“No, P’raps”

I WAS walking in the back garden belonging

to a semi-detached villa the other

day, when I became aware, by the musical

chorus of voices, that four little girls were

at play in the garden next ours, Annie, and

Polly, and Kate, and Louey; but Louey was

a very little girl, only six years old, scarcely

able to enter into some of their games.

All at once, it struck the elders of the

party that they might climb over the low

wall at the bottom of the garden, and get

away into the fields to gather king-cups, if

they could only get rid of Louey, who was

too little to accompany them, and yet would

cry if they left her.

"How shall we do?" asked Kate.

"I know," Annie answered; "and we

will not tell a story, either."

"You send her away, then," said Polly.

"I am going to, if you will only have

patience. "Louey, dear," she called in a

different tone; and the child came bounding

to her side.

"Will you go into the house for me, and

bring my large list ball? And then by-and-by

we will play at rounders."

"Yes," said the little one, willingly;

but don't run away while I am gone."

"No, p'raps."

The "p'raps," meant to express a doubt

of their remaining, was spoken under her

breath, but not so low but it reached my

ears; for the gardens were separated only

by a hedge.

"And you won't run away, Katie?"

"No, p'raps."

"Nor you, Polly?"

"No, p'raps."

"Then I will go and bring the ball; and

you are sure you will play as soon as I

come back?"

"Yes, p'raps."

Having perfect faith in the loudly-pronounced

no and yes, and not hearing the

qualifying "p'raps," little Louey ran upon

the errand.

No sooner was she out of sight, than, in

a trice, they were over the wall, and had

crossed the first field before Louey came

back to the garden.

For a long time she doubted their intention

to deceive her, and peered about behind

bushes, and in the summer arbor, to

see if they had hidden themselves so that

they might laugh at her alarm.

But at length, Louey, having searched

every part of the garden, and called repeatedly

upon their several names without receiving

any answer, was obliged to believe

they had given her the slip whilst she had

gone into the house good-naturedly to oblige

them. She sat down upon the turf, and began

to sob and cry as though her little

heart would break.

Dear little children, was this right on

the part of Annie, and Polly, and Kate? I

do not mean the running away, but the

means they took to get rid of Louey.

Annie said she would tell no falsehood;

but had she not done what was in every respect

as bad, acted one?

Oh! believe me, it is not alone the words

the great Truth-lover looks at; he trieth

the very hearts and reins, and will only be

satisfied with those who speak the very

truth from their hearts.