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Flora could see the chimneys and upper windows of the latter rising from the trees which surrounded it, close by the lodge of her father's park. A little gate opened into the park from the other garden, and when Flora saw the active little form of her friend bound through this little gate, she ran down across the park to meet her. If anything prevented Caroline from coming out at the usual time she hung out a white flag from her own room window, and this was understood by Flora to mean, 'I cannot come to day. A blue flag meant, “Will you come into our garden ?' and other colours, striped and varied, meant all sorts of different sentences; for contriving these signals had been a very great amusement to them, and on rainy days they could quite carry on a dialogue. At the happy hour of twelve their lessons ceased, and they usually ran out to play together. One morning, an unusual haste to reach each other was displayed. Caroline hurried through the little gate, and Flora rushed down the park so quickly, that when they had grasped each other's hands, they could scarcely speak for want of breath. At last, panting, Flora exclaimed, “What do you think, I have some news !'
"So have I,' returned Caroline. I am not sure if I like mine.'
* But I like mine,' cried Flora. "Guess! Oh ! you will never guess it rightly; we are going away from home.'
•Why, so are we,' said Caroline. . That is what I did not like : to leave you! Do you like to leave me?'
"No! but still I like to go; and if you are going too, you know nobody will be left ?'
'That is true,' returned Caroline; 'but where are you going ?
We are going to the seaside.'
'How very odd,' exclaimed Caroline, laughing; but I daresay our mammas fixed on the same place on purpose that we might still be together.'
*Very likely,' returned Flora, especially as they are almost as fond of being together as we are. very glad! oh, so glad! I do not remember ever being at the seaside.'
Now that I know you are going too,' said Caroline more quietly, “I think I shall like it too, for I have never been at the seaside ; but still there are many things which make me sorry to leave home!'
• What things ?' asked Flora.
“Our gardens, for one thing, just as the summer is coming on, and all the plants budding and growing, the roses so beautiful, and all the annual seeds coming up so nicely !
"Well, to be sure we shall miss seeing them, but we shall have all sorts of other things instead.'
'Yes, new things !' returned Caroline ; 'but I do not know yet whether they will make up to me for my dear plants.
Oh, yes! I thing they will,' said Flora. . We have pretty much the same flowers every year ; they are very nice, and I love them too, especially those that we planted ourselves; but I think I can be quite happy without them for one summer. And what else, Caroline, makes you sorry to go?' "Why, my pony and my ring-doves.'
Oh, Caroline! they will all be taken care of. Your Selim will have a good long run in the park, and the doves, I daresay, will scarcely miss you.'
• But I think they will,' said Caroline smiling ; 'they coo, and look so pleased when I take them their food in the morning. Nice little soft things, I shall miss
rate!' 'I do not think I shall much miss my pigeons,' replied Flora ; "they are very tame. Do you know the fantails come to my window every morning, and I let them in, and they hop about the room ; but I have had them a long time, and I am a little tired of them.'
'Oh, Flora, how can you say so ! I am fonder of creatures and things of all sorts the longer I have them. But here we are at the paddock gate; let us look at your pony.'
Whilst the little girls were talking, they had strolled
them at any
along the plantation which skirted the park, until they came to a gate which led into the small meadow particularly appropriated to Flora's pony.
It was a beautiful little black creature, without a speck of white, very glossy, and tolerably quiet; but Flora was a fearless and a good rider, and did not dislike a little prancing and liveliness.
When Snowdrop's young mistress went to pay him a visit in the field, he came, arching his neck, and rubbing his ears against her, and if she ran about searching for wild flowers, he would follow her closely. The meadow was a most luxurious little spot, the hedgerow on one side was studded with trees, which gave a pleasant shade, and beneath them meandered a clear pebbly stream, in which the little girls caught many minnows. Dragonflies fluttered over it, and numerous lovely wild flowers grew on its edge.
How pretty this field is,' said Caroline, as they sauntered along the stream, with Snowdrop following them, now and then thrusting his nose into Flora's hand, or over her shoulder; 'I doubt whether we shall see any spot so lovely at Scarborough.'
'Perhaps not,' said Flora, 'but it will be new, and though this is the dearest little pony in the world, and this the pleasantest paddock, I think I shall enjoy them all the more for a little absence. feel, Caroline, as if you would like to get away sometimes from everything and everybody that
you always are with-in fact, that you want a little change?'
'No! I cannot say that I ever felt so ; I think I would rather stay always and constantly at my own home, than go away or leave anything that I am used to.'
• Do you know what day you are to go ?' asked Flora.
Mamma said on Tuesday, and this is Saturday,' replied Caroline.
* And we go also on Tuesday. Oh! I am sure we shall enjoy it extremely; we shall bathe, and shall have an aquarium, and we shall hear a good band every evening in the garden, and perhaps go to some concerts, and drive about the country.'
'Shall we do our lessons there, I wonder?' said Caroline.
'I should think so, certainly Six weeks would be a long time to learn nothing.'
But we shall learn something about sea-shore things whilst we are there. Shall you not like that, Flora ? There are shells, and sea-weeds, and sea anemones, and all kinds of beautiful living things on the sea-shore, and we know nothing at all about them.'
• Yes,' replied Flora, 'we can learn about them, and make collections, but that will be only for out of doors, and will do instead of our gardens and our pets. You know we could not be all the morning drying sea-weeds, and really I should miss my lesson hours very much, and I think you