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Tattine   By: (1853-1927)

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by Ruth Ogden

[Mrs. Charles W. Ide]


Whether you happen to be four or five, or six, or seven, or even older than that, no doubt you know by this time that a great many things need to be learned in this world, everything, in fact, and never more things than at seven. At least, so thought little Tattine, and what troubled her the most was that some of the things seemed quite wrong, and yet no one was able to right them. All her little life Tattine's Mother had been setting things straight for her, drying every tear, and unravelling every tangle, so that Tattine was pretty downhearted the day she discovered that there were some things that were quite beyond even her Mother's power to alter. It was on a lovely June morning that Tattine made the first of her unwelcome discoveries. She was feeling particularly happy too, until she made it. She was sitting up in an apple tree, sketching, and doing it very well. She had taken only a few drawing lessons but had taken to them immensely, and now with one limb of the tree for a seat and another one for an easel, she was working away at a pretty chime tower, that stood on a neighbor's land.

Down on the grass beneath her Betsy and Doctor were lying. Betsy was a dear, homely red and white Laverack setter, and Doctor, black and white and better looking, was her son. Doctor's beautiful grandmother Tadjie was lying, alas! under the grass instead of on it, not very far away. It was a sad day for the dog world when Tadjie left it, for although she was very old, she was very beautiful up to the last with a glossy silky coat, a superbly feathered tail, and with brown eyes so soft and entreating, they fairly made you love her, whether you were fond of dogs or no.

Well, Tattine was sketching away and was quite absorbed in it, but Doctor, who was little more than a puppy, thought it very dull. He lay with his head between his paws, and, without moving a muscle, rolled his eyes round and round, now gazing up at Tattine, and then at his mother, trying to be happy though quiet. Finally he stretched himself, got on his feet, cocked up his ears, and came and stood in front of Betsy, and although not a sound was heard, he said, so that Betsy perfectly understood him, "I can't stand this any longer. If you have any love for me do please come for a run."

Then Betsy took one long stretch and with motherly self sacrifice reluctantly got up, prepared to humor this lively boy of hers. Suddenly Doctor craned his head high in the air, and gave a little sniff, and then Betsy craned her head and sniffed. Then they stole as stealthily away as though stepping upon eggs, and Tattine never knew that they had gone. It was no stealthy treading very long, however. No sooner had they crossed the roadway than they made sure of the scent they thought they had discovered, and made one wild rush down through the sumach and sweet fern to the ravine. In a few moments it was one wild rush up again right to the foot of Tattine's apple tree, and Tattine looked down to see Doctor oh, could she believe her two blue eyes! with a dear little rabbit clinched firmly between his teeth, and his mother (think of it, his mother!) actually standing proudly by and wildly waving her tail from side to side, in the most delighted manner possible. As for Tattine, she simply gave one horrified little scream and was down from the tree in a flash, while the scream fortunately brought Maggie hurrying from the house, and as Maggie was Doctor's confidential friend (owing to certain choice little morsels, dispensed from the butler's pantry window with great regularity three times a day), he at once, at her command, relaxed his hold on the little jack rabbit. The poor little thing was still breathing, breathing indeed with all his might and main, so that his heart thumped against his little brown sides with all the regularity of a Rider Engine. Tattine's first thought was for the rabbit, and she held it close to her, stroking it with one little brown trembling hand and saying, "There! there! Hush, you little dear; you're safe now, don't be frightened! Tattine wouldn't hurt you for the world... Continue reading book >>

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