For a moment or two Duke and Pamela felt cheered by having at last got out of the weary lane. They ran eagerly across the short distance that separated them from the road, with a vague idea that once on it they would somehow or other see something—meet some one to guide them as to what next to do. But it was not so—there it stretched before them, white and smooth and dusty at both sides, rising a little to the right and sloping downwards to the left—away, away, away—to where? Not a cart or carriage of any kind—not a foot-passenger even—was to be seen. And the sun was hot, and the four little legs were very tired; and where was the use of tiring them still more when they might only be wandering farther and farther from their home? For, though the choice was not great, being simply a question of up-hill or down-dale, it was as bad as if there had been half a dozen ways before them, as they had not the least idea which of the two was the right one!
The two pair of blue eyes looked at each other piteously; then the eyelids drooped, and big tears slowly welled out from underneath them; the twins flung their arms about each other, and, sitting down on the little bit of dusty grass that bordered the highway, burst into loud and despairing sobs.
GOOD-BYE TO “US.”
“And as the evening
twilight fades away,
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.”
By slow degrees their sobs exhausted themselves. Pamela leant her head against Duke and shut her eyes.
“I am so tired, bruvver,” she said. “If us could only get some quiet place out of the sun I would like to lie down and go to sleep. Wouldn’t you, bruvver?”
“I don’t know,” said Duke.
“I wonder if the birds would cover us up wif leaves,” said Pamela dreamily, “like those little children long ago?”
“That would be if us was dead,” said Duke. “Oh sister, you don’t think us must be going to die!”
“I don’t know,” said Pamela in her turn.
Suddenly Duke raised himself a little, and Pamela, feeling him move, sat up and opened her eyes.
“What is it?” she asked, but he did not need to answer, for just then she too heard the sound that had caught Duke’s ears. It was the barking of a dog—not a deep baying sound, but a short, eager, energetic bark, and seemingly very near them. The children looked at each other and then rose to their feet.
“Couldn’t you fink it was Toby?” said Pamela in a low voice, though why she spoke so low she could not have said.