Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/103

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trees, while far away, one or two lakelets peered up, with their blue eyes deeply fringed. The spirits of the children, as they entered this unenclosed region, were like those of the birds that surrounded them. They playfully pursued each other with merry laughter, and such a joyous sense of liberty, as makes the blood course lightsomely through the veins.

“Little Jane, let us go farther than ever we have before. We will see what lies beyond those high hills, for it is but just past noon, and we can get back long before supper-time.”

“Oh! yes, let us follow that bright blue-bird, and see what he is flying after. But don’t go in among those briers that tear the clothes so, for mother has no time to mend them.”

“Sister, sweet sister, here are some snowdrops in this green hollow, exactly like those in my old, dear garden, so far away. How pure they are, and cool, just like the baby’s face, when the wind blows on it! Father and mother will like us to bring them some.”

Filling their little aprons with the spoil, and still searching for something new or beautiful, they prolonged their ramble, unconscious of the flight of time, or the extent of space they were traversing. At length, admonished by the chilliness, which often marks the declining hours of the early days of spring, they turned their course homeward. But the returning clue was lost, and they walked rapidly, only to plunge more inextricably in the mazes of the wilderness.

“Sister Mary, are these pretty snow-drows good to eat? I am so hungry, and my feet ache, and will not go!”

“Let me lift you over this brook, little Jane; and hold tighter by my hand, and walk as bravely as you can, that we may get home, and help mother set the table.”

“We won’t go so far next time, will we? What is the reason that I cannot see any better?”

“Is not that the roof of our house, dear Jane, and the thin smoke curling up among the trees? Many times before, have I thought so, and found it only a rock or a mist.”

As evening drew its veil, the hapless wanderers, bewildered,