"But unless he begins to learn I do not see how he will ever be able to read, and until he does so, he cannot amuse himself, but must always be dependent upon others," answered his grandmamma. "I will take him in hand, and when I am unable to teach him I daresay Mrs Norton will do so."
Captain Vallery at last consented that Norman should begin learning.
Mrs Leslie found him a very refractory pupil, for although he evidently could learn, he would not attend to what she told him, and she was therefore glad to give him over to Mrs Norton. That lady had no idea of allowing a little boy to have his own way, so she kept Master Norman every morning close by her side till he had finished the task she set him. In a few days he knew all the letters, and could soon read short words without difficulty. He however did not feel at all as grateful as he ought to have done, for the instruction given him, and gladly escaped from the schoolroom when Mrs Norton devoted her attention to Fanny.
One day his grandmamma had driven out with his papa and mamma, to call on some friends, when Norman having finished his lessons, Mrs Norton said to him, "You may go out and play on the lawn for an hour, till I call you in again."
Norman ran off, well pleased to be at liberty, but not knowing exactly what to do with himself.
"If I had my football I might kick it about, and have some fun," he thought, "no one has taken the trouble to mend it. I should think Fanny, who is so nimble with her fingers as granny says, might have done so. I must have a game at battledore and shuttlecock, I can play that alone."
He went into the drawing-room to get one of the battledores, which were kept in an Indian cabinet. No sooner had he opened the door than his eye fell on Miss Lucy, seated in a large arm-chair, where Fanny, who had brought her down to try on a new frock which her mamma had made, had incautiously left her.
"You are there, are you!" said Norman, slowly approaching, "you look as if you were laughing at me. I should like to know what business Fanny has with you, when I have not my football to play with."
He stopped for a minute or more, looking at the doll with his fists clenched; and instead of trying to drive away the evil thought which had entered his mind, took a pleasure in encouraging it. Still, he did not touch the doll. "I will carry you out, and hide you in a bush, where Fanny cannot find you," he muttered.
Then he thought that he must take out a battledore and shuttlecock and play with it, or what he proposed doing would be suspected. He went to the cabinet, and opening it, there he saw on an upper shelf the very knife with which he had made the hole in his football.
A dreadful idea seized him, he took the knife and advanced with it towards poor Miss Lucy. Dragging her from the chair, he threw her on the ground and began to cut away at her wax neck with his knife. As the chief part of the edge was blunted, he did not at first make much impression; but, drawing it rapidly backwards till the sharp part towards the point reached the doll's neck, in one instant off rolled the head. Others who do wicked deeds often injure themselves, so Norman, whose finger was under the point cut a deep gash in it. As he felt the pain, and saw the blood spurting forth, he jumped up, crying lustily for some one to come and help him, utterly regardless of the mischief he had done.
He gazed at his finger, and thought that all the blood in his body would run out.
"Oh, what shall I do? what shall I do?" he screamed out. "Is nobody coming to help me?" Then he looked at the doll.
"It was all your fault, you nasty thing," he exclaimed kicking the doll's body away from its head, "I wish that I had let you alone. What business had Fanny to leave you in the chair, looking so impudently at me, and if you had your head on, you would be laughing at me still?" then he again looked at his finger, which smarted very much, and as he saw the blood dropping down on the carpet, he bawled louder than ever.
Fanny, during a pause in her reading, heard him. "What can be the matter with Norman?" she exclaimed, "may I run down and see?"
"Yes, my dear, and call me if he has really hurt himself," said Mrs Norton, "but from the way in which he is crying, I do not think there is anything very serious."
Fanny ran downstairs. She entered the drawing-room. For a moment, she stood aghast, as the first object which met her sight, was her dear, pretty Miss Lucy's head, lying some way apart from her body, with a huge knife near it, and Norman standing not far off.
Fanny, as we have seen was a very sweet amiable girl, but, she had a spirit and a temper, though she generally restrained the latter, when inclined to give way to it. She saw at once that the cruel deed, had been done by Norman, and her heart swelling with indignation, she rushed forward, and gave him a box on the ear. She then threw herself down by the side of her doll, and burst into tears. Then picking it up, she endeavoured to fit on the head.
The unexpected blow, from his usually gentle sister, so astonished Norman, that for a moment he ceased his shrieks.
"You naughty, naughty, boy," I wish papa had whipped you twice as much as he did, and I hope, he may whip you again, she exclaimed, rising, and about to give him another slap, but just then, her eye fell on his bleeding hand, and he recommenced his shrieks and cries. She stopped, looking at him with alarm.
"Oh, what is the matter? oh, what is the matter?" she cried out.
"Send for the doctor, send for the doctor," shrieked Norman.
"Come with me to Mrs Norton, she will know what to do," said Fanny, wrapping his hand up in her handkerchief. "Mamma and granny are out, or they would attend to you."
"No, no, no, I must have a doctor, I shall die, I know I shall," cried Norman again and again.
Fanny cast a piteous glance at poor Miss Lucy which she had let fall, and though feeling sure that Norman had cut off her head, she was so much alarmed about him, that without stopping to ask him, with her young heart full of sorrow, she led him up to Mrs Norton. She hoped he had done it by accident, or in play, for she would not allow herself to suppose, that he had been prompted by a spirit of envy and jealousy. Believing too, that he was severely injured, she felt sorry she had lost her temper, and struck him.
"Let me look at your finger, young gentleman," said Mrs Norton, examining his hand. "Is this a cut to make so much fuss about? Go into your room, and a little water and sticking plaster will soon set it all to rights."
Mrs Norton having bound up Norman's finger, asked Fanny how it had happened. Fanny, instead of replying, burst into tears.
"Oh, do not ask me, do not ask me," she said at length. "I am sure he could not have intended to hurt Miss Lucy, but, O Mrs Norton, he has cut off her head, and I, when I saw what he had done, boxed his ears. I am so very sorry, but I did not see how much he had hurt himself."
Mrs Norton gave a look at Norman, which ought to have made him ashamed of what he had done.
His answer betrayed the evil spirit which had prompted him to do the deed.
"You should not have had a pretty doll to play with, while I have only an empty football," he said, in the growling muttering way in which he too often spoke.
"Sit down there, your heart must be a very bad one, to let you indulge in such a feeling," said Mrs Norton, placing Norman in the large chair, which stood in his room.
Taking Fanny's hand, she led her downstairs. At first, Mrs Norton said she should leave the doll and knife on the ground to show Mrs Leslie and her mamma how he had behaved, but Fanny entreated her not to do so, and putting the knife back into the cabinet, she took up her doll, over which her tears fell fast, while she tried to replace its head.
"We will try and mend the doll, Fanny," said Mrs Norton, "but I am afraid an ugly mark must always remain, and though we may succeed in putting on its head, nothing can excuse your brother's behaviour."
"Oh, but he is very young, pleaded Fanny," and it will make granny and mamma, and I am afraid papa also so angry with him, but pray, do not tell them if you can help it. And I ought to have remembered what a little boy he is—and I should not have lost my temper and hit him—it was very naughty in me. "Oh dear, oh dear, how sorry I am," and Fanny again, gave way to her tears.
Mrs Norton acknowledged that Fanny should not have lost her temper, at the same time she tried to comfort her.
Mrs Norton then told Fanny, that she would take the doll home to try and fix on its head.
"I shall be so much obliged to you, though I do not deserve it," said Fanny.
"I am glad that you do not feel angry with your little brother, naughty as he has been. It is a blessed thing to forgive an injury, and we are following our Lord and Master's precept in doing so."
"I am sure that I should be doing what is very wrong, if I did not forgive him," answered Fanny, "because I pray to be forgiven as I forgive others, and as he has hurt himself so much, I hope no one else will be angry with him."
"I trust that the way he has hurt himself will be a lesson to him," said Mrs Norton, as having wrapped up the doll in her shawl, she accompanied her pupil back to the schoolroom. She allowed Norman to remain sitting in the chair by himself, but before she left the house, she begged Susan to go and attend to him.
As soon as Fanny saw her granny and mamma returning from their drive, she ran down to meet them.
"Norman has cut his finger," she said, "but Mrs Norton does not think it is very bad, and I want you not to ask me how he did it; pray do this, I shall be so much happier, if you will."
They said "yes."
"Thank you, dear granny; thank you, mamma," exclaimed Fanny, kissing them both.
I think Fanny Vallery had pleasanter dreams than her brother Norman that night.
HARD TO ENDURE.
Mrs Vallery went upstairs to see Norman. She found him still seated in the chair looking very sulky.
"Mrs Norton and Susan and everybody have been scolding at me," he muttered; "I wish you would send them all away. And Fanny is as bad as any of them, and nobody cares for me, and Fanny has slapped my face, and I will slap hers another time, though she is a girl," and Norman began to cry.
"My dear child, we all care very much for you," said his mamma, not knowing of course how he had cut his finger, and as she had promised Fanny not to do so, she did not ask him. "I am very sorry that Fanny should have slapped your face, but I am afraid you must have done something to provoke her, I must ask her why she did it. I cannot help thinking that you must have been naughty, or Mrs Norton and Susan would not have scolded you. Come down with me into the garden, we will have a game of battledore and shuttlecock on the lawn, the fresh air will do you good."
"I cannot play, my hand hurts me so much," answered Norman.
Mrs Vallery, seeing from the small size of the finger-stall Mrs Norton had put on, that the injury could not be very severe, insisted that Norman should accompany her.
"You will soon, I hope, Norman, go to school, where you will have other boys to play with," observed Mrs Vallery, as she led him downstairs.
She felt that the child was left too much alone by himself, and that if placed with companions of his own age, they would assist to correct some of his many faults. "If his papa consents to send him to school, he will at all events not be permitted there to have his own way, as he has hitherto been," she said to herself, and she determined to try and get Captain Vallery to select a school as soon as possible, knowing well that Mrs Leslie would support her.
As it was Norman's left hand which had been hurt, he was very well able to hold a battledore, and after playing with his mamma a short time, he recovered his usual spirits, and appeared totally to forget how naughty he had been. He wondered that nobody had asked him how he had cut his finger, or spoke to him about Miss Lucy, not understanding the forgiving spirit which had induced Fanny to refrain from speaking of his conduct.
"Perhaps she is afraid of saying anything about it, because she slapped my face," he thought.
At last, Mrs Vallery went in to get ready for dinner.
Fanny found Norman who had been sent into the drawing-room to put the battledores and shuttlecock away.
"How is your finger?" she asked, in a pitying tone.
"Oh, it smarts very much," he answered, "though I do not think you care much about it."
"Indeed, I do, dear Norman," she said; "you do not know how sorry I am that I slapped your face, and granny has given me some salve and some soft linen to bind up your finger again, and if you will come here, I will try and do it very gently, and not hurt you."
Fanny sat down in her granny's chair. Taking off the wrapping which Mrs Norton had put on, and which was somewhat stained with blood, she replaced it with a nice soft piece covered with salve, which felt very cool, and soon took away all the pain.
Having done this Fanny affectionately kissed him.
"You will forgive me for slapping your face, won't you, dear brother?" she said, "you know I could not help feeling angry, when I saw that you had spoilt my beautiful doll; but I do not want you to be punished, and so I have not told anybody except Mrs Norton, and she found it out of herself."
"You are afraid of being punished for slapping my face," answered the ungrateful little boy.
"Oh, how can you say that, Norman?" exclaimed Fanny, ready to burst into tears at the unfeeling observation. "I would have told mamma that I slapped you, but then I knew that that would have shown what you had done; but I did tell Mrs Norton, and she said I was wrong, and I knew I was, and I want you to forgive me for that."
"I do not know what you mean by 'forgive,'" said Norman.
"That you do not feel angry or vexed, or wish to slap my face, or do me any harm, and that you love me as much as you did before, and will try to forget all about it," answered Fanny. "That is what I think is the meaning of forgiving, and that is what I know I ought to do about the way you treated Miss Lucy. I wish there would not be the ugly mark on her neck, which I am afraid she always will have, even when Mrs Norton gets her head put on, as she has promised to do; but I must try and make her a high frock with a frill, which will come under her chin, and hide it, and then I shall not see the mark, and so I hope I shall soon forget what you did to her."
Norman opened his large eyes, and fixed them on his sister.
"I think I know better than I did before what to forgive means," he observed; "I wish, Fanny, I was more like you."
Just then Susan, who had been looking for the children to get them ready for tea, came in, and led off Norman. Unfortunately she had discovered how he had treated Miss Lucy, and she thought fit to give him another scolding. This made him angry, and he entirely forgot all that Fanny in her gentle way had told him about forgiveness. Once more he hardened his heart and thought that now he was equal with Fanny, as he had lost his football, and her doll had lost its head.
Captain Vallery returned home later than usual. Norman, who heard his ring at the door, ran down to meet him, and was much disappointed to find that he had not brought a new football.
"I thought, papa, that you would have remembered that my football is spoilt," he exclaimed, "and would have brought another."
"But who spoilt it, let me ask?" said Captain Vallery. "As you spoilt the football, you should be the person to mend it, and you should not expect me to bring you a new one."
"But I cannot mend it, papa," said Norman.
"People often find that they cannot remedy the harm they have done," observed his papa.
Norman, who was afraid that his papa might hear of the way he had treated his sister's doll, did not ask any further questions.
All the next day he behaved much better. His finger hurt him, and morning and evening he went humbly to Fanny to get it dressed, because he found she did it so gently and carefully.
No one said anything about the doll, and he wondered what had become of it. Once or twice he thought that if he could find it he would put it out of the way altogether, for he was dreadfully afraid lest his granny or papa should discover that its head had been cut off. At last he thought he would dig a hole in the garden and put it into it, and cover it up, and then no one would be able to find it.
"Fanny has not told about it," he thought, "she and Mrs Norton are the only people who know what I did, and as they have said nothing as yet, I hope that they will not."
Norman did not consider that although neither his papa or mamma or granny might discover what he proposed doing, God would not only see him, but knew already the evil in his heart, and that should he continue to indulge his bad feelings, they would grow with his growth, and when he became a man they would too probably make him do things too terrible to mention.
As soon as he had made up his mind what to do, while Fanny was at her lessons, he stole into her room, expecting to find the doll. He saw that it was not in the doll's house, and so he looked into her bed, and then he opened all her drawers, but no doll was to be found. He had seen her one day going in with it to granny's room, so he thought it might be there. Mrs Leslie was downstairs, he therefore hoped that he might be able to creep in and search for the doll without being discovered. He listened, the drawing-room door was closed, and he knew that Susan was not in that part of the house, so, walking on tiptoes, in he stole. He looked about in every part of the room where he thought the doll might be placed.
"Perhaps Fanny puts it in one of the drawers," he said to himself, "but then what would granny say if she found out that I had looked into them."
At last he put his hands to the handle, and opened a drawer just wide enough to peep in, but the doll was not there. He opened the next, but using greater force, he pulled it much wider open than he had intended: no doll was within. He tried to close it, but found he could not succeed, he pushed and pushed, still the drawer would not close; at last, putting his shoulder to it, he lifted it up, and the drawer shut, but in doing so it made much more noise than he had expected. There was still another drawer below it—he thought he would just peep in, and then run away as fast as possible. He took hold of the handle, and pulled and pulled, but the drawer would not open, for a good reason, because it was locked. This he did not discover, but thought he would pull once more, and if he did not succeed, he would give it up. He took hold of the handles, and exerted all his strength, suddenly he found, though the handles were in his hands, they had come out of the drawer, and over he rolled backwards. In falling he made a loud thump on the floor. Just then, before he had time to jump up, the door opened, and there stood his granny. She looked at him with astonishment.
"What! have you been trying to open my drawers?" she asked gravely, "it is very wrong in you if you have," but she felt too much grieved at such a thing to speak angrily.
"I came to look—to look—to look for Fanny's doll," blurted out Norman.
"To look for Fanny's doll!" said Mrs Leslie, "I thought you did not care for dolls? Did Fanny send you for hers?"
"No," answered Norman, "but I wanted her."
"Fanny has not brought her doll to me for some time, and perhaps she has a good reason for not doing so," said Mrs Leslie, looking at Norman. "It would, even if you knew that the doll was there, have been very wrong of you to have looked into my drawers without my permission. I am sure your papa and mamma would not approve of your doing so."
"Oh, do not tell them!" cried Norman, "perhaps papa will beat me again, and it's all Fanny's fault, she should not have had a doll now that my football is spoilt!"
"I will make no promises," said Mrs Leslie, "go into your room, and remain there, while I speak to your mamma. The last remarks you made about your sister having a doll, shows that you have a jealous feeling of her, and prevents me from wishing to get your football mended, as I had thought of doing. People who are jealous of others are never happy, and I should only encourage you, were I to do as I purposed."
Norman went into his room and sat himself down in his arm-chair. He thought that granny had let him off very well, as she had only scolded him, and what she had said did not make him at all ashamed of himself, nor did he see his fault. His only fear was that granny might tell his papa, who, though he allowed him to have his own way in many things, would, he had sense enough to know, be very much displeased with what he had done.
"What can have become of Miss Lucy though?" he thought, "I still must try to find her! I wonder if they know that I cut off her head."
He was allowed to remain in his room till he heard Fanny, who had done her lessons, calling to him. She invited him to have a game before dinner on the lawn.
When there, she produced from under her pinafore a trap and bat.
"Papa brought this yesterday in his pocket and gave it to me that I might play with you."
Fanny put it down on the ground.
"What a strange looking thing," exclaimed Norman, "what are we to do with it?"
"I will show you," said Fanny, putting the ball into the trap and taking the bat in her right hand. "Now keep a little behind me, and I will force the ball up, then I will hit it with the bat and send it up into the air to a distance."
Fanny, very adroitly, made the ball fly nearly across the lawn.
"You observe where it fell; now go there and try and catch it, and if you do so you will get me out, and you will have the right to come and play at the trap till I put you out. Or, if you roll the ball up and hit the trap you put me out."
Fanny played for some time, but at last, finding that Norman could not catch the ball nor roll it against the trap, thought that he would become impatient, and she hit it only a little way. He ran up, and without discovering that she did this to please him, soon managed to roll the ball against the trap.
"Ah, I have put you out at last, Miss," he exclaimed, "and now you shall see where I send the ball to, you had better go to the other side of the lawn, and try and catch me out if you can!"
Norman seized the bat, looking as if he was going to do great things, and Fanny went, as he desired her, to a distance.
The first time he struck the trap he upset it, and the ball tumbled down by his side. Again and again he tried to hit the ball, but always missed it, and it sometimes scarcely rose out of the cup.
"What a stupid bat this is," he exclaimed, losing patience, "I wonder you could manage to make the ball jump out of it."
"All you want is patience and practice," answered Fanny, "try and try again, I do not mind looking out for you?"
Norman made a few more attempts, with equal want of success.
"You have done something to the trap I am sure, or I should be able to hit the ball," he cried out.
"Nonsense!" said Fanny laughing, "it is entirely your own fault, strike the tail more gently and keep your eye on the ball, you will be able to hit it."
Once more he tried, but instead of hitting the trap more gently, Norman used greater force, and consequently upset it, and looking to see what had happened, instead of keeping his eyes on the ball, the latter in falling hit him slightly on the head; this was enough for him, and when Fanny, laughing, was coming up to him, altogether losing his temper he threw the bat at her with all his force. It fortunately missed her head, but striking her on the shoulder hurt her very much.
"O Norman, how could you do that!" she exclaimed, seizing him by the arm. "I was only going to show you how to use the bat, and you might have killed me," she said, naturally feeling very angry with him. "You naughty, naughty boy!"
Norman lifted up his fist as if about to strike her, Fanny seized his other arm, he struggled to free himself. At that moment Mrs Vallery came out of the house.
"What are you children about?" she asked. "Fanny my dear, what are you doing to your little brother?"
"She was laughing at me," cried out Norman, "and because I was angry, she is pinching me all over."
"Indeed, I am not," said Fanny, and though an instant before she had felt very angry with Norman, having overcome the feeling, she did not like to say that he had thrown the bat at her.
"I laughed at him, mamma, merely because he missed the ball so often, and when I came near him he wanted to hit me."
"And I did hit you," cried Norman, "and I will hit you again if you laugh at me," and again he struggled to get free.
"My dear Fanny, you should have more consideration for your little brother," remarked Mrs Vallery, coming up to them.
Fanny let go her hold of Norman, who gave a vicious kick out at her as she did so, and ran to his mamma's side.
Poor Fanny felt inclined to cry at the rebuke she had received, and yet she would not excuse herself by saying what Norman had done. That young gentleman, considering he had gained a triumph, shouted out—
"Now you may go and play by yourself, I do not want to have anything more to do with the stupid trap and bat."
"It is very ungrateful in you to say that, Norman, after your papa brought it down expressly for you," said Mrs Vallery. "Stay and play on, and try if you cannot do better; and, Fanny, let me ask you not to laugh at the little fellow if he does not manage to hit the ball as often as you do."
"I will gladly stop and play with Norman, and promise not to laugh at him," answered Fanny, ever ready to forgive, though, as she moved her arm, she felt much pain.
"Will you try again, Norman, and let me show you how you may hit the ball?" she said gently.
Norman sulkily consented, and their mamma, thinking that he was reconciled to his sister, returned to the house.
Fanny again set to work to show her brother how he ought to strike the trap, and in a short time, by following her directions, he was able to send the ball some distance. He now, highly delighted, kept her running about in all directions. Her arm hurt her too much to enable her to catch the ball, and though she might frequently have rolled it back against the trap and put him out, seeing how much amused he was she refrained from doing so.
"We will have another game by-and-by," he exclaimed, as they were summoned to dinner, and he went in highly pleased with his performance, and ready to boast about it, but he entirely forgot the injury he had done to poor Fanny.
They had another game in the afternoon, though Fanny could with difficulty play.
When she was putting on her frock in the evening to go down to dessert, Susan observed that her shoulder was very black.
"What have you done to your shoulder, Miss Fanny?" she asked; "I must put something to it."
Fanny had to confess that Norman had thrown the bat at her, but begged Susan not to scold him.
"I cannot promise, Miss, not to do that," she answered, "I am so angry with him. He is a regular little tyrant. Trusty knows it, if nobody else does, for, from the day the young gentleman came into the house he has kept away from him, and I think he ought to be whipped for many other things besides telling stories."
Fanny again pleaded in her usual way for her young brother, though she could not help confessing to herself that Susan was right.
At dessert Fanny sat next to her grandmamma, but her hurt shoulder was turned away from her and was towards Norman, who saw the black mark and remembering how it must have been caused, was in a great fright all the time he was eating the dish of strawberries his papa gave him, lest some one else would discover it. It might possibly have prevented him from enjoying his dessert as much as he otherwise would have done. Their mamma was sitting opposite, and saw the mark, but thought it was a shadow cast on Fanny's shoulder, and thus no one said anything on the subject.
Norman congratulated himself when he and Fanny went up to bed, that his violent act had escaped detection. Susan, however, who had undertaken to put him to bed, asked him how he had dared to strike his sister in the way he had done.
"I did not strike her, she held my arms and pinched me too much for that."
"What do you call throwing a bat at her and hitting her with it, then?" asked Susan.
"If you ask me questions I will strike you, you tiresome thing," exclaimed Norman, tearing off his clothes as fast as he could, in the hopes of getting Susan quickly out of the room.
"You had better not, young gentleman," said Susan; "your grandmamma does not allow anybody to be struck in this house, and I should hold you a good deal tighter than your sister did."
Norman never dared to answer Susan when she spoke in that tone of voice, and so he held his tongue till she had washed him and put him into bed, when his mamma came upstairs to hear him say his prayers. I am afraid that Norman merely uttered the words, for his heart was certainly not right towards God, nor did he even feel sorry for what he had done.
The next day, when Mrs Norton arrived, Norman saw that she had something wrapped up in her shawl. As she unfolded it, there was Miss Lucy, with a high dress, and frill round her neck.
"Oh, thank you! thank you! dear Mrs Norton," exclaimed Fanny, kissing her, "how very kind of you, and such a pretty dress! She really looks as nice as ever, and I am sure I shall soon forget what a dreadful accident happened to her," and she cast a forgiving, affectionate look at Norman. He did not return it, but eyed Miss Lucy askance, muttering, "My ball is not mended."
Mrs Norton did not hear him, and Fanny hoped her ears had deceived her.
"My dear, why do you not lean on your left arm, as I have told you," said Mrs Norton when Fanny was taking her writing lesson.
"My shoulder hurts me," answered Fanny, "and, if you will excuse me, I will try and write without doing so."
"There, now, she is going to tell her governess I threw the bat at her," thought Norman.
Fanny particularly wished to avoid giving any reason why her shoulder hurt her, and when Mrs Norton asked what was the matter with her arm, she replied, that it was nothing very serious, she was sure, and hoped that it would soon be well.
Mrs Norton seeing that she did not wish to talk about it, forebore to question her on the subject.
As soon as her lessons were over, Fanny took her doll up to her room, and reintroduced her to Nancy. Norman who had followed her, watched her with an envious eye, as she made the two dolls talk to each other.
After she had played with them for some time, she put Miss Lucy on her bed, and she and Norman went down into the drawing-room.
Norman had not given up his evil intention of putting Miss Lucy out of the way. He forgot all his sweet sister's forbearance, and loving-kindness towards him; and still allowed that terrible feeling of envy to rankle in his heart.
A few days before, Mrs Leslie and her daughter had received an invitation to pay a visit, with the children, to some friends in Scotland. Captain Vallery was unable to accompany them, being detained in London, but he expected shortly to follow. Fanny was delighted at the thought of visiting the Highlands, and seeing the beautiful lakes and streams, and mountains, she had heard so much of.
"I don't care for those sort of things," observed Norman, as he heard their plans discussed at dinner.
"Shall we have elephants to ride on, or tiger shooting?" he asked, "that would suit papa and me best."
Fanny burst into a fit of merry laughter, at which Norman got very angry.
"Don't you know that there are no elephants or tigers in this part of the world?" inquired Fanny. "The only wild animals are deer, and I always think how cruel it is to shoot such beautiful creatures, when I hear of people hunting them."
"Perhaps papa and I will go out and shoot them, only women and girls think shooting cruel," said Norman scornfully.
"A little boy should not speak disrespectfully of the tender feelings of women and girls," observed Mrs Leslie. "Fanny is very right when she expresses her sorrow, at hearing of deer being killed merely for sport, though if they were allowed to live in great numbers they would prevent other more useful animals from finding pasture."
"I say it is very good fun, shooting animals of all sorts," exclaimed Norman.
"You should not speak to your grandmamma in that tone," said Mrs Vallery.
Norman always grew angry when rebuked, and muttered something to himself, of which no one took notice.
After dinner Fanny remained with her granny and mamma to do some work, while Norman stole out of the room. He stood in the hall for some minutes, and then creeping upstairs, went into Fanny's bed-chamber. There on the bed lay Miss Lucy. Taking her up he silently came downstairs, and made his way by the back door into the garden, hoping that no one observed him.
"I will pay Fanny off for laughing at me," he muttered, as he ran quickly, with Lucy in his arms, towards the plot of ground at the farthest end, near Fanny's garden which had remained uncultivated. He had left Fanny's spade there the day before. Picking it up and hiding the doll in the shrubbery, he began digging away in the soft ground till he had made a large and deep hole. Not caring how much the earth would spoil Miss Lucy's wax face and pretty dress, he placed her in it, and then covered her completely over, smoothing the ground so that, as he thought, no one would discover that he had been digging there.
"Now though my football is spoilt, Fanny will never get her doll again, and so we are equal," he muttered to himself, as he went towards the tool-house to leave the spade there.
Just then he caught sight of Trusty running along the path. The dog never came near him if he could help it.
Norman put the spade where he had intended, and returning to the lawn, began playing with his trap and ball. He soon grew tired of being by himself, so going to the drawing-room window, he shouted out—
"Fanny I want you to come and play with me."
"You may go out, and try and amuse your little brother," said Mrs Vallery, "he should not be left so much by himself."
Fanny, though she wanted to finish her work, without a word of remonstrance, put it aside, and ran out to the lawn.
"Now, Fanny, just try and catch the ball if you can, I have got the trap, so I intend to be in first," said Norman striking the trap with his bat.
Fanny did as her brother asked her.
For some time, though she might easily often have put him out, wishing to afford him all the amusement in her power, she refrained from doing so. When she proposed stopping, he, in his usual style, ordered her to go on. She did so a few minutes longer, and, as he now managed to hit the ball to a considerable distance, she had to run about a great deal. At last she began to lose patience, and, rolling the ball against the trap, she told him that he must now give up the bat to her. On this he threw it down, declaring he had played long enough.
"That is not fair," she exclaimed. "You ought to go and look out for me."
He refused to do so, and walked away; while Fanny, feeling more angry with him than she had ever before been, went into the house.
"As Norman will not play properly, I must go and amuse myself with Miss Lucy," she thought.
She entered her room; Miss Lucy was not on her bed, where she was certain she had left her. She hunted about, and then went to Susan to ask if she had taken her.
"I have not even been into your room, Miss Fanny," answered Susan; "but I suspect, if she has gone, who took her. Just do you go and ask your brother."
Fanny ran after Norman, and found him in the path leading to their part of the garden.
"Where is my doll?" she inquired.
"What do I know about your doll?" he exclaimed. He was afraid to say that he had not taken her because he remembered the whipping his papa had given him.
"I am sure you have taken her," exclaimed Fanny; "Susan says so, and told me to ask you."
"How did she dare to say that?" cried Norman. "You had better look for your doll, and if you find her you will have her again, and if not, you will not be worse off than I am without my football, which I liked just as much as you do your stupid doll."
"My doll is not stupid," cried Fanny; "you tried to make her so by cutting her head off, you naughty, ill-natured boy;" and Fanny seized his arm feeling much inclined to box his ears.
"Let me alone," cried Norman. "I am not going to talk about your stupid doll, and stupid she is; and I wish Mrs Norton had not put on her head again. I will tell papa you pinched me, though you do pretend to be so sweet and gentle."
Fanny felt both hurt and indignant and angry at this accusation. She let go her brother's arm, and looked at him in a way which she had never before done.
"You have taken my doll, I know you have, and I do not believe you, even though you say that you have not," she exclaimed.
"I won't say anything about it," said Norman, looking very determined.
"Then I must ask granny and mamma, to make you, you naughty boy," she cried.
"They cannot make me if I do not know where she is; and I will pay you off for threatening me," cried Norman.
Fanny was going back to the house, feeling unable to bear any longer with her little brother, when she caught sight of Trusty, at the further end of the walk, scratching away with might and main in the ground near her garden. Norman saw him too, and felt very uncomfortable. If he did not drive the dog away, what he had done would certainly be discovered; but he dare not go near him without his whip, for Trusty was apt to snarl if he attempted to catch him.
"What can Trusty be about?" she exclaimed, going towards her garden.
Norman followed, though he would rather have run away. As he went on he picked up some stones, which the gardener had dug up out of a newly-made bed. He was just going to throw one at the dog, when Fanny turning round saw him and held his hand; while Trusty, scratching away more vehemently than ever, caught hold of a piece of white muslin, which he had exposed to view, and dragged forth poor Miss Lucy sadly dirtied and disfigured. Norman let the stones drop from his hands in dismay.
"You did it! I know you did! You buried her when she was not dead— though you had cut her head off—you naughty, wicked, bad boy," cried Fanny bestowing several slaps on her brother's face ere she rushed forward to pick up her doll.
Fanny's tears fell fast while she endeavoured to brush off the black earth from poor Miss Lucy's face, and shook her muslin frock; but still a great deal of earth remained about her hair, and in her eyes and mouth. Poor Fanny lost all control of herself as she gazed at the sad spectacle. Norman stood by unmoved though he did not like the boxes on the ears he had received. Again Fanny flew at him and repeated her blows, when Trusty began to bark, eager to assist his young mistress, and very sure that she was doing right.
Norman on this, taking fright, ran along the path towards the house as fast as he could go, Trusty barking at his heels, and Fanny following him. The boy shrieked as he ran, crying louder and louder.
His voice reached his mamma's ears, and she hurried out, fearing that some accident had happened. Mrs Leslie also came out; and at the same moment Captain Vallery arrived. Norman rushed up to them, shrieking out that Trusty was going to bite him, and that Fanny had been beating him black and blue.
Fanny came up directly afterwards, the tears dropping from her eyes, her face flushed, and still bearing the traces of her unusual anger, while her sobs prevented her from explaining what had happened, or defending herself. All she could do, was to hold up her doll, and point to Norman.
"He did it, he did it!" then her tears gushed forth afresh.
"She beat me, she beat me!" retorted Norman.
"I am afraid you both have been very naughty," said Mrs Vallery.
"You know I never allow Norman to be beaten except by me," observed Captain Vallery.
Mrs Leslie, who had more confidence in Fanny than her own parents had, said—
"Let us hear what provocation Norman gave, before we condemn her. What has occurred, my dear child?"
"He buried Miss Lucy to hide her from me," sobbed Fanny. "If Trusty had not pulled her out, I should never have found her, and she would have been entirely spoilt; as it is, the poor creature's eyes are full of dirt, and her pretty gown is all covered with earth."
Fanny continued sobbing as if her young heart would break.
Her granny now led her into the house, followed by Mrs Vallery holding Norman by the hand.
Though he would not confess what he had done, the fact was evident, but as he had not told a story, his papa did not offer to whip him, as he deserved. Mrs Vallery spoke to him very seriously, and he listened to her lecture quietly enough, as he did not mind being scolded.
Her granny had done her best in the meantime to comfort Fanny, and with the assistance of Susan put Miss Lucy to rights, though several ugly marks remained on her face, and her frock required to be carefully washed.
Before going to bed she found Norman, and telling him how sorry she was that she had beaten him, forgave him with all her heart for the injury he had done her doll.
"You will not try to hurt her again, will you, Norman?" she said, "promise me that, or I shall be afraid of leaving her for a moment, lest you should find her, and do her some harm."
Norman promised, and Fanny kissed him, and felt at length more happy, though, as she laid her young head on the pillow, it seemed, as if something very terrible had happened during the day. Norman did not trouble himself much about the matter; he had got off very cheaply, and it is possible that he really was happier than if he had succeeded in hiding Miss Lucy, and utterly destroying her—he certainly would have been very uncomfortable while people were looking for her, and he was dreading that she would be discovered, and his wicked act brought to light.
The day arrived when the family were to go to Scotland. Captain Vallery accompanied them to London, and saw them off by the train. Fanny had never made so long a journey before, as she had only been up and down occasionally with her granny to town. It seemed very strange to her to find the train going on and on, passing by towns, and villages, and country houses, without stopping: sometimes for a whole hour together it flew on and she found that fifty miles had been passed over. Norman laughed at her exclamations of surprise and delight.
"Oh, this is nothing," he observed, "we have come all the way from India by a steamer, through the Suez Canal and then along the Mediterranean and right through France."
"You are a young traveller; Fanny knows that. Perhaps some day she may make the same journey," observed Mrs Leslie. "Still you should not despise your sister, because she has not seen as much as you have."
The party remained a few days in Edinburgh to see various friends, and then proceeded on to Glen Tulloch—a romantic place in the Highlands— the residence of Mr and Mrs Maclean, with whom they had been invited to stay.
Every one was pleased with Fanny, and thought Norman a very fine boy, and he was perfectly satisfied with the praises he heard bestowed on him.
The house stood on the side of a hill, with a stream running into a loch on one side, and a wide extent of level wild ground above it.
Mr Maclean showed the children a rough little carriage he had had built, and told Fanny that she might take it out whenever she liked, and give her brother a drive over the moor.
"I daresay as he has only just come from India, he is unaccustomed to walk over our rough ground, and you need not be afraid of breaking the carriage, you can go where you like."
Fanny was delighted, and offered at once to take Norman out.
"Yes, and I will sit in the carriage, and drive you with my whip, that will be good fun," said Norman.
His whip, however, had not been brought to Scotland, but Mr Maclean, who thought he was in fun, cut him a long stick, and helped the children up the hill with the carriage. When they got on level ground, he wished them good-bye, and Fanny dragging the carriage into which Norman got, they proceeded on their journey.
The carriage was roughly made, being merely a wooden box cut out, on either side with thick wooden wheels, and a pole by which it was dragged. Norman, however, thought it very good fun to sit in it, and be drawn along. At first, he contented himself with merely flourishing the stick, but when Fanny did not go fast enough to please him, he began to hit at her with it.
"Go on, my little horse, go on. I wish you were a coolie, and I would soon make you move faster," he shouted out, hitting at her several times.
As long as he only struck her dress, Fanny did not mind, but when the young tyrant, leaning forward, began to beat her on the shoulders, she turned round and declared that she would go no farther if he did so again.
"But I will make you," he answered; "go on, I say."
Fanny stopped, and again told him not to use his stick as he was doing.
"Well, go on and you will see," he said, letting his stick hang out behind the carriage, for he was afraid that she would take it from him.
Fanny once more began to drag the carriage forward, but she had not got far when she felt the stick on her shoulders.
"You are not going fast enough to please me," cried Norman.
"I told you that I would not draw you at all if you hit me, and you have done so notwithstanding," said Fanny, feeling very angry.
"You cannot leave me out here by myself, so you must drag me home," said Norman, "and I am determined that you shall go as fast as I like."
"Home we will go, then," answered Fanny, and, turning the carriage round, she began to return by the way they had come.
Norman seemed determined to make her angry, for after they had gone a little way he again hit her with the end of his stick. Suddenly turning round, she snatched it from him, and, breaking it in two, threw it to a distance.
Norman was afraid of getting out, lest his sister should run off with the carriage, and as she could not now be struck, she dragged it home as fast as she could go.
Mr Maclean seemed somewhat surprised to see his young friends return so soon.
Norman lost his excursion, and Fanny, in her kindness, thinking that he was sufficiently punished, did not say how he had treated her.
IN THE HIGHLANDS.
"I hope you had a pleasant excursion, my dears, on the moor," said Mrs Maclean, when they entered the house.
"Oh, we had very good fun, and we should have had more if Fanny would have gone farther," answered Norman. "She cannot stand jokes, and because I just touched her with my stick she would not go on."
Fanny cast a reproachful glance at Norman. She had determined not to complain of him, and now he was trying to make it appear that he had come back through her want of temper. This was very hard indeed to bear, but she did not attempt to defend herself, for she knew that her granny would be aware of the truth, and that satisfied her, and she was unwilling to make her little brother appear to disadvantage in the eyes of their hostess.
"I shall be very happy to take Norman out again whenever he likes, and I hope that I shall be able to draw him farther than I did to-day," she said quietly.
Mrs Maclean was a very kind lady, an old friend of their granny's, and Fanny thought her very like her; she had the same quiet, but yet firm, manner, and she seemed to take an interest in what she and Norman said and did, and to be anxious to amuse them.
Mr Maclean was a Highland gentleman who preferred spending his days among his native moors and heathery hills, to living in a town and mixing in the world.
Norman whispered to Fanny that he thought he was an old farmer, when he first saw him in his tartan shooting-coat and trowsers, with a bonnet on his head, a plaid over his shoulders, and a thick stick in his hand. Old as he was, however, he could walk many a mile over those heathery hills he loved so well, and not only Norman, but Norman's papa, might have had some difficulty in keeping up with him. He was as kind as Mrs Maclean, and soon took a great fancy to Fanny; Norman discovered that, somehow or other, he did not stand so well in his opinion.
The laird, as he was called, now entered the room—"Well, young people, you took but a short excursion to-day," he observed; "perhaps, Mistress Fanny, you found the carriage rather heavy to drag, and if you have a fancy for a row on the loch, as I am going down after luncheon to try and catch a few trout for dinner, I shall be glad to take you with me."
"Oh, thank you, Mr Maclean, I should so like to go," answered Fanny. "May we, mamma? may we, granny?"
Mrs Leslie and her mamma willingly gave their consent.
"I must ask you to take care that Norman does not tumble into the water, though," said Mrs Vallery.
"I will make a line fast to the young gentleman's leg, and soon haul him out again if he does," answered Mr Maclean, laughing.
"I can take very good care of myself, thank you," said Norman; "but I should like to see you catch some fish, if they are good big ones."
"There are not finer in any loch in Scotland, but they will not always rise to the fly," observed Mr Maclean.
As soon as luncheon was over, the laird, carrying his rod and fishing-basket, and accompanied by his two young friends, set off for the loch. On their way they were joined by Sandy Fraser, a tall, thin, old man, with grey hairs escaping from under his bonnet. Sandy had been Mr Maclean's constant attendant from his boyhood, and had followed him to many parts of the world which he had visited before he settled down in his Highland home.
On reaching the loch, they found a boat, and Sandy took the oars. The two children were placed in the centre, Mr Maclean took his seat in the stern, and Sandy rowed away towards the further end of the loch. On one side the hills, with here and there bare, grey rocks appearing on their steep sides, rose directly out of the water, and were reflected on its calm surface.
"Why, the hills are standing on their heads," exclaimed Norman, who for the first time in his life had witnessed such a scene.
Rowing on, they passed several pretty islands covered thickly with trees, among which, Fanny said, she should like to have a hut and live like Robinson Crusoe.
"No, I should be Robinson Crusoe, and you should be Friday," exclaimed Norman, who knew the story, as it was in one of Fanny's picture-books.
"Young gentleman, you should be proud of working for your sister," observed the laird, who was busy getting his fishing-tackle ready. "It is far more manly to work for others, than to let others work for you."
Norman held his tongue, for he had an opinion that he had better not contradict the old gentleman as he was accustomed to do other persons.
Fanny watched Mr Maclean with great curiosity, as, at length having reached a spot where, the breeze playing over the surface, he expected the fish to rise, he began to throw the little fly at the end of his long line. Now he made it skim the water from one side to the other, now he drew it towards him, always keeping it in motion, just as a real fly would play over the surface. On a sudden there was a splash, and for an instant the head of a fish was seen above the surface, and the tip of the light rod bending, the line ran rapidly out of his reel. The laird began at length to wind up the line, in vain the poor fish swam here and there, it could not get the sharp hook out of its mouth. Sandy, laying in his oars, got the landing-net ready. The rod was so light that it could not have borne the weight of the fish, but by putting the net beneath it he easily lifted it into the boat.
"Oh, what a fine fish," exclaimed Fanny, as she examined the large loch trout which had been caught; "what delicate colours it has! How beautifully it is marked on the back!"
"We must get a few more, though, to make up our dish," said Mr Maclean, getting his line ready for another throw.
A second unwary trout was soon caught, and a third, and a fourth.
"I should like to fish too," exclaimed Norman. "Won't you let me have your long stick and string, Mr Maclean? It seems very easy, and I am sure I should soon catch some."
The laird laughed heartily.
"You are more likely to tumble into the water, and then we should have to catch you, young gentleman," he answered. "It will take a good many years before you can throw a fly, let me tell you."
Norman was not convinced.
"I'll get Sandy to row me out some day."
"He is welcome to do that; but remember, you must not be tumbling overboard."
"I can take very good care of myself," answered Norman, folding his arms, and trying to look very grand.
A broad grin came over the countenance of Sandy, who knew enough of English to understand him. He nodded to his master.
"If he comes with me I will take gude care of the child, and maybe he will catch a big trout some day; and you will come, young lady, and I will teach you to catch fish too," he said, turning to Fanny.
"Oh, I am sure I should not like to ran a hook into their mouths, it must hurt them so dreadfully," answered Fanny.
"They are given to us for food, my little girl," observed Mr Maclean, "and most conscientiously I believe they suffer no real pain, and although the instinct of self-preservation makes them wish to escape, I doubt even whether they are frightened when they feel the hook in their mouths."
Still Fanny was incredulous, and thought she should never agree with the laird on that point.
"I do not care whether the fish are hurt or not if I want to catch them," observed Norman, showing his usual indifference to the feelings of others, whether human beings or animals.
Fanny enjoyed the row very much, and thanked Sandy for offering to take her and Norman out.
They reached home in time to have the trout dressed for dinner, and the laird insisted that the children should come down, and partake of some of the fish which they, as he said, had assisted to catch.
The laird was fond of the study of natural history, and narrated a number of anecdotes especially of the sagacity of animals.
"Fanny and I have a difference of opinion as to whether fish when caught do or do not feel pain," he observed. "I remember reading an anecdote which, if true, supports what she thinks. A surgeon was one day walking by the side of a pond in a gentleman's grounds in England, when he saw a large pike, which had struck its head against a piece of iron projecting from a sunken log, and was struggling in the water close to the bank. The fish did not attempt to swim away, nor did it seem alarmed, when the surgeon stooped down, and lifted it gently out of the water. He at once saw that the jaw of the fish had been broken, and with his penknife and some strips of wood and linen, which he had in his pocket, he dexterously managed to bind up the jaw, after doing which, he placed the fish in the water. It did not even then swim away, but as long as he remained on the bank, kept watching him attentively.
"The next day, going down to the pond what was his surprise to see the fish swim towards him, and poke his head out of the water. He perceived that some of the bandaging had been displaced, and lifting the fish as before gently on the bank he dressed the wound, and again returned it to its native element. As he walked along the bank, the fish swam by his side, and not till he turned his back, did it dart off into deep water.
"The following day, he again went down to the pond, when the fish swam up to where he stood, though it did no more than come to the edge, being apparently satisfied that its wound was going on well. As long as he remained in the place, the fish invariably appeared whenever he went to the pond, and swam close to the edge, as he walked along the bank.
"I must confess that that fish must have had as much sense as many other animals, and probably felt more pain when injured, and would have been alarmed, if it had been attacked, or had found a hook in its jaws."
"But is the story really true?" asked Fanny.
"It is at all events as well authenticated as many other anecdotes," answered the laird. "By-the-by, Mrs Vallery, I should like to witness the performances of the snake-charmers in India. Have you ever seen them?"
"Frequently," answered Mrs Vallery. "They are very wonderful, and my husband has taken some pains to ascertain whether there is any imposture, but without success. They profess to charm the Cobra de Capella and other snakes, which are excessively venomous, and abound in all the hotter parts of the country. It is said, indeed, that 12,000 natives are killed annually by bites from them. The snake-charmers do not previously train the snakes, but will charm those only just caught, quite as well as those they carry about with them.
"They use for this purpose, a hollow gourd on which they play a buzzing music. On one occasion, three men appeared, dressed only in their turbans and waist cloths, in which it was impossible they could have concealed any snakes. My husband took them to some wild ground, where they speedily caught a couple of large cobras, and returning with the venomous creatures having placed them on the ground, made them rear up their bodies, and raise and bow their heads, keeping exact time with the music. After they had ceased, my husband speedily killed the snakes, and on examining them the poison fangs were found to be perfect. Generally, however, the snake-charmers either extract the fangs of the snakes they carry about with them, or wisely employ those which are harmless. They allow the creatures to crawl over their bodies, and twist and twine themselves in the most horrible manner round their necks and arms, and I have seen a snake putting its forked tongue into its master's mouth.
"There are instances, however, of the venomous serpents biting the snake-charmers, who have thus lost their lives.
"At one of the stations where my husband was quartered, snakes were very numerous, and we used to keep a mongoose in the house to destroy them. It is a pretty little animal, a species of ichneumon with catlike habits and a very prying disposition. The common idea is, that if bitten by a venomous serpent, it runs to find a particular herb, which prevents the venom taking effect. This, however, is not really the case, the mongoose depends upon its own vigilance and great agility for escaping from the fangs of even the most active serpent, for if bitten, it would die like any other animal.
"I should not like to see men allowing snakes to put their tongues in their mouths, even though I knew that the fangs had been taken out," observed Fanny. "But I should like to see the jugglers you were speaking of, mamma, who performed such wonderful tricks."
"I was mentioning the Indian gipsies or Nutts, as they are called, who travel as those in England used to do, from one end of the country to the other, and appear to have no settled home. A party arrived one day at our station, and offered to exhibit their tricks, and your papa gave them leave to do so.
"There were among them several persons of all ages. First an old man took his seat on the ground and began violently beating a drum, shouting out that we should soon see what we should see. Meantime a young man and a boy had fixed firmly in the ground a bamboo nearly thirty feet high, and while thus engaged, another man singing in a monotonous voice, was running round and round it. Presently a woman who was standing by, leaped on the shoulder of the running man, who did not stop, but continued his course as before, rapidly increasing his speed. In another minute she had leaped on his head, and there she stood with perfect steadiness, while he ran still faster, and the old man beat the drum louder and louder, shrieking all the time, even more shrilly than before, till the noise became almost deafening.
"While our senses were somewhat bewildered by the sound, the boy ran up to the running man with a large earthen pot, which the latter in a wonderful way placed on his head; the woman having, I suppose, in the meantime put her feet on his shoulders, for before I could follow her movements she appeared standing on the top of the pot, the man still running round as before.
"The man who had been fixing the pole in the earth, now advanced, and taking up a heavy stone ball which it would have required a strong man to lift even a few inches from the ground, began playing with it, catching it now on one shoulder, now on the other, then in his hands, and on his arms and feet. Next he threw up two ivory balls, quickly adding others in succession, till there were no less than eight kept in motion at the same time, flying up in the air.
"The first party, who had in the meantime been resting, now arranged a flat circular brass dish, of considerable size, on which were placed four pillars about three inches high. These were connected by four sticks, with other sticks above them, and then more pillars, and so on, till there were fully thirty pillars one above another, with a brass dish on the top of all. We thought it surprising that this structure could stand as it did, but greater was our amazement to see it lifted on the man's head while he was circling round the post, and still more astonished were we, when the woman sprang like lightning up in the air and stood on the top of all, as steadily as if she was on the ground, while the man continued rapidly circling round.
"After this, one of the men leaped on the shoulders of the other, who was standing close to the pole, and then the woman making use of them as a ladder, sprang to the very top of the pole, on the point of which she lay in a horizontal position, when one of the men who had followed her, touching her foot, she began to spin round and round, like the card of a pocket compass on its point.
"The men performed a variety of other tricks, but those I have mentioned are the most wonderful.
"Here was no room for deception, though many of the tricks performed by Indian jugglers are really the result of clever sleight-of-hand."
"I think I would rather see the tricks which the conjuror did when we went to the Egyptian Hall last year with granny," said Fanny; "I never like to look at people who are doing things by which if they make a mistake they may hurt themselves. I should not like to have seen Blondin, and the other people we read of in the newspapers, who run along tight ropes high up in the air."
"I should think them very foolish for their pains, and wish them a better mode of gaining their livelihood," observed Mr Maclean, "and I agree with Fanny. A sailor has to climb the rigging of his ship, but then he goes in the way of duty, and when people mount in balloons, they have generally a scientific object in view, or some reason to offer. But in my opinion, the rest of the world should keep their feet on the earth as long as they can."
Even Norman, was interested in this conversation, and declared that he recollected the performances of the jugglers which his mamma spoke of. He then described several scenes which he had witnessed in India, in a very clear way.
"You have got a head on your shoulders, young gentleman," observed the laird; "I only hope you have got your heart in its right place."
Mrs Leslie sighed, for she was afraid that her little grandson had been so long allowed to have his own way, that though his heart might be in its right place, as the common expression is, it was sadly choked up with the bad seed of weeds, which were already beginning to sprout The next day was rainy, and neither Fanny nor Norman could go out. He behaved himself tolerably well in the drawing-room, but when they were at play together, he ordered her about in his usual dictatorial manner, and said several things which greatly tried her temper.
"Although he is so forward in many things, and talks so well, he is but a little boy after all," she thought; "it is, however, easy to feel amiable and good when I am not opposed, but I ought to try and be so, notwithstanding all he says and does."
The following day was bright and fine, and as Sandy could not take them, out in the boat, the laird asked Fanny and Norman whether they would like to make another excursion with the carriage. "Oh yes! I shall like it very much," exclaimed Norman. "Please cut me another long stick, for Fanny broke the one you gave me the other day."
Fanny did not say why she broke it, so the laird cut another long thin wand, and gave it to Norman.
"Ah, this will make my horse go on at a good quick pace," he observed, flourishing it. "I won't ask you to drag me up the hill, because you can't," he said to Fanny, "so if you will pull, I'll push behind."
"That is very right of you," observed the laird, as his young friends set off on their excursion. "He is a fine little fellow, though too much addicted to boasting."
Fanny, with Norman pushing behind, soon dragged the carriage up the hill. He then declared that he was tired, and getting in told her to move on.
As the ground was tolerably smooth, she was able to do so at a speed which satisfied the young gentleman.
"Capital," he cried out, flourishing his stick, "my horse draws fast, go on, go on; now see if you can't gallop."
Fanny exerted herself to the utmost, and the air being pure and fresh she felt in good spirits.
The ground after some time became rather rougher, but Norman did not mind the bumping and thumping of the carriage, though it was much harder work for Fanny.
She at last began to go slower.
"Can't you keep it up," he cried out. "If you do not! Remember I have got my stick!"
"You must also remember how I treated you the last time," said Fanny, "and if you use your stick as you did then, I will leave you in the carriage and run away."
"You had better not," said Norman. "You promised to take care of me. Mamma will be angry if you leave me on the moor all alone by myself."
"Very well, do not beat me with your stick, and I will drag you on as fast as I can," said Fanny.
Norman remembering that Fanny had broken his stick before, thought it would be wise not to tempt her to do so again, and therefore, though he continued to flourish it, and now and then to touch her frock, he did not venture to beat her.
Fanny went on contentedly, sometimes turning round to speak to him and sometimes stopping to rest. As the ground looked smoother to the right, Fanny turned off from the main track and went towards a clump of trees which she saw in the distance, knowing that it would serve as a guide to her and believing she could easily find her way back again.
On and on they went—Norman was delighted.
"This is great fun; I wonder where we shall get to at last," he said, when Fanny again stopped to rest. "I think it will be soon time, however, to go back again," she observed, "for though Mr Maclean told us we could come to no harm on the moor, we might lose our way if we went very far."
Norman urged her to go on.
"I see a cottage a little way off between the trees, let us go as far as that, and then we can turn back," he said.
Fanny wished to please him and though she already felt a little tired, she thought there would be no difficulty in reaching the cottage, and that she would like to talk to the people who lived in it. At length, however, the ground became rougher than ever, and they soon came to a shallow burn or stream which made its way from the higher part of the moor, and went winding along till it fell into the loch below.
"I am afraid we must turn back now at all events," she said, "I shall never be able to drag the carriage over this rough ground and across the stream, so we must go back and give up visiting the cottage."
"Oh no, no! go on," cried Norman, "you can easily cross the water, it is scarcely above the soles of your shoes and see there are some big stones on which you can tread while you drag the carriage along on one side of them."
"I think I could do that if you were not in it," said Fanny, "I must not let you, however, run the risk of wetting your feet; mamma objects to that as she is afraid of your catching cold. If you will cling round my neck, I will carry you across in my arms, and then I will go back and get the carriage."
"That will do very well," said Norman. "Lift me up! Be quick about it, and we shall soon be across."
Fanny dragging the carriage to the edge of the stream took up Norman, and though he was a heavy weight for her to carry, still she thought that she could take him across in safety. She had to tread very carefully and slowly as the stream though shallow was wide and the stones uneven.
They had not gone many paces when Norman declared that she did not move fast enough.
"If I attempt to move faster I may let you fall," she answered.
"You had better not do that or mamma will be angry with you, and I am sure if you chose you could go faster than you are doing. Come, move on, move on," cried out the young tyrant, nourishing his stick, and ungrateful little boy that he was, he began to beat Fanny with it knowing that she dare not let him fall.
"Keep quiet, Norman," she exclaimed, "it is very naughty of you! You will make me let you drop, though I should be very sorry to do so."
Norman looked wickedly in her face, and only hit her harder.
As he was flourishing his stick, he knocked off her hat—she caught it, however, but in doing so she very nearly let him drop into the water. Still, though she begged and begged him to be quiet, he continued beating her, till after considerable exertions she reached dry ground in safety, and gladly put him down.
"Now, Norman," she exclaimed, "what do you deserve?"
"I do not care what I deserve, but I know that you had better not slap my face, for mamma was angry with you when you did so before, and papa says he won't allow anybody to beat me but himself, so just go and get the carriage as you said you would. You must not leave it there, somebody will run away with it, and I shall have to walk all the way home."
"Very well, do you stay where you are, and I will go and bring it across," said Fanny.
Norman agreed to stop, and Fanny went back carefully making her way over the stepping-stones. She found the task of dragging the carriage across without stepping into the water much greater than she had expected. Norman shouted to her to make haste.
"I am doing my best, and cannot go faster," she answered.
"If you are not quicker I will stay here no longer," answered Norman.
Without stopping to see whether she did move faster, off he ran.
At that moment poor Fanny's foot slipped, and before she could regain her balance, down she fell into the stream. In doing so she hurt her arm, and wet her clothes almost all over. Norman, instead of coming to help her, laughed heartily at her misfortune, and scampered away crying out, "It served you light, you should have come faster when I told you."
Poor Fanny felt very much inclined to cry with vexation, but knowing that that would do no good, she managed to scramble up again, and as her feet were wet, she stepped on through the water, and soon got the carriage to the other side of the stream. As Norman did not come back to her, she ran after him, dragging it on.
"Norman! Norman!" she cried out, but instead of coming back, he made his way towards the cottage.
She had nearly overtaken him just as they had got close to it, when the door opened, and an old man appeared, followed by a little fair-haired child, much younger than Norman.
"What is the matter?" asked the old man, eyeing the two children whose voices he had heard.
"My young brother ran away from me, and I tumbled down and wet my frock," answered Fanny.
"Come in, then, and dry yourself," said the old man.
"But I have wet my stockings and shoes," said Fanny, "and they will take a long time to dry."
"I shall be happy to have your company, my pretty lassie, as long as you like to stay," said the old man. "I ken ye are staying with Glen Tulloch and ony of his friends are welcome here."
"We are staying with Mr Maclean," answered Fanny, "and were making an excursion over the moor, when we saw your cottage, and thought we should like to visit you."
"We call Mr Maclean Glen Tulloch about here, as that's the name of his house," answered the old man. "Come in! come in! We will soon get your wet shoes and stockings off, though I am afraid you must sit without any while they are drying, for Robby there has never had a pair to his feet, and my old slippers are too large for you, I have a notion."
Fanny observed that though the old man used a few Scotch expressions, he spoke English perfectly. His dress, too, was more like that of a sailor than the costume worn by the surrounding peasantry.
Norman, who had also come into the house, stood while they were speaking, eyeing the little boy, without saying anything. At last, looking up at the old man, he asked, "Is that your son?"
"No, young gentleman, he is my grandson," was the answer, "he is the only one alive of all my family, and I am to him as father and mother, and nurse and playmate. Am I not, Robby?"
"Yes, grandfather," answered the child, looking up affectionately at the old man, "I do not want any one to play with but you."
"Would you not like a ride in our little carriage?" asked Fanny. "As soon as my shoes and stockings are dry I shall be happy to draw you."
Robby nodded his head, and came near to Fanny.
"Would you not like to go out and play with the young gentleman?" asked the old man.
"I do not want him," said Norman haughtily; "I am not accustomed to play with little brats of that sort."
"Oh, Norman, how can you say that?" exclaimed Fanny, very much annoyed.
"Is he your brother, young lady?" asked the old man, looking with a pitying eye on Norman, but not at all angry.
"Yes," said Fanny.
"I should not have thought it. There is a wide difference between you, I see."
Fanny did not quite understand him.
Norman sat himself down on a stool in the corner of the room, and folded his arms in the fashion which he adopted when he wished to be dignified.
"You have come a long way from Glen Tulloch, young lady, and I must see you safe back, for your young brother I have a notion is not likely to be much help to you," said the old man; "Robby, though he is very small, is accustomed to take care of the house, for I often have to leave him by himself."
Fanny thanked him, for, recollecting the difficulties she encountered in coming, she felt somewhat anxious about the homeward journey, especially as Norman had behaved so ill, and very likely would continue in his present mood.
Her stockings were soon dry, but her boots took longer, and were somewhat stiff when she put them on. They were some which her mamma had brought her from Paris, and were not very well suited for walking in the Highlands.
"I am afraid I have nothing to offer you to eat suitable to your taste, young lady," said the old man, "though you must be hungry after your long journey. Robby and I live on 'brose' to our breakfast, dinner, and supper, but will you just take a cup of milk? it was fresh this morning, and you may want it after your walk."
Fanny gladly accepted the old man's offer, and then looked at Norman.
The cup of milk greatly restored her. The old man, without saying a word, brought another and offered it to Norman.
The young gentleman took it without scarcely saying thank you. Again, the old man cast a look of compassion on him.
"Poor boy," he said quietly, "he kens no better."
Robby bad in the meantime run out, and was admiring the carriage by himself, thinking how much he should like to have it to drag about, and to bring the meal home in, instead of allowing his grandfather to carry it on his back.
Fanny was curious all the time, to learn something more about their host. He was evidently different to the other people around, and it seemed so strange that he and the little boy should be living together in that lone cottage on the wild moor. But she did not like to ask him questions, and as he did not offer to say anything more about himself than he had done, she restrained her curiosity intending to ask Mr Maclean more about him when she got home.
At last her clothes, and boots, and stockings being dry, she told the old man that she thought it was time to begin their homeward journey.
"As you wish, young lady," he answered, and accompanied her and Norman out of the cottage. They found Robby at the door, looking at the carriage.
"Oh, you must get in," said Fanny, "and I will draw you. My brother can walk very well some of the way."
"Thank you, young lady," said the old man; "if you will let Robby have a ride, I will draw the carriage, and let him come a little way, but he must go back, and look after the house, and it would be over far for him to return, if he came with us to Glen Tulloch."
Norman looked very angry when Robby got into the carriage, and he himself had to walk, but he dared not complain, as there was something in the old man's manner which made him stand in awe of him.
After they had gone a short distance, his grandfather told Robby to run back, and thanking Fanny, invited Norman to get in. The young gentleman did so, but he did not use his stick, as he had done when Fanny was dragging him.
They easily crossed the stream, and Fanny was surprised to find how soon they reached the top of the hill near Glen Tulloch.
"Now, young lady, you can easily take the carriage home, so I will wish you good-bye," said the old man; "I hope you will come soon again—it does my heart good to see you." Fanny promised, if she was allowed, soon again to pay him a visit, and wishing him good-bye, while he strolled back over the moor, she dragged the carriage down the hill. She met the laird setting out to look for her and Norman.
"Why, my bonny lassie, the ladies were afraid that you had wandered away over the moor and lost yourselves, you have been so long away, and they sent me off to try and find you."
Fanny, without blaming Norman, told him of their adventure in the stream, and their meeting with the old man and his little grandson in the lone hut on the moor.
"Ah, that was old Alec Morrison," observed the laird. "His is a sad history, I will tell it you by-and-by, but come along home and satisfy the ladies that you are not lost."
"I am very glad you have come back at last, Fanny, we were getting anxious about you," said Mrs Vallery. "I must not allow you to make excursions with Norman unless you can manage to come back with him in good time."
"I will try and manage better another time, mamma," she said, looking up after a minute's silence. "I should very much like to pay another visit to the old man who was so kind to us, and to take something for his little grandson. Poor little fellow, I pity him so much having to live out on a wild moor, where there are no other children to play with him. His grandfather says he often leaves him alone in the cottage by himself."
"I cannot promise positively to let you go," said Mrs Vallery, "but I am sure that you will do your best to return in good time. I hope to be able to do so, and I should wish you to take something for the poor little child you speak of."
"Thank you, mamma," said Fanny, kissing Mrs Vallery affectionately, and forgetting all about the way Norman had treated her, she ran off to prepare for tea.
LEARNING TO FISH.
The next morning while they were at breakfast, Fanny asked the laird to tell her something about Alec Morrison, the old man who had been so kind to her and her brother the previous day.
"I can only give you the outline of his history, but perhaps you may get him to narrate some of the many adventures he has gone through," he answered.
"He was born not far from this, and his mother was a shepherd's only daughter. His father who belonged also to this neighbourhood, when quite a young man had driven some cattle to a seaport town when he got pressed on board a man-of-war, and had sailed away to a foreign station, before he could let his friends know what had become of him, or take any steps to obtain his liberation. He had promised to marry Jennie Dow, whom he truly loved, and had hoped soon to save enough by his industry to set up house.
"Years and years passed by during which Jennie, who would not believe that he was dead, remained faithful to him. Her father was getting old, and her friends advised her to secure a home for herself. She replied that it would be time enough to do so when her father was dead, and that as long as he lived, she would stay and look after him.
"At length, on the evening of a summer's day, a one-armed man in a sailor's dress approached the door. He looked ill and hungry and tired. He stopped and asked for a cup of milk and a bit of bannock.
"'I will pay for both, gladly,' he said, 'and be thankful besides, for without some food I feel scarcely able to get on even to the village where, if the friends I once had there are still alive, I am sure to get a night's lodging and to learn about others, though may be they have forgotten me long ago.'
"'Come in and sit down, old friend,' said the shepherd, and Jennie placed a cup of milk and a bannock on the table.
"As she did so she cast an inquiring glance at the face of the stranger.
"'Who are you, friend?' asked Alec Dow. 'I am as likely as any one to tell you of the people in these parts.'
"'I am sure it must be,' exclaimed Jennie, coming forward and placing her hand on the stranger's shoulder. 'Don't you know me, Alec Morrison?'
"'O Jennie, I thought you must be married long ago!' exclaimed the sailor, jumping to his feet, 'for I could not think that you would have remembered me. And can you care for me now—a battered old hulk as I am, with one arm and half-a-dozen bullets through me, besides I don't know how many cutlass cuts and wounds from pikes?'
"'I have never ceased to hope that you would return,' was Jennie's answer.
"As his daughter was the only being the old shepherd loved, he allowed her to marry the wounded sailor, who took up his abode with them, and served him faithfully till he died.
"Times went hard with Jennie and her husband, for Morrison's constitution was shattered, and he could not work as hard as he wished. They had one son, Alec, who grew up a fine manly boy. The sailor was fond of spinning yarns, to which his son listened with rapt attention, and longed to meet with the same adventures as his father.
"The boy was little more than twelve years old when his sailor father died from the wounds he had received fighting his country's battles.
"Though his thoughts often wandered away over the wide ocean which he had never yet seen, young Alec dutifully did his best to assist his mother, but she did not long survive her husband, and he was left an orphan.
"It would have been a hard matter for him living all alone to have made a livelihood, so he sold two of his heifers to obtain an outfit, and leaving the remainder as well as his cottage in charge of a relative of his father's, he started off to the nearest seaport. He had no difficulty in finding a ship, for he was as likely a lad as a captain could wish to have on board.