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the water, she could dimly see the yellow dog still lying just where he lay the night before. Taking off her shoes and stockings, she boldly waded into the swamp, jumping here and there from one bunch of grass to another, which grew up through the oozy ground.
“He must be dead,” thought she, “he lies so still and makes no noise"; but as she came nearer, he wagged his tail faintly at the sound of her steps. His head and eyes were so swollen that he could not see, and his tongue lolled out of his mouth, dry and parched with suffering. He breathed with a short and choking sound.
"Poor dog! poor dog !” said Hannah, her voice choking, "you shall not be abused any more !” — and, applying the scissors to the string, she had it off in a moment. Dipping up a pan of water, she brought it and wet the poor creature's tongue. In a minute or two he tried to drink, and with difficulty swallowed a little of the water. This seemed to revive him ; he got upon his feet, staggered a little, but finally settled down again, still wagging the tip of his tail faintly. Again Hannah held the basin of water to his mouth, and he drank more, opened his eyes a little, and tried to lick her hand. This was too much forgiveness, –a poor victim caressing the hands that had hung him; and Hannah cried over him almost as hard as she had over poor Kate. Presently he ate the meat she placed before him, and then with a joyful heart Hannah started for the house. She had only just got on her shoes and stockings, when, looking up, she saw Lydia running down the hill; in her hand were scissors and a piece of meat. She had come on the same errand. Looking round for the dog, they saw him just disappearing in the woods.
They returned to the house and kept the matter secret, but had no more visits from the yellow dog. Reuben said, several times, he thought it was “ 'mazing strange that 'ere yaller dog never come round here no more. He reckoned he kinder thought they had a plot agin him !” but the girls said never a word.
The next autumn, Hannah and Lydia took the old horse and chaise to go to a town some five or six miles off, and on their way stopped at the house of one of Lydia's cousins, where she had not been for a year or two. As they drew up to the door, what should they see but that very yellow dog lying on the door-step.
The two girls looked at each other curiously enough. In the course of the forenoon the dog came in, and Lydia's cousin patted him on the head, calling him a “dear old fellow”; -- and then she went on to tell how he had been missing all night once during the last summer, and had come home in the morning with his head and eyes all swollen, and she supposed some one must have beaten him dreadfully. “He is one of the best dogs in the world,” she said, “and loves us all dearly ; but he will sometimes worry the sheep."
Hannah and Lydia blushed, and made haste to change the subject of conversation, and got away as soon as they could. They kept their secret till they were grown up, deeply thankful that they had not succeeded in avenging too cruelly the death of poor Kate.
Harriet F. Woods.
DIL L Y-D ALLY.
I SUPPOSE you think this quite a fanciful name for a little girl, and feel, I upon reflection, rather glad that your mother did n't call you Dilly-dally; now the fact was, she had n't been christened Dilly-dally (although it suited her so precisely, that Adam himself would have been puzzled to find her a better name), but Gertrude, or Ida, or some fine thing or other, no matter what, since nothing but Dilly-dally told the story of her character, and since it clung to her like any bur.
She began very early to show her natural disposition, as you may see when I tell you that she was the longest while in the world cutting her first teeth ; after her mother had detected the earliest glimmer of a tiny pearl creeping through the pink gum, it positively seemed a hundred years to a day before it could be coaxed far enough along to assure an impartial beholder of its existence ; it was just as though Dilly-dally said to herself, “ There now! I've got it along so far, I guess I'll wait till to-morrow to finish the job !” Though one could hardly blame her, for I suspect it is trying to be cutting teeth from morning till night.
One might, however, have forgiven her that, if she had n't made the same to-do over learning to walk. When her mother held out her arms and cried, “ Baby walk to mamma its own se's, and then baby shall go ridy-pidy in the coachy-poachy," — and all the rest of the nursery rhyme in nursery language, which only babies are supposed to understand, – baby would take two steps, with her little arms used as the tight-rope dancers use their poles, and, finding walking all work and no play, would plump down and finish the distance with hands and knees, looking much like an overgrown lizard. At one period, her friends flattered themselves that she would talk early ; but after having achieved “Pa” and “Ma,” she appeared to think she had acquired enough English for all practical purposes, and relapsed into her original Hebrew. Upon which followed a war of words, wherein there was a good deal said on both sides to little or no purpose ; and after all was said and done, Dillydally showed a strong inclination to stammer, to clip her words, to abridge her sentences, even to drawl, and wilfully to plunder and murder the King's English, rather than say the right thing, at the right time, in the right place.
I will spare you a relation of the Dilly-dally primer, the Dilly-dally multiplication-table, the Dilly-dally penmanship, other than to say, that the pitfalls were numerous between twice one and twelve times twelve, and that from straight lines to pot-hooks was an affair of time.
“ Will you run up stairs and bring my thimble ?” her mother would ask, sometimes.
“In a minute.” “ But I am waiting, child.” “ Just half a second, mamma ; just till I put Rosa's arm into her sleeve.”
“I want you to go directly ; do not stay for that.” “ Yes, mamma.'
And having got fairly launched on the staircase, she would perhaps encounter Freddie spinning his top on the landing, and proceed to assist in that delicate task, till her mother, out of all manner of patience, would call, “ Can't you find it ?”
“ In a second, mamma; only Freddie says I can't spin a top, and I can.” “Never mind what Freddie says, but bring my thimble.”
After some time she calls to her mother over the balusters, “ Mamma, where did you say your thimble was ?” for having been employed before the glass in disposing her mother's breakfast-cap jauntily upon her own head, together with a bunch of false curls, she has contrived to forget about the thimble.
“You naughty girl, what have you been doing ? It is on my toilette table.” But still Dilly-dally does not appear, and her mother in despair goes herself to see what detains her, and finds her in cap and curls, with the window raised, listening to a hand-organ in the street.
“ Is this the way you do my errands ?”
“And how many minutes does it take to make an hour ? Do you ever think of that when you dilly-dally your time away ?”
“ No, mamma ; but the monkey is so engaging."
In the mornings, Dilly-dally was longer at her toilette than any belle preparing for a ball ; she must dabble in the water awhile, and watch the drops hanging like gems, as she said, from the tips of nose, chin, and fingers,
and imagine herself an Indian princess, with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes. Sometimes she devoted herself to the manufacture of paper junks, sailing them in her bath-tub; at other times she would wet her hair till it resembled a mermaid's for moisture, and then she must needs sit in the sun to dry it, and turban her head with a towel. She would often be found, after every one else had done breakfast, "with one stocking off and one stocking on,” the water dripping from her hair and making little rivers all across the carpet, one arm hooked into the sleeve of a sack while the rest of the garment dangled behind, delving in the piece-bag for some silk to make Rosa a gown. Then, if any one attempted to assist or hasten matters, the fastenings of her skirts were found to be in a perilous condition, the button-holes in her frock gaped as though they were bent upon swallowing a regiment of buttons, the knots in her boot-lacings defied competition, and all this, and much more, because she had neglected to take the stitch in time that saves nine.
But Dilly-dally had read a good deal; that is to say, she had begun a host of books. She could tell you all about the first chapter or so of the “Rollo Books"; she had made the acquaintance of one of “ The Seven Little Sisters"; she had looked into “ The Magician's Show-Box"; she had become entangled in “Tanglewood Tales”; the “Memoirs of a London Doll” came very near conquering her; she had bidden adieu to Christian at the House Beautiful, and had given Robinson Crusoe the cut long before Friday appeared to parry it; and she had left Cinderella at the door of the ball-room ! It is true, she fully intended to pursue Rollo to the world's end; she had dreamed about Cinderella all one night, and had been heard to say that the step-sisters deserved a box with five nails in it; she had carried Christian's burden every step of the way, and had quaked with Crusoe over the mysterious footprints; but she had always said, “ I will finish this to-morrow," or, “I mean to read the rest of that when I get time,” or, “When I have romped a little with Freddie, or tried on the new hat I am making for Rosa, I will see who answered the bell at the ‘House Beautiful.'” And so it came about that the things she was always going to do somehow never were done.
Dilly-dally had the dearest little work-basket, that stood on straw legs of its own, and was just at her elbow whenever she wanted to use it; it was bronze and gold color, braided in a quaint and curious pattern. No one knew exactly what it contained, although it was pretty full, till one day it was upset and the contents dispersed all over the carpet. Everybody of course scrambled to find and pick them up, and thus were brought to light a host of unfortunate articles that had vainly been awaiting the finishing touch for six months or more. There was a doll's hat, the crown hanging by just two stitches, from which a long thread still dangled, precisely as she had left it, when, losing her needle, she had gone to beg another, and, finding Freddie playing horse in the nursery with a string and a chain, allowed herself to be put into harness, and the hat to be laid upon the shelf, so to speak. There was a doll's dress half sewed on the waist, another record of delay; there lay a rag-baby losing flesh, or sawdust rather, daily, from a ghastly hole in one foot, the result of a defect in its constitution that had never been properly remedied; a needle-book, which needed sadly to turn over a new leaf, like its mistress; a spool-bag that had never fulfilled its destiny; a Zouave with one arm and no legs; a soldier's sock down at the heel in every sense, the yarn having been broken off and entangled wofully with a skein of blue sewing-silk and a mass of pink crochet-cotton, backed by the germ of a crocheted mat. There was a cotton-fiannel rabbit with one eye ; a book-mark that would probably never mark anything but Dilly-dally's sad habit ; a velvet butterfly impaled on the passive needle, looking as if it had just burst from the chrysalis, and had lost a wing in the struggle; a pin-cushion that seemed likely to turn itself inside out; the skeleton of a cardboard cradle ; and a pen-wiper merely cut out. You may imagine what she had to endure on the event of that catastrophe, - how they all laughed and joked about these unfinished articles, and how she tried to defend herself by saying that Fanny Gray came in just as she was getting on nicely with the butterfly, — that she was just going to sew up the hole in the rag-doll's foot, — that Rosa did n't need the dress right away, — that the hat had gone quite out of fashion, — and as for the cradle, Rosa had grown too old to use one; all of which excuses did not mend matters, for her mother said, " I bought you this pretty basket, my dear, in hopes it would make you industrious; but now that you have used it so ill, I shall take it away until every article begun here is well finished.” And Dilly-dally cried herself into a headache, a favorite custom of hers whenever she meant to have her own way, and one which she had too often found successful not to be overcome with dismay when it proved no longer available. Nevertheless, she needed a few more lessons in the tactics of adversity to effect a reform in her habits.
Dilly-dally was invited one day to a grand picnic; they were to get into the cars for a few minutes, when they would suddenly find themselves transported, as if by witchcraft, out of the gray city, into the most delightful countryside, where the blue sky was endless, as well as the green pasture-lands, and where groves of oak-trees offered as cool and beautiful a retreat as any Gothic palace. She was to go, and what would she not enjoy! She would hear the birds sing, free and bold, not at all like the poor old blind canary, who always sang a little as if he expected some one to clap him ; she would see the brooks that were always running away from home, and seemed in such a hurry to get down hill and to take short cuts across the fields, — the merry brooks, that always laughed, no matter what fell out, and that the loudest when the day was darkest and the way stoniest, — the brooks that were like “ traps to catch sunbeams.” O yes ! and the air would be fragrant with clover and wild-rose ; and the reapers would be out in the meadows cutting the long grasses and setting free the hived-up odors; and, O ecstasy! she would wear her new pink lawn! I don't dare to tell how long she lay awake thinking about it all, nor how late she awoke in the morning, having gone to the picnic in her dreams, but without her shoes and stockings. It is due to her to say, however, that she neither engaged in shipping nor mantua-making while dressing; but, overhearing a whisper to the effect that her kitten had