“You must not give away anything of yours again without asking permission,” said Aunt Hannah. “And you have no right to give anything of mine, even if you know I don’t want it. Now both my pretty quilt and your beautiful doll-baby are spoiled.”
That was all Aunt Hannah had said. She thought she would send John after the quilt and the doll-baby next morning as soon as it was light.
But Jimmy Scarecrow was gone, and the crazy quilt and the doll-baby with him. John, the servant-man, searched everywhere, but not a trace of them could he find. “They must have all blown away, mum,” he said to Aunt Hannah.
“We shall have to have another scarecrow next summer,” said she.
But the next summer there was no need of a scarecrow, for not a crow came past the fence-post on which Santa Claus had written his notice to crows. The cornfield was never so beautiful, and not a single grain was stolen by a crow, and everybody wondered at it, for they could not read the crow-language in which Santa had written.
“It is a great mystery to me why the crows don’t come into our cornfield, when there is no scarecrow,” said Aunt Hannah.
But she had a still greater mystery to solve when Christmas came round again. Then she and Betsey had each a strange present. They found them in the sitting-room on Christmas morning. Aunt Hannah’s present was her old crazy quilt, remodelled, with every piece cut square and true, and matched exactly to its neighbour.
“Why, it’s my old crazy quilt, but it isn’t crazy now!” cried Aunt Hannah, and her very spectacles seemed to glisten with amazement.
Betsey’s present was her doll-baby of the Christmas before; but the doll was a year older. She had grown an inch, and could walk and say, “mamma,” and “how do?” She was changed a good deal, but Betsey knew her at once. “It’s my doll-baby!” she cried, and snatched her up and kissed her.
But neither Aunt Hannah nor Betsey ever knew that the quilt and the doll were Jimmy Scarecrow’s Christmas presents to them.
XII. WHY THE CHIMES RANG*
* Copyright, 1906. Used by special permission of the publishers, the Bobbs-Merrill Company.
RAYMOND MC ALDEN
There was once in a faraway country where few people have ever travelled, a wonderful church. It stood on a high hill in the midst of a great city; and every Sunday, as well as on sacred days like Christmas, thousands of people climbed the hill to its great archways, looking like lines of ants all moving in the same direction.
When you came to the building itself, you found stone columns and dark passages, and a grand entrance leading to the main room of the church. This room was so long that one standing at the doorway could scarcely see to the other end, where the choir stood by the marble altar. In the farthest corner was the organ; and this organ was so loud, that sometimes when it played, the people for miles around would close their shutters and prepare for a great thunderstorm. Altogether, no such church as this was ever seen before, especially when it was lighted up for some festival, and crowded with people, young and old. But the strangest thing about the whole building was the wonderful chime of bells.