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Wild flowers.

Thomas comes for the cows.

wait to get a great deal at a time, but as soon as she had two or three spoonfuls in the pail, she stopped to drink it. In this manner, by dint of a great deal of labor and pains, she succeeded, in about a quarter of an hour, in getting as much as she wanted.

She remained in company with the cows all the afternoon. Sometimes she would wander from them a little way to gather raspberries, and then she would creep up cautiously to Queen Bess, and get another drink of milk. When she had thus had as many raspberries, and as much milk, as she wished, she amused herself for some time in gathering a bouquet of wild flowers to give to Mary Erskine on her return. The time, being thus filled up with useful occupation, passed pleasantly and rapidly along, and at length, when the sun was nearly ready to go down, she heard a distant voice shouting to the cows. It was Thomas, coming to drive them home.

Thomas was of course greatly astonished to find Mary Bell in the woods, and his astonishment was not at all diminished at hearing her story. He offered to carry her, in going home, —but she said that she was not tired, and could walk as well as not. So they went down to

Mary Bell's safe arrival.

gether, the cows running along before them in the paths.

When they reached the house, Thomas went to turn the cows into the yard, while Mary Bell went into the house to Mary Erskine, with her little pail in one hand, and her bouquet of flowers in the other.

Mary Bell's pleasures at Mary Erskine's.

CHAPTER VII.

HOUSEKEEPING.

One of the greatest pleasures which Mary Bell enjoyed, in her visits at Mary Erskine's at this period, was to assist in the housekeeping. She was particularly pleased with being allowed to help in getting breakfast or tea, and in set. ting the table.

She rose accordingly very early on the morning after her arrival there from the woods, as described in the last chapter, and put on the working-dress which Mary Erskine had made for her, and which was always kept at the farm. This was not the working-dress which was described in a preceding chapter as the one which Mary Bell used to play in, when out among the stumps. Her playing among the stumps was two or three years before the period which we are now describing. During those two or three years, Mary Bell had wholly outgrown her first working-dress, and her mind had become improved and enlarged, and her tastes matured more rapidly even than her body had grown.

I

Mary Bell's tastes and feelings.

Breakfast.

She now no longer took any pleasure in dabbling in the brook, or planting potatoes in the sand, or in heating sham ovens in stumps and hollow trees. She had begun to like realities. To bake a real cake for breakfast or tea, to set a real table with real

cups
and saucers,

for a real and useful purpose, or to assist Mary Erskine in the care of the children, or in making the morning arrangements in the room, gave her more pleasure than any species of child's play could possibly do. When she went out now, she liked to be dressed neatly, and take pleasant walks, to see the views or to gather flowers. In a word, though she was still in fact a child, she began to have in some degree the tastes and feelings of a woman.

“What are you going to have for breakfast ?” said Mary Bell to Mary Erskine, while they were getting up.

“What should you like ?” asked Mary Erskine in reply.

Why I should like some roast potatoes, and a spider cake," said Mary Bell.

The spider cake received its name from being baked before the fire in a flat, iron vessel, called a spider. The spider was so called probably, because, like the animal of that name, it

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The spider cake.

The operation of making it.

had several legs and a great round body. The iron spider, however, unlike its living namesake, had a long straight tail, which, extending out behind, served for a handle.

The spider cake being very tender and nice, and coming as it usually did, hot upon the table, made a most excellent breakfast,—though this was not the principal reason which led Mary Bell to ask for it. She liked to make the spider cake ; for Máry Erskine, after mixing and preparing the material, used to allow Mary Bell to roll it out to its proper form, and put it into the spider. Then more than all the rest, Mary Bell liked to bake a spider cake. She used to take great pleasure in carrying the cake in her two hands to the fireplace, and laying it carefully in its place in the spider, and then setting it up before the fire to bake, lifting the spider by the end of the tail. She also took great satisfaction afterward in watching it, as the surface which was presented toward the fire became browned by the heat. When it was sufficiently baked upon one side it had to be turned, and then set up before the fire again, to be baked on the other side ; and every part of the long operation was always watched by Mary Bell with great interest and pleasure.

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