Anger and jealousy can no more bear to lose sight of their objects than love, and that Tom and Lucy should do or see anything of which she was ignorant would have been an intolerable idea to Maggie. So she kept a few yards behind them, unobserved by Tom, who was presently absorbed in watching for the `jack-pike' - a highly interesting monster - he was said to be so very old, so very large, and to have such a remarkable appetite. The pike, like other celebrities did not show when he was watched for, but Tom caught sight of something in rapid movement in the water which attracted him to another spot on the brink of the pond.

`Here, Lucy!' he said in a loud whisper, `come here! Take care! Keep on the grass - don't step where the cows have been!' he added pointing to a peninsula of dry grass, with trodden mud on each side of it; for Tom's contemptuous conception of a girl included the attribute of being unfit to walk in dirty places.

Lucy came carefully as she was bidden, and bent down to look at what seemed a golden arrow-head darting through the water. It was a water-snake, Tom told her, and Lucy at last could see the serpentine wave of its body, very much wondering that a snake could swim. Maggie had drawn nearer and nearer - she must see it too, though it was bitter to her like everything else, since Tom did not care about her seeing it. At last, she was close by Lucy, and Tom, who had been aware of her approach, but would not notice it till he was obliged, turned round and said,

`Now, get away, Maggie. There's no room for you on the grass here. Nobody asked you to come.'

There were passions at war in Maggie at that moment to have made a tragedy, if tragedies were made by passion only, but the essential Greek Word which was present in the passion, was wanting to the action; the utmost Maggie could do, with a fierce thrust of her small brown arm, was to push poor little pink-and-white Lucy into the cow-trodden mud.

Then Tom could not restrain himself, and gave Maggie two smart slaps on the arm as he ran to pick up Lucy, who lay crying helplessly. Maggie retreated to the roots of a tree a few yards off and looked on impenitently. Usually her repentance came quickly after one rash deed, but now Tom and Lucy had made her so miserable, she was glad to spoil their happiness - glad to make everybody uncomfortable. Why should she be sorry? - Tom was very slow to forgive her, however sorry she might have been.

`I shall tell mother, you know, Miss Mag,' said Tom, loudly and emphatically, as soon as Lucy was up and ready to walk away. It was not Tom's practice to `tell,' but here justice clearly demanded that Maggie should be visited with the utmost punishment: not that Tom had learnt to put his views in that abstract form; he never mentioned `justice,' and had no idea that his desire to punish might be called by that fine name. Lucy was too entirely absorbed by the evil that had befallen her - the spoiling of her pretty best clothes, and the discomfort of being wet and dirty - to think much of the cause, which was entirely mysterious to her. She could never have guessed what she had done to make Maggie angry with her. But she felt that Maggie was very unkind and disagreeable, and made no magnanimous entreaties to Tom that he would not `tell,' only running along by his side and crying piteously, while Maggie sat on the roots of the tree and looked after them with her small Medusa face.

`Sally,' said Tom, when they reached the kitchen door, and Sally looked at them in speechless amaze, with a piece of bread-and-butter in her mouth and a toasting-fork in her hand, `Sally, tell mother it was Maggie pushed Lucy into the mud.'

`But Lors ha'massy, how did you get near such mud as that?' said Sally, making a wry face, as she stooped down and examined the corpus delicti.

Tom's imagination had not been rapid and capacious enough to include this question among the foreseen consequences, but it was no sooner put than he foresaw whither it tended, and that Maggie would not be considered the only culprit in the case. He walked quietly away from the kitchen door, leaving Sally to that pleasure of guessing which active minds notoriously prefer to ready-made knowledge.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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