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. FOR BOYS AND GIRLS.

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FOR BOYS AND GIRLS. Odd or Even. BY QUEENIE SCOTT-HOPPER. The front door of the house over the way loddenly opened, and a little lady tripped daintily down the flagged pathway. With One hand she held down the black lace scarf Miich she wore about her shoulders with the other she held up the skirt of her silver-grey gown, showing lilac frills below. She turned her head about with quick little bird-like motions, looking up into the evening sky, and evidently not at once perceiving what she •ought. Joanna," she called, in a dainty high little voice. Did I not hear you say there Was a new moon ?" Yes, ma'am," responded Joanna from Within. The new moon's there Xast enough. She'll likely be behind the chimneypot." Behind the chimneypot ?" the little lady echoed. Then I shall have to go into the floiddle of the road in order to see her, I suppose ?" Into the middle of the road, accordingly, the went and presently Edna, from her post at the nursery window, could see her making a rapid succession of profound curtseys to the Blender crescent 'overhead, and fumbling, at the same time, in the little satin bag at her girdle. To perform this part of the ceremony, she had to'use the hand which had been hold- ing down the black lace scarf, and the long ends of the latter were caught by the wind Mid whirled, in a fantastic kind of dance, around her head. But the little iady, quite Undisturbed, went on smiling and curtsey- ing and turning her money as she greeted the new moon. Nurse looked out at her, over Edna's head, as she came to draw down the blind. Miss Merivale," she briefly remarked. She has come out to see the moon, I think," said Edna. She always does," said Nurse. She's odd." I think she is rather a sweet little lady," Raid Edna, but Nurse was pulling down the blind, and did not hear. Edna peeped between the laths, after Nurse had turned away to lay the cloth for tea, and watched Miss Merivale go back again into the house. The blinds of her bay-window had not vet been drawn down, and the fire- light leaped and laughed within. Edna could Bee the little lady seat herself in a low chair by the hearth, unwind the black lace scarf from about her neck, and fold her hands to- gether in her lap, looking rather pensive, and very solitary. Rex," said Edna suddenly, as the school- Toom party came into the nursery, what floes it mean to be odd ?" If you are in the choir," replied Rex, it means that you have to walk alone into church while all the other boys are walking "Wo and two. And it's horrid. I do hope Mr Grosvener will soon get another fellow to fill the gap Jim Allison has left." If you are a glove or a stocking," sug- gested Hermie, it means that the glove or the stocking which ought to go with you has got lost, and you are not much use with- out it." If a number is odd," suggested Clive, it means that there is one left over. Now, in this family, there isn't one left over. You can put them in pairs-Father and Mother, Nurse and Governess, Cook and Isabella, Rex and Hermie, and me and you. We are even, you see, not odd." Oh," said Edna, and then she began to think the matter over. The Abbatsons, next door, when you counted them up were even, too. So were the Harcourts and the Carringtons, and so were all the families in the Square, that Edna could recall to mind Nobody was odd, except Miss Merivale. For a moment Edna thought tbat perhaps she might be made into a pair with Joanna. But, on reflection, she remem- that somebody else had evidently been e, into a pair with Joanna already the Sji „ good-natured-looking somebody wno waited, on Sunday afternoons, beside the lamp-post, to take her foF.a walk. No it Was sad, but it was a fact. Everbody in the Square was even, except Miss Merivale— and Miss Merivale was odd. Edna found herself taking a friendly inter- est in Miss Merivale. She had begun by feeling sorry for her, because she was odd and when you begin by feeling sorry for anybody, it is surprising how often you end by getting fond of them. The incident of the new moon had taken place on a certain evening in February. Edna had had time to grow very fond indeed of Miss Merivale before a certain evening in April, when she happened to be playing at ball in the garden, close to the gate, and sud- denlv heard the little ladv's silverv tones out- Bide. Edna peeped through the bushes. Miss Meri- Vale was addressing persuasive remarks to a large black snail upon the footpath. She had taken off her little grey gloves, and was en- deavouring, with the aid of a twig, to coax the snail into taking a seat upon a burdock leaf which she had gathered for the -purpose. She Xlanced around, and met Edna's eyes. Edna turned very pink, and so did Miss Merivale but there was something in her look and man- Her which encouraged the little girl to take advantage of this opening for overtures of friendship. "I beg your pardon," said Edna, in a breathless eager voice but do you-do you collect snails ? Because-if you do-I can brim: you some nice grey ones from our lawn. Collect them ? No, my dear, ram terrified of them," returned Miss Merivale. But whenever I find them strayed into the road, I feel so afraid lest somebody should tread Upon them, poor things, and this one—1 thought if I could pick it up on the leaf, and carry it to the strip of waste ground at the corner—well, it would be safe there, and it couldn't do any mischief, as it might do if I Were to put it in some garden." Shall I pick it up for you." enquired Edna eagerly. I don't mind touching snails, not a bit." Oh no, my dear, thank you-you might hurt it, poor thing, and I am getting it on to the leaf quite nicely," said Miss Merrivale. "I But," she added, in a rather appealing little voice, you might walk with me as far as the strip of grass, if you think your mother would not mind." Edna felt quite sure that mother would not-; and across the square the new-made friends went accordingly, Edna carrying Miss Merri- vale's gloves, while Miss Merivale carried the snail. Edna found herself talking in the friendliest way, on all kind of subjects tell- ing Miss Merivale about daddy's new rose- trees, and about the kittens that were born last week, and about the picnic to Halifont Woods, which the children had been promised that their governess should take them, as Boon as the bluebells were astir. Halifont Woods," repeated Miss Merrivale, with a little sigh. How well I remember going here in the old days, when we used to stay with our dear old Aunt, here at Buxport. It is too far for me to walk nowadays but I often think of the Fairy Well, and how my sister and I dropped our pins into it, and wished our wishes. Have you ever done that I wonder ?" No, Edna never had. But she made up her mind that she would do so at the first oppor- tunity. And when, in bluebell time, the pic- nic project was carried out, and a merry party scattered themselves through the winding ways of Halifont Woodf, it was to the Fairy Well that Edna turned her steps. The Fairy Well was a spring of silvery clearness, circled by a deep natural basin of rock. Over the rim of the rock leaned Edna, and dropped her pin with great ceremony into the depths below. I wish-" she began, stooping down as far as possible, so that no one but the Fairy of the Well might hear and then sud- denly she felt a strong hand grasp her by the back of her frock. She looked round with a little scream of fright, and saw that the strong hand belonged to a very pleasant-faced tall gentleman, with bright eyes, and a curly bronze beard. Slightly streaked with grey. My dear child," he remarked, I wish that J may never again see you in such a perilous position. Anotner moment, and you would have been head foremost into the Well." '• You gave me such a fright,'Hgasped Edna, more indignant than grateful. And you've spoilt my wish. I was wishing a wish, and it wasn't for myself, it was for my special friend." And who is your special friend ?" the gentleman asked. His voice and eyes were so kind that Edna began to forgive him for the fright. Such a dear, sweet little lady," exclaimed Edna eagerly. She used to wish her wishes into this well herself, once upon a time, but it is too far for her to come, nowadays. Her name is Miss Merivale-and she's odd. Nurse said so, and it's quite true. Everybody else in the Square is even, except Miss Merrivale, and 1 was wishing, down the well, that she might be made even too. For it's horrid to be odd— everybody says so whether you are an odd glove, or an odd choir boy, or whatever you arc." Miss——. Did you say Miss Merivale ? asked the gentleman in an altered voice. Yes," replied Edna." Isn't it a nice name ? ] don't know what her Christian name is, but I pretend that it is Alicia." Can it—can it possibly be Rosella ?" ex- claimed the gentleman, as if to himself. It might be," amiably assented Edna. I really don't know. But when 1 go to tea with her on Tuesday, I mean to take m y birthday book, and ask her to write her name in it; so then I shall sec." The gentleman said nothing more on the subject, but he looked very thoughtful as he walked away. And. when Edna went to tea with Miss Merivale on Tuesday, she found that little lady in a flutter of rapturous excite- ment. For the postman bad just brought her a letter. The writer of that letter had been a great friend of hers long ago; but there had been a misunderstanding—it was not Miss Merivale's fault—and they had parted, and quite lost sight of each other. She had never heard of him since she had never thought that he still remembered-that he still cared- exe I wonder," exclaimed Edna. if it is my gentleman who thought I was going to tumble into the Wishinc "ell ?" And thpn she iuid the story. Miss Merrivale would not write her name in Edna's book that day. She said that her hand was too shaky. The matter, in fact, was left over for several months and when the name came to be written, it was not Ilosella Meri- vale, but Rosella Grant. Miss Merivale was odd no longer. She had been made even, and Edna still thinks that it must have been partly the work of the fairy, who lives in the Wishing Well.

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