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'"No, my dears," said grandma. "I couldn't consent to let you go strawberrying 'up by the Pines' as you call it. It is Mr. Judkins's mowing-field."

"But, grandma," said Grace, "Johnny Gordon went there yesterday, and there wasn't any fuss about it."

"Then you may be sure Mr. Judkins did not know it," said grandma. "If he should catch any children in his field, he would be sure to give them a severe scolding."

"Besides," chimed in aunt Madge, "Prudy isn't fit to walk so far—she isn't very well."

"No, she is quite out of sorts," said grandma. "So if you must go somewhere, you may take your little baskets and go out in the meadow on the other side of the cornfield. Only take good care of Prudy; now remember."

"Grandma always says that over," said Susy, as the three children were on their way to the meadow; "and aunt Madge always says it too—'take care of Prudy! ' As if she were a little baby."

"That is all because she cries so much, I presume," said Grace, looking at poor Prudy rather sternly. "I did hope, Susy, that when Horace went down to the 'crick' fishing, you and I might go off by ourselves, and have a nice time for once. But here is 'little Pitcher' right at our heels. We never can have any peace. Little Miss Somebody thinks she must follow, of course."

"Yes, that's the way it is," said Susy. "Some folks are always round, you know."

"Now, Susy," said Prudy, forcing back her tears as well as she could, "I guess you don't love your little sister, or you wouldn't talk that way to me."

They gathered strawberries for a while in silence, Prudy picking more leaves than berries, and sometimes, in her haste to keep up with the others, pulling up grass by the roots.

"Well, I don't think much of this," said Grace; "there ain't more than ten strawberries in this meadow, and those ain't bigger than peas."

"0, I know it," said Susy, in the tone of one who has made up her mind for the worst. "I suppose we've got to stay here, though. We could go up in the Pines now if it wasn't for Prudy, and they are real thick up there."

"Yes," said Grace, "but grandma knew we couldn't without she would be sure to follow. Do you think Mr. Judkins would be likely to scold, Susy?"

"No, indeed," said Susy, eating a dry strawberry. "He keeps sheep, and goes round talking to himself. I ain't a bit afraid of him. What could we little girls do to his grass, I'd like to know? It isn't as if we were great, rude boys, is it, Grace?"

"No," said Grace, thoughtfully. "Now if we could only get rid of Prudy——"

Little Prudy pushed back her "shaker," and looked up, showing a pair of flushed cheeks damp with tears.

"I don't think you are very polite to me," said the child. "Bime-by I shall go to heaven, and I shan't never come back any more, and then I guess you'll cry."

"What shall we do?" said Grace, looking at Susy; "we mustn't take her, and we can't go without her."

"Well, I'm goin' right straight home, right off—that's what I'm goin' to do' said Prudy, "and when I say my prayers, I shall just tell God how naughty you be!"

Prudy turned short about, and the girls went toward the Pines, feeling far from happy, for a "still, small voice" told them they were doing wrong. They had got about half way up the hill, when, looking back, there was Prudy, puffing and running for dear life.

"I thought you had gone home," said Susy, quite vexed.

"Well, I didn't," said Prudy, who had got her smiles all back again; "I couldn't get home—'cause—I got my feet 'most damp and some wet. I won't be no trouble, Susy."

So the girls made the best of it, and helped little "Mother Bunch" up the long, steep hill. Prudy had one hearty cry before the long walk was over. "Her nose fell on a rock," she said; but as it was only grazed a little, she soon forgot about it.

"This is something worth while, now," said Grace, after they had at last reached the field, and were seated in the tall grass. "The strawberries are as thick as spatter."

"Yes," said Susy, "and grandma and aunt Madge will be so glad to see our baskets full they'll certainly be glad we didn't stay in the meadow. Big as your thumb, ain't they?"

Yon see the girls were trying to stifle that still, small voice, and they tried to believe they were having a good time.

Grace and Susy had got their baskets nearly half full, and Prudy had covered the bottom of hers with leaves, stems, and a few berries, when a man's voice was heard muttering, not far off.

"0 Grace," whispered Susy, "that's Mr. Judkins!"

He carried a whetstone, on which he was sharpening his jackknife.

"Ah," said he, talking to himself, and not appearing to notice the girls, "I never would have thought that these little children—ah, would have come into my field—ah, and trampled down my grass! I shall hate—ah, to cut off their little ears—ah, and see the blood running down!"

I suppose it was not two minutes before the children had left that field, pulling the screaming Prudy through the bars as roughly as if she had been a sack of wool instead of flesh and blood, —their hair flying in the wind, and their poor little hearts pounding against their sides like trip-hammers. If the field had been on fire they could not have run faster, dragging helpless Prudy, who screamed all the way at the very top of her voice.

Susy and Prudy had thrown away their pretty little baskets. Grace had pushed hers up her arm, and her sleeve was soaking in the red juice of the bruised strawberries, while little streams of juice were trickling down her nice, buff-colored dress, ruining it entirely.

"Yon hadn't ought to have took me up there," sobbed Prudy, as soon as she could find her voice; and these were the first words spoken.

"0, hush, hush right up!" cried Susy, in terror. "He's after us, to take us to jail."

The family were really frightened when the panting children rushed into the house in such a plight.

"It was a crazy drunk man," cried Prudy, "and he had a axe——"

"No," said Grace, "it was that wicked Mr. Judkins, and it was his jack- knife."

" And he snips of your ears and nose, ' ' broke in Prudy, "and blood comes a-runnin' down, and he kills you dead, and then he puts you in jail, and then he chased us—don't you hear him coming"

"What does all this mean?" cried grandma and aunt Madge in one breath. "Have you been in that mowing-field, children?"

Grace and Susy hung their heads.

"Yes, they did," said Prudy, "and I wasn't well and they shouldn't have gone and took me up there, and 'twas ''cause they were naughty."

'What shall I do with children that disobey me in this manner?" said grandma, much displeased.

"Worst of all," said aunt Madge, pulling off Prudy's shoes, "this child got her feet wet and is sure to be sick."

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