I. Fate and a Rusty Nail.
II. The News, and how they received it.
III. A Drive and a Slice of Cake.
IV. Storms at Home and Abroad
V. In Wenmere Woods.
VI. Tea at the Farm.
VII. The “Rover” takes them Home.
VIII. A Bad Beginning.
IX. The Coming of Anna.
X. Lessons, Alarms, and Warnings.
XI. Poor Kitty!
XII. Those Dreadful Stockings.
XIII. An Exciting Night.
XIV. Mokus and Carrots
XVII. “Good in Everything”.
XVIII. Threatening Clouds.
XIX. Betty’s Escapade.
XX. Kitty’s Hands are Full.
XXI. The Last.
FATE AND A RUSTY NAIL.
On such an afternoon, when all the rest of the world lay in the fierce glare of the scorching sun, who could blame the children for choosing to perch themselves on the old garden wall, where it was so cool, and shady, and enticing? And who, as Kitty often asked tragically in the days and weeks that followed, could have known that by doing so “they were altering their fates for ever”?
The four of them talked a great deal in those days of their “fates;” it sounded so mysterious and grand, and so interesting too, for, of course, no one could know what lay in store for them all, and the most wonderful and surprising events might happen. They did happen to some people, and why not to them?
“I am quite sure something will happen to me some day,” said Betty, with a very wise and serious look.
“I shouldn’t be surprised,” said Dan with mock seriousness, “if something did.”
“I mean something wonderful, of course,” added Betty. “Don’t,” with a superior air, “be silly, Dan. Things must happen to somebody, or there would never be any.”
Later that same day they realized for the first time that small events could be interesting and important too, and that while they were thinking of their “fates” as something to be spun and woven in the mysterious future, the shuttle was already flying fast.
As I said before, the old wall was particularly cool and tempting-looking that sunny afternoon, for the high, untrimmed laurel hedge on the other side of the path behind them threw a deep broad shadow over the flat top of it, and shade was what one appreciated most on that hot day. All the ground in Gorlay sloped, for Gorlay was built on two hills, while the gardens of all the houses on either side sloped either up or down another and a steeper hill. Dr. Trenire’s house was on the left-hand side of the street, as one walked up it, and it was the steep slope up of the garden behind it that made the old wall so fascinating.