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PAGE IfBTHE PINEHURST OUTLOOK WSjt-
At that moment the children heard
some one approaching and next instant
into the kitchen walked tall Tom, Aunt
Nan's son. He fetched an armload of
"Say, Tom, can you hitch up the pony
cart for me now ?" asked Paul. "I'm go
ing to take sister riding down the road."
"Sho Marster Paul," said Tom, grin
ning. He, like his mother, loved these
two little Downses. They were the sun
shine of the place.
"But mustn't we ask mamma?" said
"It would break the spell," informed
Paul mysteriously. "When you go out
to find a fairy no living mortal must
know of it, or the fairy will hide away
and absolutely refuse to peek its head
"Oh-oh-oh!" said Janey. And she
believed what Paul believed. Arid they
both believed as Aunty Nan believed, and
all Aunty Nan's folks before and since
"We'll not be gone long," explained
Paul. "We'll drive Peggy in a gallop,
fast as ever she can go. We'll be home
before supper time. Mamma won't miss
us till we're back."
A few minutes later Paul and Janey
were riding out of the stable yard toward
the big road a quarter of a mile from the
house. Trees, draped with streamers of
gray moss, hid them soon after they
turned into the lane, and they were not
seen by any one save tall Tom. Even
Aunt Nanny had paid no attention to
Paul's request to have her son hitch up
the pony cart for him. Paul was in the
habit young as he was of driving the
cart about the plantation, and sometimes
Janey bore him company.
Supper time came, and the children
were missed. Mrs. Downs sent a maid
to look for them in the garden, where
they liked to play. Then the stable yard
was searched, loud calling of their
names echoing everywhere.
Then it came dimly to Aunt Nanny's
mind about having heard in an uninter
ested way her young darlin' Paul's re
quest to Tom to hitch up the pony cart.
And then something else came to her
mind the children's eagerness to know
just how to find a water lily fairy.
"Tom," she called, "for the dear Lor's
sake, git the hoss an' buggy hitched up
fer me quick. An' you alls come 'long
with me. I know whar dem blessed
chilluns gone to. Doan ask no questions
now, fer we's got to get 'long fas'er we
eber got befo'."
Tom, without a word to any one (he
knew his mother would do what talking
was necessary) reached the stable and
led one of the fastest driving horses out
and within a jiffy had him hitched to the
Aunt Nanny went puffing into the
front yard, where she found Mrs. Downs
and the other members of the family in a
state of excitement and distress. On
seeing her mistress, pale and trembling,
Aunt Nanny went up to her and said :
"Doan you fret, Miss Mary; I done
fotch your darlin's home in de twinkle
ob de eye. I tell you, Aunt Nan knows
what she's a-sayin'. Heah, Tom, you
creepy-bones, drive heah quick." And
Aunt Nanny rushed out to the gate and
climbed briskly into the buggy in which
"Say, hold on there, Tom ! " cried Mr.
Downs, going to the gate just as Aunt
Nanny had taken her seat inside the
buggy. "What's all this mean? Do
you know where the children are? If
so, don't keep us in suspense."
"It's my religious belief," asserted
Aunt Nanny solemnly, "dat dem chilluns
hab goned to de swamp to to look foh
a a fairy. You alls, know, dey lubs
me to tell 'em fairy tales. An' I jest
can't refuse 'em, bless der honey souls !
So I tells 'em dat de fairies air in de
water-lilies in de swamp. I neber reck
oned dey would try to go dare. I'll
fotch home the darlin's sho' "
Then off drove Tom, and Mr. Downs
returned to his wife and said : "I do be
lieve Aunt Nanny knows just what has
happened. She has been telling the
children stories of fairies in the swamp.
Tom hitched up the pony-cart for them
and off they drove down the road.
Tom will easily overtake them. So we
need feel no more uneasiness."
But while Mr. Downs said this, he was
very anxious and worried, and sought
the stable, where he had a groom saddle
a riding horse for him. Soon he was
mounted and off down the road in pur-
suit of the buggy. Tom did not spare
his horse, urging the animal on. The
buggy and its two nervous occupants
reached the edge of the swamp before
Mr. Downs came galloping up. There
was bad ground to go over, so Tom got
out and hunted for wheel tracks. Yes,
there they were, the tracks of the cart
and the prints of the pony's hoofs. Tom
followed these, leading the horse, and
Mr. Downs followed the buggy, keeping
on the lookout for safe ground. It was
almost miraculous that Paul had driven
over the safe places, for there was
ground where the cart wheels would
have sunk to their hubs.
Tom and Aunt Nanny found the cart
and pony first ; then a little further on
they came to the two children, down on
their knees, bending over a little cluster
of water lilies which grew in green,
slimy water. So engrossed were the
children that they did not hear the per
sons coming behind them and did not
know they were not alone till Aunt
Nanny's voice cried out: "Oh, honey
chilluns ! You done scaret us mos' all to
death. Come this minit to yo' maw
She's done near crazy ! "
"We just went to find the fairies," the
children confided to their discoverers.
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THE PINEHURST OUTLOOK
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Tom already sat.
WHO BUILT THIS SNOW MAN? Jgg