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his knees, whilst over his shoulder he carried a spade,―for he was gravedigger and filler-in.
By his side walked Rogers, bearing the wooden "tomb-stone," which he, being particularly clever at such things, had cut into the required shape, and had printed upon it in clear type,
Behind them came the coffin-bearers, the coffin being constructed from an old slate-pencil box, filled with moss and newlycut grass, and covered over with a heap of flowers, gathered from the boys' gardens.
Following immediately upon this walked Johnnie Harris and Bob North, the two chief mourners, two other boys from their dormitory being included in the ranks of the afflicted. Each of them bore in their arms some representative or other from the surviving live stock. Adorning the necks of the white mice, rats, and Mat Davis' white rabbit, were little collars of black braid, towards which mark of respect for the deceased many of them evinced a strong dislike.
Last of all came little Willie Robson, leading the great, black Newfoundland dog "Hero," to whom, for the sake of contrast, he had attached a long, white, woollen comforter, forming at once a badge of mourning and a capital leading-string.
We set out, the tones of the musical box almost drowned for a time by the dismal, tuneless chanting of the clergyman and choir, and then sounding forth again with undiminished vigour, as the voices became spasmodic from suppressed laughter.
The grave had been dug in Johnnie Harris' garden plot, and now, as we arranged ourselves around it, the music was hushed
whilst Willie Knowles gabbled through a Latin exercise from the book he carried.
Then Johnnie and his companions threw little sprays of lavender, and a few flowers, upon the box, the Scamp cast in a spadeful of earth, and the ceremony was over.
Away rushed clergymen and choir, in undignified haste, to throw aside their robes of office. The mourners replaced their water-wetted handkerchiefs in their pockets, removed the unwelcome badges from the necks of the deputation of mourners from the animals, and started off to replace them in their hutches.
By the time we regained the playground, Rogers and the Scamp had completed their labours. At the head of the miniature grave stood the piece of wood, with its explanatory inscription.
Round the mound, which they had covered with grass, and bent twigs to keep it in place, they were making tiny paths of broken spar, and at each end had planted two little shoots of evergreen.
So pretty was the effect, when finished, that the consciousness of being sole proprietor of so unique a piece of garden decoration almost consoled its owner for the loss of his favourite
ROSES AND THORNS.
FRIDAY morning came all too soon; for I could not conquer my dislike to the forthcoming visit, in spite of Harry's repeated assurances that it would be "most awfully jolly fun !”
Having undergone an extra amount of washing and brushing, we four were arrayed in all the glory of best suits, clean collars, tidiest gloves, and brightest neckties.
Even the Scamp's rough locks were successfully smoothened, at any rate for a time, and by dint of great pressure, his short trousers were induced to come low enough down to decently cover his boots.
When we were all spick and span, the school set off, for the boys were to take advantage of our going to Rose Cottage, to walk in that direction for their morning's ramble,—an indulgence generously granted to them as a set-off against the special good fortune of the favoured few.
As we approached our destination, we saw the little flaxenhaired girl out in the garden, apparently watching for our arrival. She ran hastily into the house as soon as she espied us, and the next minute returned with her mother, holding her by the hand.
Advancing quickly to open wide the gate, Mrs. Hughes exclaimed, warmly,
"I am so glad to see that you have come yourself, Miss Royce; and brought all the boys with you, I hope."
"Oh no, indeed! We are going on to the top of the hill for a walk. Mrs. Royce always likes the others to have some little additional pleasure, when some of the number are enjoying any particular treat."
She did not, of course, mention that she was, really,—as all the boys knew-instigator, prime mover, and executor of so kind and thoughtful an arrangement.
"But you will, at least, come in, and rest awhile, after your toil up this steep slope? You would like to, wouldn't you, boys?"
There could be but one construction to the pleased smiles and appealing glances of every one, and so, without further parley, Miss Royce accepted the kind proposal.
"You will let me bring out some cake and wine to them?" Mrs. Hughes asked. "There is nothing like eating, to set
children at their ease."
"No wine, please. We never allow any of them to taste anything of that sort, while they are under our care."
"Oh, very well, then. I think I can find something they will like quite as well. Why, Mary, child, how quiet you have become all of a sudden! I thought you intended to have such fine fun when the boys came!"
Mary turned violently red, and diving her head behind the folds of her mother's dress, tried to hide her confusion from the numerous eyes attracted towards her by this speech.
Why, I wonder, do parents invariably remark openly, before visitors and strangers, upon their children's shyness? Would they find their embarrassment decrease, and their courage return to them, if public attention were directed to their little weaknesses or special failings?
"Have you already forgotten Miss Royce, with whom you made such friends last Sunday?" Mrs. Hughes continued,