The Secret Horse
“I’ll tell you a secret!” said Jimmy to Ivy, as they came out of school.
Ivy was deeply interested. She and Jimmy walked with their heads close together.
“I’ve got a horse – – – in a field – – – and I’ll take you on Saturday and give you a ride!”
“A horse! Will it kick or run away?”
“No! ” replied Jimmy with a scorn. “If you can’t come I shall be disappointed; it is dull riding him alone, and I always tell you my secrets.”
On Saturday, Jimmy escorted Ivy and Bobbie to a field a mile away. He said it was a mile, but it seemed two to Bobbie.
Not a sign of a horse appeared. The field seemed quite empty, but Jimmy crept through a hole in the hedge without hesitation and stopped beside an old tree.
“There! ” he said with pride.
Ivy perceived at once the likeness of the lowest branch to a horse’s head, but Bobbie did not.
“Oh! ” said Ivy. “Where? ” said Bobbie.
Jimmy climbed up with agility and brought out a piece of rope for reins. “Ivy, you get up behind me and then Bobbie!” he ordered.
Jimmy and Ivy rode astride and Bobby side-saddle. “Now we will gallop!” said Jimmy, and he rocked up and down violently.
“Crick! Creak! Crack!” went the horse, and its back snapped in two, and Bobbie, riding side-saddle on his rear portion, sat tight.
“Well! I never!” said Jimmy, slowly extricating himself from under Ivy, “three of us was too much for him! Who would have thought it?”
At the Dip of the Hill
The Twins, Kit and Kate, found a birthday a most exciting time. But the day had passed, and the shades of evening had long fallen upon a snowy world, when a violent ring came at their front door.
“Another excitement!” sighed Mummie.
The twins were already struggling with the door fastenings. Too many excitements was not a possibility for them.
“Sign please, and be quick about it!” The carman thrust a paper into Kit’s hand and began banging his arms across his chest to warm himself.
“What is it?”cried Kate.
“Sign, please, and be quick. It’s a cold night!” replied the carman.
Mummie came to the rescue, signed, helped in the parcel, said “Good-night!” politely, closed the door again.
“What is it?” cried Kit.
The minutes of pulling off papers and cutting string, and a lovely toboggan stood in the hall.
“Oh, lovely! Oh, lovely!” The Twins stood and gazed at it. A toboggan! And the snow was exactly right for it!
“If only the snow will stay till tomorrow,” sighed Kit.
“It’s alright! we shall be here!” said a few flakes as they wafted in through the letter box.
And they really thought they should! But they had not reckoned on the warm air in the house, and very soon they melted into water and disappeared. But they were quite right, for the snow lay cold and white, and the next morning Kit and Kate, wrapped up to their eyes, pushed the new toboggan out on to the snow and pulled it up the hill.
It was delicious. That is, the going down was! The walking up again was – – well – – tiring. Their legs were short, and also it would be much more fun with somebody else to admire the new toboggan, and there was heaps of room on it.
“I’m quite sure it would hold six!” cried Kate. But Kit shook her head. “Four! ” she said, “or five, but not six, I’m sure! ”
They decided to bang the fence where the Grigsons lived, and having attracted their cousins’ attention, to invite them out.
Very little banging was needed. Mary and Jess threw on jackets and hats and mufflers and ran out. Dorrie had a cold and had to content herself with looking out of the window.
Five of them! They tried to squeeze themselves on to the toboggan, but it couldn’t be done. Not any how.
“Never mind, I’ll stand out this time,” said Kit, “and you four go down. There’s plenty of room for four!”
Mary was to steer, Jess crowded behind her, then Kate, lastly Jerry.
Kit pushed them off and ran behind till at the dip of the hill she stopped, reflecting that if you go down a hill you must sometime or other climb it if you want to reach the top again. It was at the dip of the hill that the speed of the toboggan had increased to a rush that made the cold air seem to fizz through Mary’s hair. It was then that Jerry fell off behind.
It was then that Kate’s hat fell off, and then she fell off her self.
It was then that Kit yelled “Stop! Stop! ” at the tip-top of her voice.
But the toboggan had the wind in its tail and the bit between its teeth, and it would not stop. Mary and Jess said afterwards that it couldn’t stop.
At any rate, it didn’t stop, and it landed Mary and Jess at the bottom of the hill.
“Oh, what fun! I wonder where the others are!” laughed Mary.
“Oh, what fun! I wish we could do it again!” laughed Jess, “and I wish there would have been somebody to see us!”
Somebody had seen them. He had seen everything and heard every word, from the dip of the hill to the bottom of the hill.
Kit, Kate and Jerry said he was a sparrow. But Mary and Jess were sure he was a robin redbreast.
By the Skin of His Teeth
“I am sure it is getting late,” said Reggie uneasily.
“Talk about fidgets! I told you the time just now; I’m going to finish this game!” Was Cecil’s reply.
“Ten to one you did not wind your watch last night! I really am going on, old boy. I don’t want to miss a day in town, and if you miss the excursion train, then you miss the day in town.”
“Peace – – – at any price,” replied Cecil, and he jerked his marble carefully. ” go, if you want to!”
“Peace at any price is an expensive luxury — as you will find when you have lost your train,” answered Reggie. He set off for the station with a quick run. He wished he had started independently twenty minutes ago. Fancy missing the train and losing a day’s sight seeing in London with Grandpa!
It was uphill all the way to the station. Not a clock was to be seen. He darted into the great booking office and looked at the clock. He caught his breath. It was four minutes to ten and the train went at ten! What would happen to Cecil?
“Stupid donkey!” he muttered to himself over and insert add he took his ticket and placed himself in the doorway where he could watch the road. If Cecil came strolling up he might wave and shout and hurry him.
When Reggie left him, Cecil went on with his marbles for a couple of minutes. Then, almost against his own will, he took out his watch. The hands stood at identically the same time as when Reggie had asked the time! His watch had stopped at twenty minutes to ten!
With a yell of dismay Cecil set off for the station. His thoughts seemed to pant with his breath.
A motor-car passed him, then slowed and a voice shouted: “Cecil! Cecil! ”
It was Uncle Dick. “Dear Doctor Dick, ” as good patients called him.
In a moment Cecil was on the footboard and the car was tearing up the incline.
“Get your money ready! ” said Uncle Dick.
Reggie saw them coming. He heard the train thunder along the platform.
Then he ran to the train and got into a carriage immediately opposite the gates, holding the door open against all the efforts of officious porters.
Up went the guard’s flag, and at that moment Cecil came. He saw Reggie and the open door, and he fairly fell in in the carriage-full. The train moved and Uncle Dick shouted: “Hurrah!” ; and they were off.
“My watch had stopped!” announced Cecil, as he looked round the carriage for a seat. “If it had not been for Uncle Dick, I should have—”
“Missed it! ” supplied Reggie.