A BIRTHDAY STORY
After tea more excitement, for there was Mr. Punch and his company, who were in excellent form.
" Oi, Oi, Oi!" repeated that gentleman for the dozenth time, as he bobbed about aimlessly, in his anxiety to hit the clown and take the patient Toby between his jointless arms.
Later on, the eyelids of the party children began to grow heavy, though the eyes remained unnaturally bright; and tempers became less even and more natural. And so, like everything else, the birthday party came to an end, and " Good-byes " were said with regret. That night cots and beds were not despised, nor did they prove unwelcome for once, for little tired heads were rested gratefully on cool pillows. Maisie was an exception ; she tossed about on hers, too happy and excited to get to sleep, whilst Hilda, worn out, lay on her back with her mouth wide open, breathing heavily, and dreaming.
Hilda dreamt that she was alone in a boat on a ruffled lake. On a white flag in the prow was a motto printed large, but upside down. She dreamt that all around the frail craft, which rocked on the stormy waters, were grinning crocodiles wearing broken crowns made of pink coral and green fluttering paper. She crouched low and tried to hide, for she knew that if the horrid creatures found her out she was lost for ever. Land was quite close, but she didn't know how to get there, because her frock was