Those Horrid Boys

by Unknown

ORA and Nellie were on a visit to their grandfather, and, as Nellie said, they might be having a lovely time if it were not for 'those horrid boys.'

'I wish Grandfather would not ask us all at the same time,' sighed Nellie. 'It quite spoils our fun.'

But Grandfather thought it was a good thing for the cousins to meet, though Tom and Frank were a few years older than Dora and Nellie. The two little girls would have thoroughly enjoyed their yearly visit to Grandfather's, if it had not been for Tom and Frank's unmerciful teasing. They could never play a peaceful game together without the dread of being discovered; but this particular afternoon they had taken their dolls to a new hiding-place, an old loft full of hay.

'Anyway, the boys won't dare to tease us much after what Grandfather said this morning,' Dora remarked.

'No, they would be miserable if they couldn't go to the circus, said Nellie. 'I'm very glad Grandfather heard them. Now he knows what they are like, and Tom will have to be more careful.'

'Doesn't Arabella look lovely? said Dora, who had just dressed her best doll in new clothes.

'Make haste, Nellie, we shall have to go and get ready ourselves very soon.'

Just at that moment the boys' voices were heard in the stable below, and the children stared at each other, dismayed.

'Come on, Frank, let's climb the ladder—I've never been up here before,' and Dora scarcely had time to bury Arabella under a handful of hay before Tom's head appeared.

'Hullo! here are the girls with their silly dolls. Let me have a doll to play with,' and he caught hold of one roughly.

'You had better leave them alone, Tom, if you don't want to get into any more rows,' Frank said, and the little girls begged them to go away.

'This is a jolly place! Come on, Frank, I will bury you in the hay,' and Tom snatched up an armful.

But there was something in the hay he had picked up. Dora gave a loud cry as she saw her beautiful Arabella flung into the air and through the trapdoor opening into the stable below. In her haste to get down and pick up her poor doll, she herself slipped and fell on the hard floor. By the time Nellie and the boys had scrambled down, she was weeping bitterly, not over her own hurts, but over Arabella's smashed face, and she took no notice of Tom when he declared again and again how sorry he was. Of course it had been an accident, but Dora felt too angry and too miserable to forgive him at once.

'Now then, what's all this fuss about? Have you broken that doll, boys?'

It was Grandfather's voice, and he looked very angry as he took in the scene.

No one answered. 'Well, of course,' Grandfather said, 'you boys cannot go to the circus this afternoon, after this. Don't cry over your doll any more, Dora, but run and get ready, and I will buy you a new one.'

But Dora had stopped crying already, and had caught sight of Frank's disappointed face. Now was her moment of revenge; should she take it? She had to decide quickly.

'Please, Grandfather,' she said,'it was an accident. Tom did not mean to do it, and I have quite forgiven him.'

'Oh, in that case, perhaps he may go to the circus,' said Grandfather, relenting; he was much too kind-hearted to wish to leave any one at home.

So they all went to the circus, and had a splendid time. The girls forgot their broken dolls, but Tom did not forget Dora's generosity, and he made up his mind to give up teasing them. Indeed, from that day they were all good friends, and Dora and Nellie agreed, when they went home, that their cousins were very nice boys, after all.