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The Pot of Gold, and Other Stories Part 28

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Ann hugged her sympathizingly. "I guess I wouldn't have slept much if I had known," said she. "O, Hannah, you haven't had anything to eat!

ain't you starved?"

Hannah laughed faintly. "I ate up two whole pumpkin pies I was carrying to aunt Sarah," said she. "Oh! how lucky it was you had them." "Yes; mother called me back to get them, after I started. They were some new ones, made with cream, and she thought aunt Sarah would like them."

Pretty soon they started. It was hard work, for the way was very rough, and poor Hannah weak. But Ann had a good deal of strength in her lithe young frame, and she half-carried Hannah over the worst places. Still both of the girls were pretty well spent when they came to the last of the bits of wool on the border of Bear Swamp. However, they kept on a little farther; then they had to stop and rest. "I know where I am now," said Hannah, with a sigh of delight; "but I don't think I can walk another step." She was, in fact, almost exhausted.

Ann looked at her thoughtfully. She hardly knew what to do. She could not carry Hannah herself--indeed, her own strength began to fail; and she did not want to leave her to go for a.s.sistance.

All of a sudden, she jumped up. "You stay just where you are a few minutes, Hannah," said she. "I'm going somewhere. I'll be back soon."

Ann was laughing.

Hannah looked up at her pitifully: "O Ann, don't go!"

"I'm coming right back, and it is the only way. You must get home.

Only think how your father and mother are worrying!"

Hannah said no more after that mention of her parents, and Ann started.

[Ill.u.s.tration: "A CONVEYANCE IS FOUND."]

She was not gone long. When she came in sight she was laughing, and Hannah, weak as she was, laughed, too. Ann had torn her blue ap.r.o.n into strips, and tied it together for a rope, and by it she was leading a red cow.

Hannah knew the cow, and knew at once what the plan was. "O, Ann! you mean for me to ride Betty?"

"Of course I do. I just happened to think our cows were in the pasture, down below here. And we've ridden Betty, lots of times, when we were children, and she's just as gentle now. Whoa, Betty, good cow."

It was very hard work to get Hannah on to the broad back of her novel steed, but it was finally accomplished. Betty had been a perfect pet from a calf, and was exceedingly gentle. She started off soberly across the fields, with Hannah sitting on her back, and Ann leading her by her blue rope.

It was a funny cavalcade for Captain Abraham French and a score of anxious men to meet, when they were nearly in sight of home; but they were too overjoyed to see much fun in it.

Hannah rode the rest of the way with her father, on his gray horse; and Ann walked joyfully by her side, leading the cow.

Captain French and his friends had, in fact, just started to search Bear Swamp, well armed with lanterns, for night was coming on.

It was dark when they got home. Mrs. French was not much more delighted to see her beloved daughter Hannah safe again, than Mrs.

Polly was to see Ann.

She listened admiringly to the story Ann told.

"n.o.body but you would have thought of the wool or of the cow," said she.

"I do declare," cried Ann, at the mention of the wool, "I have lost the cards!"

"Never mind the cards!" said Mrs. Polly.

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