Page images
PDF
EPUB

old mother duck quacked and waddled like one possessed. But one poor little lame duckling, the last of the troop, was just in my way. I could not stop myself, so the only thing I could do to prevent myself from killing or hurting her, was to fall, which I did, flat round her in the dusty road, to her infinite fright. But she was not hurt, and, after crouching down for a moment, she recovered, and scrambling weakly over my prostrate circle, she limped off to the pond, and then sailed off into deep water with a delighted quackle that amply repaid me.

Our next misfortune was worse; but it did not cause any serious consequences to us, although for a long time, warned by his previous experience, poor Teddy walked about with a grave face, and trembled at every ring of the bell. We were out as usual, and had, perhaps, put more steam on than was quite necessary, for it was one of those lovely fresh mornings in early June, that are as bracing as a glass of cold water, or a breath of pure air. Teddy was capering and dancing along, and had dealt me one of what he called his “ left handers” which were awkward, uncertain strokes, that I privately christened “wobblers ! Well, he had just given me a wobbler, when a horrid pebble came in my way; and what business pebbles have in the way in the middle of a foot path I never could discover. They are quite out of their own track, and very much in the way of elderly ladies and gentlemen who have pet “callosities.” Why, every toddling child tumbles over them, and as for my family, we abhor them! Let them be kept to their beaches, and brooks, and not interfere with our few surburban enjoyments ! Well, as I was saying, when indignation got the better of me, I was turned out of my course by one of those hateful round, slippery pebbles, and into a strange garden, and a very smart one too ! I slipped over the smooth, dewy grass like lightning, and right through a clump of hyacinths, ending my career by falling in a scrambling, all-four sort of fashion all over a bed of choice tulips. How many I beheaded I do not know, for Teddy, after peeping with a horrified face over the hedge, and seeing no one about, made a rush in to rescue me, and carrying me off, never stopped running till we were safe at home in the old stable.

As I said before, we were not found out in that instance, and, after a little seclusion, we came again into active life, when the crowning misery happened that parted me from my poor little master. We were going out quietly enough, and in a solitary lane too, turning as steadily as a rusty old windmill, so that I felt half asleep; when suddenly I was twirled about, whisked here and there, and then dropped in the dust, amidst such a confusion of shouting and screaming as beggars description. And this time it was owing to a donkey! This perverse animal, after having never been known from his youth to do more than walk or jog-trot under any treatment whatever, had at this unlucky time taken it into his long-eared head to run away full gallop with his owner, a deaf old woman, hanging on to the front of the little cart, with all her market produce jumbled together as it had never been before. Down he came thundering upon us, and before poor Teddy could catch me up, while he had but scant time to get into the hedge himself, I got entangled in the wretched little brute's rough legs, and down we all came, old woman, donkey, cart, and all, with a perfect set of fireworks of onions, cabbages and potatoes, flying in the air all round us. The first thing I noticed after the general crash was Teddy, who sat in the hedge shrieking with laughter, and a funny appearance I daresay we all presented. The cart, with one wheel off, was dragged and knocked about by the wretched little donkey's struggles to regain his legs. But the old woman had been shot down on the top of him, and as she was very fat and heavy she lay there like a sack of beans, only uttering fearful moans and shouts, with her face covered with bruised strawberries, and a shower of green peas all over her.

. Teddy scrambled out of the hedge and very kindly helped up the old woman and her donkey, and collected all her stray vegetables as well as he could, for he was a very good-hearted boy, in spite of his carelessness. But the crabbed old woman laid all the blame on him, and following him slily home, beset the house, and made such a fuss, that Teddy got in the wars again worse than ever. His mother believed his account of the mischief, because, with all his faults, he was very truthful; but his father was very angry, and though he only paid the old woman half her outrageous demand, he punished Teddy severely, and wound up by depriving him of me altogether.

“Well Ma!” said poor Teddy, almost tearfully, “if I must not have my hoop myself, I know no one I'd sooner give it to than Frank Spenser, my old schoolfellow. Pa’s so angry with me about it, I don't like to ask him; but if you would, I daresay he'd let Frank have it.”

His mother, who was really sorry for him, did so very readily, and Teddy had the only satisfaction left him, in giving me to his friend. Frank was almost too old to care for a hoop, but he did not like to hurt the poor boy by refusing, so he took me with a very good grace, and promised to take great care of me; which he certainly has done by shutting me up here like this; and so now my friends I think I have related my whole round of adventures to you, as far as I can myself, remember.

« PreviousContinue »