A BIRTHDAY STORY
coloured portrait of a smirking crocodile stuck on the outside. " What lovely things ! " she thought, " and all for Maisie ! "
In two months' time Hilda was going to celebrate her birthday and be eight years old, and have a fuss made over her. But two whole months seemed such a long way off—such a very long time to wait! Into her dark eyes there came a strange look of envy and longing, and her handsome face with the resolute expression contrasted strangely with her sister's as she turned anxiously towards the fair little sleeper.
Holding her breath, Hilda crept slowly down on to the floor, stealthily approached the table, and seized the beautiful cracker. " Surely that would not be missed," she reflected. Just then Maisie stirred uneasily, which brought a flush of shame to the elder girl's cheeks ; but hearing nothing further, Hilda jumped into bed and pushed the cracker under her own pillow. The crackling of the paper woke Maisie, who sat up, and in the middle of a big yawn espied the table, and remembered the great event. "Oh, Hilda," she exclaimed, "just look! " She was too excited as she handled her treasures to notice that Hilda never stirred, that she only answered shortly, " Yes, I know," and didn't even volunteer to say whom the beads came from.