This leading pedestrian
was Car the Queen of Spades, who carried a wicker-basket containing her mother's groceries, her own draperies
, and other purchases for the week. The basket being large and heavy, Car had placed it for convenience of porterage
on the top of her head, where it rode on in jeopardized
balance as she walked with arms akimbo
'Well - whatever is that a-creeping down the back, Car Darch?' said one of the group suddenly.
All looked at Car. Her gown was a light cotton print, and from the back of her head a kind of rope could be seen descending to some distance below her waist, like a Chinaman's queue
''Tis her hair falling down,' said another.
No; it was not her hair: it was a black stream of something oozing
from her basket, mid it glistened
like a slimy snake in the cold still rays of the moon.
,' said an observant matron.
Treacle it was. Car's poor old grandmother had a weakness for the sweet stuff. Honey she had in plenty out of her own hives, but treacle was what her soul desired, and Car had been about to give her a treat of surprise. Hastily lowering the basket the dark girl found that the vessel containing the syrup
had been smashed within.
By this time there had arisen a shout of laughter at the extraordinary appearance of Car's back, which irritated the dark queen into getting rid of the disfigurement
by the first sudden means available, and independently of the help of the scoffers. She rushed excitedly into the field they were about to cross, and flinging herself flat on her back upon the grass, began to wipe her gown as well as she could by spinning horizontally
on the herbage
and dragging herself over it upon her elbows.
The laughter rang louder; they clung to the gate, to the posts, rested on their staves, in the weakness engendered
by their convulsions
at the spectacle of Car. Our heroine, who had hitherto held her peace, at this wild moment could not help joining in with the rest.