“Don’t know, and don’t care. Coasting is no harm; I like it, and I’m going to do it, now I’ve got a chance; so clear the-lul-la!” And away went independent Polly, with her hair blowing in the wind, and an expression of genuine enjoyment, which a very red nose didn’t damage in the least.

“Good for you, Polly!” And casting himself upon his sled, with the most reckless disregard for his ribs, off whizzed Tom after her, and came alongside just as she reined up “General Grant” on the broad path below. “Oh, won’t you get it when we go home?” cried the young gentleman, even before he changed his graceful attitude.

“I shan’t, if you don’t go and tell; but of course you will,” added Polly, sitting still, while an anxious expression began to steal over her happy face.

“I just won’t, then,” returned Tom, with the natural perversity of his tribe. “If they ask me, I shall tell, of course; if they don’t ask, I think there’s no harm in keeping still. I shouldn’t have done it, if I hadn’t known my mother was willing; but I don’t wish to trouble your mother by telling of it. Do you think it was very dreadful of me?” asked Polly, looking at him.

“I think it was downright jolly; and I won’t tell, if you don’t want me to. Now come up and have another,” said Tom, heartily.

“Just one more; the little girls want to go, and this is their sled.”

“Let ’em take it, ’tisn’t good for much; and you come on mine. Mazeppa’s a stunner; you see if he isn’t.”

So Polly tucked herself up in front, Tom hung on behind in some mysterious manner, and Mazeppa proved that he fully merited his master’s sincere, if inelegant, praise. They got on capitally now, for Tom was in his proper sphere, and showed his best side, being civil and gay in the bluff boy-fashion that was natural to him; while Polly forgot to be shy, and liked this sort of “toughening” much better than the other. They laughed and talked, and kept taking “just one more”, till the sunshine was all gone, and the clocks struck dinner-time.

“We shall be late; let’s run,” said Polly, as they came into the path after the last coast.

“You just sit still, and I’ll get you home in a jiffy;” and before she could unpack herself, Tom trotted off with her at a fine pace.

“Here’s a pair of cheeks! I wish you’d get a colour like this, Fanny,” said Mr. Shaw, as Polly came-into the dining-room after smoothing her hair.

“Your nose is as red as that cranberry sauce,” answered Fan, coming out of the big chair where she had been curled up for an hour or two, deep in “Lady Audley’s Secret”.

“So it is,” said Polly, shutting one eye to look at the offending feature. “Never mind; I’ve had a good time, anyway,” she added, giving a little prance in her chair.

“I don’t see much fun in these cold runs you are so fond of taking,” said Fanny, with a yawn and a shiver.

“Perhaps you would if you tried it;” and Polly laughed as she glanced at Tom.

“Did you go alone, dear?” asked grandma, patting the rosy cheek beside her.

“Yes’m; but I met Tom, and we came home together.” Polly’s eyes twinkled when she said that, and Tom choked in his soup.

“Thomas, leave the table!” commanded Mr. Shaw, as his incorrigible son gurgled and gasped behind his napkin.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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