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    Chapter 6

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    Chapter 7
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    Which tells of what can be seen from the Keep of Clarides

    It was one day shortly after this that Honey-Bee and George, without being observed, climbed the steps of the watch-tower which stands in the middle of the Castle of Clarides. Having reached the platform they shouted at the top of their voices and clapped their hands.

    Their view extended down the hillside divided into brown and green squares of cultivated fields. Woods and mountains lay dimly blue against the distant horizon.

    "Little sister," cried George, "little sister, look at the whole wide world!"

    "The world is very big," said Honey-Bee. "My teachers," said George, "have taught me that it is very big; but, as Gertrude our housekeeper says, one must see to believe."

    They went the round of the platform.

    "Here is something wonderful, little brother," cried Honey-Bee. "The castle stands in the middle of the earth and we are on the watch-tower in the middle of the castle, and so we are standing in the middle of the earth. Ha! ha! ha!"

    And, indeed, the horizon formed a circle about the children of which the watch-tower was the centre.

    "We are in the middle of the earth! Ha! ha! ha!" George repeated.

    Whereupon they both started a-thinking.

    "What a pity that the world is so big!" said Honey-Bee, "one might get lost and be separated from one's friends."

    George shrugged his shoulders.

    "How lucky that the world is so big! One can go in search of adventures. When I am grown up I mean to conquer the mountains that stand at the ends of the earth. That is where the moon rises; I shall seize her as she passes, and I will give her to you, Honey-Bee."

    "Yes," said Honey-Bee, "give her to me and I will put her in my hair."

    Then they busied themselves searching for the places they knew as on a map.

    "I recognise everything," said Honey-Bee, who recognised nothing, "but what are those little square stones scattered over the hillside?"

    "Houses," George replied. "Those are houses. Don't you recognise the capital of the Duchy of Clarides, little sister? After all, it is a great city; it has three streets, and one can drive through one of them. Don't you remember that we passed through it last week when we went to the Hermitage?"

    "And what is that winding brook?"

    "That is the river. See the old stone bridge down there?"

    "The bridge under which we fished for crayfish?"

    "That's the one; and in one of the niches stands the statue of the 'Woman without a Head.' One cannot see her from here because she is too small."

    "I remember. But why hasn't she got a head?"

    "Probably because she has lost it."

    Without saying if this explanation was satisfactory, Honey-Bee gazed at the horizon.

    "Little brother, little brother, just see what sparkles by the side of the blue mountains? It is the lake."

    "It is the lake."

    They then remembered what the Duchess had told them of these beautiful and dangerous waters where the nixies dwell.

    "We will go there," said Honey-Bee.

    George was aghast. He stared at her with his mouth wide open.

    "But the Duchess has forbidden us to go out alone, so how can we go to this lake which is at the end of the earth?"

    "How can we go? I don't know. It's you who ought to know, for you are a man and you have a grammar-master."

    This piqued George who replied that one might be a man, and even a very brave man, and yet not know all the roads on earth. Whereupon Honey-Bee said drily with a little air of scorn which made him blush to his ears:

    "I never said I would conquer the blue mountains or take down the moon. I don't know the way to the lake, but I mean to find it!"

    George pretended to laugh.

    "You laugh like a cucumber."

    "Cucumbers neither laugh nor cry."

    "If they did laugh they would laugh like you. I shall go along to the lake. And while I search for the beautiful waters in which the nixies live you shall stay alone at home like a good girl. I will leave you my needle-work and my doll. Take care of them, George, take good care of them."

    George was proud, and he was conscious of the humiliation with which Honey-Bee covered him.

    Gloomily and with head bowed he cried in a hollow voice:

    "Very well, then, we will go to the lake."
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