Under the Lilacs
"Celia, I've a notion that we ought to give Ben something. A sort of peace-offering, you
know; for he feels dreadfully hurt about our suspecting him," said Thorny, at dinner that
"I see he does, though he tries to seem as bright and pleasant as ever. I do not wonder,
and I've been thinking what I could do to soothe his feelings. Can you suggest any thing?
"Cuff-buttons. I saw some jolly ones over at Berryville, oxidized silver, with dogs' heads
on them, yellow eyes, and all as natural as could be. Those, now, would just suit him for
his go-to-meeting white shirts, -- neat, appropriate, and in memoriam."
Miss Celia could not help laughing, it was such a boyish suggestion; but she agreed to it,
thinking Thorny knew best, and hoping the yellow-eyed dogs would be as balm to Ben's
"Well, dear, you may give those, and Lita shall give the little whip with a horse's foot for
a handle, if it is not gone. I saw it at the harness shop in town; and Ben admired it so
much that I planned to give it to him on his birthday."
"That will tickle him immensely; and if you'd just let him put brown tops to my old boots,
and stick a cockade in his hat when he sits up behind the phaeton, he'd be a happy
fellow," laughed Thorny, who had discovered that one of Ben's ambitions was to be a tip-
"No, thank you; those things are out of place in America, and would be absurd in a small
country place like this. His blue suit and straw hat please me better for a boy; though a
nicer little groom, in livery or out, no one could desire, and you may tell him I said so."
"I will, and he'll look as proud as punch; for he thinks every word you say worth a dozen
from any one else. But won't you give him something? Just some little trifle, to show that
we are both eating humble pie, feeling sorry about the mouse money."
"I shall give him a set of school-books, and try to get him ready to begin when vacation is
over. An education is the best present we can make him; and I want you to help me fit
him to enter as well is he can. Bab and Betty began, little dears, -- lent him their books
and taught all they knew; so Ben got a taste, and, with the right encouragement, would
like to go on, I am sure."
"That's so like you Celia! Always thinking of the best thing and doing it handsomely. I'll
help like a house a-fire, if he will let me; but, all day, he's been as stiff as a poker, so I
don't believe he forgives me a bit."