PUSS AS A HORSE.
ONE day, Tom had been at play with Ned. Ned was the horse, and Tom drove him, with reins, and a whip.
By and by Ned said, "Now you be horse, and let me be div-er."
Tom did not like this part of the play so well; he knew he ought to take his turn as the horse; so he let Ned drive him two or three times a-round the yard; then he said, "O, Ned, I am tired; I don't want to play horse now; I want to look at my new book."
"But I want to play horse some more; do play with me, dear Tom."
"See here," said Tom; "you take old Tab for your horse; put the reins round her."
This was not just the right thing to do, for Puss did not like to be kept from her kit-tens; but the lit-tle boys did not think of that.
Ned liked the plan; he tied the reins round Puss, and drove her all a-bout; and if Puss did not like it, she bore it well, and was as good a horse as a cat could be.
Ned ran to show Ruth his fine team, but Ruth was out.
The fire was down, for it was past tea-time; and the doors of the cook-stove were not shut.
"O-ho!" said little Ned, as he got down to peep in-to the ov-en; "what a nice barn this is for my horse!
"There, poor old nag! I will not dive you now; you may go in-to this barn and rest."
So Ned put Puss in the ov-en, and shut the doors tight; then he went to tell Tom.
He did not find Tom just then, and soon he was called to go to bed; and he for-got all a-bout poor Puss, shut up in her barn.
Puss, I dare say, cried as loud as she could, and tried to get the door o-pen, but no one was near, to hear her. By and by, the three lit-tle kit-tens be-gan to want their old moth-er. They ran a-bout the shed, and cried, "Mew, mew."
There was a pan of milk set for Puss, and they each got their paws in it, and each put her nose in it, but they did not know how to lap it up; they were too small.
So at last they crept in a lit-tle heap on the floor, and cried them-selves to sleep.
WHAT RUTH SAID IN THE MORNING.
THE next day, when the boys were come down-stairs, they ran out to see Ruth, as they liked so much to do.
"O, Ruth," said Tom, "let me do that for you. Chop, chop! it must be fun."
"What you go-ing to do, Ruth? make a nice hash?"
"See here!" said Ruth; "I want to talk to you, young sirs; who shut poor Puss up in the stove ov-en last night?"
"O, I did," said Ned; "she was my horse, and that was the barn. Is she in there now? I'll let her come out."
"Stop, child; you will burn your hands. No, sir; my rolls are in there now; but we were in a fair way to have a roast cat for you to eat."
Rose had come in, and she said, "O, our poor kits! Were they a-lone all night?"
"Yes, poor things, that they were. When I came down this morn-ing, I went out in-to the shed for wood, and I heard them cry and cry. I saw Puss was not with them, and says I, 'Why, where can she be?' Then I came in to make the fire, and I heard old Puss cry, close by me. I went to the pan-try door, and all the doors, but no Puss did I see. I did not know what to make of it.
"As the fire be-gan to burn, and the ov-en to get hot, you may be sure she cried more and more. At last I took hold of the ov-en door, to see if it grew hot for my rolls, and out she came, and held up first one paw, then the oth-er, as if to tell me it was hot in there!"
Poor lit-tle Ned's face grew quite sad, and at last he be-gan to cry hard.
"I did not mean to bake poor Puss," he said, with a great sob.
"Well, bless your lit-tle heart, I know you did not," said Ruth, "and she is not baked; she is with the kits. Come and see her."
Ruth took him out in the wood-shed in her arms, and let him see Puss with her kits.
"There," said she, "you need not cry, for she is all right now; but do not shut her in the ov-en a-gain, mind! for some one might come and make a fire, and burn her all up."
"No," said Ned, as he wiped his eyes with his bib; "I wont put her in that barn a-ny more; no."
THE DAY THAT MAM-MA WENT TO TOWN.
ONE day, Mrs. Dale had to go to town, to be gone all day.
She was to go with Mr. Dale, in the cars, in the morn-ing, and as she had to go a-bout a good deal, to the shops, she did not think best to take the lit-tle ones with her.
So she left them in Jane's care. Mike was to get up the horse, at some time in the day, and take them all a nice drive, for an hour; and the rest of the time, their mam-ma told them, they must be good, and do just as Jane told them.
At first, Rose, and Tom, and Ned felt as if it would be fine fun to have no les-sons, and to have all day for play.
They put on their hats, and went out to see the hens and chicks; then they had a nice play with their kit-tens; they each had a spool tied to a cord, and ran down the gar-den walk, and the kit-tens would all chase the spools. The kit-tens were grown now, so they could run and play, and, as Rose said, "They were just as pret-ty as they could be."
Rose had named her kit-ty "Spot," and Tom called his "Net," and they named the white one "Snow;" but Ned said, "No, she is Kit-ty." He did not want a bet-ter name for her.
By and by it grew so hot in the sun, that Jane said they must play in the shade of the trees, or else come in-to the house.
They play-ed un-der the trees for a time, and Rose got her dolls out there, and would have liked to stay, but Tom said, "I don't want to play with dolls; come, Rose, let us go in, and find some- thing to do."
Rose had a good mind to say, "No," for she had just been in to get her dolls; but then she said to her-self, "I must be sure to be kind, now mam-ma is not here."
So she took up Lu-lu and Fan, and went in. She did not take May out, for May did not seem to feel well that day. Tom and Ned tried all their toys, and Rose took down the books she liked best, but it seem-ed a long time to din-ner.
Ruth got them a nice din-ner, just what they all liked.
When they were done din-ner, Rose said, "Now, what time is it, Jane?"
"It is just one," said Jane.
"0, dear! Mike said he could not go with us till three; that is two hours. What shall we do now?
"Why do you not play school?" said Jane.
"How shall we play it?" asked Rose.
"Why, play that you kept the school, and Tom, and Ned, and all your dolls, can come to it.
"They must all sit up on seats, and you must hear them read. Then they can play do sums, and you can make your dolls sew."
"That will be a nice play," said Tom; and off they all ran to the play-room.
Ned said his ABC in school, and Tom read, and the dolls did their \work.
"Now," said Tom, "play I was teach-er, and you read to me."
Rose did not just like that, but at last she said, "Well, I will."
So she got a book that had a nice sto-ry in it, that she could read well, and Tom, the teach-er, liked to hear it so' much that she read on to the end of it.
Then Jane came to the door, and said, "Mike has gone to the barn for Dick; so come now and let me dress you."
"Why, it is not three yet, is it?" "It is not far from it," said Jane; "have you had a good play?"
"Yes," said Tom; "I like to play school, first rate."
THE DRIVE WITH MIKE.
THE sun was still hot, but Mike chose a road that led in-to the woods, so it was nice and cool, rid-ing.
Rose and Ned sat on the seat with Mike, and Tom sat on a stool in front, for to-day they had the bug-gy, with but one seat. On Sun-day, when they all went to church, they had a light wag-on, with two seats.
The chil-dren were in high glee, and they were all on the look-out, to see what was to be seen.
First, Tom spied a bird close by; then Rose saw some sweet wild flow-ers, and Mike got out to pick some for her.
Then, when they had gone a lit-tle way, Ned said, "What are those lit-tle black things on that bush, Mike?"
"Black-ber-ries," said Mike, "and ripe, too. Well done! You have bright eyes, Ned, my boy. I did not think it was time for them to be ripe."
"0, Mike, get us some; will you?"
"You can all get out, and we will tie Dick, and pick all we see."
"Good, good!" said Tom; "how nice!" So Mike took them out, and then he got a big leaf, and made a sort of cup for each of them, to hold the ber-ries. Then they had a hunt for them, up and down, and they found quite a lot of nice, ripe ones. How sweet they were!
When they had got all that were to be seen, they got in-to the bug-gy, and went on.
"I know a place," said Mike, "where there are lots of black-ber-ries; they must soon be ripe now; may-be your mam-ma will let us go some day and pick them. If she will let Jane go with us, and O-ney will go, we can get heaps."
"Won't that be just jol-ly?" said Tom; "what fun we will have, if we can go!"
As they drove on, Ned said, "O, I want a dink, so bad!"
"So do I." "And I," said the oth-ers.
"Wait a bit, then," said Mike, "and we will get some."
Soon they came to a spring-, a lit-tle off from the road; the cool, pure wa-ter ran down in-to a tub, by the side of the road.
Mike led Dick up to the tub, for he felt the want of a drink too, that hot day. Then he gave the reins to Tom to hold, and he took a tin cup that he had with him up to the spring, and got it full of nice, cold wat-er, for the chil-dren. He had to fill the cup three times.
"How did you come to have a cup with you, Mike?" said Rose.
"Ah!" said he, "lit-tle folks are sure to want a drink, if they think it can't be had."
"But we did want it, for true, this time."
"So you did, bless your heart; and you got it, you see."
On to chapters 19-28
Back to main page
Scanned by Deidre Johnson for her 19th-century girls' series webpage. Please do not use on other sites without permission