Both were laughing. But Peter's smile changed to a look of puzzled surprise when he saw Hans kneel down by the canal and put on the wooden skates.
"Very queer," muttered Peter, shaking his head as he turned to go into the house. "Why in the world doesn't the boy wear his new ones?"
/spell/ The sun had gone down quite out of sight when our hero--with a happy heart but with something like a sneer on his countenance as he jerked off the wooden "runners"--trudged hopefully toward the tiny hutlike building, known of old as the "idiot's cottage."
Duller eyes than his would have discerned two slight figures moving near the doorway.
That gray well-patched jacket and the dull blue skirt covered with an apron of still duller blue, that faded close-fitting cap, and those quick little feet in their great boatlike shoes, they were Gretel's of course. He would have known them anywhere.
That bright coquettish red jacket, with its pretty skirt, bordered with black, that graceful cap bobbing over the gold earrings, that dainty apron, and those snug leather shoes that seemed to have grown with the feet--why if the Pope of Rome had sent them to him by express, Hans could have sworn they were Annie's.
The two girls were slowly pacing up and down in front of the cottage. Their arms were entwined, of course, and their heads were nodding and shaking as emphatically as if all the affairs of the kingdom were under discussion.
With a joyous shout Hans hastened toward them.