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From Anyhow stories by Lucy Lane Clifford.
Start of Story
THE children were always called Blue-Eyes and the
Turkey, and they came by the names in this
manner. The elder one was like her dear father who
was far away at sea, and when the mother looked up
she would often say, " Child, you have taken the
pattern of your father's eyes;" for the father had
the bluest of blue eyes, and so gradually his little
girl came to be called after them. The younger one
had once, while she was still almost a baby, cried
bitterly because a turkey that lived near to the
cottage, and sometimes wandered into the forest,
suddenly vanished in the middle of the winter ; and
to console her she had been called by its name.
Now the mother and Blue-Eyes and the Turkey
and the baby all lived in a lonely cottage on
the edge of the forest. The forest was so near that
the garden at the back seemed a part of it, and the
tall fir-trees were so close that their big black arms
stretched over the little thatched roof, and when the
moon shone upon them their tangled shadows were
all over the white-washed walls.
It was a long way to the village, nearly a mile
and a half, and the mother had to work hard and
had not time to go often herself to see if there was a
letter at the post-office from the dear father, and so
very often in the afternoon she used to send the two
children. They were very proud of being able to
go alone, and often ran half the way to the post-
office. When they came back tired with the long
walk, there would be the mother waiting and watch-
ing for them, and the tea would be ready, and the
baby crowing with delight ; and if by any chance
there was a letter from the sea, then they were
The cottage room was so cosy : the
walls were as white as snow inside as well as out,
and against them hung the cake-tin and the baking-
dish, and the lid of a large saucepan that had been
worn out long before the children could remember,
and the fish-slice, all polished and shining as bright
as silver. On one side of the fireplace, above the
bellows hung the almanac, and on the other the clock
that always struck the wrong hour and was always
running down too soon, but it was a good clock, with
a little picture on its face and sometimes ticked away
for nearly a week without stopping. The baby's high
chair stood in one corner, and in another there was a
cupboard hung up high against the wall, in which
the mother kept all manner of little surprises. The
children often wondered how the things that came
out of that cupboard had got into it, for they seldom
saw them put there.
" Dear children," the mother said one afternoon
late in the autumn, " it is very chilly for you to go
to the village, but you must walk quickly, and who
knows but what you may bring back a letter saying
that dear father is already on his way to England."
Then Blue-Eyes and the Turkey made haste and
were soon ready to go. " Don't be long," the mother
said, as she always did before they started. "Go
the nearest way and don't look at any strangers you
meet, and be sure you do not talk with them."
" No, mother," they answered; and then she kissed
them and called them dear good children, and they
joyfully started on their way.
The village was gayer than usual, for there had
been a fair the day before, and the people who had
made merry still hung about the street as if reluc-
tant to own that their holiday was over.
THEN SHE KISSED THEM. P. J
" I wish we had come yesterday," Blue-Eyes said
to the Turkey ; " then we might have seen something."
" Look there," said the Turkey, and she pointed
to a stall covered with gingerbread; but the children
had no money. At the end of the street, close to the
Blue Lion where the coaches stopped, an old man sat
on the ground with his back resting against the wall
of a house, and by him, with smart collars round
their necks, were two dogs. Evidently they were
dancing dogs, the children thought, and longed to see
them perform, but they seemed as tired as their
master, and sat quite still beside him, looking as if
they had not even a single wag left in their tails.
" Oh, I do wish we had been here yesterday,"
Blue-Eyes said again as they went on to the grocer's,
which was also the post-office. The post -mistress
was very busy weighing out half-pounds of coffee,
and when she had time to attend to the children she
only just said "No letter for you to-day," and went
on with what she was doing. Then Blue-Eyes and
the Turkey turned away to go home. They went
back slowly down the village street, past the man
with the dogs again. One dog had roused himself
and sat up rather crookedly with his head a good
deal on one side, looking very melancholy and rather
ridiculous; but on the children went towards the
bridge and the fields that led to the forest.
They had left the village and walked some way,
and then, just before they reached the bridge, they
noticed, resting against a pile of stones by the way-
side, a strange dark figure. At first they thought
it was some one asleep, then they thought it was
a poor woman ill and hungry, and then they saw
that it was a strange wild-looking girl, who seemed
very unhappy, and they felt sure that something was
the matter. So they went and looked at her, and
thought they would ask her if they could do any-
thing to help her, for they were kind children and
sorry indeed for any one in distress.
The girl seemed to be tall, and was about fifteen
years old. She was dressed in very ragged clothes.
Round her shoulders there was an old brown shawl,
which was torn at the corner that hung down the
middle of her back She wore no bonnet, and an
old yellow handkerchief which she had tied round
her head had fallen backwards and was all huddled
up round her neck. Her hair was coal black and
hung down uncombed and unfastened, just anyhow.
It was not very long, but it was very shiny, and it
seemed to match her bright black eyes and dark
freckled skin. On her feet were coarse gray stock-
ings and thick shabby boots, which she had evidently
forgotten to lace up. She had something hidden
away under her shawl, but the children did not
know what it was. At first they thought it was a
baby, but when, on seeing them coming towards her,
she carefully put it under her and sat upon it, they
thought they must be mistaken. She sat watching
the children approach, and did not move or stir till
they were within a yard of her ; then she wiped her
eyes just as if she had been crying bitterly, and
The children stood still in front of her for a
moment, staring at her and wondering what they
ought to do.
" Are you crying ?" they asked shyly.
To their surprise she said in a most cheerful voice,
" Oh dear, no ! quite the contrary. Are you ? "
They thought it rather rude of her to reply in this
way, for any one could see that they were not crying.
They felt half in mind to walk away ; but the girl
looked at them so hard with her big black eyes, they
did not like to do so till they had said something else.
"Perhaps you have lost yourself?" they said
But the girl answered promptly, " Certainly not.
Why, you have just found me. Besides," she added,
" I live in the village."