Harper's Young People, September 21, 1880 An Illustrated Weekly

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Excerpt Kitty was eight years old, and Ted was seven. They had always lived on a large farm, and knew all about birds and squirrels, and the different kinds of trees, and how to make bonfires and little stone ovens; and they could shoot with bows and arrows, and swim, and climb trees, and split kindlings, and take care of chickens and ducks and turkeys, and do a great many jolly and useful things which city children hardly get even a chance to do. Well, once when they went on a visit with some cousins to an uncle's on the other side of "Big Woodsy," as they called the mountain, they did not get home that night. The uncle thought they had gone home, and the father and mother thought they had remained overnight at the uncle's. So nothing was done about it until noon next day, when the uncle came jogging over on horseback to look at a cow he thought of buying, and the mother asked him if Ted and Kitty were not making too long a visit. Then the uncle said, "Good gracious! they are not at our house; they started for home last night, along with the Elderkins, I think." Then the mother turned very pale, and said, in a faint voice, "They are lost!" "Oh no," said the uncle, "not a bit of it. The Elderkins coaxed 'em home with them, of course. I'll ride round their way when I go back and start 'em home." But the pale look wouldn't leave the mother's face, and in a short time who should come but the Elderkins themselves, to spend the afternoon, they said, with Ted and Kitty. Then there was a fright indeed. The father walked down to the gate, and looked anxiously up the long winding mountain road, as if that would do any good, and the mother followed him, calling out, "Oh, John! John! where are our children?" The uncle rode off in one direction, and the father quickly saddled a horse and rode in another, to inquire at all the farm-houses if anything had been seen of Ted and Kitty Curtis. And no one had seen them. All the Elderkins had to say was that Ted and Kitty had told them there was a nearer way to reach home than by following the dusty, roundabout road, and they had run off through the woods to find it. The Elderkins chose to follow the road, because they had on their new lawn dresses trimmed with torchon, and "didn't want to get all scrambled up by the briers." So while the uncle and the father and all the neighbors were hunting up and down the forest, and the mother was staying in the house, with dear, calm grandma and the little twin babies to keep her from going quite crazy, I will tell you what Ted and Kitty were doing in the Big Woodsy. After they had run on quite a way, the bushes and brambles began to be so thick they were obliged to drop into a walk, and finally to climb and crawl as best they might, for they never found the "nearer way," and the ground was covered with fallen trees and rocks, while the briers caught them sometimes as if they never meant to let go. By-and-by the pleasant light of sunset began to fade away, and they sat down to rest on a mossy log, and looked at each other very soberly. "I don't know which way we ought to go," said Kitty. "No more don't I," said Ted. "Well, then, we must stay right where we are, 'stead of trying to go on. 'Cause, don't you know, lost people always go round and round and round and never get anywhere, and just wear their shoes out, and get tired and hungry, and nobody ever can find 'em. You ain't afraid, are you, Teddy?" "No—o!" answered Ted, with scornful emphasis; "course not! Why, it's only just camping out. We've always wanted to camp out, you know. An' it's warm, an' there's but'nuts, an'—an'—maybe we'll find a pattridge nest," and Ted looked around at the deepening shadows, and bravely winked back the two tears that had gathered in his eyes....
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