‘It’s a lovely place,’ she whispered to the others in an almost awestruck tone. Rough felt much gratified; he considered the bazaar his own ‘find.’ He set to work very graciously to do the honours of it, and led the way slowly between the two sloping-upwards counters or tables at each side, on which were arranged the more important and expensive wares—china vases, glass, English and foreign, some of it really quaint and uncommon, such as was not, in those days at least, to be often met with in regular shops, workboxes and desks of various kinds; papier-mache writing-books, a few clocks; jewelry, a little real, a great deal imitation, in glass-lidded cases; and so on. And down the centre stood groups of walking-sticks, camp-stools, croquet-sets, and such like.
‘Usefuller’ things, as Biddy afterwards told her mother, were not wanting either. Hair-brushes and combs, metal teapots, and lots of gaily painted trays were among them. And some very magnificent dolls gazed down with their bright unblinking eyes at the whole from a high position, where they and the larger, more costly toys were placed.
It was all very imposing, very breath-taking-away, and Biddy’s eyes were very eager and her mouth wide open as she trotted after Alie. For London shops were not as magnificent forty years ago as they are now; and, besides it was not often that the little Vanes had paid a visit to Cremer’s or the arcades, which are children’s delight. And then it was here so delightfully uncrowded and quiet. The shopwoman, knowing who they were, felt not a little honoured by their prompt visit, and beyond a civil ‘Good-morning, young ladies,’ left them free to stare about and admire as they chose.
But they did not linger long before the objects which they knew to be quite beyond their reach. It was the penny counter for which they were really bound, and to which Rough piloted them with an air of great pride.
‘There, now,’ he said, waving his hand like a show-man; ’what do you say to that, girls? All these things—everything you can see as far as here—for a penny!’
Biddy gasped; even Alie was impressed.
‘They’re really very nice, Biddy,’ she said. ’And oh, look, what nice dolls’ furniture! What a pity, Biddy, you don’t care for dolls!’
’Little china tea-things
and delightful dinner-sets;
Trumpets, drums, and baby-horses; balls in coloured nets.’
What the Toys do at Night.
Just as she said these words Rosalys became conscious that some one else was standing beside her. She looked round. A little girl, simply but neatly dressed, had come into the bazaar, and had made her way noiselessly up to where the Rectory children stood. She was a slight, delicate-looking child, taller than Bridget, though not seemingly much older. She had large, earnest, perhaps somewhat wistful, brown