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PERRONET 1

shilling? hyacinth telescope polypody

determined
interrupted
ridiculous
competitors

distraction satisfaction particularly agricultural

There were four of us, and three of us had godfathers and godmothers, three each, — three times three make nine, and not a fairy godmother among them! That was what vexed us.

It was very provoking, because we knew so well what we wanted if we had one, and she had given us three wishes each, - three times three make nine.

- . We could have had all we wanted with nine wishes, and have provided for Perronet, too. It would not have done any good for Perronet to have wishes for himself, because he was only a dog.

We never knew who it was that drowned Perronet, but it was Sandy who saved his life and brought him home. It was when he was coming from school, and he brought Perronet with him.

Perronet was not at all nice to look at when we first saw him, though we were very sorry for him. He was wet all over, and his eyes were shut, and you could see his ribs, and he looked quite dark and sticky. But when he dried, he dried a lovely yellow, with two black ears like velvet. People sometimes asked us what kind of a dog he was, but we never knew, except that he was the nicest possible kind.

1 See note on page 259. * 2 Find the definition and pronunciation of these words in the vocabulary.

We were afraid we could not keep him, because mother said we could not afford to pay for his tax and food. The tax was five shillings, but it was nearly a year before the time for paying it. We were all very unhappy because we were so fond of Perronet, and at last it was decided that all three of us would give up sugar, toward saving the expense of what he até, if he might stay. It was hardest for Sandy, because he was particularly fond of sweet things; but then he was particularly fond of Perronet. So we all gave up sugar, and Perronet was allowed to remain.

About the tax, we thought we could save any pennies or halfpennies we got during the year, and it was such a long time before the tax must be paid that we should be almost sure to have enough by then.

What we wanted a fairy godmother for most of all was about our homes.” There was no kind of play we liked better than playing at houses and new homes. But no matter where we made our "home,” it was sure to be disturbed. If it was indoors, and we made a palace under the biy table, as soon as we had it nicely divided into rooms, it was certain to be dinner time. The nicest house we ever had was in the woodshed; we had it, and kept it quite a secret, for weeks. And then the new load of wood came and covered up everything, our best oystershell dinner service and all.

Any one can see that it is impossible really to imagine anything when you are constantly interrupted. We could have no fun playing railway train when they took all our carriages to pieces because the chairs were wanted for tea. If we wished to play at Thames Tunnel under the beds, we were not allowed; and the day we did Aladdin in the store closet, Jane came to put away the soap just when Aladdin could not possibly have opened the door of the

cave.

One day early in May, Sandy came in, smiling more broadly than usual, and said to Richard and me: “I've found a fairy godmother, and she has given me a field. It's quite a new place,” he continued.

66 You've never been there.”

“ How did you get there?” asked Richard.

“ The fairy godmother showed me,” was Sandy's reply. “Come along. It's much cooler out now. The sun's going down.”

He took us along Gypsy Lane. We had been there once or twice, and I knew it quite well. At the end of the lane there is a stile, by which you go into a field, and at the other end you get over another stile, and find yourself in the highroad.

“If this is your field, Sandy,” said I, when we reached the first stile, “ I'm very sorry, but it really won't do. I know that ever so many people come through it. We should never be quiet here.”

Sandy laughed. He didn't speak, and he didn't get over the stile; he went through a gate close by it leading into a little lane. We followed him through a field where there was no path.

Then there was another hedge and another stile with very rough posts, and two rails, which we all climbed over. When we reached the other side, Sandy leaned against the big post and waved his right hand, and said, “ This is our field.”

It sloped down hill, and the hedges round it were rather high, with awkward branches of blackthorn sticking out here and there without any leaves, and with the blossoms lying white on the black twigs like snow. There were cowslips all over the field, but they were thicker at the lower end, which was damp.

The sun shone still, but it shone low down, and made such splendid shadows that we all walked about with gray giants at our feet. It made the bright green grass, and the cowslips down below, and the top of the hedge, and the elder bush, and Sandy's hair, so yellow

so very yellow — that just for a minute I believed about Sandy's godmother, and thought it was a story come true, and that everything was turning into gold.

It was only for a minute; of course I know that fairy tales are not true. But it was a lovely field, and when we had shaded our eyes with our hands, and taken a good look at it, I said to Sandy,“ It is the best field I ever saw.”

“Sit down,” said Sandy, doing the honors; and we all sat down under the hedge, where we could see the whole field stretched out before us.

There are violets just behind us,” he continued. “Can't you smell them? But whatever you do, don't tell anybody about them or we shall not keep our field to ourselves for a day. And look here.”

He had turned over on to his face, and Richard and I did the same, while Sandy fumbled among the bleached grass and leaves.

“ Hyacinths,” said Richard, as Sandy displayed their green tops.

“As thick as peas,” said Sandy. “This bank will be blue in a few weeks, and there will be ferns everywhere. There's a wren's nest in there

At this point he rolled suddenly over on to his back and looked up.

“A lark,” he explained; “there was one singing gloriously this morning. This will be a good field for a kite, won't it, Richard? But wait a bit.”

After every new thing that Sandy showed us in our field he always finished by saying, “ But wait a bit,” and that was because there was always something else better still.

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