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From Anyhow stories by Lucy Lane Clifford.
Start of Story
Then Blue-Eyes and the Turkey looked round, and
when they saw the tall loaf, baked crisp and brown,
and the cups all in a row, and the jug of milk, all
waiting for them, they went to the table and sat down
and felt a little happier ; and the mother did not put
the baby in the high chair after all, but took it on her
knee, and danced it up and down, and sang little
snatches of songs to it, and laughed, and looked
content, and thought of the father far away at sea,
and wondered what he would say to them all when
he came home again. Then suddenly she looked
up and saw that the Turkey's eyes were full of
" Turkey !" she exclaimed, "my dear little Turkey !
what is the matter? Come to mother, my sweet;
come to own mother." And putting the baby down
on the rug, she held out her arms, and the Turkey,
getting up from her chair, ran swiftly into them.
" Oh, mother," she sobbed, " oh, dear mother ! I
do so want to be naughty."
" My dear child ! " the mother exclaimed.
" Yes, mother," the child sobbed, more and more
bitterly. " I do so want to be very, very naughty."
And then Blue-Eyes left her chair also, and, rub-
bing her face against the mother's shoulder, cried
sadly. " And so do I, mother. Oh, I'd give anything
to be very, very naughty."
" But, my dear children," said the mother, in
astonishment, " why do you want to be naughty ? "
" Because we do ; oh, what shall we do ? " they
"I should be very angry if you were naughty.
But you could not be, for you love me," the mother
" Why couldn't we be naughty because we love
you ? " they asked.
" Because it would make me very unhappy ; and
if you love me you couldn't make me unhappy."
" Why couldn't we ? " they asked.
Then the mother thought a while before she
answered ; and when she did so they hardly under-
stood, perhaps because she seemed to be speaking
rather to herself than to them.
" Because if one loves well," she said gently,
" one's love is stronger than all bad feelings in one,
and conquers them. And this is the test whether
love be real or false, unkindness and wickedness
have no power over it."
" We don't know what you mean," they cried ;
" and we do love you ; but we want to be naughty."
" Then I should know you did not love me," the
" And what should you do ?" asked Bine-Eyes.
" I cannot tell. I should try to make you better,"
" But if you couldn't ? If we were very, very,
very naughty, and wouldn't be good, what then ?"
"Then," said the mother sadly and while she
spoke her eyes filled with tears, and a sob almost
choked her " then," she said, " I should have to go
away and leave you, and to send home a new mother,
with glass eyes and wooden tail."
" You couldn't," they cried.
" Yes, I could," she answered in a low voice ;
" but it would make me very unhappy, and I will
never do it unless you are very, very naughty, and I
" We won't be naughty," they cried ; " we will be
good. We should hate a new mother ; and she shall
never come here." And they clung to their own
mother, and kissed her fondly.
But when they went to bed they sobbed bitterly,
for they remembered the little man and woman, and
longed more than ever to see them ; but how could
they bear to let their own mother go away, and a
new one take her place ?
" GOOD-DAY," said the village girl, when she saw
Blue-Eyes and the Turkey approach. She was again
sitting by the heap of stones, and under her shawl
the peardrum was hidden. She looked just as if she
had not moved since the day before. " Good day,"
she said, in the same cheerful voice in which she had
spoken yesterday ; " the weather is really charm-
"Are the little man and woman there?" the
children asked, taking no notice of her remark.
" Yes ; thank you for inquiring after them," the
girl answered ; " they are both here and quite well.
The little man is learning how to rattle the money in
his pocket, and the little woman has heard a secret
she tells it while she dances."
" Oh, do let us see," they entreated.
" Quite impossible, I assure you," the girl answered
promptly. " You see, you are good."
" Oh !" said-Blue Eyes, sadly ; "but mother says
if we are naughty she will go away and send home a
new mother, with glass eyes and a wooden tail."
" Indeed," said the girl, still speaking in the same
unconcerned voice, " that is what they all say."
IT.] THE NEW MOTHEK. 25
" What do you mean ? " asked the Turkey.
" They all threaten that kind of thing. Of course
really there are no mothers with glass eyes and
wooden tails ; they would be much too expensive to
make." And the common sense of this remark the
children, especially the Turkey, saw at once, but
they merely said, half crying
" We think you might let us see the little man
and woman dance."
" The kind of thing you would think," remarked
the village girl.
" But will you if we are naughty ? " they asked
" I fear you could not be naughty that is, really
even if you tried," she said scornfully.
" Oh, but we will try ; we will indeed," they
cried ; " so do show them to us."
" Certainly not beforehand," answered the girl,
getting up and preparing to walk away.
" But if we are very naughty to-night, will you
let us see them to-morrow ? "
" Questions asked to-day are always best an-
swered to-morrow," the girl said, and turned round
as if to walk on. " Good day," she said blithely ; " I
must really go and play a little to myself; good
day," she repeated, and then suddenly she began to
" Oh, sweet and fair 's the lady-bird,
And so's the bumble-bee,
But I myself have long preferred
The gentle chimpanzee,
The gentle chimpanzee-e-e,
The gentle chim "
" I beg your pardon," she said, stopping, and
looking over her shoulder; "it's very rude to sing
without leave before company. I won't do it again."
" Oh, do go on," the children said.
" I'm going," she said, and walked away.
" No, we meant go on singing," they explained,
"and do let us just hear you play," they entreated,
remembering that as yet they had not heard a single
sound from the peardrum.
" Quite impossible," she called out as she went
along. " You are good, as I remarked before. The
pleasure of goodness centres in itself ; the pleasures
of naughtiness are many and varied. Good day,"
she shouted, for she was almost out of hearing.
For a few minutes the children stood still look-
ing after her, then they broke down and cried.
" She might have let us see them," they sobbed.
The Turkey was the first to wipe away her tears.
" Let us go home and be very naughty," she said ;
" then perhaps she will let us see them to-morrow."
" But what shall we do ? " asked Blue-Eyes, look-
ing up. Then together all the way home they
planned how to begin being naughty. And that after-
noon the dear mother was sorely distressed, for,
instead of sitting at their tea as usual with smiling
happy faces, and then helping her to clear away and
doing all she told them, they broke their mugs and
threw their bread and butter on the floor, and when
the mother told them to do one thing they carefully
went and did another, and as for helping her to put
away, they left her to do it all by herself, and only
stamped their feet with rage when she told them to
go upstairs until they were good.