Under the Lilacs
The Great Gate Is Opened
The Browns were up and out so early next morning that Bab and Betty were sure they
had run away in the night. But on looking for them, they were discovered in the coach-
house criticising Lita, both with their hands in their pockets, both chewing straws, and
looking as much alike as a big elephant and a small one.
"That's as pretty a little span as I've seen for a long time," said the elder Ben, as the
children came trotting down the path hand in hand, with the four blue bows at the ends of
their braids bobbing briskly up and down.
"The nigh one is my favorite, but the off one is the best goer, though she's dreadfully hard
bitted," answered Ben the younger, with such a comical assumption of a jockey's
important air that his father laughed as he said in an undertone, --
"Come, boy, we must drop the old slang since we've given up the old business. These
good folks are making a gentleman of you, and I won't be the one to spoil their work.
Hold on, my dears, and I'll show you how they say good-morning in California," he
added, beckoning to the little girls, who now came up rosy and smiling.
"Breakfast is ready, sir," said Betty, looking much relieved to find them.
"We thought you'd run away from us," explained Bab, as both put out their hands to
shake those extended to them.
"That would be a mean trick. But I'm going to run away with you," and Mr. Brown
whisked a little girl to either shoulder before they knew what had happened, while Ben,
remembering the day, with difficulty restrained himself from turning a series of
triumphant somersaults before them all the way to the door, where Mrs. Moss stood
waiting for them.
After breakfast Ben disappeared for a short time, and returned in his Sunday suit, looking
so neat and fresh that his father surveyed him with surprise and pride as he came in full of
boyish satisfaction in his trim array.
"Here's a smart young chap! Did you take all that trouble just to go to walk with old
Daddy?" asked Mr. Brown, stroking the smooth head, for they were alone just then, Mrs.
Moss and the children being up stairs preparing for church.
"I thought may be you'd like to go to meeting first," answered Ben, looking up at him
with such a happy face that it was hard to refuse any thing. I'm too shabby, Sonny, else
I'd go in a minute to please you."