Jack and Jill
1. The Catastrophe
"Clear the lulla!" was the general cry on a bright December afternoon, when all the boys
and girls of Harmony Village were out enjoying the first good snow of the season. Up
and down three long coasts they went as fast as legs and sleds could carry them. One
smooth path led into the meadow, and here the little folk congregated; one swept across
the pond, where skaters were darting about like water-bugs; and the third, from the very
top of the steep hill, ended abruptly at a rail fence on the high bank above the road.
There was a group of lads and lasses sitting or leaning on this fence to rest after an
exciting race, and, as they reposed, they amused themselves with criticising their
mates, still absorbed in this most delightful of out-door sports.
"Here comes Frank Minot, looking as solemn as a judge," cried one, as a tall fellow of
sixteen spun by, with a set look about the mouth and a keen sparkle of the eyes, fixed
on the distant goal with a do-or-die expression.
"Here's Molly Loo And little Boo?
sang out another; and down came a girl with flying hair, carrying a small boy behind her,
so fat that his short legs stuck out from the sides, and his round face looked over her
shoulder like a full moon.
"There's Gus Burton; doesn't he go it?" and such a very long boy whizzed by, that it
looked almost as if his heels were at the top of the hill when his head was at the bottom!
"Hurrah for Ed Devlin!" and a general shout greeted a sweet-faced lad, with a laugh on
his lips, a fine color on his brown cheek, and a gay word for every girl he passed.
"Laura and Lotty keep to the safe coast into the meadow, and Molly Loo is the only girl
that dares to try this long one to the pond. I wouldn't for the world; the ice can't be
strong yet, though it is cold enough to freeze one's nose off," said a timid damsel, who
sat hugging a post and screaming whenever a mischievous lad shook the fence.
"No, she isn't here's Jack and Jill going like fury."
"Clear the track For jolly Jack!"
sang the boys, who had rhymes and nicknames for nearly everyone.
Down came a gay red sled, bearing a boy who seemed all smile and sunshine, so white
were his teeth, so golden was his hair, so bright and happy his whole air. Behind him
clung a little gypsy of a girl, with black eyes and hair, cheeks as red as her hood, and a
face full of fun and sparkle, as she waved Jack's blue tippet like a banner with one
hand, and held on with the other.