The Phoenix and the Carpet
It began with the day when it was almost the Fifth of November, and a
doubt arose in some breastÑRobert's, I fancyÑas to the quality of the
fireworks laid in for the Guy Fawkes celebration.
'They were jolly cheap,' said whoever it was, and I think it was Robert,
'and suppose they didn't go off on the night? Those Prosser kids would
have something to snigger about then.'
'The ones I got are all right,' Jane said; 'I know they are, because the
man at the shop said they were worth thribble the moneyÑ'
'I'm sure thribble isn't grammar,' Anthea said.
'Of course it isn't,' said Cyril; 'one word can't be grammar all by itself,
so you needn't be so jolly clever.'
Anthea was rummaging in the corner-drawers of her mind for a very
disagreeable answer, when she remembered what a wet day it was, and
how the boys had been disappointed of that ride to London and back on
the top of the tram, which their mother had promised them as a reward
for not having once forgotten, for six whole days, to wipe their boots on
the mat when they came home from school.
So Anthea only said, 'Don't be so jolly clever yourself, Squirrel. And
the fireworks look all right, and you'll have the eightpence that your
tram fares didn't cost to-day, to buy something more with. You ought to
get a perfectly lovely Catharine wheel for eightpence.'
'I daresay,' said Cyril, coldly; 'but it's not YOUR eightpence anyhowÑ'
'But look here,' said Robert, 'really now, about the fireworks. We don't
want to be disgraced before those kids next door. They think because
they wear red plush on Sundays no one else is any good.'
'I wouldn't wear plush if it was ever soÑunless it was black to be be-
headed in, if I was Mary Queen of Scots,' said Anthea, with scorn.
Robert stuck steadily to his point. One great point about Robert is the
steadiness with which he can stick.
'I think we ought to test them,' he said.