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Title: “D’ye Ken John Peel?”

Date of first publication: 1919

Author: Mazo de la Roche (1879-1961)

Date first posted: Mar. 27, 2022

Date last updated: Mar. 27, 2022

Faded Page eBook #20220373

This eBook was produced by: Mardi Desjardins, John Routh & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at https://www.pgdpcanada.net

Probably a little boy is never quite so happy as when he is worshiping and imitating a young man.

My hero was Harry, about whom so fascinating an air of mystery hung that his lightest word was something to be treasured. Ever since the day when Angel and The Seraph and I had “run the streets,” and encountered Harry, just in the nick of time to save me from a beating by a bullying big boy, my mind had been filled with conjectures about him. Did he live in the mean street where first we had seen him? Why was he so poor? “I came to supper because I was so infernally hungry,” he had said.

I was no stranger to hunger myself. It was a familiar punishment that had lost its keen edge, because we invariably pretended that we were three shipwrecked mariners to whom privation was but an incentive to acts of greater daring. But I doubted greatly whether Harry knew of any such expedient, and I pictured him, empty and alone, brooding on the collect for next Sunday, or something equally depressing. I longed to see him again.

A month had passed since we had met. It was a windy, sunny day in March, and great white clouds billowed in a clear sky, like clean clothes in a tub of blueing, Mary Ellen has said. I was sitting alone after lessons on the steps of the cathedral, which towered above our house. Angel was in the schoolroom writing his weekly letter to Father, in South America, and The Seraph was suffering a bath at the hands of Mary Ellen, following an excursion into the remoter depths of the coal cellar.

“Man to man!” How I wished that Angel could see me being made the confidant of Harry!

So I sat on the cathedral steps alone. It was a fine morning for flights of the imagination. The soft thunder of the cathedral organ became at my will the booming of the surf on a distant coral reef. The pigeons wheeling overhead became gulls, whimpering in the cordage. Little did the ancient caretaker reck, as he swept the stretch of flagging before the carved door, that he was washing off the deck of a frigate, whilst I, the rover of the seas, kept a stern eye on him. Louder boomed the surf—then soft again. The door behind me had opened and closed. The deck-washer touched his cap. Then the Bishop stood above me, smiling, the sun glinting in his blue eyes and on the buttons of his gaiters.

“Hal-lo, John,” he said. “What’s the game this morning? Seafaring as usual?”

I nodded. “She’s as saucy a frigate,” I answered happily, “as ever sailed the seas, and this here wild weather is just a frolic for her. But I don’t like the look of yon black craft to the windward.” And I pointed to a scavenger’s cart that had just hove into view.

“I entirely agree with you,” replied the Bishop. “She looks as though she were out on dirty business. I’d like nothing better than to stay and see you make short work of her, but here it is Friday morning, and not a blessed word of my sermon written, so I must be getting on.” And with that he strode down the street to his own house, which stood between our house and the cathedral.

I was alone again, watching the approaching vessel with suspicion. Then, above the thrashing of the spray, I heard my name spoken by a voice I knew and, turning, looked straight up into Harry’s face.

“John!” he repeated. “What luck! I have been watching for you for days, you little hermit!”

“Watching for me, Harry?”

“Yes,” he proceeded, “and the one time I saw you, that starched governess of yours had you by the hand—”

“Just like any old baby girl!” I broke in.

Harry laughed and shook my hand enthusiastically. I saw that he was even thinner than before. Was he, I wondered, “infernally hungry” at this very minute.

“John,” he said, looking into my eyes, “you can help me if you will. We’re friends, aren’t we?”

I let him see that I was all on fire to help him, and it was then that he made his wonderful suggestion.

“Would it be possible to evade your governess long enough to come and have luncheon with me?”

Luncheon with Harry! In his own room. What an adventure to repeat to Angel and The Seraph! Without further parley I set off down the side street at a trot, lest Mrs. Handsomebody should spy me from her bedroom window, in a fateful way she had. Harry hurried after me, catching my arm and drawing me close to him.

“What a plucky little shaver you are, John!” he said. “I know she’s a corker; but I think you and I are a match for her, eh?”

I strode beside him, breathless. I felt taller, stronger, than ever before. By contrast with our masculinity Mrs. Handsomebody seemed a rather pitiful old woman.

We spoke little, but hurried through many streets, till at last we came to the narrow dingy one where I had first seen Harry. We turned down an alley beside a grocer’s shop and entered a narrow doorway into the strangest passage I had ever seen.

It was damp and chill. The floor was paved with dark red bricks and the walls were stone. On our left I glimpsed a dim closet, where a woman with fat arms was dipping milk out of what looked like a zinc-covered box. On our right rose the steepest, most winding staircase imaginable; and close to the wall beside the stairs towered a giant grapevine whose stem was as thick as a man’s arm. After an eccentric curve or two, this amazing vine disappeared through a convenient hole in the roof. I was lost in admiration, and should have liked to stop and examine it, but Harry urged me up the stairs.

“How is that for steep?” he demanded, at the top. “Winded, eh? Now, these are my digs, John,” and he threw open a door with a flourish.

It was a shabby little room with a threadbare carpet, yet it somehow wore an air of adventure. The lamp shade had a daring tilt to it, the blind had been run up askew, and the red table cover had been pushed back to make room for a mound of books. Harry’s bed looked as though he had been having a pillow fight.

Harry was clearing the table by tossing the books into the middle of the bed. “We’re going to have luncheon directly,” he explained. “Can’t you hear her puffing up the stairs? I expect a catastrophe every time she does it.” He set two chairs at the table and gazed eagerly at the doorway.

The fat woman appeared, at last, with heaving bosom, carrying a large tray, and began to lay the table. I observed with great interest that she was placing a whole kidney for each of us, and that there were also potato chips and six jam puffs. Harry bade me sit down, with the air of one who entertains a guest of importance. I swelled with pride as I attacked the kidney.

Harry, sitting opposite, eating with a gusto equal to my own, seemed to me the most perfect and luckiest of mortals.

“Harry!”—I got it out through my mouthful of potato chips—“do you always have jolly things like these to eat?”

He gave a short laugh. “Oh, no, my John! On the contrary, there are many times when I do not eat at all. However, I paid a visit to an uncle of mine yesterday, who gave me so much money that I shall live well for some time to come, but—I shall never know the time o’ day.”

“Oh, but that’s fine!” I cried. “Not to know the time! I wish I didn’t, for it’s always time to go to bed, or do lessons, or take a tiresome walk with Mrs. Handsomebody.”

Harry stared hard at me. “What do you suppose,” he asked, “she’ll do to you for skipping your dinner? Something pretty hot?”

“I dunno,” I returned. “It’s a new sort of badness. Maybe she’ll write to Father—she’s always threatening.”

“She appears to be a rather poisonous old party,” commented Harry. “I see that it behooves me to get to business and tell you just why I brought you here.” He pushed back his plate and took from his pocket a short thick pipe and lighted it.

“Now, John,” he smiled, “just finish up those jam puffs. Don’t leave one, or my landlady will eat it, and she has double chins enough. I want to talk to you as man to man.”

“Man to man!” How I wished that Angel could see me, being made the confidant of Harry! I helped myself to my third jam puff with an air of cool deliberation.

“Now,”—Harry leaned across the table, his eyes on mine—“what sort of looking man would you expect my father to be, John?”

I studied Harry and hazarded, “A white face, and awfully thin, and greenish eyes, and crinkly brown hair.”

“Wrong!” cried Harry, smiting the table. “My father’s got a full pink face, the bluest of eyes, and a fine head of white hair, which I am afraid I helped to whiten, worse luck!”

“He sounds nice,” I commented.

“He is. Now, what do you suppose my father does, John?”

“Not a pirate!” But I said it hopefully.

“Far from it. He’s a bishop.”

“Hurray!” I cried. “Our best friend is a bishop. He lives right next door to us.”

“The very man,” said Harry. “He’s my father.”

I was incredulous.

“But he’s only got his niece, Margery, and his butler, and his cook! The cook’s awfully good to him. Makes his favorite pudding any day he wants it.”

“Aye, but he’s got me, too,” said Harry solemnly, “or, at least, he should have me. We’re at the outs.”

“Well, then, all you have to do is to make friends, isn’t it?”

“Not so simple as it sounds,” replied Harry gloomily. “I have been a bad son to him.” He rose abruptly and began walking up and down the room. I got to my feet, too, and strode beside him, hands deep in pockets.

“I never did what he wanted me to,” pursued Harry. “He wanted me to stick at college and make something of myself, but all I cared to do was to knock about with chaps who weren’t good for me, and I wouldn’t study. So we had words. Hot ones, too. I left home with a little money my mother had left me. I was twenty-one then—five years ago.” He looked down in my face with his sudden smile. “You’re a rum little toad,” he said. “I like to talk to you, John.”

I thought, “When I’m a man I’ll have a pipe like that, and hold it in my teeth when I talk.”

Harry sat down on the side of his tumbled bed, clasping an ankle.

“For three years,” he went on, “I knocked about from one country to another seeing the world, till at last all my money was gone. Then I came back to this country; but I wouldn’t go to my father until I had done something that would justify myself—make him proud of me. It seemed to me that I could become a great actor if I had the chance. Very well. After a lot of waiting and disappointments I got an engagement with a third-rate company that traveled mostly on one-night stands—you understand?

“I have been at it ever since, playing all sorts of parts—companies breaking up without salaries being paid—then another just as bad—cheap lodgings—bad food—and long stretches of being out of a job altogether. I’m that way now. I have seen my father only once in all this time. It was simply—Well—” He gave his funny smile, and shook his head ruefully.

I leaned over the foot of the bed, staring expectantly.

“We had arrived one Sunday morning in a small town, and were trailing wearily down the street just as the people were going to morning service. Suddenly, as I was passing a large church, I saw my father alight from a carriage at the door. I found out afterward that he had come to conduct a special service. He was so near that I could have touched him; but I just stood, rooted to the spot, beastly ashamed, with my shabby traveling bag behind me, and my heart pounding away like Billy-ho!”

“Oh, I wish he’d seen you!” I cried. “He’d have made it up like a shot.”

Harry blew a great cloud of smoke. “Well, I want to sneak back to him, John, but—here’s the rub—perhaps Margery does not want me.” He sucked gloomily at his pipe for a bit in silence, then taking it from his mouth he stabbed at me with the stem of it.

“This is where you come in, my friend. You’d like to help, wouldn’t you?”

I nodded emphatically.

“This, then, is what I want you to do. Find Margery this afternoon, and say to her, ‘Margery, I’ve met your cousin Harry. Would you like to have him come home again?’ Watch her face then—you’re a shrewd little fellow—and if she looks happy and pleased about it you must let me know; but if she looks glum, and as if her plans had been upset, you must tell me just the same. Never mind what she says, watch her face. Will you do it?”

“Rather!” We shook hands on it.

“But,” I asked, “when shall I see you? I don’t dare come here again.”

“To-morrow is Saturday,” he replied thoughtfully. “The Bishop will keep to his study till noon—”

“And Mrs. Handsomebody goes to market!” I chimed in.

“Good! I’ll be at the cathedral corner at ten o’clock. Meet me there. Now you’d better cut home.”

He took my arm and led me down the strange winding stairway, through the cool, damp passage where the grapevine grew, to the sunken doorstep.

“Know your way home?” he demanded. I said I did. “I depend on you, John. And mind you watch her face, like a cat. Good-by!” And he affectionately squeezed my arm.

I set off as fast as my legs could carry me; and the nearer home I drew the greater became my fear of Mrs. Handsomebody.

Her house, with the blinds drawn three quarters of the way down the windows, seemed to watch my approach with an air of cold cynicism.

Softly I turned the doorknob and entered the dim hall. Mrs. Handsomebody grasped my shoulder and pushed me before her, into the schoolroom.

There was no use in hedging. I saw that there was nothing for it but to drown this woman out; so I raised my voice and drowned her out.

My next sensation was that of a scuffle, several sharp smacks with the ruler, and at last being set down very hard on a chair in our bedroom. Mrs. Handsomebody was standing in the doorway. I had never seen her with so high a color.

“You will remain in that chair,” she commanded, “until tea time. Do not loll on the bed. And you may rest assured that I shall leave no stone unturned till I have discovered every detail of this prank. It is at such times as these that I regret ever having undertaken the charge of three such unruly boys. I hope you will take advantage of your solitude to review thoroughly your past.”

She closed the door with deliberate forbearance, then I heard the key click in the lock.

I found my wad of a handkerchief and rubbed my cheeks. I had stopped crying, but my body still was shaken. For a long time I sat staring straight before me, busy with plans for the afternoon. Then I fell asleep.

A soft thumping on the panel of the door roused me at last. I felt stiff and rather desolate.

“John!” It was The Seraph’s voice. “Oh, John! You should be a dwagon, an’ when I kick on the door you should woar fwightfully.”

“Where’s she?” It was thus we designated our governess.

“Gone away, out. Will you be a dwagon, John?”

Obligingly I dropped to my hands and knees and ambled to the door. The Seraph kicked it vigorously and I began to roar. I was pleased to find that so much crying had left my voice very husky, so that I could indeed roar horribly. The louder The Seraph kicked the louder I roared. It was exhausting, and I had had about enough of it when I heard Mary Ellen pounding up the uncarpeted back stairs.

“If you kick that dure onct more,” she panted, “ye little tormint, I’ll put a tin ear on ye! As fer you, Masther John, ’tis yersilf has a voice like young thunder!”

She unlocked the door and threw it wide open; Angel and The Seraph crowded in after her. Mary Ellen’s sleeves were rolled above her elbows, her red face was covered with little beads of perspiration, and she wore large galoshes. A savor of soapsuds, mops, and the corners of old pantries emanated from her. She extended to me a moist palm, on which lay a thick slice of bread spread with cold veal gravy.

“This,” said she, “is to stay ye till tea time; an’ now let me git back to me scrubbin’, or the suds’ll be all dried up on me.”

But I caught her apron and held her fast.

“Oh, don’t go, Mary Ellen!” I begged, “I’ve something awfully interesting to tell you. Do sit down!”

“I will not, thin. And you’ve nothin’ to tell me that I haven’t got be heart already.”

“But this is about Harry, who had supper with us and Mr. Watlin and Tony. It’s a most surprising adventure. Just wait and hear.” I dragged her to a chair.

She settled back with a smile of relaxation. “Aw, well,” she remarked, “who would be foriver workin’ fer small pay an’ little thanks? Out wid yer story, my lambie.” And she drew The Seraph on her ample lap.

So while they clustered about me I told my whole adventure, ending with Harry’s plea that I interview Margery on his behalf.

“It’s a ’normous responsibility,” I sighed.

“Don’t you worry,” said Mary Ellen, “she’ll want him home fast enough, a fine young gintleman like him. Now I’m minded of it, their cook did tell me that the Bishop had a son that was a regular playboy.”

“He’s not a playboy,” I retorted. “He’s splendid. And please, Mary Ellen, there’s something I want you to do for me. You must let me go this minute to see Margery and find out if she wants him back.”

“Oh, she’ll have him, no fear.” This with a broad smile.

“But I’ve got to ask her. I promised. It’s a ’normous responsibility. Will you please let me, Mary El-len?”

“I will not,” replied Mary Ellen firmly. “It ’ud be as much as my place is worth.”

Angel came to the rescue.

“Be a sport, Mary Ellen. Let him go. I’ll stand at the gate, and if I see the Dragon coming I’ll pass the tip to John, and he can cut over the garden wall and be in the room before she gets to the front door.”

Mary Ellen threw up her hands. She never could resist Angel’s coaxing. “God save Ireland,” she groaned, and, dropping The Seraph, clattered back to her kitchen.

The Seraph stood like a rumpled robin where she had deposited him. He had confided to me once that he rather liked being cuddled by Mary Ellen, though the heaving of her bosom bothered him. He was far too polite to tell her this; but now that she was gone he hunched his shoulders, stretched his neck and breathed, “What a welief!”

I found Margery alone in the drawing-room. People had just been in, for teacups were standing about and a single muffin lay in a silver muffin dish. Even in the stress of my mission its isolation appealed to me. Margery was doing something to a bowl of roses, but she looked up, startled at my appearance.

“Why, John!” she exclaimed. “What is the matter with you? Have you been crying? Your face is awfully smudgy.”

“Sorry,” I replied; “I’m on very particular business, and I haven’t time to wash.” I went at it, hammer and tongs, then. “It’s about Harry. He wants to know if you’ll have him home again.”

Margery looked just puzzled.

“Harry! Harry who?”

“Your Harry,” I replied manfully. “The Bishop’s Harry.” And I poured out the whole story of my meeting with Harry and his passionate desire to come home. All the while, I anxiously watched Margery’s face for signs of joy or disapproval. It was pale and still as a white moth, but when she spoke her words fell on my budding hopes like cold rain. She put her hands on my shoulders and said earnestly:

“You must tell him not to come, John. It would be such a great pity! The Bishop is quite, quite used to being without him now, and it would upset him dreadfully to try to forgive Harry. I don’t believe he could. And he and I are so contented. Harry would be very disturbing; you see, he’s such a restless young man, John; and he hasn’t been at all kind to his father. He’s done—things—”

“But you don’t know him!” I interrupted. “He’s splendid!”

“I don’t want to know him,” Margery persisted. “He’s a very—”

I could let this thing go no further. Here was another woman who must be drowned out. I raised my voice, therefore, and almost shouted:

“Well, you’ve got to know him! He’s coming home to-morrow night. At seven. He wants his bed got ready. So there!”

Margery sat down. She got quite red.

“Why didn’t you tell me this before?” she demanded.

“ ’Cause I was breaking it to you gently, like they do accidents,” I answered calmly.

Suddenly Margery began to laugh hysterically. She pressed her palms against her cheeks and laughed and laughed. Then she said:

“John, you’re a most extraordinary boy.”

I thought so, too, but I said, modestly, “Oh, well. Somebody had to do it.” Then in the flush of my triumph I remembered Mrs. Handsomebody. “But, oh—I must be going! And, please, would it matter much if we were here to see him come home? We’d be very quiet.”

Margery looked relieved.

The Bishop never moved a muscle till the last note died away, then he shook us off him, took three strides to the door and swept the curtain back.

“I believe it would help,” she said. “It will be rather difficult. Yes, do come. Ask your governess if you may spend an hour with Uncle and me between your tea and bedtime. And, oh, John, that muffin looks wretchedly lonely.”

Outside, I divided the spoils with Angel.

“Well,” he demanded, his mouth full of muffin; “shewanimbagagen?”

“Rather!” I cried, joyously. “I managed the whole thing. And we’re to be there at seven to-morrow evening to see him come.”

We raced to the kitchen and told Mary Ellen, who was properly impressed, but The Seraph, after a close scrutiny of us, said bitterly;

“There’s cwumbs on you faces!”

“Cwumbs on your own face, old silly-billy!” mocked Angel, “and, what’s more, they’re sugar cwumbs!”

As fate would have it, Mrs. Handsomebody decreed that I should not leave the house on Saturday morning, and she, having a spell of sciatica, did not go to market as usual; so there I was, unable to meet Harry on the cathedral steps, as I had promised. It simply meant that Angel must undertake the mission, while I kicked my heels in the schoolroom.

He undertook it with a careless alacrity that was very irritating to one who longed to finish in his own fashion an undertaking that had so far been carried on with masterly diplomacy.

The Seraph went with Angel, and it seemed a long hour, indeed, till I heard the longed-for footsteps hurrying up the stairs. The door was thrown open and they burst in rosy and wind-blown.

“It’s all right,” announced Angel briskly. “He’ll be there sharp at seven, and he’s very glad that we’re to be there, too!”

“And did you tell him,” I asked rather plaintively, “that I had done the whole thing?”

“ ’Course I did.”

“What did he say when you told him he was to come home?”

“He slapped his leg”—Angel gave his own leg a vigorous slap in illustration—“and said. ‘Once aboard the lugger, and the girl is mine!’ ”

It was a fascinating and cryptic utterance. We all tried it on varying notes of exultation. It put zest into what otherwise would have been a rather dragging day. By tea time our legs were sore with whacking.

Came the hour at last. We set out, holding each other by moist, clean hands, an admonishing Mrs. Handsomebody on the door sill.

Our hearts were high with excitement when we were shown ceremoniously into the Bishop’s library, where he and Margery were sitting in the dancing firelight. We loved the dark-paneled room where we were always made so happy. At Mrs. Handsomebody’s we could never do anything right; mugs of milk had a spiteful way of tilting over on the tablecloth without ever having been touched, but we could handle the things in the Chinese cabinet here, or play carpet ball on the rug in the most seemly fashion.

No one could tell stories like the Bishop; and after we had played for a bit, and The Seraph had demonstrated on the hearth-rug how he could almost turn a somersault, someone suggested a story.

I often thought it a pity that those who only heard the Bishop preach should never know how his great talents were wasted in that rôle. It took the Arabian Nights to bring out the deep thrill of his sonorous voice, and his power of filling the human heart with delirious fear.

Now we perched about him listening with rapt eyes to the tale of Ali Baba. We wished there were more women like the faithful Morgiana with her pot of boiling oil. The Seraph, especially, revelled in the thought of those poor devils of thieves, each simmering away in his own jar.

There fell a silence when the story was finished, and I was just casting about in my mind for the next one I should beg, when Angel, looking at the clock, suddenly asked:

“Bishop, will you sing? Will you please sing us a nice old song ’stead of a story? Sing ‘John Peel,’ won’t you?”

“Please sing ‘John Peel’!” echoed The Seraph.

The Bishop seemed loath to sing “John Peel.” It was years since he had sung it, he said; he had almost forgotten the words. But when Margery joined her persuasions to ours, he consented to sing just one verse and the chorus. So he sang (but rather softly):

“D’ye ken John Peel, with his coat so gray?

  D’ye ken John Peel, at the break of day?

D’ye ken John Peel, when he’s far, far away,

  With his hounds and his horn in the morning?”

Before he had time to begin the chorus, it was taken up by a mellow baritone voice in the hall. It began softly, too, but when it reached the “View halloo,” it rang boldly:

“For the sound of his horn brought me from my bed,

  And the cry of his hounds, which he ofttimes led,

Peel’s ‘View halloo!’ would awaken the dead,

  Or the fox from his lair in the morning.”

The Bishop never moved a muscle till the last note died away, then he shook us off him, took three strides to the door, and swept the curtain back. Harry stood in the doorway with a rather shamefaced smile.

“Good God!” exclaimed the Bishop. “Harry!” Then he put his arms around him and kissed him.

I threw a triumphant glance at Margery. It hadn’t hurt the Bishop at all to forgive Harry.

“It was all the doing of these kids,” he was saying; “if they hadn’t cleared the way, I’d never have dared. John engineered everything.”

Harry and Margery gave each other a very funny look. I should like to have heard their later conversation.

“They’re good boys,” said the Bishop, with an arm still around his son, “capital boys, and if their governess will let them come to dinner to-morrow we’ll have a sort of party, and talk everything over. I think cook would make a blackberry pudding. Will you arrange it, Margery? Just now I want—”

He said no more, but he and Harry gripped hands.

Margery herded us gently into the hall, and gave us each two chocolate bars.

Going home under the first pale stars, we were three rollicking blades indeed. We no longer held hands, but hooked arms, and swaggered, and we did not ring the bell till the last vestige of chocolate was gone.

As we waited for Mary Ellen, I said suddenly to Angel:

“Angel, what made you ask the Bishop to sing ‘John Peel’? Did you know Harry was going to sing in the hall?”

“Oh, we fixed that up this morning,” replied my senior, airily. “I kept it to myself, ’cause I didn’t want any interference, see?”

Mary Ellen, opening the door at this moment, prevented a scuffle, though I was in too happy a mood to quarrel with anyone.

Mrs. Handsomebody was surprisingly civil about our visit. She showed great interest in the return of the Bishop’s only son. “Is he a nice young man?” she asked. “Is he nice-looking? Did the Bishop appear to be overjoyed to see him?”

We three were seated on three stiff-backed chairs, our backs to the wall. Angel and I told her us much as was good for her to know of the adventure.

The Seraph felt that he was being ignored, so when a pause came, he remarked in that throaty little voice of his:

“It’s a vewy bad fing to be boiled in oil.”

“What’s that?” snapped Mrs. Handsomebody. “Say that again!”

“It’s a vewy bad fing to be boiled in oil,” reiterated The Seraph suavely, “thirty-nine of ’em there was—for the captain was stabbed alweady—boilin’ away in oil. Their ears was full of it.”

Mrs. Handsomebody gripped the arms of her chair, and leaned toward him.

“Alexander, I have never known a child of such tender years to possess so unquenchable a lust for frightfulness. It must be eradicated at all costs.”

The Seraph stood, then, balancing himself on the rung of his chair.

“ ‘Once aboard the lugger,’ ” he sang out, slapping his plump little thigh, “ ‘and the gell is mine!’ ”

Mrs. Handsomebody sank back in her chair. She said:

“This is appalling. David—John—take your little brother to bed instantly! Take him out of my hearing!”

Angel and I each grasped an arm of the reluctant infant and dragged him from the room. He stamped up the stairway between us with an air of stubborn jollity.

When we had reached the top he loosed himself from me and put his head over the handrail.

“ ‘Peel’s “View Halloo!” would waken the dead!—’ ” he roared down into the hall.

But he got no further. Between us we hustled him into the bedroom, and shut the door. Angel and I leaned against it, then, in helpless laughter.

In a moment I felt my arm squeezed by Angel, who was pointing ecstatically toward the bed.

There, by the bedside, his dimpled hands folded, his curly head meekly bent, knelt The Seraph.

He was saying his prayers.



Mis-spelled words and printer errors have been corrected. Where multiple spellings occur, majority use has been employed.

Punctuation has been maintained except where obvious printer errors occur.

Illustrations have been relocated due to using a non-page layout.

A cover was created for this ebook which is placed in the public domain.

[The end of “D’ye Ken John Peel?” by Mazo de la Roche]