Barbara in Brittany

Language: English
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Barbara entered the nursery with rather a worried look on her face. "Aunt Anne is coming to-morrow, children," she announced.

"To-morrow!" exclaimed a fair-haired boy, rising from the window-seat. "Oh, I say, Barbe, that's really rather hard lines—in the holidays, too."

"Just as we were preparing to have a really exciting time," sighed Frances, who was her brother's close companion and ally.

"I know it's a little hard," Barbara said consolingly, sitting down beside them and taking one of the twins on her lap, while the other leaned up against her. "But you will all try to be good and nice to her, won't you? She went away with a bad opinion of us last time, and it worries mother. Besides, we mustn't forget that she was father's sister."

"I can't think how she ever came to be," sighed Frances. "She's so dreadfully particular, and we always seem naughtier when she's here. But we'll make an effort, Barbara."

"And you won't run away as soon as she speaks to you, Lucy?" Barbara went on, looking at the little girl in her lap. "It's rude, you know. You must try to talk nicely when she wants you to."

"Yes;" and the child nodded. "Only she does seem to make a lot of concussions when she comes."

"You mean discussions," Donald corrected. "You shouldn't use words you don't understand, Lucy. But I must say I agree with you; I know she always raises my corruption."

"What!" gasped Barbara.

"Raises my corruption," repeated her brother; "that's a good old Scottish expression that I've just found in a book, and it means—'makes you angry.'"

"Well, don't use it before Aunt Anne, there's a dear," Barbara urged, getting up. "She thinks we use quite enough queer expressions as it is."

"I'll speak like a regular infant prodigy. But surely you're not going yet? You've just come!"

"I must help to get things ready for Aunt Anne," Barbara said gaily, for she had recovered her spirits since procuring the children's promise of good behaviour. "I'll come to you later."

"Barbara is really rather an angel," remarked Donald after she had gone. "It's not many sisters would slave in the house, instead of having another maid, to let a fellow go to a decent school."

"You're quoting mother," Frances replied, hanging out of the window in a dangerous position; "but, of course, it's true. If I only had time I'd write a fascinating romance about her."

"I'll read every page of it and buy a hundred copies," her brother promised gallantly; but, as he knew that there was nothing Frances hated more than writing, he felt pretty safe. "Of course," he pursued, "Aunt Anne thinks mother spoils us. I don't quite think that—it's just that she's so nice and sympathetic with us when we're naughty, and Aunt Anne doesn't understand that. But still, to please Barbe, and as we've promised, we must try to be respectable and good this time. Remember, twins!"

The twins were not noted for long memories, but their intentions were good, and the first day of Aunt Anne's visit passed very well, the children remembering to rub their feet on the mat, shut the door softly, and not fidget at meals....