“Yes,” said April; “but you haven’t heard the worst. Think of being 유흥사이트 suddenly united to such58 a young body! There was Maria, elderly and dignified, full of wisdom and experience, longing for nothing so much as to be left alone to think over the facts she had learned. And there were her arms and legs always wanting to be in motion. New, impulsive, full of sawdust, it was misery to them to be still. They wanted to dance and frisk all the time, to wear fine clothes, to have other dolls come on visits, to drink tea out of the baby-house tea-set, and have a good time generally. When Maria assured them that she was tired of these things, and had seen the vanity of them, they said they wanted to see the vanity too! And if ever she got a quiet chance, and had fallen into a reverie about old times and friends,—the silk stockings in the wardrobe, for instance, and the touching story they had told her; or the shoe-buckles, who were exiles from their country,—all of a sudden her obstreperous limbs would assert themselves, out would flourish her legs, up fly her hands and hit her in the eye, and the first thing she knew she would be tumbled out on to59 the floor. Just think what a trial to a lady of fine education and manners! It was enough to vex a saint. She assured me she had lost at least three scruples of wax. But nobody cared in the least about her scruples.”

“And what became of the poor thing in the end?” asked Thekla.

“That I can’t say,” replied April: “I had to come away, you know; and I left her there. One of two things, she told me, was pretty sure to happen: either her arms and legs would sober with time, or she would get so hideous from unhappiness that May’s mamma would buy a new head to match them. ‘Then, ah then!’ said she, ‘I may perhaps be allowed to go back to my beloved top-shelf in the wardrobe. Never, never will I quit it again so long as I live!’ She ended with a sigh. I bade her farewell, but on the way downstairs I met a little girl coming up and calling out, ‘Where dolly? me want dolly!’ And I fear poor Maria was not left any longer in peace in the attic closet.”

60 April closed her story. She took her moments from the can, poured the dandelions into Thekla’s lap, and rose to go.

“I am late,” she said: “all my violets must be made before midnight. I have none but these few in my hair.”

“Not yet.—stay a little longer!” pleaded the children.

“Ah, no!” said April: “I must go. You won’t miss me long: May is coming, my sister May. Everybody loves her better than they do me,” and she wiped her eyes dolefully as she shut the door.

“What a goose I am!” she cried, flinging it open again, with a merry laugh. “Don’t mind my nonsense. Good-by, dears,—good-by!”

Oh, how cheerful the kitchen seemed now! Where were the colds and the disconsolate looks? All gone; and Max and Thekla laughed gayly into each other’s faces.

61 “I’ll tell you what,” said Max, “if April didn’t cry so easily, she’d be one of the jolliest girls in the world.”
THE chicks throve. Day by day their legs grew strong, their yellow bodies round and full, and their calls for food more clamorous.63 As the snow melted, and the sun made warm spots on the earth, they began to run from the cottage-door, and poke and scratch about with their bills. But they always came back to the basket to sleep; and Thekla prepared their food, and watched over them as well as any old hen could have done.

“Round his head she put a wreath of long sprays. It was great fun.”
She found time for this in the midst of other work. There was much to do, after a whole month’s neglect: the house needed cleaning and setting to rights, and the yarn for the new suit must be finished at once. The busy wheel hummed and whirred more noisily than ever, in the afternoons, now growing long and bright; and Max, his cold quite cured, sat by, with his carving-tools, as busy as she. Altogether, the time flew rapidly; and the cheerfulness left by April’s visit still lay upon the cottage when the evening came for May to appear.

There was no languor or dulness this time. The hearth was cleanly swept, and the door left ajar that the guest might see the light as she64 walked through the Forest. But so quiet was her coming, that her hand was on the latch before they knew it, and both of them jumped at the sound of her knock. As she came in, they saw that a lamb was trotting beside her, held by a band of young spring grasses, curiously woven together.

“This is my present,” she said.

Judge if the children danced for joy. A lamb! a real lamb! all for their own! Never was any thing like it. They patted the pretty creature, and lavished caresses upon him, till finally the chicks woke up at the stir, peeped, called, and at last flew out of their baskets to see what was going on; and one of them fluttered up on to the lamb’s back, where he sat like a yellow buttercup on a bank of snow. May gazed upon the scene with a calm smile.

“Now,” she said at last, “if you’re quite done, I’ll venture to remind you that my time’s important. Business first, and pleasure after.65 Suppose you put off kissing that creature again until I am gone.”

Thus admonished, the children reluctantly left the lamb, tied by his grassy chain to the dresser, and came back to the fire. So far they had been almost too busy to look at May; but now they did. At first Thekla thought her the sweetest thing she had ever seen. Her hair curled like the tendrils of a wild grape; no shell was ever lined with lovelier pink than the bloom of her cheek. But, as she gazed, Thekla became aware of an expression which contradicted the tender lines of the face,—a certain teasing look, a frostiness about the blue eyes, which baffled and surprised her. The same quality appeared in her words, and even in the soft voice which uttered them. Fair and winsome as she was, Thekla did not venture close, as she had done to April, but clung tightly to Max’s hand while she listened.

“I reminded you,” proceeded May, “because I have really too much to do to allow of my wasting66 time. Very few Months have the work put upon them that I have. June pretends to be busy; but, after all, most of it is finishing off what I began. And as for April, she is a sad, idle girl, and does almost nothing. Why, I came upon her just now,” said May, in an aggrieved voice; “and there she was having a game of play with that good-for-nothing Jack Frost, tickling him with her warm fingers and screaming with laughter; and of course I shall be expected to make up for all she leaves incomplete. There’s the great wash of the year, for instance. It fairly belongs to her; but she never will do it. And I’ve all the plants to wake too, which is a hard job, for they are the sleepiest little things imaginable; and the gardens to tidy, and all. So you won’t wonder that I can’t spare many minutes for telling stories.

“Did you ever have a garden?” she went on.

“Oh, yes!” replied Thekla. “Max makes me one every summer.”

“It’s very pleasant,” said May; “but when67 your flower-beds are as big as all outdoors, as mine are, there’s a great deal of care and responsibility in them, I assure you. I like it, however. I enjoy sowing millions of seeds, and setting little roots to straggle, and pruning and clipping. Every flower that ever grew is in my list, and I manage to see it in bloom somewhere or other. If I were subject to rose-cold, I should go crazy; for smelling is my delight. Ah! you should see my rose-beds in Damascus. But the nicest garden I ever made was a very tiny one which was planted to please some little children. Shall I tell you about it?”

“Oh, yes, do!” cried Max.

“It was in a cold country, a long way from here, which I never visit till pretty late in the season. You have to cross the sea to get to it. Once only red people lived there. They dwelt in wigwams, and didn’t care much for me, except that I melted the snow which kept them from their hunting-grounds. But one year, on arriving I found something new. A ship68 lay on the shore, and people with white faces were pitching tents and building huts as if they meant to stay. Among them were some children.

“Of these, two particularly took my fancy, two little sisters, fair as lilies. One was almost a baby. When they sat at the door of the tent, I used to steal up unseen, and pat their cheeks with my hand. They did not know it was I; but they liked it.

“The men were busy in cutting trees for the houses. The women had to cook and wash and sew. There was hard work in plenty for all. No one had time to amuse the little ones, and the idea occurred to me of making them a garden.”

“That was good of you,” said Thekla, her heart warming to this Month who was so kind to little children.

“Ah!” replied May, coldly, “you think so?” Thekla felt snubbed, and she said no more.

“The place I chose,” said May, resuming her69 story, “was a good way off in the woods, a hidden nook, just such as I love. The trees stood thickly about it, but they opened and left a spot where the sunshine could come in and warm the earth. There for many days I worked with busy fingers, clearing away dead leaves and roots, and covering the ground with a moss carpet thick and soft, into which tiny coral points were stuck to please baby eyes. In the very middle I set a snow-white mushroom, glistening and white as an ivory umbrella; and all about it I planted and wreathed the sweetest flower I know,—a flower whose cups are as pink as a rose, and hold a fragrance so rare, that if a perfumer could collect it in his bottles it would be worth its weight in gold. When all was done, it was the daintiest little garden ever seen; and now it only remained to entice the babies thither to enjoy it.

“This was easy. I selected a warm day, that they might not catch cold; and, as they sat at the door of the tent, I crept up and sat beside them.70 They did not see me, but I whispered in their ears,—a low, coaxing whisper which I only use for babies.

“‘In the woods,’ I said, ‘the pretty, pretty woods, are such beautiful things! Red flowers and blue flowers, for you to play with; and squirrels with frisky tails, and birds which sing all the time. Oh, such fun as it is!’

“The baby laughed out, and showed her teeth white as milk; but it was only at the song in my voice, the words she did not understand. The elder one listened; and, as I went on, her small feet began to twitch and dance, as if they could no longer keep still.

“‘Come, Sissy,’ she said. ‘Let’s go and take a walk over yonder where it is so green. Sister’ll find you some flowers to play with.’

“Baby was all ready for that, or any thing else. To her, ‘Sister’ was quite a grown-up person, because she could talk plain, and wore a funny little russet petticoat like their mother’s. So side by side the little lambs trotted away.71 There was nobody on the watch to see them go, and soon the dark wood hid them from view. I held ‘Sister’s’ other hand, and gently guided to the right path.

“It wasn’t much of a path. There were tangled mosses and rough boughs to catch the little feet; but I held fast, and did not let them trip. And by and by, when we came to a smoother place, I took from my bosom a butterfly I had brought on purpose, and set it flying before their eyes. There was no danger of tears or fright after that.

“Such a jolly race as then began! I had ordered the butterfly to fly slowly, so the clutching fingers seemed always just about to grasp it. Such funny, tripping steps, such peals of glee! Never was a merrier hunt! The hunt led them a long way. Once Baby’s fingers almost closed on the painted wings, but still the butterfly flew before, and still the children ran behind; when all at once a third baby appeared, to share the chase—another child, a tiny Indian boy. dress hid his small, dark limbs. A little bow was in his hand, a quiver on his back; and as he jumped from behind a bush, and joined in the frolic, it was like a brown twig flying after two snow-white blossoms blown from the tree.

“The little ones were not frightened. They took kindly to a new playmate, whatever his color might be. ‘Sister’ made friends at once, while Baby stared at him with her big blue eyes. On they trotted together; and by and by the nimble boy made a clutch which secured the butterfly, and the brown head and the fair ones met together over the prize.

“‘Pitty! pitty!’ cried Baby, and she patted the little Indian with her soft hand. Then the same soft fingers made a grab at the purple wings. Ah me! one of them came off in her grasp. My poor butterfly! The first of the season!

“The children were sorry. Children are always sorry,” said May, tartly, “after the mischief is done; but I don’t see that it makes them73 any more careful next time. In two minutes the dead insect was forgotten by everybody but me. I picked him up, you may be sure; and that evening made him a little grave under a partridge-berry vine.

“It was droll to hear the three babies talk together. They had no words in common; but they had fingers to point with, comical little heads to nod and wag, and eyes to explain the meaning of each gesture. So they got on wonderfully. The brown baby’s name was Al-a-gon-qua, but ‘Sister’ called him Ally.

“‘My name Ruth,’ she said, ‘her name Baby,’ speaking very loud to make it easier to understand.

“Ally tried to say it, but couldn’t get nearer than ‘Tute.’ This was stupid; but he was a clever baby, for all that. He could take straight aim with his bow, and bring down a robin or a quail ten yards off. He knew how to find the water-springs. He could climb a tree, and swim like a jolly little polliwog. Fearless as a squirrel, he sprang about the trackless wilderness without74 pathway or guide, and needed neither, and knew no fear.

“All the time they talked, the little ones were getting deeper and deeper into the wood. They did not know where they were going; but I knew, and guided every step.

“And now they reached the garden. The sun lay warm and bright on the moss; and, at sight of the fairy cups of pink and snow and of the ivory mushroom, they laughed for joy.

“‘Pitty! pitty!’ cried Baby again, using her sole little word; and, with one consent, all three sat down together in the midst of the flowers. How I did enjoy it! The long, cold voyage at sea, the bleak spring, the crowded home in the tents where all were too busy to notice them, were forgotten as they sat there in my garden; and they buzzed like bees in the sunshine. It was the sweetest sight to see!

“Such games as they played! Baby pulled flowers till her lap was full. She tossed them about. She put heaps of them on her head, and screamed with laughter as they rained down into75 her eyes. Ruth meantime was turning the little Indian into a big nosegay. She stuck leaves all over him. His quiver she filled with blossoms. Round his head she put a wreath of long sprays. It was great fun. Luckily, the small russet petticoat had a pocket, and in it was a big ship’s-biscuit; so, when dinner-time came, they ate that, and were not hungry. As long as the sun shone, the play lasted; and he stayed late that night, as if to enjoy the pretty show as long as possible. But at last the long shadows had begun to creep over the place, and I to feel embarrassed as to how to get my babies home again, when the bark of a dog was heard close at hand. Then I was easy; for I knew somebody was coming to find them.

“Sure enough, before the dusk had crept over the happy group in the sun, they came,—two men with anxious faces, and guns on their shoulders, and a pale, frightened woman. That was the Mother. They could hardly believe what they saw. Bears and savages had been in their thoughts all the way. Never once had76 they dreamed that the little ones were playing in my garden.

“How the woman ran when she saw the children! How she caught up and kissed Baby, and hugged little Ruth in her arms! ‘O children!’ she cried, as soon as she could speak, ‘how came you here? How could you frighten us so?’

“Ruth looked puzzled. ‘I guess it was the butterfly,’ she said: ‘it came along, and showed us the way.’

“‘Who is this?’ asked one of the men.

“‘That’s Ally,’ explained Ruth.

“‘Poor boy!’ said the Mother. ‘I thought even the savages were too tender of their babes to let them thus alone in the forest. We will take him home with us, husband, and cherish him. Perchance his friends may seek him out.’

“But to all their words and kind looks the little Indian was deaf. When they pointed to the setting sun in token that night was near, he pointed to the east as if to say that the same sun would rise again before long. They tried to77 entice him with caresses; but he shook himself free, and, signing to some distant part of the wood where his home lay, he emptied the flowers from his quiver, threw back his black hair with a toss, and with a few active bounds disappeared from their sight. Ruth cried after him, ‘Ally! Ally!’ but it was all in vain. He was gone; and he never came back.”

“And what became of Ruth and Baby?” asked Thekla.

“Oh! they went home with their Father and Mother; and good care was taken that they should not stray again. I used to visit them sometimes, and play with their hair and soft cheeks; and I taught them to call the pink blossoms by my name. ‘May-flowers’ they are termed to this day; and they are such favorites, that I plant immense beds of them in that country every spring, and then people grumble that there are not enough.”

“And is that all about the little girls?” persisted Thekla.

“Dear me!” said May, “you are hard to satisfy.78 No: of course it’s not all. Baby grew up. Some one said she married the Governor. Only think, Baby marry a Governor! As for little Ruth, she didn’t grow up: she went to Heaven instead; and so stayed a child for ever. Nobody knows now where her grave is, excepting me; and every year I plant May-blossoms upon it.”

May’s voice was a little sad, and her eyes looked sweet and tender.

“How about Algonqua?” inquired Max, who was rather ashamed of feeling affected.

“He became a great chief,” said May, “and lived to be a hundred. I heard that he was buried in a mound out West, over the top of which a railroad now runs. But about that I am not sure: my business is not with the dead, but the living.”

And saying this, she rose briskly up. “I meant to have done in just half an hour,” she remarked, “and it is nearly an hour and a quarter. I’ll take those moments at once, if you please.”

79 Her manner was so sharp and decided that they did not dare urge her to stay. Max brought the can, and Thekla lighted her to the door. When she had departed with a curt “good-by,” they felt perplexed and puzzled.

“She’s very pretty,” said they, “but somehow not at all what we expected.”