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Rose, as remorse began to gnaw. "Promise not to tell, or I shall be
teased to death," she added, anxiously, entirely forgetting the two
little pitchers gifted with eyes as well as ears, who had been
watching the whole performance from afar.
"Never. Mercy me, what's that?" and Ariadne started as a sudden
sound of steps and voices came up from below.
"It's the boys! Hide the needle. Do my ears show? Don't breathe a
word!" whispered Rose, scrambling about to conceal all traces of
their iniquity from the sharp eyes of the Clan.
Up they came, all in good order, laden with the proceeds of a
nutting expedition, for they always reported to Rose and paid
tribute to their queen in the handsomest manner.
"How many, and how big! We'll have a grand roasting frolic after
tea, won't we?" said Rose, plunging both hands into a bag of glossy
brown nuts, while the Clan "stood at ease" and nodded to Ariadne.
"That lot was picked especially for you, Rosy. I got every one
myself, and they are extra whackers," said Mac, presenting a
bushel or so.
"You should have seen Giglamps when he was after them. He
pitched out of the tree, and would have broken his blessed old
neck if Arch had not caught him," observed Steve, as he lounged
gracefully in the window seat.
"You needn't talk, Dandy, when you didn't know a chestnut from a
beech, and kept on thrashing till I told you of it," retorted Mac,
festooning himself over the back of the sofa, being a privileged
"I don't make mistakes when I thrash you, old Worm, so you'd
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