For Children of All Ages.
were short. It took all his breath to go slowly up the stairs one at a time. The animals found it rather difficult to keep In step, also they were puzzled to know why the Duke kept, bursting Into is hoarse and wheezy laughter.
When he got to the top and had rested a little and noticed the gravy stain on his shabby blue coat, he said. "Dear, dear, what a dirty pig you are, Prufootle, old chap.' He began laughing again. " Do you know," he said when he had finished, " I don't think I've ever told poor old Dibs to shut up before. Wasn't it marvellous! "
The animals were embarrassed. A certain sense of loyalty to the Duchess. and also a knowledge that to say "Shut up," even when very annoyed, was not excusable amongst those brought. up in the best society. prevented them from agreeing.
HAPPILY the Duke did not. wait for an answer. "Poor dear, she is so jealous of me because I can amuse myself. She simply hates my book. My beautiful book which I have been writing for so many years. My beautiful secret book. Now would you two like to have a look at it?" " Oh, yes," said Amadeus, who had long been very curious about this huge book that the Duke kept so jealously to himself, only allowing other people to help him by finding out for him Ault, everyday facts like whether the moon was greater than the sun, or the date of the death of eraser Augustus.
" Very well. I shall la you look at my book for a little time. I have been feeling lonely these last months, so r must share a secret with someone to cure the loneliness, and this is about the only secret I have. Besides, I like you two animals. Now first you must promise me on your life that you will not say a word about this book after you have seen it, not even that you have seen it,. Do you promise?"
" Of court," said the two animals I ogether.
" Well, then, say ' May I perish alone in the Great Forest if I breathe a word about the Duke of Prufootie's hook.'" The two animals repeated the dreadful vow in low voices.
Then the Duke IV them to his study. (To be cnnt3nued.1