Under the Lilacs
A Happy Tea
Exactly five minutes before six the party arrived in great state, for Bab and Betty wore
their best frocks and hair-ribbons, Ben had a new blue shirt and his shoes on as full-dress,
and Sancho's curls were nicely brushed, his frills as white as if just done up.
No one was visible to receive them, but the low table stood in the middle of the walk,
with four chairs and a foot-stool around it. A pretty set of green and white china caused
the girls to cast admiring looks upon the little cups and plates, while Ben eyed the feast
longingly, and Sancho with difficulty restrained himself from repeating his former
naughtiness. No wonder the dog sniffed and the children smiled, for there was a noble
display of little tarts and cakes, little biscuits and sandwiches, a pretty milk-pitcher
shaped like a white calla rising out of its green leaves, and a jolly little tea-kettle singing
away over the spirit-lamp as cosily as you please.
"Isn't it perfectly lovely?" whispered Betty, who had never seen any thing like it before.
"I just wish Sally could see us now," answered Bab, who had not yet forgiven her enemy.
"Wonder where the boy is," added Ben, feeling as good as any one, but rather doubtful
how others might regard him.
Here a rumbling sound caused the guests to look toward the garden, and in a moment
Miss Celia appeared, pushing a wheeled chair, in which sat her brother. A gay afghan
covered the long legs, a broad-brimmed hat half hid the big eyes, and a discontented
expression made the thin face as unattractive as the fretful voice, which said,
"If they make a noise, I'll go in. Don't see what you asked them for."
"To amuse you, dear. I know they will, if you will only try to like them," whispered the
sister, smiling, and nodding over the chair-back as she came on, adding aloud, "Such a
punctual party! I am all ready, however, and we will sit down at once. This is my brother
Thornton, and we are all going to be very good friends by-and-by. Here 's the droll dog,
Thorny; isn't he nice and curly?"
Now, Ben had heard what the other boy said, and made up his mind that he shouldn't like
him; and Thorny had decided beforehand that he wouldn't play with a tramp, even if he
cut capers; go both looked decidedly cool and indifferent when Miss Celia introduced
them. But Sancho had better manners and no foolish pride; he, therefore, set them a good
example by approaching the chair, with his tail waving like a flag of truce, and politely
presented his ruffled paw for a hearty shake.
Thorny could not resist that appeal, and patted the white head, with a friendly look into
the affectionate eyes of the dog, saying to his sister as he did so, --