THE UNFAMILIAR WAY
 IN September David entered the village school. School and David
did not assimilate at once. Very confidently the teacher set to
work to grade her new pupil; but she was not so confident when
she found that while in Latin he was perilously near herself (and
in French—which she was not required to teach—disastrously
beyond her!), in United States history he knew only the barest
outlines of certain portions, and could not name a single battle
in any of its wars. In most studies he was far beyond boys of his
own age, yet at every turn she encountered these puzzling spots
of discrepancy, which rendered grading in the ordinary way out of
David's methods of recitation, too, were peculiar, and somewhat
disconcerting. He also did not hesitate to speak aloud when he
chose, nor to rise from his seat and move to any part of the room
as the whim seized him. In time, of course, all this was changed;
but it was
 several days before the boy learned so to conduct
himself that he did not shatter to atoms the peace and propriety
of the schoolroom.
Outside of school David had little work to do now, though there
were still left a few light tasks about the house. Home life at
the Holly farmhouse was the same for David, yet with a
difference—the difference that comes from being really wanted
instead of being merely dutifully kept. There were other
differences, too, subtle differences that did not show, perhaps,
but that still were there.
Mr. and Mrs. Holly, more than ever now, were learning to look at
the world through David's eyes. One day—one wonderful day—they
even went to walk in the woods with the boy; and whenever before
had Simeon Holly left his work for so frivolous a thing as a walk
in the woods!
It was not accomplished, however, without a struggle, as David
could have told. The day was a Saturday, clear, crisp, and
beautiful, with a promise of October in the air; and David fairly
tingled to be free and away. Mrs. Holly was baking—and the birds
sang unheard outside her pantry window. Mr. Holly was digging
 potatoes—and the clouds sailed unnoticed above his head.
All the morning David urged and begged. If for once, just this
once, they would leave everything and come, they would not regret
it, he was sure. But they shook their heads and said, "No, no,
impossible!" In the afternoon the pies were done and the potatoes
dug, and David urged and pleaded again. If once, only this once,
they would go to walk with him in the woods, he would be so
happy, so very happy! And to please the boy—they went.
It was a curious walk. Ellen Holly trod softly, with timid feet.
She threw hurried, frightened glances from side to side. It was
plain that Ellen Holly did not know how to play. Simeon Holly
stalked at her elbow, stern, silent, and preoccupied. It was
plain that Simeon Holly not only did not know how to play, but
did not even care to find out.
The boy tripped ahead and talked. He had the air of a monarch
displaying his kingdom. On one side was a bit of moss worthy of
the closest attention; on another, a vine that carried allurement
in every tendril. Here was a flower that was like a story for
 there was a bush that bore a secret worth the
telling. Even Simeon Holly glowed into a semblance of life when
David had unerringly picked out and called by name the spruce,
and fir, and pine, and larch, and then, in answer to Mrs. Holly's
murmured: "But, David, where's the difference? They look so much
alike!" he had said:—
"Oh, but they are n't, you know. Just see how much more pointed
at the top that fir is than that spruce back there; and the
branches grow straight out, too, like arms, and they're all
smooth and tapering at the ends like a pussy-cat's tail. But the
spruce back there—its branches turned down and out—did n't you
notice?—and they're all bushy at the ends like a squirrel's
tail. Oh, they're lots different! That's a larch 'way ahead—that
one with the branches all scraggly and close down to the ground.
I could start to climb that easy; but I could n't that pine over
there. See, it's 'way up, up, before there's a place for your
foot! But I love pines. Up there on the mountains where I lived,
the pines were so tall that it seemed as if God used them
sometimes to hold up the sky."
 And Simeon Holly heard, and said nothing; and that he did say
nothing—especially nothing in answer to David's confident
assertions concerning celestial and terrestrial
architecture—only goes to show how well, indeed, the man was
learning to look at the world through David's eyes.
Nor were these all of David's friends to whom Mr. and Mrs. Holly
were introduced on that memorable walk. There were the birds, and
the squirrels, and, in fact, everything that had life. And each
one he greeted joyously by name, as he would greet a friend whose
home and habits he knew. Here was a wonderful woodpecker, there
was a beautiful bluejay. Ahead, that brilliant bit of color that
flashed across their path was a tanager. Once, far up in the sky,
as they crossed an open space, David spied a long black streak
"Oh, see!" he exclaimed. "The crows! See them?—'way up there?
Would n't it be fun if we could do that, and fly hundreds and
hundreds of miles, maybe a thousand?"
"Oh, David," remonstrated Mrs. Holly, unbelievingly.
"But they do! These look as if they'd
 started on their winter
journey South, too; but if they have, they're early. Most of them
don't go till October. They come back in March, you know. Though
I've had them, on the mountain, that stayed all the year with
"My! but I love to watch them go," murmured David, his eyes
following the rapidly disappearing black line. "Lots of birds you
can't see, you know, when they start for the South. They fly at
night—the woodpeckers and orioles and cuckoos, and lots of
others. They're afraid, I guess, don't you? But I've seen them.
I've watched them. They tell each other when they're going to
"Oh, David," remonstrated Mrs. Holly, again, her eyes reproving,
but plainly enthralled.
"But they do tell each other," claimed the boy, with sparkling
eyes. "They must! For, all of a sudden, some night, you'll hear
the signal, and then they'll begin to gather from all directions.
I've seen them. Then, suddenly, they're all up and off to the
South—not in one big flock, but broken up into little flocks,
following one after another, with such a beautiful whir of wings.
 they're gone! And I don't see them again till
next year. But you've seen the swallows, have n't you? They go in
the daytime, and they're the easiest to tell of any of them. They
fly so swift and straight. Have n't you seen the swallows go?"
"Why, I—I don't know, David," murmured Mrs. Holly, with a
helpless glance at her husband stalking on ahead. "I—I did n't
know there were such things to—to know."
There was more, much more, that David said before the walk came
to an end. And though, when it did end, neither Simeon Holly nor
his wife said a word of its having been a pleasure or a profit,
there was yet on their faces something of the peace and rest and
quietness that belonged to the woods they had left.
It was a beautiful month—that September, and David made the most
of it. Out of school meant out of doors for him. He saw Mr. Jack
and Jill often. He spent much time, too, with the Lady of the
Roses. She was still the Lady of the Roses to David, though in
the garden now were the purple and scarlet and yellow of the
asters, salvia, and golden glow, instead of the blush and perfume
of the roses.
 David was very much at home at Sunnycrest. He was welcome, he
knew, to go where he pleased. Even the servants were kind to him,
as well as was the elderly cousin whom he seldom saw, but who, he
knew, lived there as company for his Lady of the Roses.
Perhaps best, next to the garden, David loved the tower room;
possibly because Miss Holbrook herself so often suggested that
they go there. And it was there that they were when he said,
dreamily, one day:—
"I like this place—up here so high, only sometimes it does make
me think of that Princess, because it was in a tower like this
that she was, you know."
"Fairy stories, David?" asked Miss Holbrook lightly.
"No, not exactly, though there was a Princess in it. Mr. Jack
told it." David's eyes were still out of the window.
"Oh, Mr. Jack! And does Mr. Jack often tell you stories?"
"No. He never told only this one—and maybe that's why I remember
"Well, and what did the Princess do?" Miss Holbrook's voice was
still light, still carelessly
 preoccupied. Her attention,
plainly, was given to the sewing in her hand.
"She did n't do and that's what was the trouble," sighed David.
"She did n't wave, you know."
The needle in Miss Holbrook's fingers stopped short in mid-air,
the thread half-drawn.
"Did n't—wave!" she stammered. "What do you—mean?"
"Nothing," laughed the boy, turning away from the window. "I
forgot that you did n't know the story."
"But maybe I do—that is—what was the story?" asked Miss
Holbrook, wetting her lips as if they had grown suddenly very
"Oh, do you? I wonder now! It was n't 'The Prince and the
Pauper,' but the Princess and the Pauper," cited David; "and they
used to wave signals, and answer with flags. Do you know the
There was no answer. Miss Holbrook was putting away her work,
hurriedly, and with hands that shook. David noticed that she even
pricked herself in her anxiety to get the needle tucked away.
Then she drew him to a low stool at her side.
 "David, I want you to tell me that story, please," she said,
"just as Mr. Jack told it to you. Now, be careful and put it all
in, because I—I want to hear it," she finished, with an odd
little laugh that seemed to bring two bright red spots to her
"Oh, do you want to hear it? Then I will tell it," cried David
joyfully. To David, almost as delightful as to hear a story was
to tell one himself. "You see, first—" And he plunged headlong
into the introduction.
David knew it well—that story: and there was, perhaps, little
that he forgot. It might not have been always told in Mr. Jack's
language; but his meaning was there, and very intently Miss
Holbrook listened while David told of the boy and the girl, the
wavings, and the flags that were blue, black, and red. She
laughed once,—that was at the little joke with the bells that
the girl played,—but she did not speak until sometime later when
David was telling of the first home-coming of the Princess, and
of the time when the boy on his tiny piazza watched and watched
in vain for a waving white signal from the tower.
"Do you mean to say," interposed Miss
 Holbrook then, almost
starting to her feet, "that that boy expected—" She stopped
suddenly, and fell back in her chair. The two red spots on her
cheeks had become a rosy glow now, all over her face.
"Expected what?" asked David.
"N—nothing. Go on. I was so—so interested," explained Miss
Holbrook faintly. "Go on."
And David did go on; nor did the story lose by his telling. It
gained, indeed, something, for now it had woven through it the
very strong sympathy of a boy who loved the Pauper for his sorrow
and hated the Princess for causing that sorrow.
"And so," he concluded mournfully, "you see it is n't a very nice
story, after all, for it did n't end well a bit. They ought to
have got married and lived happy ever after. But they did n't."
Miss Holbrook drew in her breath a little uncertainly, and put
her hand to her throat. Her face now, instead of being red, was
"But, David," she faltered, after a moment, "perhaps
he—the—Pauper—did not—not love the Princess any longer."
 "Mr. Jack said that he did."
The white face went suddenly pink again.
"Then, why did n't he go to her and—and—tell her?"
David lifted his chin. With all his dignity he answered, and his
words and accent were Mr. Jack's.
"Paupers don't go to Princesses, and say 'I love you.' "
"But perhaps if they did—that is—if—" Miss Holbrook bit her
lips and did not finish her sentence. She did not, indeed, say
anything more for a long time. But she had not forgotten the
story. David knew that, because later she began to question him
carefully about many little points—points that he was very sure
he had already made quite plain. She talked about it, indeed,
until he wondered if perhaps she were going to tell it to some
one else sometime. He asked her if she were; but she only shook
her head. And after that she did not question him any more. And a
little later David went home.
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