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dow was open so that she could hear them more distinctly, heard Phonny's voice calling to her.
“ Malleville," said he, "are you awake ?"
Yes,” said Phonny, “ I'm awake—but what a cold morning it is!"
It was indeed a cold morning, or at least a very cool one. This was somewhat remarkable, as it was in the month of June. But the country about Franconia was .cold in winter, and cool in summer. Phonny and Malleville rose and dressed themselves, and then went down stairs. They hoped to find a fire in the sitting-room, but there was none.
“How sorry I am,” said Phonny. “But hark, I hear a roaring.”
“Yes,” said Malleville ; “it is the oven; they are going to bake."
The back of the oven was so near to the partition wall which formed one side of the sitting-room, that the sound of the fire could be heard through it. The mouth of the oven however opened into another small room connected with the kitchen, which was called the bakingroom. The children went out into the bakingroom, to warm themselves by the oven fire.
“I am very glad that it is a cool day,” said
Phonny proposes a visit to Mary Erskine's.
The two Marys.
Phonny, “for perhaps mother will let us go to Mary Erskine's. Should not you like to go ?”
Yes," said Malleville, “very much. Where is it?"
The readers who have perused the preceding volumes of this series will have observed that Mary Bell, who lived with her mother in the pleasant little farm-house at a short distance from the village, was always called by her full name, Mary Bell, and not ever, or scarcely ever, merely Mary. People had acquired the habit of speaking of her in this way, in order to distinguish her from another Mary who lived with Mrs. Bell for several years. This other Mary was Mary Erskine. Mary Erskine did not live now at Mrs. Bell's, but at another house which was situated nearly two miles from Mrs. Henry's, and the way to it was by a very wild and unfrequented road. The children were frequently accustomed to go and make Mary Erskine a visit; but it was so long a walk that Mrs. Henry never allowed them to go unless on a very cool day.
At breakfast that morning Phonny asked his mother if that would not be a good day for them to go and see Mary Erskine. Mrs. Henry said that it would be an excellent day, and that she
should be very glad to have them go, for there were some things there to be brought home. Besides Beechnut was going to mill, and he could carry
them as far as Kater's corner. Kater's corner was a place where a sort of cart path, branching off from the main road, led through the woods to the house where Mary Erskine lived. It took its name from a farmer, whose name was Kater, and whose house was at the corner where the roads diverged. The main road itself was very rough and wild, and the cart path which led from the corner was almost impassable in summer, even for a wagon, though it was a very romantic and beautiful road for travelers on horseback or on foot. In the winter the road was excellent : for the snow buried all the roughnesses of the way two or three feet deep, and the teams which went back and forth into the woods, made a smooth and beautiful track for every thing on runners, upon the top of it.
Malleville and Phonny were very much pleased with the prospect of riding a part of the way to Mary Erskine's, with Beechnut, in the wagon. They made themselves ready immediately after breakfast, and then went and sat down upon the step of the door, waiting for
Phonny's amusement at Malleville's exponse.
Beechnut to appear. Beechnut was in the barn, harnessing the horse into the wagon.
Malleville sat down quietly upon the step while waiting for Beechnut. Phonny began to amuse himself by climbing up the railing of the bannisters, at the side of the stairs. He was trying to poise himself upon the top of the railing and then to work himself up the ascent by pulling and pushing with his hands and feet against the bannisters themselves below.
“I wish you would not do that,” said Malleville. “I think it is very foolish, for you may fall and hurt yourself.”
“No,” said Phonny. “It is not foolish. It is very useful for me to learn to climb." So saying he went on scrambling up the railing of the bannisters as before.
Just then Beechnut came along through the yard, towards the house. He was coming for the whip.
“Beechnut," said Malleville, “I wish that you would speak to Phonny.”
“ Is it foolish for me to learn to climb ?” asked Phonny. In order to see Beechnut while he asked this question, Phonny had to twist his head round in a very unusual position, and look out under his arm. It was obvious that in doing
this he was in imminent danger of falling, so unstable was the equilibrium in which he was poised upon the rail.
“ Is not he foolish ?” asked Malleville.
Beechnut looked at him a moment, and then said, as he resumed his walk through the entry,
“Not very ;—that is for a boy. I have known boys sometimes to do foolisher things than that.”
“What did they do?” asked Phonny.
“Why once,” said Beechnut, “ I knew a boy who put his nose into the crack of the door, and then took hold of the latch and pulled the door to, and pinched his nose to death. That was a little more foolish, though not much.”
So saying Beechnut passed through the door and disappeared.
Phonny was seized with so violent a convulsion of laughter at the idea of such absurd folly as Beechnut had described, that he tumbled off the bannisters, but fortunately he fell in, towards the stairs, and was very little hurt. He came down the stairs to Malleville, and as Beechnut returned in a few minutes with the whip, they all went out towards the barn together.
Beechnut had already put the bags of grain