It was a very earnest talk that followed. The boys came out from her room afterward, wearing the tiny white pins, and with a sweet seriousness in their faces. A noble purpose had been born in their hearts; but alas for chivalry! the first thing they did was to taunt Virginia with the fact that she could never be a knight because she was only a girl.
“I don’t care,” retorted Ginger, quickly. “I can be a—a—patriot, anyhow, and that’s lots better.”
The boys laughed, and she flushed angrily.
“They ought to mean the same thing exactly in this day of the world,” said Miss Allison, coming up in time to hear the dispute that followed. “Virginia, you shall have a badge, too. Run into my room and bring me that little jewelled flag on my cushion.”
“I think that this is the very prettiest piece of jewelry you have,” exclaimed Virginia, coming back with the pin. It was a little flag whose red, white, and blue was made of tiny settings of garnets, sapphires, and diamonds.
“You think that, because it is in the shape of a flag,” said Miss Allison, with an amused smile. “Well, it shall be yours. See how well it can remind you of the boys’ knightly motto. There is the white for the first part, the ‘live pure,’ and the ‘true blue’ for the ‘speak truth,’ and then the red,—surely no soldier’s little daughter needs to be told what that stands for, when her own brave father has spilled part of his good red life-blood to ‘right the wrong’ on the field of battle.”
“Oh, Aunt Allison!” was all that Virginia could gasp in her delight as she clasped the precious pin tightly in her hand. “Is it mine? For my very own?”
“For your very own, dear,” was the answer.
“Oh, I’m so glad!” cried Virginia, thanking her with a kiss. “I’d a thousand times rather have it than one like the boys’. It means so much more!”
THE LITTLE COLONEL’S TWO RESCUES.
Early in March, when the crocuses were beginning to bud under the dining-room windows, there came one of those rare spring days that seem to carry the warmth of summer in its sunshine.
“Exactly the kind of a day for a picnic,” Virginia had said that morning, and when her grandmother objected, saying that the ground was still too damp, she suggested having it in the hay-barn. The boys piled the hay that was left from the winter’s supply up on one side of the great airy room, set wide the big double doors, and swept it clean.
“It is clean enough now for even grandmother to eat in,” said Virginia, as she spread a cloth on the table Unc’ Henry had carried out for them. “It’s good enough for a queen. Oh, I’ll tell you what let’s do. Let’s play that Malcolm and I are a wicked king and queen and Lloyd is a ‘fair ladye’ that we have shut up in a dungeon. This will be a banquet, and while we are eating Keith can be the knight who comes to her rescue and carries her off on his pony.”