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If so, how had she got home? Had the fairy lady wrapped her round in her cloak of mist and flown with her to the castle? Mavis could not tell, and somehow Ruby did not ask her again.
'How did you come home, Ruby?' Mavis asked as they were going along the passage to their sitting
'Oh,' said Ruby, 'Winfried took me down some steps, and then up some others, and before I knew where we were, we were in the rock path not far from home. It was like magic. I can't make out that boy,' she said mysteriously; 'but we're not turned into frogs or toads yet. Here we are, cousin Hortensia,' she went on, as the good lady suddenly appeared at the end of the passage, 'safe home from the wizard's haunts.'
But Miss Hortensia only smiled.
'I was not uneasy,' she said. 'I thought you would be quite safe.'
'But the unkind and the unruly,
Theirs is quite a different story.'
Good and Bad Children: LOUIS STEVENSON.
THEY were just beginning tea, and Ruby's tongue was going fast as she described to Miss Hortensia all that happened that afternoon, while Mavis sat halfdreamily wondering what the fairy lady had meant by saying she might tell her cousin about her if she could,' when there came a sudden and unusual sound that made them all start. It was the clanging of the great bell at the principal entrance on the south side -the entrance by which, you remember, all visitors, except those coming by sea, came to the castle.
'Who can that be?' exclaimed Ruby, jumping up and looking very pleased-Ruby loved any excite
Can it be father?
What fun if he's come
to surprise us! Only I hope he won't have forgotten our presents. He generally asks us what we want before he comes.'
Mavis had grown a little pale; somehow the things that Ruby was frightened of never alarmed her, and yet she was more easily startled by others that Ruby rather enjoyed.
'I hope it isn't a message to say that anything is the matter with dear father,' she said anxiously.
Miss Hortensia got up from her seat and went to the door. She did not seem frightened, but still rather uneasy.
'I'm afraid,' she began, 'I'm afraid—and yet I should not speak of it that way; it is not kind. But I did so ask them to give us notice of his coming.'
She had left the room almost before she had finished speaking. The children looked at each
'I say, Mavis,' said Ruby, 'it's Bertrand! Don't you think we might run out and see?'
'No,' Mavis replied decidedly, 'certainly not. Cousin Hortensia would have told us to come if she had wanted us.'
But they went to the open door and stood close
beside it, listening intently. Then came the sound of old Joseph's steps along the stone passage from the part of the house which he and Bertha-Joseph was Bertha's husband-inhabited, then the drawing back of the bolts and bars, and, most interesting and exciting of all, a noise of horses stamping and shaking their harness as if glad to have got to the end of their journey. Then followed voices; and in a minute or two the children heard Miss Hortensia coming back, speaking as she came.
'You must be very cold, my dear boy, and hungry too,' she was saying. 'We are just beginning tea, so you had better come in at once as you are.'
'It's terribly cold, and that fool of a driver wouldn't come any faster; he said his horses were tired. I wish I could have got a cut at them—what are horses for?' was the reply to Miss Hortensia's kind speech. Mavis touched Ruby.
'Come in. Cousin Hortensia wouldn't like to see us standing at the door like this,' she said.
They sat down at their places again, only getting up as Miss Hortensia came in.
She was followed by a boy. He was about the height of the twins, broad and strong-looking, wrapped up in a rich fur-lined coat, and with a travelling cap
of the same fur still on his head. He was dark-haired and dark-eyed, a handsome boy with a haughty, rather contemptuous expression of face-an expression which it did not take much to turn into a scowl if he was annoyed or put out.
'These are your cousins, Bertrand; your cousins Ruby and Mavis—you have heard of them, I am sure, though you have never met each other before.'
Bertrand looked up coolly.
'I knew there were girls here,' he answered. ( Mother said so. But I don't care for girls-I told mother so. I'm awfully hungry;' and he began to pull forward a chair.
'My dear,' said Miss Hortensia, 'do you know you have not taken off your cap yet? You must take off your coat too, but, above all, your cap.'
Bertrand put up his hand and slowly drew off his
'Mother never minds,' he said. But there was a slight touch of apology in the words.
Then, more for his own comfort evidently than out of any sense of courtesy, he pulled off his heavy coat and flung it on to a chair. The little girls had not yet spoken to him, they felt too much taken aback.
'Perhaps he is shy and strange, and that makes