing out
obnoxious and durable clothes.
"You!" said Lily, and the scorn in her voice wilted
"Maybe I couldn't," said she.
"Of course you couldn't, and if you could, what a
sight you'd be. Of course it wouldn't hurt your
clothes as much as some, because your mother dresses
you in strong things, but you'd be sure to get black
and blue, and what would be the use, anyway?
You couldn't be a boy, if you did fight."
"No. I know I couldn't."
"Then what is the use? We are a good deal
prettier than boys, and cleaner, and have nicer
manners, and we must be satisfied."
"You are prettier," said Amelia, with a look of
worshipful admiration at Lily's sweet little face.
"You are prettier," said Lily. Then she added,
equivocally, "Even the very homeliest girl is prettier
than a boy."
Poor Amelia, it was a good deal for her to be called
prettier than a very dusty boy in a fight. She fairly
dimpled with delight, and again she smiled charm-
ingly. Lily eyed her critically.
"You aren't so very homely, after all, Amelia,"
she said. "You needn't think you are."
Amelia smiled again.
"When you look like you do now you are real
pretty," said Lily, not knowing or even suspecting
the truth, that she was regarding in the face of this
little ardent soul her own, as in a mirror.
However, it was after that episode that Amelia
Wheeler was called "Copy-Cat." The two little
girls entered Madame's select school arm in arm,
when the musical gong sounded, and behind them
came Lee Westminster and Johnny Trumbull, sur-
reptitiously dusting their garments, and ever after
the fact of Amelia's adoration and imitation of Lily
Jennings was evident to all. Even Madame became
aware of it, and held conferences with two of the
"It is not at all healthy for one child to model
herself so entirely upon the pattern of another," said
"Most certainly it is not," agreed Miss Acton, the
"Why, that poor little Amelia Wheeler had the
rudiments of a fairly good contralto. I had begun
to wonder if the poor child might not be able at
least to sing a little, and so make up for -- other
things; and now she tries to sing high like Lily Jen-
nings, and I simply cannot prevent it. She has
heard Lily play, too, and has lost her own touch, and
now it is neither one thing nor the other."
"I might speak to her mother," said Madame,
thoughtfully. Madame was American born, but she
married a French gentleman, long since deceased,
and his name sounded well on her circulars. She
and her two under teachers were drinking tea in her
Miss Parmalee, who was a true lover of her pupils,
gasped at Madame's proposition. "Whatever you
do, please do not tell that poor child's mother," said
"I do not think it would be quite wise, if I may
venture to express an opinion," said Miss Acton,
who was a timid soul, and always inclined to shy at
her own ideas.
"But why?" asked Madame.
"Her mother," said Miss Parmalee, "is a quite
remarkable woman, with great strength of character,
but she would utterly fail to grasp the situation."
"I must confess," said Madame, sipping her tea,
"that I fail to understand it. Why any child not an
absolute idiot should so lose her own identity in an-
other's absolutely bewilders me. I never heard of
such a case."
Miss Parmalee, who had a sense of humor, laughed
a little. "It is bewildering," she admitted. "And
now the other children see how it is, and call her
'Copy-Cat' to her face, but she does not mind. I
doubt if she understands, and neither does Lily, for
that matter. Lily Jennings is full of mischief, but
she moves in straight lines; she is not conceited or
self-conscious, and she really likes Amelia, without
"I fear Lily will lead Amelia into mischief," said
Madame, "and Amelia has always been such a good
"Lily will never MEAN to lead Amelia into mis-
chief," said loyal Miss Parmalee.
"But she will," said Madame.
"If Lily goes, I cannot answer for Amelia's not
following," admitted Miss Parmalee.
"I regret it all very much indeed," sighed Ma-
dame, "but it does seem to me still that Amelia's
"Amelia's mother would not even believe it, in
the first place," said Miss Parmalee.
"Well, there is something in that," admitted Ma-
dame. "I myself could not even imagine such a
situation. I would not know of it now, if you and
Miss Acton had not told me."
"There is not the slightest use in telling Amelia
not to imitate Lily, because she does not know that
she is imitating her," said Miss Parmalee. "If she
were to be punished for it, she could never compre-
hend the reason."
"That is true," said Miss Acton. "I realize that
when the poor child squeaks instead of singing. All
I could think of this morning was a little mouse
caught in a trap which she could not see. She does
actually squeak! -- and some of her low notes, al-
though, of course, she is only a child, and has never
attempted much, promised to be very good."
"She will have to squeak, for all I can see," said
Miss Parmalee. "It looks to me like one of those
situations that no human being can change for better
"I suppose you are right," said Madame, "but
it is most unfortunate, and Mrs. Wheeler is such a
superior woman, and Amelia is her only child, and
this is such a very subtle and regrettable affair.
Well, we have to leave a great deal to Providence."
"If," said Miss Parmalee, "she could only get
angry when she is called 'Copy-Cat.'" Miss Parma-
lee laughed, and so did Miss Acton. Then all the
ladies had their cups refilled, and left Providence to
look out for poor little Amelia Wheeler, in her mad
pursuit of her ideal in the shape of another little
girl possessed of the exterior graces which she had
Meantime the little "Copy-Cat" had never been
so happy. She began to improve in her looks also.
Her grandmother Wheeler noticed it first, and spoke
of it to Grandmother Stark. "That child may not
be so plain, after all," said she. "I looked at her
this morning when she started for school, and I
thought for the first time that there was a little re-
semblance to the Wheelers."
Grandmother Stark sniffed, but she looked grati-
fied. "I have been noticing it for some time," said
she, "but as for looking like the Wheelers, I thought
this morning for a minute that I actually saw my
poor dear husband looking at me out of that blessed
Grandmother Wheeler smiled her little, aggra-
vating, curved, pink smile.
But even Mrs. Diantha began to notice the change
for the better in Amelia. She, however, attributed
it to an increase of appetite and a system of deep
breathing which she had herself taken up and en-
joined Amelia to follow. Amelia was following Lily
Jennings instead, but that her mother did not know.
Still, she was gratified to see Amelia's little sallow
cheeks taking on pretty curves and a soft bloom,
and she was more inclined to listen when Grand-
mother Wheeler ventured to approach the subject
of Amelia's attire.
"Amelia would not be so bad-looking if she were
better dressed, Diantha," said she.
Diantha lifted her chin, but she paid heed. "Why,
does not Amelia dress perfectly well, mother?" she
"She dresses well enough, but she needs more
ribbons and ruffles."
"I do not approve of so many ribbons and ruffles,"
said Mrs. Diantha. "Amelia has perfectly neat,
fresh black or brown ribbons for her hair, and ruffles
are not sanitary."
"Ruffles are pretty," said Grandmother Wheeler,
"and blue and pink are pretty colors. Now, that
Jennings girl looks like a little picture."
But that last speech of Grandmother Wheeler's
undid all the previous good. Mrs. Diantha had an
unacknowledged -- even to herself -- disapproval of
Mrs. Jennings which dated far back in the past, for
a reason which was quite unworthy of her and of her
strong mind. When she and Lily's mother had been
girls, she had seen Mrs. Jennings look like a picture,
and had been perfectly well aware that she herself
fell far short of an artist's ideal. Perhaps if Mrs.
Stark had believed in ruffles and ribbons, her daugh-
ter might have had a different mind when Grand-
mother Wheeler had finished her little speech.
As it was, Mrs. Diantha surveyed her small, pretty
mother-in-law with dignified serenity, which savored
only delicately of a snub. "I do not myself approve
of the way in which Mrs. Jennings dresses her daugh-
ter," said she, "and I do not consider that the child
presents to a practical observer as good an appear-
ance as my Amelia."
Grandmother Wheeler had a temper. It was a
childish temper and soon over -- still, a temper.
"Lord," said she, "if you mean to say that you
think your poor little snipe of a daughter, dressed
like a little maid-of-all-work, can compare with that
lovely little Lily Jennings, who is dressed like a
"I do not wish that my daughter should be dressed
like a doll," said Mrs. Diantha, coolly.
"Well, she certainly isn't," said Grandmother
Wheeler. "Nobody would ever take her for a doll
as far as looks or dress are concerned. She may be
GOOD enough. I don't deny that Amelia is a good
little girl, but her looks could be improved on."
"Looks matter very little," said Mrs. Diantha.
"They matter very much," said Grandmother
Wheeler, pugnaciously, her blue eyes taking on a
peculiar opaque glint, as always when she lost her
temper, "very much indeed. But looks can't be
helped. If poor little Amelia wasn't born with pretty
looks, she wasn't. But she wasn't born with such
ugly clothes. She might be better dressed."
"I dress my daughter as I consider best," said
Mrs. Diantha. Then she left the room.
Grandmother Wheeler sat for a few minutes, her
blue eyes opaque, her little pink lips a straight line;
then suddenly her eyes lit, and she smiled. "Poor
Diantha," said she, "I remember how Henry used
to like Lily Jennings's mother before he married
Diantha. Sour grapes hang high." But Grand-
mother Wheeler's beautiful old face was quite soft
and gentle. From her heart she pitied the reacher
after those high-hanging sour grapes, for Mrs. Dian-
tha had been very good to her.
Then Grandmother Wheeler, who had a mild
persistency not evident to a casual observer, began
to make plans and lay plots. She was resolved,
Diantha or not, that her granddaughter, her son's
child, should have some fine feathers. The little
conference had taken place in her own room, a large,
sunny one, with a little storeroom opening from it.
Presently Grandmother Wheeler rose, entered the
storeroom, and began rummaging in some old trunks.
Then followed days of secret work. Grandmother
Wheeler had been noted as a fine needlewoman,
and her hand had not yet lost its cunning. She had
one of Amelia's ugly little ginghams, purloined from
a closet, for size, and she worked two or three dainty
wonders. She took Grandmother Stark into her
confidence. Sometimes the two ladies, by reason
of their age, found it possible to combine with good
"Your daughter Diantha is one woman in a thou-
sand," said Grandmother Wheeler, diplomatically,
one day, "but she never did care much for clothes."
"Diantha," returned Grandmother Stark, with a
suspicious glance, "always realized that clothes were
not the things that mattered."
"And, of course, she is right," said Grandmother
Wheeler, piously. "Your Diantha is one woman in
a thousand. If she cared as much for fine clothes as
some women, I don't know where we should all be.
It would spoil poor little Amelia."
"Yes, it would," assented Grandmother Stark.
"Nothing spoils a little girl more than always to be
thinking about her clothes."
"Yes, I was looking at Amelia the other day, and
thinking how much more sensible she appeared in
her plain gingham than Lily Jennings in all her
ruffles and ribbons. Even if people were all notic-
ing Lily, and praising her, thinks I to myself, 'How
little difference such things really make. Even if
our dear Amelia does stand to one side, and nobody
notices her, what real matter is it?'" Grandmother
Wheeler was inwardly chuckling as she spoke.
Grandmother Stark was at once alert. "Do you
mean to say that Amelia is really not taken so much
notice of because she dresses plainly?" said she.
"You don't mean that you don't know it, as ob-
servant as you are?" replied Grandmother Wheeler.
"Diantha ought not to let it go as far as that," said
Grandmother Stark. Grandmother Wheeler looked
at her queerly. "Why do you look at me like that?"
"Well, I did something I feared I ought not to
have done. And I didn't know what to do, but your
speaking so makes me wonder --"
Then Grandmother Wheeler went to her little
storeroom and emerged bearing a box. She dis-
played the contents -- three charming little white
frocks fluffy with lace and embroidery.
"Did you make them?"
"Yes, I did. I couldn't help it. I thought if the
dear child never wore them, it would be some com-
fort to know they were in the house."
"That one needs a broad blue sash," said Grand-
Grandmother Wheeler laughed. She took her impe-
cuniosity easily. "I had to use what I had," said she.
"I will get a blue sash for that one," said Grand-
mother Stark, "and a pink sash for that, and a flow-
ered one for that."
"Of course they will make all the difference,"
said Grandmother Wheeler. "Those beautiful sashes
will really make the dresses."
"I will get them," said Grandmother Stark, with
decision. "I will go right down to Mann Brothers'
store now and get them."
"Then I will make the bows, and sew them on,"
replied Grandmother Wheeler, happily.
It thus happened that little Amelia Wheeler was
possessed of three beautiful dresses, although she
did not know it.
For a long time neither of the two conspiring
grandmothers dared divulge the secret. Mrs. Dian-
tha was a very determined woman, and even her
own mother stood somewhat in awe of her. There-
fore, little Amelia went to school during the spring
term soberly clad as ever, and even on the festive
last day wore nothing better than a new blue ging-
ham, made too long, to allow for shrinkage, and new
blue hair-ribbons. The two grandmothers almost
wept in secret conclave over the lovely frocks which
were not worn.
"I respect Diantha," said Grandmother Wheeler.
"You know that. She is one woman in a thousand,
but I do hate to have that poor child go to school
to-day with so many to look at her, and she dressed
so unlike all the other little girls."
"Diantha has got so much sense, it makes her
blind and deaf," declared Grandmother Stark. "I
call it a shame, if she is my daughter."
"Then you don't venture --"
Grandmother Stark reddened. She did not like
to own to awe of her daughter. "I VENTURE, if that is
all," said she, tartly. "You don't suppose I am
afraid of Diantha? -- but she would not let Amelia
wear one of the dresses, anyway, and I don't want
the child made any unhappier than she is."
"Well, I will admit," replied Grandmother Wheel-
er, "if poor Amelia knew she had these beautiful
dresses and could not wear them she might feel
worse about wearing that homely gingham."
"Gingham!" fairly snorted Grandmother Stark.
"I cannot see why Diantha thinks so much of ging-
ham. It shrinks, anyway."
Poor little Amelia did undoubtedly suffer on that
last day, when she sat among the others gaily clad,
and looked down at her own common little skirts.
She was very glad, however, that she had not been
chosen to do any of the special things which would
have necessitated her appearance upon the little
flower-decorated platform. She did not know of the
conversation between Madame and her two as-
"I would have Amelia recite a little verse or two,"
said Madame, "but how can I?" Madame adored
dress, and had a lovely new one of sheer dull-blue
stuff, with touches of silver, for the last day.
"Yes," agreed Miss Parmalee, "that poor child is
sensitive, and for her to stand on the platform in
one of those plain ginghams would be too cruel."
"Then, too," said Miss Acton, "she would re-
cite her verses exactly like Lily Jennings. She can
make her voice exactly like Lily's now. Then every-
body would laugh, and Amelia would not know why.
She would think they were laughing at her dress, and
that would be dreadful."
If Amelia's mother could have heard that conver-
sation everything would have been different, al-
though it is puzzling to decide in what way.
It was the last of the summer vacation in
early September, just before school began, that a
climax came to Amelia's idolatry and imitation of
Lily. The Jenningses had not gone away that sum-
mer, so the two little girls had been thrown together
a good deal. Mrs. Diantha never went away during
a summer. She considered it her duty to remain at
home, and she was quite pitiless to herself when it
came to a matter of duty.
However, as a result she was quite ill during the
last of August and the first of September. The sea-
son had been unusually hot, and Mrs. Diantha had
not spared herself from her duty on account of the
heat. She would have scorned herself if she had done
so. But she could not, strong-minded as she was,
avert something like a heat prostration after a long
walk under a burning sun, nor weeks of confinement
and idleness in her room afterward.
When September came, and a night or two of com-
parative coolness, she felt stronger; still she was
compelled by most unusual weakness to refrain from
her energetic trot in her duty-path; and then it was
that something happened.
One afternoon Lily fluttered over to Amelia's,
and Amelia, ever on the watch, spied her.
"May I go out and see Lily?" she asked Grand-
"Yes, but don't talk under the windows; your
mother is asleep."
Amelia ran out.
"I declare," said Grandmother Stark to Grand-
mother Wheeler, "I was half a mind to tell that
child to wait a minute and slip on one of those
pretty dresses. I hate to have her go on the street
in that old gingham, with that Jennings girl dressed
up like a wax doll."
"I know it."
"And now poor Diantha is so weak -- and asleep
-- it would not have annoyed her."
"I know it."
Grandmother Stark looked at Grandmother
Wheeler. Of the two she possessed a greater share
of original sin compared with the size of her soul.
Moreover, she felt herself at liberty to circumvent
her own daughter. Whispering, she unfolded a dar-
ing scheme to the other grandmother, who stared
at her aghast a second out of her lovely blue eyes,
then laughed softly.
"Very well," said she, "if you dare."
"I rather think I dare!" said Grandmother Stark.
"Isn't Diantha Wheeler my own daughter?" Grand-
mother Stark had grown much bolder since Mrs.
Diantha had been ill.
Meantime Lily and Amelia walked down the
street until they came to a certain vacant lot inter-
sected by a foot-path between tall, feathery grasses
and goldenrod and asters and milkweed. They en-
tered the foot-path, and swarms of little butterflies
rose around them, and once in a while a protesting
"I am afraid we will be stung by the bees," said
"Bumblebees never sting," said Lily; and Amelia
When the foot-path ended, there was the river-
bank. The two little girls sat down under a clump
of brook willows and talked, while the river, full of
green and blue and golden lights, slipped past them
and never stopped.
Then Lily proceeded to unfold a plan, which was
not philosophical, but naughtily ingenious. By this
time Lily knew very well that Amelia admired her,
and imitated her as successfully as possible, consid-
ering the drawback of dress and looks.
When she had finished Amelia was quite pale. "I
am afraid, I am afraid, Lily," said she.
"My mother will find out; besides, I am afraid
it isn't right."
"Who ever told you it was wrong?"
"Nobody ever did," admitted Amelia.
"Well, then you haven't any reason to think it is,"
said Lily, triumphantly. "And how is your mother
ever going to find it out?"
"I don't know."
"Isn't she ill in her room? And does she ever
come to kiss you good night, the way my mother
does, when she is well?"
"No," admitted Amelia.
"And neither of your grandmothers?"
"Grandmother Stark would think it was silly,
like mother, and Grandmother Wheeler can't go up
and down stairs very well."
"I can't see but you are perfectly safe. I am the
only one that runs any risk at all. I run a great deal
of risk, but I am willing to take it," said Lily with
a virtuous air. Lily had a small but rather involved
scheme simply for her own ends, which did not seem
to call for much virtue, but rather the contrary.
Lily had overheard Arnold Carruth and Johnny
Trumbull and Lee Westminster and another boy,
Jim Patterson, planning a most delightful affair,
which even in the cases of the boys was fraught with
danger, secrecy, and doubtful rectitude. Not one
of the four boys had had a vacation from the village
that summer, and their young minds had become
charged, as it were, with the seeds of revolution and
rebellion. Jim Patterson, the son of the rector, and
of them all the most venturesome, had planned to
take -- he called it "take"; he meant to pay for it,
anyway, he said, as soon as he could shake enough
money out of his nickel savings-bank -- one of his
father's Plymouth Rock chickens and have a chicken-
roast in the woods back of Dr. Trumbull's. He
had planned for Johnny to take some ears of corn
suitable for roasting from his father's garden; for
Lee to take some cookies out of a stone jar in his
mother's pantry; and for Arnold to take some pota-
toes. Then they four would steal forth under cover
of night, build a camp-fire, roast their spoils, and
Lily had resolved to be of the party. She resorted
to no open methods; the stones of the fighting suf-
fragettes were not for her, little honey-sweet, curled,
and ruffled darling; rather the time-worn, if not
time-sanctified, weapons of her sex, little instruments
of wiles, and tiny dodges, and tiny subterfuges, which
would serve her best.
"You know," she said to Amelia, "you don't look
like me. Of course you know that, and that can't
be helped; but you do walk like me, and talk like
me, you know that, because they call you 'Copy-
"Yes, I know," said poor Amelia.
"I don't mind if they do call you 'Copy-Cat,'"
said Lily, magnanimously. "I don't mind a bit.
But, you see, my mother always comes up-stairs to
kiss me good night after I have gone to bed, and to-
morrow night she has a dinner-party, and she will
surely be a little late, and I can't manage unless you
help me. I will get one of my white dresses for you,
and all you have to do is to climb out of your window
into that cedar-tree -- you know you can climb down
that, because you are so afraid of burglars climbing
up -- and you can slip on my dress; you had better
throw it out of the window and not try to climb in
it, because my dresses tear awful easy, and we might
get caught that way. Then you just sneak down to
our house, and I shall be outdoors; and when you
go up-stairs, if the doors should be open, and any-
body should call, you can answer just like me; and I
have found that light curly wig Aunt Laura wore
when she had her head shaved after she had a fever,
and you just put that on and go to bed, and mother
will never know when she kisses you good night.
Then after the roast I will go to your house, and
climb up that tree, and go to bed in your room. And
I will have one of your gingham dresses to wear, and
very early in the morning I will get up, and you get
up, and we both of us can get down the back stairs
without being seen, and run home."
Amelia was almost weeping. It was her worshiped
Lily's plan, but she was horribly scared. "I don't
know," she faltered.
"Don't know! You've got to! You don't love
me one single bit or you wouldn't stop to think about
whether you didn't know." It was the world-old
argument which floors love. Amelia succumbed.
The next evening a frightened little girl clad in
one of Lily Jennings's white embroidered frocks was
racing to the Jenningses' house, and another little
girl, not at all frightened, but enjoying the stimulus
of mischief and unwontedness, was racing to the wood
behind Dr. Trumbull's house, and that little girl was
clad in one of Amelia Wheeler's ginghams. But the
plan went all awry.
Lily waited, snuggled up behind an alder-bush,
and the boys came, one by one, and she heard this
whispered, although there was no necessity for whis-
pering, "Jim Patterson, where's that hen?"
"Couldn't get her. Grabbed her, and all her tail-
feathers came out in a bunch right in my hand, and
she squawked so, father heard. He was in his study
writing his sermon, and he came out, and if I hadn't
hid behind the chicken-coop and then run I couldn't
have got here. But I can't see as you've got any
corn, Johnny Trumbull."
"Couldn't. Every single ear was cooked for din-
"I couldn't bring any cookies, either," said Lee
Westminster; "there weren't any cookies in the jar."
"And I couldn't bring the potatoes, because the
outside cellar door was locked," said Arnold Car-
ruth. "I had to go down the back stairs and out
the south door, and the inside cellar door opens out
of our dining-room, and I daren't go in there."
"Then we might as well go home," said Johnny
Trumbull. "If I had been you, Jim Patterson, I
would have brought that old hen if her tail-feathers
had come out. Seems to me you scare awful easy."
"Guess if you had heard her squawk!" said Jim,
resentfully. "If you want to try to lick me, come on,
Johnny Trumbull. Guess you don't darse call me
Johnny eyed him standing there in the gloom.
Jim was not large, but very wiry, and the ground was
not suited for combat. Johnny, although a victor,
would probably go home considerably the worse in
appearance; and he could anticipate the conse-
quences were his father to encounter him.
"Shucks!" said Johnny Trumbull, of the fine old
Trumbull family and Madame's exclusive school.
"Shucks! who wants your old hen? We had chicken
for dinner, anyway."
"So did we," said Arnold Carruth.
"We did, and corn," said Lee.
"We did," said Jim.
Lily stepped forth from the alder-bush. "If,"
said she, "I were a boy, and had started to have a
chicken-roast, I would have HAD a chicken-roast."
But every boy, even the valiant Johnny Trum-
bull, was gone in a mad scutter. This sudden appari-
tion of a girl was too much for their nerves. They
never even knew who the girl was, although little
Arnold Carruth said she had looked to him like
"Copy-Cat," but the others scouted the idea.
Lily Jennings made the best of her way out of the
wood across lots to the road. She was not in a par-
ticularly enviable case. Amelia Wheeler was pre-
sumably in her bed, and she saw nothing for it but
to take the difficult way to Amelia's.
Lily tore a great rent in the gingham going up the
cedar-tree, but that was nothing to what followed.
She entered through Amelia's window, her prim
little room, to find herself confronted by Amelia's
mother in a wrapper, and her two grandmothers.
Grandmother Stark had over her arm a beautiful
white embroidered dress. The two old ladies had
entered the room in order to lay the white dress on
a chair and take away Amelia's gingham, and there
was no Amelia. Mrs. Diantha had heard the com-
motion, and had risen, thrown on her wrapper, and
come. Her mother had turned upon her.
"It is all your fault, Diantha," she had declared.
"My fault?" echoed Mrs. Diantha, bewildered.
"Where is Amelia?"
"We don't know," said Grandmother Stark, "but
you have probably driven her away from home by
"Yes, cruelty. What right had you to make that
poor child look like a fright, so people laughed at
her? We have made her some dresses that look
decent, and had come here to leave them, and to
take away those old gingham things that look as if
she lived in the almshouse, and leave these, so she
would either have to wear them or go without, when
we found she had gone."
It was at that crucial moment that Lily entered
by way of the window.
"Here she is now," shrieked Grandmother Stark.
"Amelia, where --" Then she stopped short.
Everybody stared at Lily's beautiful face suddenly
gone white. For once Lily was frightened. She lost
all self-control. She began to sob. She could scarce-
ly tell the absurd story for sobs, but she told, every
Then, with a sudden boldness, she too turned on
Mrs. Diantha. "They call poor Amelia 'Copy-
Cat,'" said she, "and I don't believe she would ever
have tried so hard to look like me only my mother
dresses me so I look nice, and you send Amelia
to school looking awfully." Then Lily sobbed
"My Amelia is at your house, as I understand?"
said Mrs. Diantha, in an awful voice.
"Let me go," said Mrs. Diantha, violently, to
Grandmother Stark, who tried to restrain her. Mrs.
Diantha dressed herself and marched down the
street, dragging Lily after her. The little girl had
to trot to keep up with the tall woman's strides, and
all the way she wept.
It was to Lily's mother's everlasting discredit, in
Mrs. Diantha's opinion, but to Lily's wonderful re-
lief, that when she heard the story, standing in the
hall in her lovely dinner dress, with the strains of
music floating from the drawing-room, and cigar
smoke floating from the dining-room, she laughed.
When Lily said, "And there wasn't even any chicken-
roast, mother," she nearly had hysterics.
"If you think this is a laughing matter, Mrs. Jen-
nings, I do not," said Mrs. Diantha, and again her
dislike and sorrow at the sight of that sweet, mirth-
ful face was over her. It was a face to be loved, and
hers was not.
"Why, I went up-stairs and kissed the child good
night, and never suspected," laughed Lily's mother.
"I got Aunt Laura's curly, light wig for her," ex-
plained Lily, and Mrs. Jennings laughed again.
It was not long before Amelia, in her gingham,
went home, led by her mother -- her mother, who
was trembling with weakness now. Mrs. Diantha
did not scold. She did not speak, but Amelia felt
with wonder her little hand held very tenderly by
her mother's long fingers.
When at last she was undressed and in bed, Mrs.
Diantha, looking very pale, kissed her, and so did
Amelia, being very young and very tired, went to
sleep. She did not know that that night was to mark
a sharp turn in her whole life. Thereafter she went
to school "dressed like the best," and her mother
petted her as nobody had ever known her mother
It was not so very long afterward that Amelia,
out of her own improvement in appearance, devel-
oped a little stamp of individuality.
One day Lily wore a white frock with blue rib-
bons, and Amelia wore one with coral pink. It was
a particular day in school; there was company, and
tea was served.
"I told you I was going to wear blue ribbons,"
Lily whispered to Amelia. Amelia smiled lovingly
back at her.
"Yes, I know, but I thought I would wear pink."
THE COCK OF THE WALK
THE COCK OF THE WALK
DOWN the road, kicking up the dust until he
marched, soldier-wise, in a cloud of it, that
rose and grimed his moist face and added to the
heavy, brown powder upon the wayside weeds and
flowers, whistling a queer, tuneless thing, which yet
contained definite sequences -- the whistle of a bird
rather than a boy -- approached Johnny Trumbull,
aged ten, small of his age, but accounted by his
Johnny came of the best and oldest family in the
village, but it was in some respects an undesirable
family for a boy. In it survived, as fossils survive
in ancient nooks and crannies of the earth, old traits
of race, unchanged by time and environment. Liv-
ing in a house lighted by electricity, the mental con-
ception of it was to the Trumbulls as the conception
of candles; with telephones at hand, they uncon-
sciously still conceived of messages delivered with
the old saying, "Ride, ride," etc., and relays of
post-horses. They locked their doors, but still had
latch-strings in mind. Johnny's father was a phy-
sician, adopting modern methods of surgery and pre-
scription, yet his mind harked back to cupping and
calomel, and now and then he swerved aside from
his path across the field of the present into the future
and plunged headlong, as if for fresh air, into the
traditional past, and often with brilliant results.
Johnny's mother was a college graduate. She was
the president of the woman's club. She read papers
savoring of such feminine leaps ahead that they
were like gymnastics, but she walked homeward
with the gait of her great-grandmother, and inwardly
regarded her husband as her lord and master. She
minced genteelly, lifting her quite fashionable skirts
high above very slender ankles, which were heredi-
tary. Not a woman of her race had ever gone home
on thick ankles, and they had all gone home. They
had all been at home, even if abroad -- at home in
the truest sense. At the club, reading her inflam-
matory paper, Cora Trumbull's real self remained
at home intent upon her mending, her dusting, her
house economics. It was something remarkably
like her astral body which presided at the club.
As for her unmarried sister Janet, who was older
and had graduated from a young ladies' seminary
instead of a college, whose early fancy had been
guided into the lady-like ways of antimacassars and
pincushions and wax flowers under glass shades,
she was a straighter proposition. No astral pre-
tensions had Janet. She stayed, body and soul to-
gether, in the old ways, and did not even project
her shadow out of them. There is seldom room
enough for one's shadow in one's earliest way of
life, but there was plenty for Janet's. There had
been a Janet unmarried in every Trumbull family
for generations. That in some subtle fashion ac-
counted for her remaining single. There had also
been an unmarried Jonathan Trumbull, and that
accounted for Johnny's old bachelor uncle Jonathan.
Jonathan was a retired clergyman. He had retired
before he had preached long, because of doctrinal
doubts, which were hereditary. He had a little,
dark study in Johnny's father's house, which was
the old Trumbull homestead, and he passed much
of his time there, debating within himself that mat-
ter of doctrines.
Presently Johnny, assiduously kicking up dust,
met his uncle Jonathan, who passed without the
slightest notice. Johnny did not mind at all. He
was used to it. Presently his own father appeared,
driving along in his buggy the bay mare at a steady
jog, with the next professional call quite clearly
upon her equine mind. And Johnny's father did
not see him. Johnny did not mind that, either.
He expected nothing different.
Then Johnny saw his mother approaching. She
was coming from the club meeting. She held up her
silk skirts high, as usual, and carried a nice little
parcel of papers tied with ribbon. She also did not
notice Johnny, who, however, out of sweet respect
for his mother's nice silk dress, stopped kicking up
dust. Mrs. Trumbull on the village street was really
at home preparing a shortcake for supper.
Johnny eyed his mother's faded but rather beau-
tiful face under the rose-trimmed bonnet with ad-
miration and entire absence of resentment. Then he
walked on and kicked up the dust again. He loved
to kick up the dust in summer, the fallen leaves in
autumn, and the snow in winter. Johnny was not
a typical Trumbull. None of them had ever cared
for simple amusements like that. Looking back for
generations on his father's and mother's side (both
had been Trumbulls, but very distantly related),
none could be discovered who in the least resembled
Johnny. No dim blue eye of retrospection and re-
flection had Johnny; no tendency to tall slender-
ness which would later bow beneath the greater
weight of the soul. Johnny was small, but wiry of
build, and looked able to bear any amount of men-
tal development without a lasting bend of his physi-
cal shoulders. Johnny had, at the early age of ten,
whopped nearly every boy in school, but that was a
secret of honor. It was well known in the school
that, once the Trumbulls heard of it, Johnny could
never whop again. "You fellows know," Johnny
had declared once, standing over his prostrate and
whimpering foe, "that I don't mind getting whopped
at home, but they might send me away to another
school, and then I could never whop any of you
Johnny Trumbull kicking up the dust, himself
dust-covered, his shoes, his little queerly fitting dun
suit, his cropped head, all thickly powdered, loved
it. He sniffed in that dust like a grateful incense.
He did not stop dust-kicking when he saw his aunt
Janet coming, for, as he considered, her old black
gown was not worth the sacrifice. It was true that
she might see him. She sometimes did, if she were
not reading a book as she walked. It had always
been a habit with the Janet Trumbulls to read im-
proving books when they walked abroad. To-day
Johnny saw, with a quick glance of those sharp,
black eyes, so unlike the Trumbulls', that his aunt
Janet was reading. He therefore expected her to
pass him without recognition, and marched on kick-
ing up the dust. But suddenly, as he grew nearer
the spry little figure, he was aware of a pair of gray
eyes, before which waved protectingly a hand clad
in a black silk glove with dangling finger-tips, be-
cause it was too long, and it dawned swiftly upon
him that Aunt Janet was trying to shield her face
from the moving column of brown motes. He
stopped kicking, but it was too late. Aunt Janet
had him by the collar and was vigorously shaking
him with nervous strength.
"You are a very naughty little boy," declared
Aunt Janet. "You should know better than to walk
along the street raising so much dust. No well-
brought-up child ever does such things. Who are
your parents, little boy?"
Johnny perceived that Aunt Janet did not recog-
nize him, which was easily explained. She wore
her reading-spectacles and not her far-seeing ones;
besides, her reading spectacles were obscured by
dust and her nephew's face was nearly obliterated.
Also as she shook him his face was not much in evi-
dence. Johnny disliked, naturally, to tell his aunt
Janet that her own sister and brother-in-law were
the parents of such a wicked little boy. He there-
fore kept quiet and submitted to the shaking, mak-
ing himself as limp as a rag. This, however, exas-
perated Aunt Janet, who found herself encumbered
by a dead weight of a little boy to be shaken, and
suddenly Johnny Trumbull, the fighting champion
of the town, the cock of the walk of the school,
found himself being ignominiously spanked. That
was too much. Johnny's fighting blood was up.
He lost all consideration for circumstances, he for-
got that Aunt Janet was not a boy, that she was quite
near being an old lady. She had overstepped the
bounds of privilege of age and sex, and an alarming
state of equality ensued. Quickly the tables were
turned. The boy became far from limp. He stiff-
ened, then bounded and rebounded like wire. He
butted, he parried, he observed all his famous tac-
tics of battle, and poor Aunt Janet sat down in the
dust, black dress, bonnet, glasses (but the glasses
were off and lost), little improving book, black silk
gloves, and all; and Johnny, hopeless, awful, irrev-
erent, sat upon his Aunt Janet's plunging knees,
which seemed the most lively part of her. He kept
his face twisted away from her, but it was not from
cowardice. Johnny was afraid lest Aunt Janet
should be too much overcome by the discovery of
his identity. He felt that it was his duty to spare
her that. So he sat still, triumphant but inwardly
It was fast dawning upon him that his aunt was
not a little boy. He was not afraid of any punish-
ment which might be meted out to him, but he was
simply horrified. He himself had violated all the
honorable conditions of warfare. He felt a little
dizzy and ill, and he felt worse when he ventured
a hurried glance at Aunt Janet's face. She was very
pale through the dust, and her eyes were closed.
Johnny thought then that he had killed her.
He got up -- the nervous knees were no longer
plunging; then he heard a voice, a little-girl voice,
always shrill, but now high pitched to a squeak with
terror. It was the voice of Lily Jennings. She
stood near and yet aloof, a lovely little flower of a
girl, all white-scalloped frills and ribbons, with a
big white-frilled hat shading a pale little face and.
covering the top of a head decorated with wonder-
ful yellow curls. She stood behind a big baby-car-
riage with a pink-lined muslin canopy and con-
taining a nest of pink and white, but an empty nest.
Lily's little brother's carriage had a spring broken,
and she had been to borrow her aunt's baby-carriage,
so that nurse could wheel little brother up and down
the veranda. Nurse had a headache, and the maids
were busy, and Lily, who was a kind little soul and,
moreover, imaginative, and who liked the idea of
pushing an empty baby-carriage, had volunteered
to go for it. All the way she had been dreaming of
what was not in the carriage. She had come directly
out of a dream of doll twins when she chanced upon
the tragedy in the road.
"What have you been doing now, Johnny Trum-
bull?" said she. She was tremulous, white with
horror, but she stood her ground. It was curious,
but Johnny Trumbull, with all his bravery, was
always cowed before Lily. Once she had turned and
stared at him when he had emerged triumphant
but with bleeding nose from a fight; then she had
sniffed delicately and gone her way. It had only
taken a second, but in that second the victor had
met moral defeat.
He looked now at her pale, really scared face, and
his own was as pale. He stood and kicked the dust
until the swirling column of it reached his head.
"That's right," said Lily; "stand and kick up
dust all over me. WHAT have you been doing?"
Johnny was trembling so he could hardly stand.
He stopped kicking dust.
"Have you killed your aunt?" demanded Lily.
It was monstrous, but she had a very dramatic im-
agination, and there was a faint hint of enjoyment
in her tragic voice.
"Guess she's just choked by dust," volunteered
Johnny, hoarsely. He kicked the dust again.
"That's right," said Lily. "If she's choked to
death by dust, stand there and choke her some more.
You are a murderer, Johnny Trumbull, and my
mamma will never allow me to speak to you again,
and Madame will not allow you to come to school.
AND -- I see your papa driving up the street, and there
is the chief policeman's buggy just behind." Lily
acquiesced entirely in the extraordinary coincidence
of the father and the chief of police appearing upon
the scene. The unlikely seemed to her the likely.
"NOW," said she, cheerfully, "you will be put in
state prison and locked up, and then you will be put
to death by a very strong telephone."
Johnny's father was leaning out of his buggy, look-
ing back at the chief of police in his, and the mare
was jogging very slowly in a perfect reek of dust.
Lily, who was, in spite of her terrific imagination,
human and a girl, rose suddenly to heights of pity
and succor. "They shall never take you, Johnny
Trumbull," said she. "I will save you."
Johnny by this time was utterly forgetful of his
high status as champion (behind her back) of Ma-
dame's very select school for select children of a
somewhat select village. He was forgetful of the
fact that a champion never cries. He cried; he
blubbered; tears rolled over his dusty cheeks, mak-
ing furrows like plowshares of grief. He feared lest
he might have killed his aunt Janet. Women, and
not very young women, might presumably be un-
able to survive such rough usage as very tough
and at the same time very limber little boys, and
he loved his poor aunt Janet. He grieved because
of his aunt, his parents, his uncle, and rather more
particularly because of himself. He was quite sure
that the policeman was coming for him. Logic had
no place in his frenzied conclusions. He did not
consider how the tragedy had taken place entirely
out of sight of a house, that Lily Jennings was the
only person who had any knowledge of it. He looked
at the masterful, fair-haired little girl like a baby.
"How?" sniffed he.
For answer, Lily pointed to the empty baby-car-
riage. "Get right in," she ordered.
Even in this dire extremity Johnny hesitated.
"Yes, you can. It is extra large. Aunt Laura's
baby was a twin when he first came; now he's just
an ordinary baby, but his carriage is big enough for
two. There's plenty of room. Besides, you're a
very small boy, very small of your age, even if you
do knock all the other boys down and have mur-
dered your aunt. Get in. In a minute they will
There was in reality no time to lose. Johnny
did get in. In spite of the provisions for twins,
there was none too much room.
Lily covered him up with the fluffy pink-and-lace
things, and scowled. "You hump up awfully,"
she muttered. Then she reached beneath him and
snatched out the pillow on which he lay, the baby's
little bed. She gave it a swift toss over the fringe
of wayside bushes into a field. "Aunt Laura's nice
embroidered pillow," said she. "Make yourself just
as flat as you can, Johnny Trumbull."
Johnny obeyed, but he was obliged to double him-
self up like a jack-knife. However, there was no
sign of him visible when the two buggies drew up.
There stood a pale and frightened little girl, with
a baby-carriage canopied with rose and lace and
heaped up with rosy and lacy coverlets, presumably
sheltering a sleeping infant. Lily was a very keen
little girl. She had sense enough not to run. The
two men, at the sight of Aunt Janet prostrate in the
road, leaped out of their buggies. The doctor's
horse stood still; the policeman's trotted away, to
Lily's great relief. She could not imagine Johnny's
own father haling him away to state prison and
the stern Arm of Justice. She stood the fire of
bewildered questions in the best and safest fashion.
She wept bitterly, and her tears were not assumed.
Poor little Lily was all of a sudden crushed under
the weight of facts. There was Aunt Janet, she had
no doubt, killed by her own nephew, and she was
hiding the guilty murderer. She had visions of
state prison for herself. She watched fearfully while
the two men bent over the prostrate woman, who
very soon began to sputter and gasp and try to sit
"What on earth is the matter, Janet?" inquired
Dr. Trumbull, who was paler than his sister-in-
law. In fact, she was unable to look very pale on
account of dust.
"Ow!" sputtered Aunt Janet, coughing violently,
"get me up out of this dust, John. Ow!"
"What was the matter?"
"Yes, what has happened, madam?" demanded
the chief of police, sternly.
"Nothing," replied Aunt Janet, to Lily's and
Johnny's amazement. "What do you think has
happened? I fell down in all this nasty dust. Ow!"
"What did you eat for luncheon, Janet?" in-
quired Dr. Trumbull, as he assisted his sister-in-
law to her feet.
"What I was a fool to eat," replied Janet Trum-
bull, promptly. "Cucumber salad and lemon jelly
with whipped cream."
"Enough to make anybody have indigestion,"
said Dr. Trumbull. "You have had one of these
attacks before, too, Janet. You remember the time
you ate strawberry shortcake and ice-cream?"
Janet nodded meekly. Then she coughed again.
"Ow, this dust!" gasped she. "For goodness' sake,
John, get me home where I can get some water and
take off these dusty clothes or I shall choke to
"How does your stomach feel?" inquired Dr.
"Stomach is all right now, but I am just choking
to death with the dust." Janet turned sharply tow-
ard the policeman. "You have sense enough to
keep still, I hope," said she. "I don't want the
whole town ringing with my being such an idiot as
to eat cucumbers and cream together and being
found this way." Janet looked like an animated
creation of dust as she faced the chief of police.
"Yes, ma'am," he replied, bowing and scraping
one foot and raising more dust.
He and Dr. Trumbull assisted Aunt Janet into
the buggy, and they drove off. Then the chief of
police discovered that his own horse had gone.
"Did you see which way he went, sis?" he inquired
of Lily, and she pointed down the road, and sobbed
as she did so.
The policeman said something bad under his
breath, then advised Lily to run home to her rna,
and started down the road.
When he was out of sight, Lily drew back the
pink-and-white things from Johnny's face. "Well,
you didn't kill her this time," said she.
"Why do you s'pose she didn't tell all about it?"
said Johnny, gaping at her.
"How do I know? I suppose she was ashamed
to tell how she had been fighting, maybe."
"No, that was not why," said Johnny in a deep
"Why was it, then?"
Johnny began to climb out of the baby-carriage.
"What will she do next, then?" asked Lily.
"I don't know," Johnny replied, gloomily.
He was out of the carriage then, and Lily was
readjusting the pillows and things. "Get that nice
embroidered pillow I threw over the bushes," she
ordered, crossly. Johnny obeyed. When she had
finished putting the baby-carriage to rights she
turned upon poor little Johnny Trumbull, and her
face wore the expression of a queen of tragedy.
"Well," said Lily Jennings, "I suppose I shall have
to marry you when I am grown up, after all this."
Johnny gasped. He thought Lily the most beau-
tiful girl he knew, but to be confronted with murder
and marriage within a few minutes was almost too
much. He flushed a burning red. He laughed fool-
ishly. He said nothing.
"It will be very hard on me," stated Lily, "to
marry a boy who tried to murder his nice aunt."
Johnny revived a bit under this feminine disdain.
"I didn't try to murder her," he said in a weak
"You might have, throwing her down in all that
awful dust, a nice, clean lady. Ladies are not like
boys. It might kill them very quickly to be knocked
down on a dusty road."
"I didn't mean to kill her."
"You might have."
"Well, I didn't, and -- she --"
"She spanked me."
"Pooh! That doesn't amount to anything,"
"It does if you are a boy."
"I don't see why."
"Well, I can't help it if you don't. It does."
"Why shouldn't a boy be spanked when he's
naughty, just as well as a girl, I would like to know?"
"Because he's a boy."
Lily looked at Johnny Trumbull. The great fact
did remain. He had been spanked, he had thrown
his own aunt down in the dust. He had taken ad-
vantage of her little-girl protection, but he was a
boy. Lily did not understand his why at all, but
she bowed before it. However, that she would not
admit. She made a rapid change of base. "What,"
said she, "are you going to do next?"
Johnny stared at her. It was a puzzle.
"If," said Lily, distinctly, "you are afraid to go
home, if you think your aunt will tell, I will let you
get into Aunt Laura's baby-carriage again, and I
will wheel you a little way."
Johnny would have liked at that moment to knock
Lily down, as he had his aunt Janet. Lily looked
at him shrewdly. "Oh yes," said she, "you can
knock me down in the dust there if you want to,
and spoil my nice clean dress. You will be a boy,
just the same."
"I will never marry you, anyway," declared
"Aren't you afraid I'll tell on you and get you
another spanking if you don't?"
"Tell if you want to. I'd enough sight rather be
spanked than marry you."
A gleam of respect came into the little girl's
wisely regarding blue eyes. She, with the swiftness
of her sex, recognized in forlorn little Johnny the
making of a man. "Oh, well," said she, loftily,
"I never was a telltale, and, anyway, we are not
grown up, and there will be my trousseau to get,
and a lot of other things to do first. I shall go to
Europe before I am married, too, and I might meet
a boy much nicer than you on the steamer."
"Meet him if you want to."
Lily looked at Johnny Trumbull with more than
respect -- with admiration -- but she kept guard over
her little tongue. "Well, you can leave that for
the future," said she with a grown-up air.
"I ain't going to leave it. It's settled for good
and all now," growled Johnny.
To his immense surprise, Lily curved her white
embroidered sleeve over her face and began to weep.
"What's the matter now?" asked Johnny, sulkily,
after a minute.
"I think you are a real horrid boy," sobbed Lily.
Lily looked like nothing but a very frilly, sweet,
white flower. Johnny could not see her face. There
was nothing to be seen except that delicate fluff of
white, supported on dainty white-socked, white-
"Say," said Johnny.
"You are real cruel, when I -- I saved your -- li-fe,"
"Say," said Johnny, "maybe if I don't see any
other girl I like better I will marry you when I am
grown up, but I won't if you don't stop that howl-
Lily stopped immediately. She peeped at him,
a blue peep from under the flopping, embroidered
brim of her hat. "Are you in earnest?" She smiled
faintly. Her blue eyes, wet with tears, were lovely;
so was her hesitating smile.
"Yes, if you don't act silly," said Johnny. "Now
you had better run home, or your mother will won-
der where that baby-carriage is."
Lily walked away, smiling over her shoulder, the
smile of the happily subjugated. "I won't tell any-
body, Johnny," she called back in her flute-like
"Don't care if you do," returned Johnny, looking
at her with chin in the air and shoulders square,
and Lily wondered at his bravery.
But Johnny was not so brave and he did care. He
knew that his best course was an immediate return
home, but he did not know what he might have to
face. He could not in the least understand why his
aunt Janet had not told at once. He was sure that
she knew. Then he thought of a possible reason for
her silence; she might have feared his arrest at the
hands of the chief of police. Johnny quailed. He
knew his aunt Janet to be rather a brave sort of
woman. If she had fears, she must have had reason
for them. He might even now be arrested. Suppose
Lily did tell. He had a theory that girls usually
told. He began to speculate concerning the horrors
of prison. Of course he would not be executed,
since his aunt was obviously very far from being
killed, but he might be imprisoned for a long term.
Johnny went home. He did not kick the dust
any more. He walked very steadily and staidly.
When he came in sight of the old Colonial mansion,
with its massive veranda pillars, he felt chilly. How-
ever, he went on. He passed around to the south
door and entered and smelled shortcake. It would
have smelled delicious had he not had so much on
his mind. He looked through the hall, and had a
glimpse of his uncle Jonathan in the study, writing.
At the right of the door was his father's office. The
door of that was open, and Johnny saw his father
pouring things from bottles. He did not look at
Johnny. His mother crossed the hall. She had
on a long white apron, which she wore when making
her famous cream shortcakes. She saw Johnny,
but merely observed, "Go and wash your face and
hands, Johnny; it is nearly supper-time."
Johnny went up-stairs. At the upper landing he
found his aunt Janet waiting for him. "Come
here," she whispered, and Johnny followed her,
trembling, into her own room. It was a large room,
rather crowded with heavy, old-fashioned furni-
ture. Aunt Janet had freed herself from dust and
was arrayed in a purple silk gown. Her hair was
looped loosely on either side of her long face. She
was a handsome woman, after a certain type.
"Stand here, Johnny," said she. She had closed
the door, and Johnny was stationed before her.
She did not seem in the least injured nor the worse
for her experience. On the contrary, there was a
bright-red flush on her cheeks, and her eyes shone
as Johnny had never seen them. She looked eagerly
"Why did you do that?" she said, but there was
no anger in her voice.
"I forgot," began Johnny.
"Forgot what?" Her voice was strained with
"That you were not another boy," said Johnny.
"Tell me," said Aunt Janet. "No, you need not
tell me, because if you did it might be my duty to
inform your parents. I know there is no need of
your telling. You MUST be in the habit of fighting
with the other boys."
"Except the little ones," admitted Johnny.
To Johnny's wild astonishment, Aunt Janet seized
him by the shoulders and looked him in the eyes
with a look of adoration and immense approval.
"Thank goodness," said she, "at last there is going
to be a fighter in the Trumbull family. Your uncle
would never fight, and your father would not. Your
grandfather would. Your uncle and your father are
good men, though; you must try to be like them,
"Yes, ma'am," replied Johnny, bewildered.
"I think they would be called better men than
your grandfather and my father," said Aunt Janet.
"I think it is time for you to have your grand-
father's watch," said Aunt Janet. "I think you are
man enough to take care of it." Aunt Janet had
all the time been holding a black leather case. Now
she opened it, and Johnny saw the great gold watch
which he had seen many times before and had always
understood was to be his some day, when he was a
man. "Here," said Aunt Janet. "Take good care
of it. You must try to be as good as your uncle and
father, but you must remember one thing -- you
will wear a watch which belonged to a man who
never allowed other men to crowd him out of the
way he elected to go."
"Yes, ma'am," said Johnny. He took the
"What do you say?" inquired his aunt, sharply.
"That's right. I thought you had forgotten your
manners. Your grandfather never did."
"I am sorry. Aunt Janet," muttered Johnny,
"that I --"
"You need never say anything about that," his
aunt returned, quickly. "I did not see who you
were at first. You are too old to be spanked by a
woman, but you ought to be whipped by a man,
and I wish your grandfather were alive to do it."
"Yes, ma'am," said Johnny. He looked at her
bravely. "He could if he wanted to," said he.
Aunt Janet smiled at him proudly. "Of course,"
said she, "a boy like you never gets the worst of it
fighting with other boys."
"No, ma'am," said Johnny.
Aunt Janet smiled again. "Now run and wash
your face and hands," said she; "you must not keep
supper waiting. Your mother has a paper to write
for her club, and I have promised to help her."
"Yes, ma'am," said Johnny. He walked out,
carrying the great gold timepiece, bewildered, em-
barrassed, modest beneath his honors, but little
cock of the walk, whether he would or no, for reasons
entirely and forever beyond his ken.
JOHNNY TRUMBULL, he who had demon-
strated his claim to be Cock of the Walk by a
most impious hand-to-hand fight with his own aunt,
Miss Janet Trumbull, in which he had been deci-
sively victorious, and won his spurs, consisting of his
late grandfather's immense, solemnly ticking watch,
was to take a new path of action. Johnny suddenly
developed the prominent Trumbull trait, but in his
case it was inverted. Johnny, as became a boy of
his race, took an excursion into the past, but instead
of applying the present to the past, as was the
tendency of the other Trumbulls, he forcibly applied
the past to the present. He fairly plastered the
past over the exigencies of his day and generation
like a penetrating poultice of mustard, and the
results were peculiar.
Johnny, being bidden of a rainy day during the
midsummer vacation to remain in the house, to
keep quiet, read a book, and be a good boy, obeyed,
but his obedience was of a doubtful measure of
Johnny got a book out of his uncle Jonathan Trum-
bull's dark little library while Jonathan was walking
sedately to the post-office, holding his dripping
umbrella at a wonderful slant of exactness, without
regard to the wind, thereby getting the soft drive
of the rain full in his face, which became, as it
were, bedewed with tears, entirely outside any
cause of his own emotions.
Johnny probably got the only book of an anti-
orthodox trend in his uncle's library. He found
tucked away in a snug corner an ancient collection
of Border Ballads, and he read therein of many
unmoral romances and pretty fancies, which, since
he was a small boy, held little meaning for him, or
charm, beyond a delight in the swing of the rhythm,
for Johnny had a feeling for music. It was when he
read of Robin Hood, the bold Robin Hood, with his
dubious ethics but his certain and unquenchable
interest, that Johnny Trumbull became intent. He
had the volume in his own room, being somewhat
doubtful as to whether it might be of the sort
included in the good-boy role. He sat beside a rain-
washed window, which commanded a view of the
wide field between the Trumbull mansion and Jim
Simmons's house, and he read about Robin Hood
and his Greenwood adventures, his forcible setting
the wrong right; and for the first time his imagina-
tion awoke, and his ambition. Johnny Trumbull,
hitherto hero of nothing except little material fist-
fights, wished now to become a hero of true romance.
In fact, Johnny considered seriously the possi-
bility of reincarnating, in his own person, Robin
Hood. He eyed the wide green field dreamily
through his rain-blurred window. It was a pretty
field, waving with feathery grasses and starred with
daisies and buttercups, and it was very fortunate
that it happened to be so wide. Jim Simmons's
house was not a desirable feature of the landscape,
and looked much better several acres away. It was
a neglected, squalid structure, and considered a dis-
grace to the whole village. Jim was also a disgrace,
and an unsolved problem. He owned that house,
and somehow contrived to pay the taxes thereon.
He also lived and throve in bodily health in spite of
evil ways, and his children were many. There
seemed no way to dispose finally of Jim Simmons
and his house except by murder and arson, and the
village was a peaceful one, and such measures were
entirely too strenuous.
Presently Johnny, staring dreamily out of his
window, saw approaching a rusty-black umbrella
held at precisely the wrong angle in respect of the
storm, but held with the unvarying stiffness with
which a soldier might hold a bayonet, and knew it
for his uncle Jonathan's umbrella. Soon he beheld
also his uncle's serious, rain-drenched face and his
long ambling body and legs. Jonathan was coming
home from the post-office, whither he repaired every
morning. He never got a letter, never anything
except religious newspapers, but the visit to the
post-office was part of his daily routine. Rain or
shine, Jonathan Trumbull went for the morning
mail, and gained thereby a queer negative enjoy-
ment of a perfectly useless duty performed. Johnny
watched his uncle draw near to the house, and cruelly
reflected how unlike Robin Hood he must be. He
even wondered if his uncle could possibly have read
Robin Hood and still show absolutely no result in his
own personal appearance. He knew that he, Johnny,
could not walk to the post-office and back, even with
the drawback of a dripping old umbrella instead of
a bow and arrow, without looking a bit like Robin
Hood, especially when fresh from reading about him.
Then suddenly something distracted his thoughts
from Uncle Jonathan. The long, feathery grass in
the field moved with a motion distinct from that
caused by the wind and rain. Johnny saw a tiger-