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Under the Lilacs

Miss Celia's Man
Ben was not too tired, and the clearing-up began that very night. None too soon, for in a
day or two things arrived, to the great delight of the children, who considered moving a
most interesting play. First came the phaeton, which Ben spent all his leisure moments in
admiring; wondering with secret envy what happy boy would ride in the little seat up
behind, and beguiling his tasks by planning how, when he got rich, he would pass his
time driving about in just such an equipage, and inviting all the boys he met to have a
Then a load of furniture came creaking in at the lodge gate, and the girls had raptures
over a cottage piano, several small chairs, and a little low table, which they pronounced
just the thing for them to play at. The live stock appeared next, creating a great stir in the
neighborhood, for peacocks were rare birds there; the donkey's bray startled the cattle and
convulsed the people with laughter; the rabbits were continually getting out to burrow in
the newly made garden; and Chevalita scandalized old Duke by dancing about the stable
which he had inhabited for years in stately solitude.
Last but by no means least, Miss Celia, her young brother, and two maids arrived one
evening so late that only Mrs. Moss went over to help them settle. The children were
much disappointed, but were appeased by a promise that they should all go to pay their
respects in the morning.
They were up so early, and were so impatient to be off, that Mrs. Moss let them go with
the warning that they would find only the servants astir. She was mistaken, however, for,
as the procession approached, a voice from the porch called out, "Good-morning little
neighbors!" so unexpectedly, that Bab nearly spilt the new milk she carried, Betty gave
such a start that the fresh-laid eggs quite skipped in the dish, and Ben's face broke into a
broad grin over the armful of clover which he brought for the bunnies, as he bobbed his
head, saying briskly, --
"She's all right, miss, Lita is; and I can bring her over any minute you say."
"I shall want her at four o'clock. Thorny will be too tired to drive, but I must hear from
the post-office, rain or shine;" and Miss Celia's pretty color brightened as she spoke,
either from some happy thought or because she was bashful, for the honest young faces
before her plainly showed their admiration of the white-gowned lady under the
The appearance of Miranda, the maid, reminded the children of their errand; and having
delivered their offerings, they were about to retire in some confusion, when Miss Celia
said pleasantly, --
"I want to thank you for helping put things in such nice order. I see signs of busy hands
and feet both inside the house and all about the grounds, and I am very much obliged."