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CHAPTER I. ALONG THE NORTH DEVON COAST.   T was a morning of late May, and the sunshine, though rather watery, after the fashion of South-of-England suns, was real sunshine still, and glinted and glittered bravely on the dew-soaked fields about Copplestone Grange. This was an ancient house of red brick, dating back to the last half of the sixteenth century, and still bearing testimony in its sturdy bulk to the honest and durable work put... more...

CHAPTER I. AN UNEXPECTED GUEST. The September sun was glinting cheerfully into a pretty bedroom furnished with blue. It danced on the glossy hair and bright eyes of two girls, who sat together hemming ruffles for a white muslin dress. The half-finished skirt of the dress lay on the bed; and as each crisp ruffle was completed, the girls added it to the snowy heap, which looked like a drift of transparent clouds or a pile of foamy white-of-egg... more...

CHAPTER I. CONIC SECTION. It was just after that happy visit of which I told at the end of "WhatKaty Did," that Elsie and John made their famous excursion to ConicSection; an excursion which neither of them ever forgot, and aboutwhich the family teased them for a long time afterward. The summer had been cool; but, as often happens after cool summers, the autumn proved unusually hot. It seemed as if the months had been playing a game, and had... more...

CHAPTER I THE LITTLE CARRS I was sitting in the meadows one day, not long ago, at a place where there was a small brook. It was a hot day. The sky was very blue, and white clouds, like great swans, went floating over it to and fro. Just opposite me was a clump of green rushes, with dark velvety spikes, and among them one single tall, red cardinal flower, which was bending over the brook as if to see its own beautiful face in the water. But the... more...

PRELUDE.   Poems are heavenly things,  And only souls with wings  May reach them where they grow,  May pluck and bear below,  Feeding the nations thus  With food all glorious.   Verses are not of these;  They bloom on earthly trees,  Poised on a low-hung stem,  And those may gather them  Who cannot fly to where  The heavenly... more...


CHRISTMAS DAY. The Christmas chimes are pealing highBeneath the solemn Christmas sky,And blowing winds their notes prolongLike echoes from an angel's song;Good will and peace, peace and good willRing out the carols glad and gay,Telling the heavenly message stillThat Christ the Child was born to-day.In lowly hut and palace hallPeasant and king keep festival,And childhood wears a fairer guise,And tenderer shine all mother-eyes;The aged man forgets... more...

HOW BUNNY BROUGHT GOOD LUCK.   IT was Midsummer's Day, that delightful point toward which the whole year climbs, and from which it slips off like an ebbing wave in the direction of the distant winter. No wonder that superstitious people in old times gave this day to the fairies, for it is the most beautiful day of all. The world seems full of bird-songs, sunshine, and flower-smells then; storm and sorrow appear impossible things; the... more...

When nursery lamps are veiled, and nurse is singingIn accents low,Timing her music to the cradle's swinging,Now fast, now slow,—Singing of Baby Bunting, soft and furryIn rabbit cloak,Or rock-a-byed amid the toss and flurryOf wind-swept oak;Of Boy-Blue sleeping with his horn beside him,Of my son John,Who went to bed (let all good boys deride him)With stockings on;Of sweet Bo-Peep following her lambkins straying;Of Dames in shoes;Of cows,... more...

It wanted but five minutes to twelve in Miss Fitch's schoolroom, and a general restlessness showed that her scholars were aware of the fact. Some of the girls had closed their books, and were putting their desks to rights, with a good deal of unnecessary fuss, keeping an eye on the clock meanwhile. The boys wore the air of dogs who see their master coming to untie them; they jumped and quivered, making the benches squeak and rattle, and shifted... more...

A TALK ON THE DOORSTEPS.   t was one of those afternoons in late April which are as mild and balmy as any June day. The air was full of the chirps and twitters of nest-building birds, and of sweet indefinable odors from half-developed leaf-buds and cherry and pear blossoms. The wisterias overhead were thickly starred with pointed pearl-colored sacs, growing purpler with each hour, which would be flowers before long; the hedges were... more...