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to brace spiritual resolution.
But these young folks were by no reader of such a book as “ La Débâ- means the “Dancing Children of llarcle” may say to himself, “ This is too ricombe.” The story of these last had dreadful ! Let us submit to any indig- just been told, and the end of it had nity or oppression rather than be re- been given in this way by Yorick Hare, spousible for such horrors !” But the a boy of twelve : Christian will rather say, “In these “We beat every house about here, scenes, and any still more appalling Aunt Paule.” Miss Yearsley rejoi than these, we have a witness to the in the name of Paulina, and she acpreciousness of ideal treasures." To cepted the title of aunt in an honorary figlit for the existence and the honor of way from this family. “We have not our country is the way to gain a higher only a' ghost but crowds of ghosts ! conception of the trust committed to You shall see them one day !” the children of a nation. In this age, “ No fear!” had been her answer. more than ever, and for Englishmen Miss Yearsley might have been an more than for the citizens of any other American lady, so fashionably was she country, it should be a sovereign aspi- dressed, so grey and fluffy was her hair, ration that we may help to make the so keen and cute was her glance. country for which we are ready to die * They'll bring you your fate, Aunt and to kill increasingly worthy of its Paule,” Beatrice Hare cried. She was destiny, a better instrument in the eighteen, had just left school, and was hauds of the Ruler of mankind. Chris- going to be "out,” much to the chagrin tianity imposes upon those who govern of her wild self. the British Empire the obligation of The party were by this time at the caring little about lives or feelings end of the old garden, and where the compared with the security of the em- green combe slipped down from the pire and its power to do its appointed high level of the manor grounds to work in the world, Mr. Pearson's the shining green sea
what sea so book is a call to us to prove that to be green in the winter sunlight as the sea good is not to be weak; that we know of South Devon ? Gorgeous coloring it to be our Cliristian duty to guard by was below and all around from the strenuous effort, and by any required flashes of autumnal fire through brown amount of suffering, the priceless in- and heather of the moorlands. Berries heritance which has been entrusted to of all hues, berries purple, black, yel
low, scarlet, and crimson, patched the J. LLEWELYN DAVIES: greenery of the combe, full-leaved still,
though Christmas was nigh at hand, for you know airs are soft and kiudly in Devon, and Mother Nature when she
maile these rifts in the red-earthed cliffs THE DANCING CHILDREN OF HARRICOMBE. made them where greater heights than * No fear!”
themselves tower above and shadow This boyish cry was made by a small, them. trim maideu lady of fifty, who was be- May, the elder sister, who was being ing shown over a domain new to her, dragged along by Bee, gave one word but the - ancestral “ home of the group as an ejaculation upon Bee's suggesof young people leading her.
tion. The personal antecedents of this Miss Absurd 1: Yearsley have naught to do with our Being twenty and the eldest, being story. During the last summer she ! also engaged to her cousin, Harold had been unearthed by an old school. Ilare, in India, she surely had a right fellow who had married Mr. Hare, of to be more wise and grave than Bee Harricombe, had become the mistress was. Some people called her brusque of the manor, and the mother of a - she was most certainly sterling and goodly company of young Hares.
true. LIVING AGE. VOL. LXXXIII. 4286
From All The Year Round.
“Right, May — right !” Miss Years- | boys, hold the blackberry tangle out of ley applauded common sense.
But my eyes.
Was there ever such mud ?” give me the history and explanation of “ The soft Devon air, and the deep your hundreds of ghosts,” she went on. Devon combes — that's the way the “If you can, that is.”
guide-books have it. You like east“I do not know when they began, windy London streets and dry paveAunt Paule," the girl answered ; “I ments, do you not, Aunt Paule ? Now, suppose in the dark ages of the Hare your foot here on this stone, clutch the sovereignty. I only hope our Hare bough and swing on to that long stone forbears had not killed a lot of children, there,” Bee advised from a firm standthe children of a rival tribe — but all point in the very heart of a gorse-bush. round the country you may hear of the “Give me your hand and clutch the
Children of Harricombe.' They are bough with your other. AH right. proper ghosts — you cannot get them Why, you spring better than I do!" when you want them, and you cannot “And why not?” drive them away.”
Bee pursed up her pretty mouth, * You speak feelingly.” The little lifted her eyebrows, puckered her forelady's keen glance questioned the girl. head, and did her best to keep from
“Of course I do." May colored un- laughing too openly. No answer came der her warm, brown skin. “Harold from May up above. May bad her and I saw them together, and at first skirts well up, and whereas she could we both thought they were village chil- have run and sprung down the combe dren coming up the combe. Harold like a young goat, was like a steed well had not proposed then. Of course he in hand, stepping daintily and cleanly would have done so just the same, but on rock and patch of greenery. No it made me awfully hot. I could not help did she need, erect was she as a help it, and I could not help seeing - young huntress behind the quick, half they danced and they sang. Yes! you nervous springs of Aunt Paule. needn't jeer, you boys ; I heard them Hurry up, girls," came from the sing and so did Harold."
boys below. “I have not yet got the thread of the “ All right!” and Bee's clear voice mystery. Why should they not dance rang down through the tree-trunks and and sing ? Better far than wailing the bracken and the gorse. The shout ghosts, or ghosts with rattling chains.” rang like a bell to the ears of men on
“We are not so commonplace with the sea. our ghosts, dear things! Come down " There's a jolly sight here - look easily, Aunt Paule,” Bee cried, holding sharp !” Bee forgot Aunt Paule's out her firm, young hand for the elder needs and few. Her old blue serge lady to descend round a muddy bend of dress gained a few new slits and the combe. “ Shouldn't you like to scratches, but like a boy she pushed have seen Harold and May blushing through briar and brake to the pebbly one against the other, and the children shore. There she stood with her hands not caring one bit ?"
on her hips, and with the dazzle of the “ You are talking Greek.”
December sun streaming over her and “Then here's plain English. These goldening her hair. The wind came ghosts of ours dance when they bring from the sea, a soft, strong south wind, you good luck, and weep, and wail, and and it listed skirts and short curly hair howl, and wring their hands like any just as far as they would go, which was other ghost when they bring you bad not far. The glow of roses was on her luck. I've never seen them, and I am rounded cheeks, and a dropped white out in the combe at all hours. Never feather she had picked up was stuck in mind, I've got the good luck without the rakish little cloth cap she wore ; she them,” and the girl danced on ahead. was trim and untidy at the same mo
Well, never mind the children now. ment.
is she, Malc? When did she come ? | young man said. He looked a sailor, What's her name ?"
and his speech had a ring and lilt of A white-sailed yacht was lying to just the north ; of the north, too, were his within the entrance of Harricombe Bay, blue eyes and yellow hair. 66 And I'll on to which the green combe opened, want the shortest cut to Scarbourne and at the moment when Bee's ques- Court. It lies off here?” tions ceased a boat shot out from the “Yes. Hatherley's ?" far side of the dainty vessel. Swift, “Hatherley is my uncle. I've been sure strokes sped the boat through the with him up and down the North Seas.” shining, green water, and then as May “ Yes; he's been cruising someand Miss Yearsley came down the last where ; we heard that.” Yorick Hare slope of the combe, the crunch of the was spokesman. keel was heard on the shingle of the
" It is so.
Not having enough of the beach.
sea I have been cruising with him – Iris — by Jove !". Malcolm landed him at Leith a week ago, and cried with a grand air, as if the Iris have brought the Iris round here." were a personage, and he knew all “ She's a crack yacht - a prize-winabout her.
ner? All sorts, eh ?” Yorick put in. 66 Well? What about her ?" Bee " She is, my man.
Would you like asked, with the superlative air sisters to look at her ? I'll take you if you'll so nicely assume towards their very meet me here some time.” grand younger brothers.
The boy's eyes sparkled. " Simply that she is Hatherley's new “Not now ; Scarbourne Court now, yacht."
please. There'll be a way up? Short "Old Hatherley's — oh !" Interest and sharp, you know.” was dead.
Open blue eyes looked as if their “Old Hatherley is a proper enough owner's path to most things would be old chap," sturdily.
short and sharp. Candles !"
“ The coastguard steps are just beBee's aristocratic nose sniffed the air. yond where you landed ; the combe is
“Well, and why not? Your men here either will do. Scarbourne is can make candles, and you yourself can just between the two; the combe is our go in for — what you like. I've no pa- beat. We are Hares,” the boy added. tience with girls' bosh! Old Hatherley " It is very kind," and the stranger is the most learned man in the county.” lifted his blue cap. “I'll just take the
“Greek and Latin - that's why you combe, as I'll be nearer to it now." like him. I'm ignorant, as you know, He signalled an order to the sailors, Malc."
while he himself sprang up the combe. “ And he has the finest yacht on the Two days after this Edgar Graham coast — look at her! Don't you pretend was to be seen as much at Harricombe you've never heard of the Iris, or you'll Manor as at his uncle's place at Scarbe out of it."
bourne. Some friendships do grow “How vulgar! Out of it !' Out of quickly. what, the Iris ? I'm thinking I'd rather As for Miss Yearsley, she openly like to be in her,” and Bee moved a declared for this young man.
She was yard or so further along the beach, as the mother's crony, and mothers and if that advance would give her eyes their cronies are known to have much more searching power over the beautiful talk over the ways, and the doings, and craft.
the possibilities of the rising generaA hundred yards to the west, the tion, and about the criticism there crew of the rowboat were standing and lurked a touch or so of prophecy – looking to right and left. Was it that women, especially old maids, foresee they did not know the coast ?
so much. One detached himself from the rest. Of course there came to be a cruise “I was
never here before,” the l in the lovely Iris.
No December sunshine can be imag- I don't hear them. They have flown ined brighter than that which shone away." upon the yacht and her party when "No," was Graham's sure reply. “old Hatherley” took his friends across " It is not sharp enough. It's human. to Torbay.
And — hark, Bee — hark !" Was there ever such a lunch as he And under the mist why should he gave? Was there ever so trim a yacht not take the girl's land ? He was a as the flying Iris ?
brave, helpful man; and Bee — well, Also was there ever such a draw - Bee was Bee, the one woman in the back as the white sea fog which came world for him, and the touch of her spirit-like and silent as they were sail- hand was help. ing gaily past Torquay homewards ? It was no time for second thoughts
“It's more from land than sea,” of squeamisha proprieties. Her warm, some one said.
strong, young fingers gave answer as “I hate a fog!” Aunt Paule ex- her tongue spoke. claimed.
“Yes,” she said, listening. “They The Iris gave a wide berth to the are crying. Oh! they have some terrisandy mouth of Exe, shot past Ex- ble sorrow. Is any one drowned, do mouth, whose red cliffs, gorse clothed, you think? Is it a boat drifting? were a trifle filmy under the scudding, Tell them to be careful. Can't we hurrying white mist, past Budleigh - anchor ? We shall run them down ! "? yes, surely past Budleighi, but the fog “ Shout !” Graham said, “ shout!” had taken a short cut over the hills and His strong voice cried high and loud was ahead and thick. Nigh upon Sid- through the fog. “ Don't fear, we'll mouth — eh! well! one could not see. help — shout, and we'll get to you." What of Harricombe Bay ? It was Only the low, soft crying for answer ; awkward, but no one could say where and it seemed to these two, Bee and the bay was.
Graham, as if the sobs were quite near. The master said the Iris must 6 lie “Keep off !” shouted Graham. to” for a bit ; “ these fogs never last " We shall run them down !” Bee long."
gasped ; and she clutched at the young The fun was out of the day.
man's arm. The elder folks were in the saloon " A boat must be lowered." not too warm. The young ones with You'll not go ?” coat-collars over their ears, and the girls Bee - my love - not go ?" And rolled in thick shawls, were on deck, quickly Graham gave his order. restless, keeping close to one another, Nobody had heard the cry of distress some of them trying to make jokes and but these two. May and the other succeeding ill.
young ones ridiculed the idea ; they What is that noise ?” Bec asked had been near by, and should know. suddenly.
The crew, too, stuck to the same. There were but low voices talking, “ It'll be some echo in the shore ; and the soft lap of peaceful sea against there'll be caves belike. And mebbe the sides of the yacht.
we're nearer coast than we knows of." " Like singing, will ye mean ? — no ! " Lower the boat !" came the order. Like some child crying !” Graham said. No sooner was this done, however, He was by Bee, as he had been all day, than the December sun mastered the as he generally was now,
in fact. mist, warmed it, lightened it, and took “ There must be some boat in dis- to himself shape as a scarlet ball of fire tress — some little boat, perhaps, with on the shoulder of a low, western bill. children in. What can we do ?” Away on the very edge of the wide
" What are you talking about ? May world did this globe of fire seem to be, asked, who was not far off.
but from it came life and heat to sweep They told her.
the evil mist from off the face of the - Sea-birds," listening.
Again the green sea danced and combe?!” Bee at last cried excitedly. played round the sides of the Iris. 6 Our ghosts ! Did
you not know Graham and one sailor in their white how famous we were in the matter of boat rocked and danced in the surf of ghosts?" the coast ; but they were alone ; no “No ; tell me." other boat was to be seen, no drowning Then she did tell him, and out of one man struggled, no children wailed, no story there grew another which was sign of distress showed.
told by him, and was just the sweet Vo; sunshine and silence — nothing old story which is always new though else was there, round the white yacht of so hoary and blessed an antiquity. and on the sweep of green Harricombe Together in the gloaming the two Bay.
walked hand-in-hand from the combe
through the winter garden home. " It was a most extraordinary thing," ** Oh, I do not fear at all!” she said. Bee was saying. By some means she Nay, my dearest ! Are we not and the young sailor were ahead of the strong and living ? Surely we can masrest, and with light, swift steps were ter the misty tears and crying of those mounting the combe and taking short little ghosts of yours !” cuts amongst the tangle. • No one " I should think so, indeed !” will ever convince me I did not hear." "I say the same."
It was a merry Christmas at Harri“Well, you look out for news. To combe that year, for Beatrice Hare was morrow, perhaps to-night, you'll hear - woo'd and married and a’” in no some boat is lost. We could not have time. swamped a boat without knowing, could Graham was heir to old Hatherley,
of Scarbourne, and after one more voy“No-no. Can you not trust me ? age would settle down as young squire.
“I don't know !” and Bee sprang But so going on his last voyage he forward, tossing her head.
would have his “ wife" and not only Suddenly she stopped and she held his " betrothed” to think of and to pray out her hand, her face was grave and for him. white, and her attitude was of one who So the marriage was quick. listens.
"Do you not hear ?" and with her The sweet breath of coming spring outstretched hand she touched Graham, had touched the green combe and whisleading him forward. “They have hid- pered to the sleeping violets and awaked den somewhere here,” she said in a them. Soft blue flowery eyes looked hushed voice; “ some one surely is up into the clear February sky, feared hurt!"
not, and breathed their perfumed song "Ha! yes !
strange! but why of silence. did they not answer when I called ? " Daisy Hare, the little sister, found
For he also heard then as she did the the first violet, and carried it over to sound of a low sobbing, and as he held Bee at Scarbourne. her guiding hand he, also like her, saw “Father says you should have a let
66 two children, half liidden by interven- ter from Edgar to-morrow," she said ; ing bushes, pass along, crying.
“the mail is due to-night." The mist was gathering again, so that * I know," Bee answered. Bee was everything was filmy once more — filmy so glad that she felt tearful. were the children and the green, leafy " Aunt Paule is going the day after combe, the near bushes, and the far to-morrow ; this time she means it, I rounded hills and moors.
believe, because her big box is packed. The two sought, and called, and fol- Mother says come to tea to-day ; she lowed, but they never reached thiose knows old — I beg your pardon Mr. filmy, wailing children.
Hatherley has to be in Exeter to-mor" They are our Children of Harri- | row."