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JACK AND JILL
 DAVID was tempted to go for a second visit to his Lady of the
Roses, but something he could not define held him back. The lady
was in his mind almost constantly, however; and very vivid to him
was the picture of the garden, though always it was as he had
seen it last with the hush and shadow of twilight, and with the
lady's face gloomily turned toward the sunless pool. David could
not forget that for her there were no hours to count; she had
said it herself. He could not understand how this could be so;
and the thought filled him with vague unrest and pain.
Perhaps it was this restlessness that drove David to explore even
more persistently the village itself, sending him into new
streets in search of something strange and interesting. One day
the sound of shouts and laughter drew him to an open lot back of
the church where some boys were at play.
David still knew very little of boys. In his
 mountain home he had
never had them for playmates, and he had not seen much of them
when he went with his father to the mountain village for
supplies. There had been, it is true, the boy who frequently
brought milk and eggs to the cabin; but he had been very quiet
and shy, appearing always afraid and anxious to get away, as if
he had been told not to stay. More recently, since David had been
at the Holly farmhouse, his experience with boys had been even
less satisfying. The boys—with the exception of blind Joe—had
very clearly let it be understood that they had little use for a
youth who could find nothing better to do than to tramp through
the woods and the streets with a fiddle under his arm.
To-day, however, there came a change. Perhaps they were more used
to him; or perhaps they had decided suddenly that it might be
good fun to satisfy their curiosity, anyway, regardless of
consequences. Whatever it was, the lads hailed his appearance
with wild shouts of glee.
"Golly, boys, look! Here's the fiddlin' kid," yelled one; and the
others joined in the "Hurrah!" he gave.
 David smiled delightedly; once more he had found some one who
wanted him—and it was so nice to be wanted! Truth to tell, David
had felt not a little hurt at the persistent avoidance of all
those boys and girls of his own age.
"How—how do you do?" he said diffidently, but still with that
Again the boys shouted gleefully as they hurried forward. Several
had short sticks in their hands. One had an old tomato can with a
string tied to it. The tallest boy had something that he was
trying to hold beneath his coat.
" 'H—how do you do?' " they mimicked. "How do you do, fiddlin'
"I'm David; my name is David." The reminder was graciously given,
with a smile.
"David! David! His name is David," chanted the boys, as if they
were a comic-opera chorus.
David laughed outright.
"Oh, sing it again, sing it again!" he crowed. "That sounded
The boys stared, then sniffed disdainfully, and cast derisive
glances into each other's eyes—it appeared that this little
 boy did not even know enough to discover when he was
being laughed at!
"David! David! His name is David," they jeered into his face
again. "Come on, tune her up! We want ter dance."
"Play? Of course I'll play," cried David joyously, raising his
violin and testing a string for its tone.
"Here, hold on," yelled the tallest boy. "The Queen o' the Ballet
ain't ready". And he cautiously pulled from beneath his coat a
struggling kitten with a perforated bag tied over its head.
"Sure! We want her in the middle," grinned the boy with the tin
can. "Hold on till I get her train tied to her," he finished,
trying to capture the swishing, fluffy tail of the frightened
David had begun to play, but he stopped his music with a
discordant stroke of the bow.
"What are you doing? What is the matter with that cat?" he
" 'Matter'!" called a derisive voice. "Sure, nothin' 's the
matter with her. She's the Queen o' the Ballet—she is!"
 "What do you mean?" cried David. At that moment the string bit
hard into the captured tail, and the kitten cried out with the
pain. "Look out! You're hurting her," cautioned David sharply.
Only a laugh and a jeering word answered. Then the kitten, with
the bag on its head and the tin can tied to its tail, was let
warily to the ground, the tall boy still holding its back with
"Ready, now! Come on, play," he ordered; "then we'll set her
David's eyes flashed.
"I will not play—for that."
The boys stopped laughing suddenly.
"Eh? What?" They could scarcely have been more surprised if the
kitten itself had said the words.
"I say I won't play—I can't play—unless you let that cat go."
"Hoity-toity! Won't ye hear that now?" laughed a mocking voice.
"And what if we say we won't let her go, eh?"
"Then I'll make you," vowed David, aflame with a newborn
something that seemed to have sprung full-grown into being.
 "Yow!" hooted the tallest boy, removing both hands from the
The kitten, released, began to back frantically. The can,
dangling at its heels, rattled and banged and thumped, until the
frightened little creature, crazed with terror, became nothing
but a whirling mass of misery. The boys, formed now into a
crowing circle of delight, kept the kitten within bounds, and
flouted David mercilessly.
"Ah, ha!—stop us, will ye? Why don't ye stop us?" they gibed.
For a moment David stood without movement, his eyes staring. The
next instant he turned and ran. The jeers became a chorus of
triumphant shouts then—but not for long. David had only hurried
to the woodpile to lay down his violin. He came back then, on the
run—and before the tallest boy could catch his breath he was
felled by a stinging blow on the jaw.
Over by the church a small girl, red-haired and red-eyed,
clambered hastily over the fence behind which for long minutes
she had been crying and wringing her hands.
"He'll be killed, he'll be killed," she moaned.
 "And it's my
fault, 'cause it's my kitty—it's my kitty," she sobbed,
straining her eyes to catch a glimpse of the kitten's protector
in the squirming mass of legs and arms.
The kitten, unheeded now by the boys, was pursuing its backward
whirl to destruction some distance away, and very soon the little
girl discovered her. With a bound and a choking cry she reached
the kitten, removed the bag and unbound the cruel string. Then,
sitting on the ground, a safe distance away, she soothed the
palpitating little bunch of gray fur, and watched with fearful
eyes the fight.
And what a fight it was! There was no question, of course, as to
its final outcome, with six against one; but meanwhile the one
was giving the six the surprise of their lives in the shape of
well-dealt blows and skillful twists and turns that caused their
own strength and weight to react upon themselves in a most
astonishing fashion. The one unmistakably was getting the worst
of it, however, when the little girl, after a hurried dash to the
street, brought back with her to the rescue a tall, smooth-shaven
young man whom she had hailed from afar as "Jack."
 Jack put a stop to things at once. With vigorous jerks and pulls
he unsnarled the writhing mass, boy by boy, each one of whom,
upon catching sight of his face, slunk hurriedly away, as if glad
to escape so lightly. There was left finally upon the ground only
David alone. But when David did at last appear, the little girl
burst into tears anew.
"Oh, Jack, he's killed—I know he's killed," she wailed. "And he
was so nice and—and pretty. And now—look at him! Ain't he a
David was not killed, but he was—a sight. His blouse was torn,
his tie was gone, and his face and hands were covered with dirt
and blood. Above one eye was an ugly-looking lump, and below the
other was a red bruise. Somewhat dazedly he responded to the
man's helpful hand, pulled himself upright, and looked about him.
He did not see the little girl behind him.
"Where's the cat?" he asked anxiously.
The unexpected happened then. With a sobbing cry the little girl
flung herself upon him, cat and all.
"Here, right here," she choked. "And it was
 you who saved her—my
Juliette! And I'll love you, love you, love you always for it!"
"There, there, Jill," interposed the man a little hurriedly.
"Suppose we first show our gratitude by seeing if we can't do
something to make our young warrior here more comfortable." And
he began to brush off with his handkerchief some of the
"Why can't we take him home, Jack, and clean him up 'fore other
folks see him?" suggested the girl.
The boy turned quickly.
"Did you call him 'Jack'?"
"And he called you, 'Jill'?"
"The real 'Jack and Jill' that 'went up the hill'?"
The man and
the girl laughed; but the girl shook her head as she answered,—
"Not really—though we do go up a hill, all right, every day. But
those are n't even our own names. We just call each other that
for fun. Don't you ever call things—for fun?"
David's face lighted up in spite of the dirt, the lump, and the
 "Oh, do you do that?" he breathed. "Say, I just know I'd like to
play to you! You'd understand!"
"Oh, yes, and he plays, too," explained the little girl, turning
to the man rapturously. "On a fiddle, you know, like you."
She had not finished her sentence before David was away, hurrying
a little unsteadily across the lot for his violin. When he came
back the man was looking at him with an anxious frown.
"Suppose you come home with us, boy," he said. "It is n't
far—through the hill pasture, 'cross lots,—and we'll look you
over a bit. That lump over your eye needs attention."
"Thank you," beamed David. "I'd like to go, and—I'm glad you
want me!" He spoke to the man, but he looked at the little
red-headed girl, who still held the gray kitten in her arms.