"Why, Anne, it pushes right out," said Rose. "It's only hooked down. Look!" and she pushed the heavy square outward. "But it doesn't go very far out," she added. "I wonder if you can crawl through. I do believe this shutter is shingled on the outside, so that nobody could tell there was a window. Oh, Anne! Isn't this a dreadful place!" Rose peered cautiously out of the open space. "Blow out the candle," she said quickly, drawing back into the room. "He might be outside and see the light."
Anne instantly obeyed.
"Now, Anne, dear," said Rose, "if you can get out what are you going to do?"
"I'll run back to the road as fast as I can go and get some people to come back here and rescue you," said Anne.
"Yes, but you had best go on; you know there are no houses for a long way on the road we came, and we must be nearer the Suet settlement than any other. You won't be afraid, Anne!"
"No, Rose," declared the little girl, "and if I think of you shut up here, even if I am afraid, I shall keep on until I find somebody and bring him to help you."
"That's splendid, Anne!" answered Rose. "Now step here beside me, and I'll lift you up."
THROUGH THE WINDOW
"Hold tight, Anne," whispered Rose.
Anne had succeeded in squeezing through the narrow window space, and Rose, leaning out as far as possible, kept a firm grasp on the little girl's hands.
"I'm going to let go now," whispered Rose; "try to drop easily, Anne," and in an instant Anne's feet touched the soft earth.
Rose watched her jump up and a moment later vanish in the thick growth of trees. Then she hooked the window securely, and sat down again on the iron chest. Her arms and shoulders felt lame and sore from holding Anne, but after a moment she forgot the ache and her thoughts turned to her father, and to brave little Anne traveling off through the darkness of the summer's night to bring help to her friends.
The house was so closely surrounded by woods that Anne had to move very carefully. The storm was over, but it was very dark in the shadow of the trees. For a few moments she wandered about, not quite knowing if she were moving in the right direction, but at last she found herself in the rough path up which Lady had made her way from the main road. Once or twice she stumbled and nearly fell over stumps of trees, but at last she reached the junction, and now the moonlight enabled her to see the white line of the sandy road stretching far ahead.
"I can run now," she whispered to herself, and sped away, her moccasin-covered feet making no sound as she ran. All at once Anne stopped suddenly, for coming down the road toward her were a number of dark figures. They were so near that she could hear the sound of their voices. Anne turned quickly to the roadside and crouched behind a bunch of low-growing shrubs. As the men came nearer one of them said:
"'Twas about here I saw something run into the woods."
"A fox, maybe," answered one of his companions.
"Maybe, and maybe not. It's not the time to take chances of a spy being about with those guns stored at Bill Mains'. I'm going to have a look around here and make sure," and the man turned straight toward the place where Anne crouched, fairly trembling with fear, for she had heard the man speak of the guns, and was quite sure that these men were Tories, as she supposed Bill Mains to be. She moved unconsciously, and the rustling betrayed her whereabouts, and the man took hold of her shoulder and drew her out into the road.
"Look at this! A little girl! Where's your father?" he demanded, drawing Anne toward his three companions, who were evidently too surprised to speak. "Where's your father?" he repeated, giving Anne a little shake.
"He—he's at sea," half sobbed Anne, hardly daring to lift her head, and wondering what dreadful fate would befall her if these men should discover that she had just escaped from Bill Mains' house, and that she knew all about the guns hidden there.
"Don't be rough with the little maid, Dan," said one of the men; "it's early in the evening yet, and no harm in a child being on the road. Like as not she hid there from fear of us. Do you live near here, little one?"
Anne now ventured to look up, but in the dusk could only see that the man who spoke so kindly was bareheaded, while the others wore slouch hats which shaded their faces.
"No, sir," she answered.
"There's no house for miles," declared the man who had discovered Anne, "and there's some older person about, you may be sure."
As he spoke Anne said to herself that she would not let them know how she came there. "If I do perhaps they will kill Mr. Freeman," thought the frightened child. So when they questioned her she would not answer, and the men now had some reason to believe that Anne had older companions who might indeed be spies upon those who sympathized with the Americans.
"Is it safe to go to Mains' house?" questioned one of the men, and there was a little talk among them over the matter, but they decided to go on; and, holding Anne fast by the hand, the man who had drawn her out from her hiding-place led the way, and Anne had not been away from the shingled house but an hour or two before she found herself again at the front door.
In response to a low whistle the door opened and the men filed into the room. Bill Mains, holding a candle in his hand, stood in the little passageway and as he saw Anne he nearly let the candle fall, and exclaimed in amazement:
"Where did you find that child? I had her double locked up in the brick room."
"Are you sure of it?" asked the man who kept so tight a grasp on Anne's arm that the mark of his fingers showed for several days after.
"Of course I'm sure; locked two of them up there before the thunder-storm, and have their father tied up in the kitchen. Tory spies they are."
At the sound of the hated words Anne exclaimed: "Indeed we are not Tory spies. We are not either of those things. Mr. Freeman is a patriot, and his son is with Washington. How dare you say we are Tories and treat us so!" and the little girl quite forgot her fear, and, as the hold on her arm loosened, she took a step away from the man and said: "We were going to Boston, and going to stop at Suet to see Captain Sears, and that man," and she pointed at Bill Mains, "shut us up because Rose and I peeked under a blanket at some guns."
As Anne stopped speaking the men looked at one another in surprise. At last the bareheaded man began to laugh, and the others joined in; all but Bill Mains, who looked somewhat ashamed.
"You've been a bit too cautious, I reckon, Bill," said the man who had found Anne. "Mr. Freeman of Boston is known as a loyal man. Did he not tell you who he was?"
"I gave him no chance after I found this little maid looking at the guns I had covered with blankets," confessed Mains. "I told him I'd gag him if he said one word, and I reckon he thought he had fallen into the hands of a rank Tory. Who are you, little maid?" and he turned kindly toward Anne.
"I am John Nelson's daughter, who is at sea on the 'Yankee Hero,' and I live with Uncle Enos and Aunt Martha Stoddard in Province Town, but now I am going with Rose Freeman for a visit in Boston," explained Anne, who could hardly realize that these men were now kindly disposed toward her, and that Bill Mains was sadly ashamed to have so ill treated his unexpected guests. "You must let Rose right out of that dark room," she added hastily.
"I should say so. You shall open the door yourself, little maid," answered Mains. "You boys go on to the kitchen and get Mr. Freeman's pardon for me if you can," and he turned and led Anne toward the room where Rose was locked in.
When Rose saw Anne standing in the doorway she exclaimed: "Oh, Anne, has he brought you back!" in such an unhappy voice that Bill Mains felt very uncomfortable.
"It's all right, Rose. You are to come right out where your father is. There are some nice men out there," declared Anne, clasping her hands about Rose's arm.
"Oh! then you found help," and there was a world of relief in Rose's voice as Anne led her out of the room, which Mr. Mains did not forget to lock carefully behind them.
"He thought we were Tory spies; that's why he locked us up," Anne explained, in a tone that almost seemed to praise Mr. Mains for such precaution.
"Tory spies, indeed!" said Rose, sending a scornful glance in his direction. "He should have known better. Where is my father?"
"Right this way, miss," replied Mr. Mains humbly, and the girls followed him to the kitchen where they found Mr. Freeman surrounded by the four men who had brought Anne back to the house.
Rose's father was as ready to pardon the mistake as Bill Mains was eager to have him.
"It's worth a little trouble to find we have such good men ready to defend our cause," he declared, "but I am afraid my girls here are pretty tired, and if you can give them a room without cannon and powder, I'm sure they will sleep well," as indeed they did in a neat little chamber into which Mr. Mains conducted them, bringing in the little trunk which had been strapped on the back of the chaise.
Mr. Freeman had believed that he was in the hands of the Tories, so that he did not greatly blame his host for being doubtful regarding him.
"It will delay us a little on our journey, but it is no great matter," he said pleasantly in response to Mains' repeated apologies. Then Mains explained that this house had been built of brick, and then boarded over and covered with shingles, as a storehouse for supplies for the American army. The four men had just returned from carrying powder to a couple of Yankee boats at Plymouth. These boats were among the many privateers that cruised about during the Revolution, harassing English vessels, and often capturing rich prizes, and helping the American cause. They stayed late in the evening talking with Mr. Freeman, and listening with interest to what he could tell them of affairs in Boston; and when they started off on their way toward Brewster they promised to let his brother know of the mistake, which seemed to them a very good joke on their friend Mains.
Mr. Mains was up at an early hour the next morning, and Mr. Freeman declared the breakfast to be the best that he had ever tasted. There was broiled partridge, hot corn bread, a big dish of freshly picked blueberries, and plenty of good milk; and Anne and Rose thought that nothing could be better, and even decided that Mr. Mains did not look like a pirate after all. "For I don't believe pirates wear brown gingham aprons, do you, Rose?" said Anne, watching Mr. Mains awkwardly tying his apron strings.
Lady had been well cared for, and was rested and ready for the journey when Mr. Mains led her up to the door for the girls to enter the chaise.
"I'm mighty sorry," he repeated as he helped the girls in, "sorry, I mean, to have locked you folks up; but real glad to know you," and he waved them a smiling good-bye, as Mr. Freeman carefully guided Lady along the rough way to the main road.
"Well, Anne, I guess you'll remember this journey all your life," said Rose, as they reached the highway and Lady trotted briskly along as if glad to find her feet on good sand again. "Just think, father," she continued, "of all that has happened to her since she left Province Town, and she's not in Boston yet."
"Things happened when I went to Boston before," said Anne, remembering her brief visit to Newburyport, when she had safely carried a paper of importance to loyal Americans.
"I think all will go smoothly now," said Mr. Freeman, "but it was a very brave thing for a little girl to start off alone for help, as you did last night, Anne," and he looked kindly down at the little girl beside him. "Had we indeed been held prisoners by Tories you might have secured help for us, as you thought to do."
"But she really did help us, father," said Rose; "it was Anne who made them understand who we really were. I do believe we might be shut up still if Anne had not found a way to help us. Your father will be proud of you, Anne, when I tell him the story."
It made Anne very happy to have Mr. Freeman and Rose praise her, and she quite forgave the man who had pulled her from behind the bushes, and whose finger marks she could still feel on her arm.
"I hope it won't rain to-day," said Mr. Freeman. "We ought to get to Sandwich by noon, and after Lady has rested, we'll go on as far as we can. Lady seems as anxious to get to Boston as we do," for the big horse was traveling at a rapid pace, and going as if she enjoyed it.
"You shall go and see Faneuil Hall when you are in Boston, Anne," promised Rose, "and Mr. Hancock's fine house. It has terraces and stone steps, and the English officers would well like to take up their quarters there."
"They seem well satisfied with Vardy for a landlord at the 'Royal Exchange,'" answered Mr. Freeman smilingly. "Look, there is a wasp's nest as big as a bucket," and Mr. Freeman pointed his whip toward a huge gray ball hanging from the branch of a partly decayed tree near the road.
"It's a beauty," said Rose, leaning out to see the wonderful ball of gray paper which swung from the branch above them.
Mr. Freeman turned Lady to the further side of the road and said, "If the wasps have deserted their house, as they sometimes do at this season, I'd like to get it to take home to the children. I never saw so large a nest. I can soon find out," he concluded.
The brown horse stood quietly while Mr. Freeman and the girls got out of the chaise.
"Stay here a moment," said Mr. Freeman, and he walked back toward the tree and threw a small round stone at the nest. It hit the mark, but no angry wasps appeared. Another stone touched it more forcibly, and, when the third failed to bring a single wasp from the nest, Mr. Freeman declared that he knew it was vacant, and cutting a branch from a slender birch tree with his pocket-knife, which he speedily made into a smooth pole, he managed to secure the nest without damaging it and brought it proudly back to show to Rose and Anne, neither of whom had ever seen one before.
"It's just like paper," said Anne admiringly, touching it carefully.
"That's just what it is," said Mr. Freeman. "I expect men learned from wasps how to make paper. For wasps go to work in a very business-like way. They chew up dead and crumbling wood and spread it out smoothly, and when it dries and hardens there is a sheet of paper, all ready to be used as one of the layers for this dry warm nest. Men make paper by grinding up wood or linen rags."
"You can put the nest in our lunch-basket, father," said Rose. "Frederick and Millicent will think it the most wonderful thing they have ever seen."
Frederick and Millicent were Rose's younger brother and sister. Frederick was about Anne's age, but little Millicent was only six years old.
Lady turned her head as if to ask why they were lingering so far from a good stable; and Rose and Anne stopped a moment before getting in the chaise to rub her soft nose and tell her that she would soon be in Sandwich and should have a good feed of oats for her dinner.
"We shall reach the tavern in good season for dinner," said Mr. Freeman, as they drove into the village of Sandwich.
It seemed a very wonderful thing to the little maid from Province Town to drive up to the inn, with its big painted sign swinging from a post near the road, and she took hold of Rose's hand as if half afraid.
Rose looked down at her little friend with a smiling face.
"Why, Anne," she said laughingly, "you were not a bit afraid to start off through the woods alone, or to journey with Indians, and here you are trembling because you are going into this little tavern for dinner."
Anne managed to smile, but she kept a tight clasp on Rose's hand. It was not that she was frightened, but as she stepped from the chaise she had heard one of the loiterers about the door exclaim, "Look at the child, bareheaded and wearing moccasins," and her quick glance had comprehended the exchange of smiles; and Anne now felt uncomfortable and realized that she was not suitably dressed to travel in the high chaise. She looked at Rose, with her pretty dress of blue dimity, and white hat with its broad ribbon, her neat shoes and stockings, and realized that there was a great contrast in their appearance. Anne was very silent all through the meal and ate but little. Even Mr. Freeman began to notice that she was very silent and grave, and thought to himself that the little girl might be homesick.
"We can drive to Plymouth this afternoon," he said, as they finished their dinner. "It is only about twenty miles, and we can get there early in the evening."
Anne knew all about Plymouth. From the hill in Province Town she had looked across the water to Plymouth, and Uncle Enos had told her that many years ago a band of Pilgrims from England had landed at Province Town, and then sailed on and settled in Plymouth. Uncle Enos had wondered at it, and had shook his head over a people who would willingly settle in any other place than Province Town.
The road now followed the shore very closely, and Rose was interested in watching the boats, and the many flocks of wild sea-birds circling about in the summer air. But Anne leaned back in the corner of the chaise silent and troubled. The more she thought about her lack of all the things that Rose had the more unhappy she became. "They will all be ashamed of me when I get to Boston," she thought, "and I have no money to buy things, and it will be three weeks or more before my dear father will reach Boston. Oh, dear!" And Anne, for the moment, wished herself back on the Province Town sands where a bareheaded, moccasin-shod little girl could be as happy as the day was long.
The sun had set, and it was in the cool of the early evening when they drove through Plymouth's main street. They were all tired and quite ready for bed. It seemed a very large town to Anne, with its meeting-houses and stores, but she was glad that it was nearly dark and hoped that no one would notice that she had no hat or sunbonnet.
"If I had not run away Aunt Martha would have seen to it that I had things like other girls," and she said to herself that "always, always, after this I'll tell Aunt Martha before I do things."
"To-morrow night we'll be in Boston, Anne! Think of that," said Rose happily, when the landlady had shown them to the comfortable chamber that they were to occupy for the night. "Father says we'll start by sunrise, and give Lady a rest at Scituate. Just think of all I shall have to tell when I get home. And then we'll go to the shops the very next day. Oh, Anne! I can't keep the secret another minute," and Rose came to the window where Anne stood looking out, and putting her arm over the younger girl's shoulder whispered in her ear: "Captain Stoddard gave me two golden guineas to spend for you, Anne. He said your father left them to buy clothes for you. I planned not to tell you until we were really in the shops and ready to purchase, but I thought it too good news to keep longer," and Rose smiled down at her little friend.
"Two guineas to buy clothes!" Anne's voice sounded as if such good fortune was almost beyond belief.
"And I can have a hat, and shoes and stockings, since my own were left behind in the wigwam?" she said questioningly.
"Indeed you can. And mother will go with us, and I doubt not you will have a pretty dress and slippers as well as shoes, and many fine things, for two guineas is a large sum to spend."
"Perhaps I shall not need to spend it all for clothes," said Anne; "then I can buy a present for Aunt Martha and Uncle Enos, and perhaps something for Amanda."
"Amanda!" echoed Rose. "Well, Anne, I would not take her home a gift; she does not deserve one from you."
Anne was silent, but she was excusing Amanda in her thoughts. As Amos so often said of Jimmie Starkweather that "nothing ever happens to Jimmie," so did Anne think of Amanda. She somehow felt sorry for Amanda, and had quite forgiven the ugly slaps her playmate had given her.
It took Anne a good while to go to sleep that night. Blue dimity dresses and shining slippers danced before her wakeful eyes, and a white ribbon to tie back her hair. Already she was trying to decide what her present to Amanda should be; and it seemed to her that she had just gone to sleep when Rose was shaking her gently and saying: "Time to get up."
The travelers were all in the best of spirits that morning: Rose, happy to be so near home, Anne delighted at the prospect of having dresses like the girls who lived in Boston, and Mr. Freeman had had the best of news from Plymouth friends, who declared that news from Philadelphia had been received stating that the Congress there was agreed upon declaring the independence of America.
"'Tis what Mr. Samuel Adams has worked so hard for," Mr. Freeman told the girls; "and when the Congress has fully determined upon the form of the declaration word will be sent post-haste to Boston; and I trust, too, that Mr. Adams may be spared for a visit to his family. He has been absent from Boston for a year past."
Mr. Freeman had asked the landlord to furnish them with a luncheon, as he did not know if there would be a suitable place to procure food in Scituate; and with a bag of oats for Lady fastened on top of the little trunk, and a basket of luncheon under the seat of the chaise, the travelers could choose just when and where to stop.
"We'll keep a sharp outlook for a good clear stream of water," said Mr. Freeman.
"And I hope we can stop near the shore," said Rose; "I'd like to go in wading."
Anne thought that it would not make much difference where they stopped. The fragrant summer air, the pleasant shadow of the trees along the road, and the hope of soon being in Boston so filled her thoughts that where or what she ate seemed of little consequence.
Several hours after leaving Plymouth they found themselves on a pleasant stretch of road bordering the water.
"There is the very beach for wading!" exclaimed Rose happily, and even as she spoke they heard the splash of falling water and just before them was a rough bridge of logs over a rapid stream of clear water. Lady nearly stopped, and gave a little whinny as if asking for a drink.
"Just the place!" declared Mr. Freeman; "and here's a good piece of greensward in the shade for Lady," and he turned into a little grassy field beyond the bridge where a big beech tree stood, making a grateful circle of shade.
"Lady must have a couple of hours' rest," said Mr. Freeman, "so you girls can go down to the beach or do whatever you like until you are ready for luncheon."
The girls took off their shoes and stockings and ran down to the water's edge, and were soon wading about enjoying the cool water. After a little while they tired of wading and went up on the dry warm sand. Patches of bayberry bushes grew near the shore, and their fragrant leaves and small gray berries at once attracted Rose's attention. She had never before seen this shrub, a species of myrtle, and Anne was delighted to find something that she could tell the elder girl.
"It's bayberry, Rose. Just rub the leaves between your fingers and see how sweet it smells," she said. "Aunt Martha makes candles of these little green berries, and likes them better than tallow candles. When you snuff them out they make all the room smell just like this," and Anne held the bruised leaves up for Rose to smell.
"I don't see how candles could be made of these little berries," said Rose.
"And Aunt Martha makes a fine salve from them, too," continued Anne. "When she makes the candles I gather the berries, quarts and quarts, and she boils them in a kettle, and then skims off the top, and boils it again, and then turns it into the molds."
"Come to luncheon, girls!" called Mr. Freeman, and they ran back to the grassy field and the shade of the beech tree. On one side Lady was nibbling her oats happily. The lunch basket stood open; Mr. Freeman handed Rose a small tin drinking cup, and the girls ran down to the brook for a drink of the clear water.
"Cape Cod twists about Massachusetts Bay like a long arm, doesn't it, father?" said Rose, as they all seated themselves around the lunch basket.
Mr. Freeman laughed at Rose's description of the Cape, but nodded his head in agreement.
"I believe it does, my dear," he answered. "Province Town is the hand curved in, and Truro the wrist; Chatham must be the elbow, and now we are getting pretty well up to the shoulder."
After luncheon they all went back to the shore, and picked up many tiny shells. Some of these were clear white, and others a delicate pink. Mr. Freeman told them that the Indian women pricked tiny holes, with a small sharp-pointed awl, in these shells and strung them like beads, and Rose and Anne thought it would be a fine plan to carry a quantity of shells to Boston and string them into necklaces.
The time went swiftly, and when Mr. Freeman said that Lady had now had a good rest and would be quite ready to start on, the girls reluctantly left the beach and walked slowly toward the chaise.
"I wonder where father and Lady are?" said Rose, and as she spoke Mr. Freeman came running across the little green field.
"Lady is gone! Stolen, I'm afraid," he called out.
The girls looked at him in amazement.
"She was securely fastened, and even if she got loose would not have gone far," he continued, "and there is no trace of her." Mr. Freeman's face was very anxious, and Rose exclaimed:
"But who could take Lady, father? We have not seen a person since we left Plymouth."
"Some strolling person," answered Mr. Freeman; "perhaps some frightened Tory from one of the loyal settlements on his way toward a place of safety."
Anne stood silent, holding up the skirt of her dress filled with the pretty shells.
"And shall we have to walk to Boston?" asked Rose.
"And leave this good chaise? I think not; though I hardly know how we can remain here," said Mr. Freeman.
For an hour or more they searched the near-by woods and up and down the road, but there was no trace to be found of Lady, nor did they find anything to tell them of how she had vanished.
"Your mother told me that it was no time for a visit so far from home," said Mr. Freeman, "and if Lady is indeed stolen I shall have good reason to wish that I had stayed at home. I hardly dare send you girls along the road alone, but if I leave this chaise it may disappear as Lady has done."
"Where could we go, father?"
"We are not far from Scituate, and any of the settlers who have a horse would come back and get the chaise," he answered. "I do not know of any harm that could befall you if you keep in the highway."
"Of course we must go," Rose decided quickly, and Anne looked at her friend admiringly, thinking, as she so often did, that she would like to be exactly like Rose Freeman.
In the excitement of discovering that Lady had disappeared Rose had dropped all the pretty shells she had gathered, but Anne was holding her skirt tightly clasped.
"Put your shells in the lunch basket, Anne," said Mr. Freeman; "I'll pick up those you have dropped, Rose. We shall reach Boston some time, and you will be glad of these to remind you of an adventurous journey," and his smile made the girls ready to start off with better courage.
"Stop at the first house on the road," directed Mr. Freeman; "tell them who you are, and what has befallen us, and ask them to come to my assistance, and for permission to stay at the house until I come for you."
"Yes, father," replied Rose, and then she and Anne started down the road. They kept in the shade for some distance, then the road ran up a long sandy hill where the sun came down fully upon them, and before they reached the summit they were very warm and tired.
"There's a house!" exclaimed Anne, as they stopped to rest on the top of the hill.
"Thank goodness!" exclaimed Rose. "And it's a farmhouse. See the big barns. There are sure to be horses there."
The girls quite forgot the heat, and ran down the sandy hill and hurried along the road, which now was a smoother and better one than any over which they had traveled, and in a short time were near the comfortable farmhouse. A woman was standing in the doorway watching them.
"Where in the world did you girls come from," she called out as they opened the gate, "in all this heat? Come right in. I should think your folks must be crazy to let you walk in the sun. Was that your father who went galloping by on a brown horse just now?"
As soon as the woman finished speaking Rose told her their story.
"Then that man had stolen your horse! A Tory, I'll wager; and like enough a spy," said the woman; "and my menfolks all away. There are two horses in the pasture; if you girls can catch one of 'em and ride it back to where your father's waiting, why, you're welcome."
Anne and Rose looked at each other almost in dismay. Neither of them had ever been on the back of a horse, and to go into a pasture and catch a strange horse seemed to them very much like facing a wild beast.
"We'll try," said Rose with a little smile.
"I thought you would," said the woman approvingly. "I'd go myself, but I've got bread in the oven, and I must see to it."
The woman led the way to a shed and filling a shallow pan with oats from a big bin, handed it to Rose, saying: "You go right through those bars—leave 'em down; I'll put 'em up for you—and shake these oats and call 'Range, Range,' and the old horse will be sure to come, and the colt will follow."
Rose took the pan, and Anne pulled back the heavy bars, and they went a few steps beyond the fence into the pasture and began to call "Range! Range!"
In a moment there was the thud, thud of hoofs and two black horses came dashing down the pasture. Their long manes and tails gave them a terrifying look to the two girls, who, nevertheless, stood their ground, Rose holding out the pan as the woman had bidden her.
"Oh, Rose! They'll run right over us!" exclaimed Anne, watching the horses rushing toward them so swiftly.
AUNT ANNE ROSE
But the horses came to a sudden stop a few feet from where the girls stood. Then one turned and rushed away, kicking up his heels as if to say: "I'm not to be caught!"
Rose kept on calling "Range! Range!" and shaking the pan, and the other horse stepped forward and stuck his nose into the dish.
"Grab hold of his mane, Anne. Quick! and hold on tight!" said Rose; "the woman is coming now with the bridle."
Anne obeyed, holding fast to the black mane until Mrs. Pierce came running from the barn, bringing a blanket and a bridle.
"I'm glad you caught Range," she said; "he's used to a saddle, and the colt is wild as a deer." While she talked she was strapping the blanket securely on the horse's back, and now slipped the bit into his mouth.
"The little girl better go," she continued, nodding toward Anne. "You just climb that fence, and I'll lead Range alongside and you can get on his back nicely. Sit boy fashion; it's safer. No sense as I can see in a girl jest hanging on to one side of anything," and almost before she knew it Anne found herself on the back of the black horse.
Mrs. Pierce, who had told the girls her name on the way to the pasture, led Range out into the road and headed him in the right direction.
"If he don't go fast enough kick your heels against his sides and call to him," directed the woman, handing the reins to Anne, and giving the horse a sharp slap that sent him off at a good pace.
It seemed to Anne as if she were going up into the air, or over the horse's head. But somehow she managed to keep on Range's back, though she did not dare to give a backward look.
"Range will bring your pa back in no time, don't you worry," said Mrs. Pierce, giving Rose a kindly pat on the shoulder; then exclaiming, "The bread!" she ran back to the house, leaving Rose looking down the road, and wondering, a little fearfully, if Anne would reach the big beech tree without being thrown into the road.
Then she looked the other way, in the direction of Boston, and wondered what would befall Lady.
"Come in, my dear, out of this hot sun," Mrs. Pierce called from the doorway, and Rose went slowly up the path and entered the big square room at the right of the small square entry.
"You sit right down and I'll bring you a drink," and Mrs. Pierce drew forward a comfortable rocking-chair for her young guest, and was soon back with a cup of milk and a square of fresh gingerbread.
"I should admire to have a girl just like you," declared Mrs. Pierce, taking the empty cup. "I can see that you've a real good disposition, and a girl would be a sight of company to me."
Then Rose told her about her own mother, and had begun to tell her Anne Nelson's little history, when Mrs. Pierce again exclaimed: "My bread!" and hurried off to the kitchen.
Rose went to the open window and looked out, wondering how long it would be before her father would reach the farmhouse, and it seemed a long time to wait in spite of the friendly kindness of Mrs. Pierce.
The black horse went along at an easy pace, and after a little Anne ceased to be afraid, held the bridle-reins more easily, and even ventured to look about a little.
"Things keep happening," she thought. "I hope nothing has carried off Mr. Freeman and the chaise!"
Mr. Freeman was standing in the roadway, and as he saw Range with Anne on his back coming rapidly toward him he gave an exclamation of surprise. At a word the horse stopped, and Mr. Freeman lifted Anne from his back.
"A man went by Mrs. Pierce's with Lady before we got there," said Anne, after she had told him of the farmhouse, of Mrs. Pierce, and of catching Range.
While she talked Mr. Freeman was harnessing Range into the chaise, and they were soon on the way to the farm.
Rose and Mrs. Pierce were at the gate to meet them.
"Oh, father! Can't you go after Lady?" asked Rose.
Mr. Freeman looked at Mrs. Pierce questioningly. "If Mrs. Pierce will lend me a horse I'll go at once," he replied; "there are a good many houses along the way now, and I might get some trace of the thief."
"You go right along. Take the colt; he's as fast as any horse hereabouts, and maybe you can overtake the fellow," replied Mrs. Pierce.
Mr. Freeman captured the colt, and, telling Rose not to worry if he did not return until night, started off, the colt going at a pace that made the girls exclaim in admiration.
"I'm real sorry you folks should be so set back in your journey, but it's real pleasant for me to have company," said Mrs. Pierce, with a smiling look at her young visitors. "It's days and weeks sometimes without my seeing any one but my husband and the boys. Now we'll sit down here and you tell me all about your journey."
"It's just like a story!" declared Mrs. Pierce, when they had finished. "And now you are going to Boston, and you will see the streets and shops, and churches." She gave a little sigh as she finished, and Anne and Rose wished that it was possible for Mrs. Pierce to go to Boston with them.
"I don't suppose you could mark out a little plan of Boston, could you?" she said to Rose. "I like to imagine things to myself when I'm here alone, and if I knew how the streets went, and where you lived, why, I could say to myself, 'To-day Rose and Anne are going up King Street toward the State House, and up Long-acre Street to the Common,' and it would seem almost as if I saw you when I looked at the plan."
"Yes, I think I could," said Rose, and Mrs. Pierce brought a sheet of paper and a red crayon from a big desk in the corner and laid them on the table.
Mrs. Pierce and Anne watched Rose mark out the Common and the Mall. "The Mall is where the fine people walk in the afternoon," she said. "Mr. Hancock's mansion is right here, on Beacon Hill, where you get a fine view across the Charles River to Charlestown."
Then she marked Copp's Hill. "This is where the British had their guns when the great battle was fought at Bunker Hill," she said.
Mrs. Pierce listened eagerly. "I can 'most see it all!" she exclaimed. "Now show me where your house is," and Rose made a little square for her home.
"We are nearer the harbor than many houses are," she explained, "for my father owns a wharf, and it is convenient to be where he can see boats and vessels coming in."
The girls had been so interested, Rose in drawing and explaining, and Anne in listening, that time passed very rapidly, and when Rose finished Mrs. Pierce opened the door of a queer little cupboard beside the chimney and took out a small square box.
"My! Is that a gold box!" exclaimed Anne admiringly, for the box shone and glittered in the light.
"If it was I wouldn't keep it these days, when our poor soldiers need food and clothes," replied Mrs. Pierce; "it is brass, one my grandfather brought from France." As she spoke she lifted the cover and took out two little cases of brown leather, and handed one to Rose and the other to Anne. "Open the little clasps," she said.
The girls obeyed, and as the little cases opened they exclaimed admiringly, for each case held a pair of scissors, a silver thimble, a tiny emery ball and a needle book.
"My uncle brought me those when I was about your age," Mrs. Pierce said to Anne. "I never quite made out why he brought two until this very day, but I see now," and she smiled happily at her little visitors. "I see now, because I can give one to each of you girls!"
After the girls had thanked her, and tried on the thimbles, and declared that the cases were almost too nice to use, Mrs. Pierce left them for a few moments.
"Rose," exclaimed Anne, "wouldn't it be splendid if Mrs. Pierce would let us make believe that she was our aunt?"
"Perhaps she will; she told me that she hadn't any brothers or sisters, or anybody except her husband and two sons," said Rose. "We might ask her if she would be willing for us, when we talk about her to each other, to call her 'Aunt Anne Rose'!"
"If your father only gets Lady back we'll be real glad the man took her; shan't we, Rose?" said Anne thoughtfully.
"Because we found Aunt Anne Rose? Why, yes, I suppose we shall," replied Rose. "But isn't it funny she should have our names! You ask her, Anne, if she is willing for us to call her aunt."
"There!" exclaimed Mrs. Pierce, when Anne ran into the kitchen and asked the question, "if I wasn't wishing for that very thing. I count it as a real blessing that some one went off with your horse! I do indeed. And if Rose's father don't find Lady he can borrow our colt for the rest of the journey."
It was late in the afternoon before Mr. Freeman returned, but he did not bring Lady, nor had he any news of her.
Mr. Pierce and his sons returned home at nightfall, and made the travelers feel that they were as pleased as "Aunt Anne Rose" to have their guests remain for the night.
Mr. Freeman looked a little puzzled when he heard the girls calling Mrs. Pierce "Aunt Anne Rose," and when Mrs. Pierce told him that was really her name he thought, as the girls had, that it was almost like discovering a relative. Mr. Pierce had insisted that they should borrow the black colt for the remainder of their journey, and they were ready to start at an early hour the next morning.
Rose was tying the ribbons to her pretty hat, while Anne watched her a little wistfully, wishing that she had a hat—almost any kind of a hat, she thought—so that she might not look like "a little wild girl," as she had overheard some one call her at the Sandwich tavern. Just then she felt something placed gently on her head and saw two broad brown ribbons falling each side of her face.
"Oh!" she exclaimed, looking up in wonder.
Mrs. Pierce stood beside her. "There!" she exclaimed. "What kind of a milliner do you think I should make for the fine ladies in Boston?" and she lifted the hat from Anne's head, holding it up for the girls to see.
It was a round flat hat, plaited of straw. It had no trimming save a pretty bow and strings of brown ribbon, but Anne thought it was a beautiful hat.
"It's one I plaited last year," continued Mrs. Pierce, putting the hat back on Anne's head, and tying the brown ribbon under her chin. "I did it evenings, just to keep busy. I do wish I had a prettier ribbon for it."
"Is it for me?" asked Anne, almost afraid that it was almost too much good fortune to expect.
"Of course it is. 'Twill serve to remind you of your Aunt Anne," and the friendly woman smiled down at Anne's happy face.
"We will write you a letter, Aunt Anne Rose," said Rose, as they walked down the path to where the chaise awaited them, "and you will come and visit my mother in Boston, will you not?"
"Mr. Pierce has already promised that they will both come," said Mr. Freeman.
"And, Anne," and Mrs. Pierce patted the little hand she was holding so closely, "you tell your father that you have found another aunt, and that he must let you come and stay with me for a long long visit."
Then good-byes were said, and they were again started on their journey.
"No stops this time—except to ask for news of Lady—until I reach my own house," declared Mr. Freeman. "'Tis a good cool morning and we ought to get home by midday."
"Perhaps we shall find Lady," suggested Rose. But Mr. Freeman shook his head.
"I'm afraid it will be a long time before we get any news of her," he said soberly. "I only hope the thief will not abuse her." The brown horse had always been petted and made much of, and neither Mr. Freeman nor Rose could bear to think of her in the hands of people who would not be kind to her.
Every now and then Anne would take off the plaited straw hat and look at it with admiring eyes. "I shall not have to buy a hat now, Rose," she said.
"But you will want a prettier one than that," responded her friend.
"A prettier hat!" Anne's tone seemed to say that she could not imagine a prettier hat, and she shook her head. "I sha'n't ever want any other hat," she declared. "I mean to keep this always because Aunt Anne Rose gave it to me."
The black colt sped along as if it was nothing but play to pull the big chaise. The girls told Mr. Freeman of all that Aunt Anne Rose had said about the big farm, and of her own loneliness when her husband and sons were away. Rose noticed that, although her father listened, his glance traveled sharply over the pastures as they went along; and that now and then he leaned out for a clearer view of some horse feeding near the road, and she realized that he was keeping an outlook for Lady.
But there was no sign of the pretty brown horse, and Mr. Freeman's inquiries at houses and in villages along the way did not give him any news of Lady. There was so much for Anne to see and think about that she hardly realized what a serious loss had befallen her good friends. But as they drove down Long-acre Street, past Boston Common, and turned into the street where the Freemans' house stood, she saw that Rose and Mr. Freeman both looked very downcast.
"What will mother say?" Rose half whispered, as if to herself.
Mrs. Freeman was at the door to welcome them.
"And here is our little maid from Province Town," she said, putting her arm about Anne. "You are indeed welcome, dear child; and it is a fine time for a little girl to visit Boston."
Mr. Freeman had expected his wife to ask what had become of Lady, and was surprised that she did not. He led the colt toward the stable, which stood in a paved yard back of the house, and Frederick ran ahead to open the stable door.
"Upon my soul!" exclaimed Mr. Freeman, for there in her own comfortable stall was Lady, munching her noonday meal as if everything was just as usual.
"The man got here last night with Lady," explained Frederick; "he was in a great hurry to get a boat, and he told me—for mother was at a neighbor's—that you'd be coming on to-day. Was he taking a message to American troops? Mother said that must be his business; that you'd lend Lady for no other reason," and the boy looked at his father questioningly.
"I hope that may have been his errand," said Mr. Freeman, "but I fear he was on other business. The Tories are more anxious than Americans for boats just now," and he told the boy how Lady had been stolen. "But who ever it was must have known me and where I live," he concluded; "'tis not every thief who leaves the horse in its owner's stable."
"But your name is on the little brass plate on Lady's bridle," Frederick reminded him, "so 'twould be easy if the man were honest."
Mr. Freeman cautioned them not to tell any one but Rose's mother of their discovery of the shingled house in the woods where Bill Mains had the hidden stores.
"No one knows just whom to trust these days," he said, "and if such news was known to those who sympathize with the English they'd soon be after his guns and powder."
"I think we will have a sewing-bee," Mrs. Freeman said, when Rose had told her the story of Anne's flight from Province Town, and that the little girl had no clothing, but had two golden guineas to spend. "You and Anne will have to be busy with your needles for a part of each day until she has proper clothes. And early to-morrow morning we will walk up to Mistress Mason's shop on Cornhill and get her some shoes."
The little room that opened from Rose's chamber had a broad window which looked toward the harbor. There were white curtains at this window, tied back with crocheted bands of white cotton. The floor was painted a soft grayish brown, and there were strips of rag carpet spread beside the white covered bed, and in front of the mahogany bureau. There was a looking-glass hung over this bureau. By standing on tiptoe Anne could see herself in it. In one corner of the room was a wash-stand with a blue china bowl and pitcher. Near the window was a low table and a rocking-chair.
It was a very neat and pleasant room, and to Anne it seemed beautiful. That it opened directly into the big square chamber where Rose slept made her feel very much at home. She wished that Aunt Martha Stoddard could see it, and she went to the window and looked off across the blue waters of the harbor wishing that she could see Aunt Martha and tell her all the wonderful things that had befallen her.
It was decided that Anne was to have a pair of slippers with straps fastening around the in-step and a pair of shoes for every-day wear. Mrs. Freeman had a good store of white stockings which Rose had outgrown and from these a number were selected for Anne. When she was dressed ready to go to the shops with Mrs. Freeman and Rose the latter exclaimed:
"Mother, mayn't I open the parlor shutters so that Anne can see herself in the long mirror?"
"Why, yes; but be very careful to close them that the sun may not strike on the carpet," replied Mrs. Freeman, a little reluctantly; for the Freemans' parlor was a very grand room and opened only when company was asked to tea, or when some distinguished person came to call.
Rose turned the brass knob, pushed open the white-paneled door and tiptoed into the shadowy room. "Come in, Anne!" she called, and Anne followed. She had not seen this room when she had visited the Freemans with Uncle Enos two years before.
"Oh!" she exclaimed, half fearfully, as her feet sank into the soft carpet. Then she stood quite still until Rose had opened the paneled inside shutters at one of the large windows. She looked about her in wonder. Directly opposite the door was a fireplace with a high white mantel and over the mantel was the portrait of a very old lady who seemed to be smiling straight at Anne.
"Come in," Rose repeated, with a little laugh of pleasure at Anne's evident admiration, and she led her little visitor toward the front of the room where a long mirror, from ceiling to floor, was fastened against the wall between the two windows. "Look at yourself, Anne. You can see the room afterward," she said, and Anne looked into the mirror and smiled, for she saw a little dark-eyed girl with smoothly braided hair, wearing a hat of plaited straw with a brown ribbon, and a dress of brown linen with a pretty frill at the neck. She looked down admiringly at her white stockings and new shoes, and then twisted her head in the hope of seeing the back of this neat little girl. She quite forgot the soft carpet, and the shining tables and cushioned chairs.
"I do wish Amanda could see me," she said; "she'd be real glad I had these fine things."
A WONDERFUL DAY
Anne held Rose's hand very tightly as they walked along. It seemed to the little girl that all the people of the town were out walking up and down the streets. Now and then there would be a clatter of hoofs over the cobblestone pavements and Anne would look up to see a man go by on horseback. And Mrs. Freeman told her to notice a fine coach drawn by two horses, that stood in front of the very shop they were about to enter.
"If I spend a guinea for clothes will it not be enough?" Anne questioned, as Mrs. Freeman asked a smiling clerk to show them blue dimity.
"Why, yes, Anne; I think we can manage very nicely with a guinea," responded Mrs. Freeman, who meant to supply Anne with many needful things from her own stores. "Do you wish to save one?"
Anne shook her head. "No," she responded, "but I want to buy a grand present for Aunt Martha and Uncle Enos, and something for Amanda Cary. I should like to take Amos and the Starkweather children something, but I fear there will not be enough money."
Mrs. Freeman smiled at Anne's thought for her playmates. "You can perhaps make something for some of your little friends. Would not the Starkweather children like a little work-bag or a hemstitched handkerchief?" she asked.
The thought of the Starkweather boys with work-bags and hemstitched handkerchiefs seemed very funny to Anne, and she gave a little laugh, saying, "But they are all boys."
"Oh, well, then we will make some fine candy just before you go home, and you and Rose can make some pretty boxes to put it in. So there's your present for the Starkweather boys. And you'll have a whole guinea to buy gifts for Mrs. Stoddard and the captain, and for Amanda. I suppose Amanda is your dearest friend, isn't she?" and Mrs. Freeman looked down into Anne's happy smiling face, quite sure that Mrs. Stoddard must be very glad that she had taken the little girl into her own home.
"Best friend, indeed!" exclaimed Rose, before Anne could answer. "Why, mother! Had it not been for that Amanda, Anne never would have run away."
"But Anne wants to take her a present," said Mrs. Freeman.
A little flush crept into Anne's brown cheeks. "I guess Amanda didn't mean to," she said.
The clerk was waiting patiently, and Mrs. Freeman now begged his pardon for so long delaying her purchases, and ordered enough dimity for Anne's dress. It was a light blue with a tiny white sprig, and Anne thought it the prettiest pattern that any one could imagine.
"I have plenty of nainsook in the house for your underwear, so we will not purchase that," said Mrs. Freeman, "but we will buy some good white cotton yarn so that I can make up some stockings for you. It will make work for you at odd times." For in those days children were taught that useful occupation brought as much pleasure as play, and every girl had "pieced a quilt" before she was ten years of age, worked a sampler, and usually knit all her own stockings and mittens.
"Can't Anne have some thread gloves like mine?" Rose asked, and Anne drew a quick breath of delight. "White thread gloves," she thought to herself, would be more than she could hope for, but Mrs. Freeman seemed to think it a very reasonable request, and told Rose to go with Anne to a shop on Queen Street and select a pair of gloves.
"I must go home now," she added, "for it is Saturday, and I have much to do. After you have purchased the gloves you girls can walk up to the Common if you wish; but be sure and be home in good season for dinner."
The girls both promised, and Mrs. Freeman left them, with a word of caution to be careful in crossing Long-acre Street, where there were always many teams, carriages and horsemen going back and forth.
"You are almost a young lady, aren't you, Rose?" Anne said admiringly, as she looked up at her friend.
"I suppose so," Rose replied laughingly. "See, my skirts come to my ankles, and Aunt Hetty said I must twist my braids around my head now. And I think it does become me better," and Rose put up her white-gloved hand to be quite sure that the braids were smoothly fastened.
The girls walked along the Mall, and a little way toward the Charles River. Rose met several girls of her own age who greeted Anne pleasantly. One of them asked Rose if she knew that a messenger had reached Boston with a copy of the Declaration of Independence. "It is to be read from the balcony of the State House on Tuesday," said Rose's friend. "'Twill be a great day, and 'tis well you have reached Boston in time for it."
When Anne and Rose reached the Freeman house little Millicent was at the door waiting for them. She had a big doll in her arms and told Anne that its name was "Hetty," because Aunt Hetty Freeman had made it and sent it to her. Frederick had hung the wasp's nest in his own room, and declared that there was not another boy in Boston who possessed one. Several of his friends had already seen it, and Frederick was quite sure that he was a very fortunate boy to have it for his own.
On Sunday morning Anne was awakened by the sound of the bells of Christ Church, which was not far distant from the Freemans' house. She lay listening to the musical notes, and wondering if those could really be church-bells.
"They sound like far-off voices singing," she thought to herself. And when Mrs. Freeman, at breakfast time, told her that there were eight bells, and that they came all the way from Gloucester, England, in 1745, and were the first ring of bells in North America, they seemed even more wonderful to the little girl.
"William Shirley was Governor of Massachusetts at that time," said Mr. Freeman, "and when the bells reached Boston it was found that there was no money in the church treasury to raise them to the church belfry, and just then Boston had the good news that the colonial forces under General Pepperell had captured Louisburg. Well, every bell in Boston was ringing with triumph, and it did not take long to start a subscription and get money enough to put those fine bells where they could be heard. They were made by good English bell-makers, and there are none better," concluded Mr. Freeman. Anne thought to herself that she would be sure to remember about these wonderful bells so that she could tell Amanda.
On the morning of the 18th of July people began to gather in King Street and the vicinity of the State House, so that long before one o'clock, the time advertised when the Declaration of Independence was to be read, there was a crowd. Mr. and Mrs. Freeman with Millicent, Frederick, Rose and Anne had a very good place where they could see the little balcony where Colonel Crafts was to stand.
"Look, father! There are some of the British officers!" said Frederick.
The crowd near where the Freemans were standing stood courteously back to make way for several British officers in full military dress. They secured a place where they could hear well, and Mr. Freeman and several gentlemen exchanged smiles of satisfaction to see these officers present. When the clock struck one, Colonel Crafts, surrounded by a number of gentlemen, appeared on the balcony, and in a clear voice read the declaration announcing to the world that the American colonies were no longer subject to Britain.
What a chorus of shouts and huzzas filled the air! Frederick's cap went so high that it lodged on the State House balcony, but no one seemed to notice it, and Frederick could not recover his property until late that afternoon. There sounded the measured boom of cannon, and thirteen volleys of musketry. A military band played, and the people dispersed, quietly, and as if they had taken part in a great ceremony, as indeed they had.
"Now you girls will have to settle down; dresses do not make themselves," said Mrs. Freeman; "nor do stockings grow on trees. Your father's ship will be coming into harbor before you know it, Anne; and you must have your clothing in order, and Rose has agreed to help you. So to-morrow we must begin in earnest."
"I have a chance to send the black colt to Mr. Pierce to-morrow," said Mr. Freeman, "and I have bought a good side-saddle for Mrs. Pierce, that they may know we do not forget their great kindness."
"That is the very thing, father!" exclaimed Rose. "Now Aunt Anne Rose can ride to the village and see her friends whenever she wishes. She will not be so lonely."
"I thought of that," said Mr. Freeman.
"You girls must make up a little package for the colt to carry to your new aunt," suggested Mrs. Freeman.
Anne had her golden guinea and several shillings besides in a pretty knit purse that Rose had given her, and she was very happy to think that, out of her very own money, she could buy something for Aunt Anne Rose.
"I know what she'd like," said Anne. "I told her about the fine book that my Aunt Martha keeps in the chest. 'Tis called 'Pilgrim's Progress.' And Aunt Anne Rose said that if she had a book to read at times 'twould be as good as company."
"You girls shall step into Mistress Mason's and select a suitable book," said Mrs. Freeman. "You can write her name in it and put 'From Anne and Rose to Aunt Anne Rose'; no doubt 'twill please her. And this evening we will make some sweets to send her. We wish her to be very sure that we do not lack in gratitude."
Mistress Mason's shop in Cornhill seemed a very wonderful place to Anne, with its shelves filled with bright pewter, tall brass candlesticks, and large and small boxes. On a lower shelf at the back of the small room was a row of books. On a narrow counter stood boots, shoes, and slippers. Above this counter, fastened to a stout cord, were hung a number of dolls dressed in the latest fashion. Each one of these dolls had a small white card fastened to its sleeve.
When the girls entered they did not at first see any one in the shop, but in a moment Anne noticed that a very tiny old lady was standing behind the further counter.
"Why, she isn't any bigger than I am!" thought the little girl.
"Good-afternoon, Mistress Mason," said Rose; "this is my friend, little Anne Nelson, from Province Town."
"Not so very little, as I view it. Fully as large as I am myself. I should call her large; that is, large for a girl," responded the little white-haired woman, who was rather sensitive in regard to her size. "I see you wear good shoes," she continued, peering over the low counter and pointing a tiny finger toward Anne's feet. "I know my own shoes when I see 'em," and she laughed pleasantly. "My brother makes every shoe I sell; makes 'em right back here in his own shop, as Miss Rose Freeman well knows."
"Yes, indeed," answered Rose, "and Mistress Mason makes dolls, Anne—all those fine ones near the door."
"All but the ones with china heads; I make only bodies for the heads. The china heads come from France and cost me dear. But they are good bodies, as you can see, my dears; with joints where joints should be, and with feet and hands of soft kid. 'Tis some work, I do assure you, young ladies, to stitch fingers and toes as fingers and toes should be stitched," and Mistress Mason looked very serious indeed. "And as for making dolls with kid-covered heads, and then painting their faces and giving a good expression to eyes and mouths, I do feel that it's almost beyond me. I do indeed!"
The little old lady trotted briskly across the shop and unfastening several dolls from the line held them toward her visitors. "Now here is Lady Melissa Melvina," and Anne saw that on each of the white cards was written the name belonging to the doll on whose sleeve the card was pinned. "Lady Melissa Melvina is all kid," went on Mistress Mason, "head, body, feet and fingers; and every stitch she wears is of the best. She's worth twenty shillings. But——!" and Mistress Mason made an impressive pause and shook her head. "Could I get that amount? No. So, though 'tis far too little, you may have her for ten shillings six," and she smiled as if she were really bestowing a gift upon them.
"We did not come to buy a doll, Mistress Mason, although I'm sure Anne would like greatly to have so fine a doll as this; but we want to purchase a book," said Rose.
The little old woman was evidently disappointed. "A book, indeed," she responded. "I know not what is coming to people. Everybody, even the very children, are asking for books. We can hardly keep our shelf neatly filled, and I have half a mind not to keep them. Many a person who should buy a stout pair of shoes puts the money in books," and she shook her head as if not understanding such folly.
"'Tis for a present," responded Rose, as if to excuse their purchase, "to a lady who lives in the country and is much alone."
"I see; well, maybe such folk find company in reading," said the shopkeeper. "Here is a book may please her," and she took up a thin volume and opened it. "'Tis a book of verse, but 'tis well thought of. I see but little sense in verse myself; but, for verse, this reads well:
"'Great conquerors greater glory gain By foes in triumph led than slain,'"
she read, and went on to a second couplet:
"'Ay me! What perils do environ The man that meddles with cold iron.'
"And I declare here is what I've always said of poetry. 'Tis as true as I make good dolls:
"'Those that write in rhyme still make The one verse for the other's sake.'"
"I think Aunt Anne Rose would like 'Pilgrim's Progress,'" Anne ventured, a little timidly, to suggest.
"Maybe. I have a fine copy. Not too large, and easy to read. 'Twill cost five shillings," and Mistress Mason put back the book of verse and took from the shelf a small square book that she handed to Rose.
The girls looked it over carefully. "But it is not like Aunt Martha's book," said Anne; "'tis not so large, nor has it such fine pictures. These pictures are little and black."
"It tells the same story," Rose assured her, "and I know it would please Aunt Anne Rose. It will cost us two and six, sixty-two cents, apiece."
They decided to purchase it, and Mistress Mason wrapped it up in a neat package for them, and said that she hoped they would step in again. She followed them to the door, and Rose and Anne both bowed very politely as they wished her good-day.
"Rose," said Anne, as soon as they left the little shop, "I know what I shall buy for Aunt Martha; I shall buy her one of those fine pewter dishes."
"So you can! It will be sure to please her," replied Rose, looking kindly down at her little friend. "You are always thinking of giving people things, aren't you, Anne? My Grandmother Freeman, who lived in Wellfleet, used to say that it was a sign that a child would grow up prosperous and happy if it had the spirit to give instead of to take."
When the girls went up the brick walk to the Freeman house they saw Frederick and a number of small boys in the yard. Frederick was standing on a box with a paper in his hand, from which he was reading, and he and his companions were so interested that they did not notice the girls.
"He's playing that he's Colonel Crafts reading the Declaration," Rose whispered to Anne, as they opened the front door, and entered the house. "Fred has made believe everything that has happened here in Boston for the last two years."
"It's warm weather for candy-making," said Mrs. Freeman, as the family gathered at the supper table in the cool pleasant dining-room, "but Caroline is going to see her mother this evening, so you children can have the kitchen, and you will not have another opportunity for a long time to send Aunt Anne Rose any remembrance."
The children all declared that it was not too warm for candy-making, and as soon as Caroline, a young woman who helped Mrs. Freeman and Rose with the household work, gave them permission Rose, Anne, Millicent and Frederick went into the kitchen. Rose opened a deep drawer in a chest which stood in one corner of the room.
"Look, Anne," she said, and Anne peered in, exclaiming:
"Why, it's filled with little boxes!"
"Yes," said Rose, picking up one shaped like a heart; "stormy days, and sometimes in winter evenings, when I do not feel like knitting or sewing, I make boxes out of heavy paper or cardboard, and cover them with any bits of pretty paper or cloth that I can get. Frederick helps me. He can make even better ones than I can, and Millicent helps too," and she smiled down at the little sister who stood close beside Anne.
"Let's send Aunt Anne Rose the heart-shaped box," said Anne.
"And fill it with heart-shaped taffy," added Frederick, running toward a shelf filled with pans and kettles of various shapes and sizes, and taking down a box. "See, we have little shapes for candy," and he opened the box and took out some tiny heart-shaped pans, and dishes shaped in rounds and stars and crescents.
"My!" exclaimed Anne, "and can you make the candies in these?"
"No!" and Frederick's voice was a little scornful. "We have to boil it in a kettle, of course; then we grease the inside of these little pans with butter and turn the candy into them, and when it cools we tip them out, and there they are. Fine as any you can buy, aren't they, Rose?"
"Yes, indeed, and Frederick knows just how to take them out without breaking the candy. He is more careful than I am," said Rose, who lost no opportunity of praising her little brother and sister, and who never seemed to see any fault in them.
"Molasses taffy is the best," declared Frederick, "but you can make some sugared raisins, can't you, Rose?"
"We'll have to be very careful in putting the candy in the boxes so that it will not melt," said Rose.
Before it was time to pack the candy Mrs. Freeman came into the kitchen and untied a bundle to show the children what it contained.
"It's lovely, mother!" exclaimed Rose, lifting up a little fleecy shoulder cape of lavender wool. "Why, it's the one you knit for yourself!" and she looked at her mother questioningly.
"It seemed all I had that was pretty enough to send Mrs. Pierce," replied Mrs. Freeman.
"But she lives way off in that lonesome place where she never sees pretty things. She'd be pleased with anything," said Rose, who almost wished that her mother would keep the pretty shawl.
"That's why I want to send this to her," responded Mrs. Freeman. "If she had all sorts of nice things I wouldn't do it; I'd just send her a cake with my love."
"Send the cake, too," said Mr. Freeman, who had followed his wife. "Send the cake with my love."
"Why, so I will," said Mrs. Freeman. "Caroline made two excellent loaves of spice cake this very day and we can well spare one of them. But you children must trot off to bed. It's been a very exciting day."
Little Millicent was quite ready for bed, but neither Anne nor Rose was sleepy, and Rose followed her little friend into her room.
"See how clear the night is, Anne," she said, looking out of the window toward the harbor. "The water looks like a mirror."
Anne came and stood beside her. Her thoughts traveled across the smooth waters to the little house in Province Town. "I shouldn't wonder if Aunt Martha were looking out at the water and thinking about me," she said, drawing a little nearer to the tall girl beside her. "I wish she knew how good everybody is to me."
Rose put her arm about the little girl. "She expects everybody to be good to you, Anne," she responded; "but I have thought of something that you can do for Mrs. Stoddard that I am sure will please her, and will be something that she will always like to keep."
"What is it, Rose?" and Anne's voice was very eager.
"Let's sit down here on the window-seat, and I'll tell you. You have learned to write, haven't you, Anne?"
"Not very well," confessed the little girl.
"All the better, for what I want you to do will teach you to write as neatly as possible. I want you to write a book."
"A book!" Anne's voice expressed so much surprise and even terror that Rose laughed aloud, but answered:
"Why, yes, and you must call it 'Anne Nelson's Book,' and you must begin it by telling what Amanda Cary did to you, and how you believed that Mrs. Stoddard would be glad if you went away. And then you can write all your journey, about the Indians, the house in the woods, Aunt Anne Rose, and all that you see and do in Boston."
"I haven't any paper," said Anne, as if that settled the question.
"I have a fine blank book, every page ruled, that will be just the thing," responded Rose, "and I will help you write it. I can draw a little, and I have a box of water-colors. I will make little pictures here and there so that Mrs. Stoddard can see the places."
"Oh, Rose! That will be fine. Shall we begin the book to-morrow?"
Anne was soon in bed, but there were so many wonderful things to think of that she lay long awake.
The Freeman household rose at an early hour. After breakfast Mrs. Freeman said: "Now, Anne, we will make believe that you are my own little girl, and I will tell you what to do to help me, just as I do Rose. You see," she added with a little laugh, "that I am like Frederick. I like to play that all sorts of pleasant things are really true."
Anne smiled back. "I like to make-believe, too," she said.
"Then we'll begin right now. You can help Rose put the chambers in order, and dust the dining-room. After that Rose can show you the attic, if you want to see where the children play on stormy days, or you may do whatever you please."
"The attic will be the very place for Anne to write her book," said Rose, and told her mother of their plan.
It was a very happy morning for Anne. Rose tied a big white apron around her neck, gave her a duster of soft cloth, and showed her just how to make a bed neatly, and put a room in order. Then, when the work was finished, the girls went up the narrow stairs to the attic, a long unfinished room running the whole length of the house with windows at each end. Under one of these windows stood a broad low table. Rose had brought up the blank book, a number of pens, made from goose-quills, and a bottle of ink. She put them on the table and drew up a high-backed wooden chair for Anne. "I'll sit in this rocking-chair at the end of the table with my knitting," said Rose.
Anne looked about the attic, and thought that the Freeman children had everything in the world. There was a big wooden rocking-horse, purchased for Frederick, but now belonging to Millicent. There were boxes of blocks, a row of dolls beside a trunk, a company of tin soldiers, and on a tiny table was spread out a little china tea-set. It was rather hard for Anne to turn away from all these treasures and sit down at the table. She had never seen so many toys in all her life, and she thought she would like to bring her own wooden doll, "Martha Stoddard," that her father had made for her years ago, up to the attic to visit with these beautiful dolls of china, wax, and kid. But Rose had opened the book and stood beside the table waiting for Anne to sit down.
"How shall I begin?" questioned the little girl anxiously.
"Why, I'd begin just as if I were writing a letter," said Rose.
So Anne dipped the quill in the ink, and, with her head on one side, and her lips set very firmly together, carefully wrote: "My dear Aunt Martha."
Rose looked over her shoulder. "That is written very neatly, Anne," she said.
"Don't you want to make a picture now, Rose?" said the little girl hopefully.
Rose laughed at Anne's pleading look, but drew the book toward her end of the table, and taking a pencil from her box of drawing materials made a little sketch, directly under Anne's written words, of a little girl at a table writing, and pushed the book back toward Anne.
"Now I will knit while you write," she said.
So Anne again dipped the quill into the ink, and wrote: "This is a picture of me beginning to write a book. Rose made it." The attic was very quiet, the sound of Anne's pen, and of Rose's knitting-needles could be heard, and for a little time there was no other sound; then came a clatter of stout shoes on the stairway, and little Millicent appeared.
"See, I found this in Anne's room!" she exclaimed.
Anne looked around, and saw Millicent holding up her beloved "Martha Stoddard." With a quick exclamation she sprang up and ran toward her. "That's my doll," she exclaimed, and would have taken it, but Millicent held it tightly exclaiming:
"I want it!"
Anne stood looking at the child not knowing what to do. This doll was the dearest of her possessions. She had given her beautiful coral beads to the Indian girl, and now Millicent had taken possession of her doll. She tried to remember that she was a big girl now, ten years old, and that dolls were for babies like six-year-old Millicent. But "Martha Stoddard" was something more than a plaything to Anne; she could not part with it. But how could she take it away from the little girl?
"I want it," repeated Millicent, looking up at Anne with a pretty smile, as if quite sure that Anne would be glad to give it to her. Anne put her hands over her face and began to cry.
ANNE AND MILLICENT
Anne had sprung up from her seat so quickly that she did not think of her book, pen, or ink. Her arm had given the book a careless push, sending it against and overturning the ink-bottle, and she had dropped the pen on the white paper, where it made a long ugly blot.
Rose had been quick to seize the bottle before it rolled to the floor, and was now using a big dusting cloth to wipe up the ink. Her attention was so taken with this that she did not really know what was happening, when the sound of Millicent crying made her look quickly around.
"What is the matter?" she asked, turning toward the little girls.
Anne, with her hands over her face, was evidently crying; and Millicent, grasping the wooden doll with both hands, was making as much noise as she possibly could in a series of half-angry little sobs.
"Millicent, stop this minute," said Rose, going toward them, "and you, too, Anne, and tell me what you are crying about," and, quite forgetting the inky cloth in her hand, Rose took hold of Anne's arm.
Anne looked up, the tears streaming down her cheeks.
"There, there," said Rose, wiping Anne's face, and leaving it almost blacker than the cloth. "Oh, what have I done!" exclaimed Rose, while Millicent's sobs ceased for a moment to be followed by a shriek of terror to see Anne's face turn black so suddenly. "Stop, Millicent," said Rose. "Come down-stairs, Anne, and I'll wash the ink off. And tell me what the matter is."
"Rose! Rose!" called Mrs. Freeman from the floor below. "What is the matter?"
"I've got ink on Anne's face and Millicent is frightened," Rose called back, drawing Anne toward the stairs. Millicent stopped crying, and finding that no one took the wooden doll from her, trotted across the attic and introduced the newcomer as "Lady Washington" to the other dolls, sat down on the floor beside them and began to play happily.
Anne followed Rose down the stairs and into the sink-room, where Rose began to scour her face vigorously.
"I don't mean to hurt you, Anne," she said laughingly, "and I'm awfully sorry I wiped your face with that dreadful inky cloth, but I have to rub hard to get it off."
"It's my—fault," Anne managed to say. "I was crying."
"There isn't any blame in crying, if you have anything to cry about," said Rose.
"Millicent wanted my doll," said Anne.
Rose did not speak for a moment. She was very fond of Anne Nelson, and thought her a very generous and thoughtful child, and could not understand why she should cry because little Millicent had taken what Rose called to herself "an old wooden doll."
"Well," she said, "Millicent won't hurt your doll."
"But she wants to keep it," said Anne, as Rose gave her face a vigorous wiping with a rough towel.
Rose made no answer. She thought it rather selfish of Anne, when they had all done so much for her, that she should be unwilling for Millicent to keep the doll.
Anne was not a dull child, and Rose's silence made her realize that she had acted selfishly; still, she could not feel that wanting to keep "Martha Stoddard" was wrong.
"There! You are quite rid of ink now," said Rose, "and there is an hour before dinner. Do you want to write some more in your book?"
"No," said Anne. It seemed to her that she should never want to write in the book again. She wished that she and "Martha Stoddard" were safe back with Aunt Martha in Province Town.
"Well, I have some errands to do for mother, so I'll run along," said Rose pleasantly, and left Anne alone in the little square room called the "sink-room," because of two sinks near the one window which overlooked the green yard at the back of the house. There was a door opening into the yard, and Anne looked out feeling more unhappy than she had since the night when Aunt Martha had sent her up-stairs.
Frederick was in the yard. He was setting what looked to Anne like wooden bottles in a straight row at the further end of the square of greensward. Then he ran across to the open door where Anne was standing.
"Want to play bowls?" he asked.
"I don't know how," replied Anne.
"I'll show you; it's easy," replied the boy, picking up a big wooden ball and balancing it on one hand. "Come on out and try," he urged, and Anne stepped out into the yard. "Watch me!" said Frederick.
He stepped back a little, sent a keen glance toward the wooden "bottles," as if measuring the distance, then holding the ball in one hand and leaning a little sideways, swung it back and forth for a few times and then sent it rolling across the grass. It struck one of the "bottles," and that in falling sent over two more.
"Oh, I can do that!" exclaimed Anne.
"All right, try. I'll set up the pins for you," said Frederick.
Anne thought to herself that it was funny to call those wooden objects "pins."
"You'd better take a smaller ball," said Frederick, selecting one from a number lying near the door; and he handed her a ball that Anne thought was about the size of a pint dipper.
Frederick told her how to hold it, how to stand, and how to get the right motion to send it in a straight line.
"It's all in your eye, looking straight, and getting the right swing," he said.
Anne's first ball did not go half the proper distance, but she kept on trying, and before dinner time could send a ball nearly as well as Frederick himself.
"It's fun," she declared. Her face was flushed with the exercise, and her eyes shining with pleasure. For the moment she had forgotten all about the wooden doll. She and Frederick stopped in the sink-room to wash their hands before going in to dinner.
"Anne plays a good game of bowls," said Frederick, as they took their places at the table.
"I want to bowl," exclaimed little Millicent.
"You can, any time you want to," said Frederick, with his pleasant smile. "I'll show you after dinner when Rose and Anne are sewing."
Anne thought to herself that the family all wanted Millicent to do everything she wanted to, and she remembered "Martha," and wondered what Millicent had done with her beloved doll, but did not dare ask. They were all pleasant and kind to Anne, but she felt as if Rose did not look at her quite as kindly as usual.
"I have your blue dimity all basted, my dear," Mrs. Freeman said to Anne as they left the dining-room, "and you can sit with me and stitch up the seams this afternoon. Rose is to help Caroline with some cooking."
Anne felt rather glad of this, for she dreaded having Rose say something about the happening of the morning. Mrs. Freeman led the way to her pleasant chamber. A little rush-bottomed rocking-chair stood near one of the windows.
"You may sit in the little chair, Anne; that is where Rose always sits. Now let's see if this will fit your thimble-finger," and Mrs. Freeman held out a little shining steel thimble, and fitted it on Anne's finger. "It's just right," she said. "That is a little present for you, Anne; to go with the work-case that Mrs. Pierce gave you."
"Thank you," said Anne in a very low voice, looking at the pretty thimble, and wondering if Rose had told her mother about her trying to take the wooden doll from Millicent. "I'll always keep it," she said, looking up into the friendly face.
"Here is your work, my dear. Now set your stitches right along the basting, and set them evenly and as small as possible," and Mrs. Freeman handed Anne the strips of dimity. "But about your thimble, Anne," she continued. "I shall be better pleased if some time, when you perhaps have a thimble of silver, or have outgrown this one, you will give it to some other child who is learning to sew and has no thimble. We mustn't plan to keep gifts always, even if we do prize them. Sometimes it is best to pass them on."
Anne was quite sure that Mrs. Freeman meant that she ought to give the wooden doll to Millicent.
"I gave my coral beads, that Mistress Starkweather gave me, to the Indian girl," she said, wishing in some way to prove that she was not selfish.
"That was quite right, and I am sure that Mrs. Starkweather will tell you so," responded Mrs. Freeman.
Anne stitched away, setting her stitches very carefully. But she felt unhappy. She had quite forgotten the pleasant game with Frederick, the book that she was to write for Aunt Martha, and even the delightful fact that she was sewing on the pretty dimity dress, and had a new thimble of shining steel. All that she could think of was that she was sure that Mrs. Freeman and Rose believed her to be a selfish and ungrateful girl. "They think I want to keep everything," she said to herself. The July day grew very warm. Mrs. Freeman leaned back in her comfortable chair, closed her eyes, and indulged in a little nap. Anne's dark head began to nod, the pretty dimity slipped from her fingers to the floor, and the new thimble fell off and rolled under the table. Anne had gone fast asleep.
Rose, looking in at the chamber door, smiled to herself, tiptoed gently in and picked up the dimity dress and carried it to her own room, where Millicent was having her afternoon nap on her sister's bed.
"I'll stitch up these seams while Anne's asleep," thought the kind-hearted girl, "and I'll tell her that we have a family of fairies living in this house who do things for people. I wonder if Anne ever heard of fairies?"
Mrs. Freeman was the first to wake, and, noticing that Anne's work had vanished, smiled to herself, quite sure that Rose had taken it. It was some time later when Rose brought it back and laid the thin goods on Anne's lap.
"Oh," exclaimed Anne, waking suddenly, "I dreamed of 'Martha Stoddard,'" and then, noticing the smile fade from Rose's face, Anne wished that she had not spoken, for she felt that Rose would be sure that she was still blaming little Millicent, who entered the room that very moment holding the wooden doll.
"Where did you get the wooden doll, dear?" Mrs. Freeman asked.
"Anne gave it to me," replied Millicent.
"O-oh!" Anne exclaimed impulsively, only to be sorry the next moment that she had not kept silent, for Mrs. Freeman looked up questioningly.
"Didn't you give the doll to Millicent, Anne?" she asked.
Millicent looked as if she wondered why Anne had said "Oh!" and Rose looked at her wonderingly. She could not understand why Anne should not want Millicent to have the doll, and Rose began to think that Anne was indeed selfish and ungrateful, and Anne knew what her friend was thinking, and tried hard not to cry.
"You let me have it, Anne, didn't you?" Millicent said confidently, and Anne, feeling as if she was parting from her dearest friend, managed to say: "Yes."
Mrs. Freeman's face brightened. "What is the doll's name?" she asked.
"I called her 'Martha Stoddard,'" Anne replied.
"I've named her over," said Millicent. "I've named her 'Anne Rose,' and I like her best of all my dolls."
"Have you thanked Anne for giving you her doll?" asked Mrs. Freeman.
"I'm going to give her one of mine back," declared Millicent. "I'm going to give her Miss Fillosee Follosee."
Anne wanted to cry out that she didn't want any other doll, that she wanted her own dear "Martha Stoddard," but she kept silent.
Anne picked up her thimble and said: "I'm sorry I went to sleep. I sewed only a little."
"Let me see," and Mrs. Freeman picked up the dress, and looked at the neatly stitched seams. "These seams are all stitched," she said smilingly.
Anne looked at them in surprise. "Did you do them?" she asked.
Mrs. Freeman shook her head. "No," she replied; "you see, I went to sleep, and awoke only a few moments since."
Anne hardly knew what to make of this, for she was quite sure that she had waked when Rose entered the room.
"P'raps it's fairies!" said little Millicent hopefully. "Don't you know about fairies, Anne?" and Millicent came close to Anne and laid the beloved "Martha" in her lap. "I'll tell you," she went on, in response to Anne's puzzled look. "Fairies are little, oh, littler than my thumb. I've never seen one, but Caroline's grandmother saw one, and real good children may see them some time."
"But how could anything so small sew?" questioned Anne.
"Fairies can do anything!" declared Millicent. "Caroline knows all about them. Let's go out in the yard where she is sitting with her sewing and get her to tell us a fairy story."
"Run along," said Mrs. Freeman. "You see you need not stay in to sew, since the seams are stitched."
Anne actually forgot "Martha Stoddard," so that when she jumped up to follow Millicent the wooden doll fell to the floor without either Anne or Millicent heeding it.
Rose smiled as she picked it up. "Fairies are useful little people sometimes," she said to her mother.
The days went very rapidly. Every morning Anne helped Rose with the household work, and sewed on the garments Mrs. Freeman basted for her. Every day, too, she wrote in the book for Aunt Martha. Rose made tiny sketches on many pages: of a wasp's nest, of Anne riding "Range," of Aunt Anne Rose; and here and there were little landscapes. Anne had made up her mind to let Millicent keep the wooden doll, but she sometimes wished that she had left "Martha Stoddard" safe at home in Province Town.
Beside the work there were games of bowls on the green back of the house, and pleasant walks about the town. Rose and Anne had made several visits to Mistress Mason, and Anne had already purchased a fine pewter pitcher to take home to Aunt Martha, and was knitting a warm scarf for Uncle Enos. She had not spent all of her money, and planned to buy a wonderful blue silk sash, which Mistress Mason had shown the girls on one of their visits, as a gift for Amanda. She had sent a letter to Aunt Martha Stoddard by a Province Town fisherman known to the Freemans, and the time was near when "The Yankee Hero," of which Anne's father was first mate, was due in Boston.
"Like as not your father's vessel will bring a fine prize into harbor," Frederick said one morning as he and Anne were teaching Millicent to bowl, "unless some English frigate has captured her," he added.
All up and down the coast English vessels were on the alert to seize American ships; but the American vessels were also on the outlook and had captured many of the enemy's ships.
"They'll not capture 'The Yankee Hero,'" declared Anne. "She's sailed by Province Town sailors," and Anne gave her head a little toss, as if to say that Province Town sailors were the best in the world, as she indeed thought they were.
Frederick laughed pleasantly. "You think a good deal of that old sand heap," he replied.
Anne held a ball ready to roll, but at Frederick's remark she dropped it, and stood looking at him angrily.
"It's your turn!" he reminded her, looking at her in surprise.
"It's not an old sand heap. It's the loveliest place in the world. You can see twice as much salt water there as you can in Boston," she declared.
"So you can," agreed Frederick, "but it's a sand heap just the same. A good place to catch cod, though."
"Want to see my workshop?" the boy asked when they were all tired of bowling. "Father's given me some fine pieces of wood, and I'm making a sled for Millicent to play with next winter."
Frederick's workshop was a corner of the carriage-house, where the fine chaise stood, and he had a work-bench there well supplied with tools, and spent many happy hours over his work.
"I'm going to have a shipyard and build ships," he told Anne. "See this little model!" and he held up a tiny wooden ship, fully rigged, with a little American flag fastened at the top of the mainmast. "Rose made that flag," he said proudly. "See, there's a star for each colony, thirteen of 'em."
Almost every day Anne and Rose walked to the wharves with Mr. Freeman to hear if there was any news of "The Yankee Hero." It was the very last day of July when Mr. Freeman said, as they walked down the wharf, "There's a Province Town schooner in harbor, Anne—'The Sea Gull.' She came for a new mainsail and will probably sail when the tide serves. There's a boat from her now, headed for my wharf."
Anne did not know that Amos Cary was on board the "Sea Gull," but she was eager to see any one who came from the place Frederick had called "the old sand heap," and watched the boat from the schooner as it came swiftly toward the Freeman wharf.
"Oh!" she exclaimed suddenly, and ran further out on the pier, quickly followed by Rose. "It looks just like Amos Cary's head. Do you suppose it is?" she asked turning to Rose.
"If it is, Amos is probably with it," Rose answered laughingly. "I suppose Amos is Amanda's brother, who came to Brewster with you. Is it that red-headed boy sitting in the bow?"
"Yes, yes!" answered Anne, fairly jumping up and down in her excitement.
Amos was now near enough to recognize Anne, and took off his cap and waved it gaily. The boat drew up to the wharf, but Amos did not jump out as Anne expected.
"I can't," he explained. "Father told Captain Nash not to let me set foot on shore," and Amos grinned as if he was delighted at what his father thought would be discipline. "I'm going to be on the 'Sea Gull' for months; maybe a whole year! Isn't that fine?"
"Jump out, Amos," said Captain Nash.
"But father said I wasn't to step foot on shore," responded the surprised boy.
"Unless I told you to," added the captain, and Amos scrambled up onto the wharf a little disappointed at the permission. "Mr. Freeman has invited you to dinner," added the captain, "but you must be here at the wharf at two sharp."
"Yes, indeed, sir," Amos answered promptly, looking back almost reluctantly toward the boat.
"Born for a sailor," the captain said to Mr. Freeman, as Amos walked with Anne and Rose toward the Freemans' house. He answered Anne's questions about Aunt Martha, Uncle Enos, Amanda and the Starkweathers, and listened to her account of the wonderful journey to Boston.
"Wasn't it great to be shut up in that dark room!" he exclaimed, when Anne told him of Bill Mains' mistake. "Wish I'd been there. But maybe the 'Sea Gull' will run afoul of a pirate ship before long," he concluded hopefully.
When Anne introduced him to Mrs. Freeman Amos took off his cap and bowed very politely, as he had noticed Captain Nash do. Frederick and he became friends instantly, and Amos was taken out to the workshop to see the model ship which had the American flag fastened to its mainmast, and he listened to Frederick's plans for building ships approvingly.
"Maybe I'll sail one of your vessels for you," he said. "I'm going to learn navigation. I'm not planning to be on shore much after this, I can tell you."
Frederick listened enviously; he thought Amos was a very fortunate boy to be going for a year's voyage on the "Sea Gull."
AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR
"I'll bring you some coral beads, Anne," Amos promised as he said good-bye, and started back for the wharf. Frederick went with him, and listened admiringly to Amos's plans of all he meant to see and do. Frederick began to think that it would be better to go to sea than to build ships. He watched the "Sea Gull's" sails as they caught the wind, and his eyes followed the little vessel until it looked not unlike the white-winged bird whose name it bore.
As he entered the yard Rose came down the path to meet him. She had a small package in her hand.
"I want you to do something for me, Fred," she said, "and I don't want any one, especially Anne and Millicent, to know anything about it."
This sounded interesting to Frederick, and he looked up hopefully. Perhaps there was some message to be carried from Boston to the American troops in New York, and that he, Frederick Freeman, had been selected to carry it. Probably it was wrapped up in that package which Rose held so carefully. Why, it would be a greater adventure than any Amos Cary would encounter on the "Sea Gull."
"Is it in that package, Rose?" he asked eagerly.
"How did you guess?" and Rose looked at her small brother in surprise.
"Come on out to the carriage-house, and tell me when you want me to start," and Frederick grasped Rose's arm and hurried her along. "When do you want me to start?" he asked.
"Why, right away," answered Rose in rather a puzzled tone.
The brother and sister entered the carriage-house, and Frederick led the way to the corner where his work-bench stood, and they sat down.