Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Marjorie's New Friend by Carolyn Wells

Part 2 out of 4

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.4 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

"I don't know," said Midge, trying to smile; "what is it?"

"Well, it's a game,--a brand new game, and none of your poky old
go-to-sleep affairs either. It's a lively, wide-awake game, that only
lively, wide-awake children can play. So come one, come all!"

They all gathered round the table, and Mr. Maynard explained the rules of
the new game. Marjorie loved games, and as this was really a most
interesting one, she couldn't help enjoying it, and was soon absorbed in
the play. It combined the elements of both skill and chance, and caused
many moments of breathless suspense, as one or another gained or lost in
the count.

When it was finished, Marjorie was again her own rosy, smiling self, and
though she still felt the vague weight of sorrow, she had spent a
pleasant, enjoyable hour.

"And now to bed, chickadees," cried their father, "it's long past nine!"

"Is it really?" exclaimed Midget, "how the time has flown!"

"That's because you were my own brave girl, and tried to rise above
misfortune," said Mr. Maynard, as he bade her good-night. "No teary
pillows to-night, girlie."

"No, Father, dear, I hope not."

"Just go to sleep, and dream that you have a few friends still east of
the Rockies."

"More than I'll ever have west of them," responded Marjorie, and then
with her arm round Kitty's waist, the two girls went upstairs to bed.

The next morning at the breakfast table, Mr. Maynard made a sudden and
unexpected announcement.

"Mother Maynard," he said, "if you can spare your eldest daughter, I
think I'll borrow her for the day."

"What!" cried Marjorie, looking up in surprise.

"You may have her," said Mrs. Maynard, smiling, "if you'll return her

"Oh, I can't promise that. I'm of rather careless habits, and I might
mislay her somewhere."

"Well, I'll trust you for this once. Mops, do you want to go to town with

Marjorie's eyes flashed an answer, and Kitty exclaimed:

"Without us?"

"I grieve to disappoint you, Kitsie," said Mr. Maynard, "but you still
have your friend Dorothy. Midget is cruelly deprived of her chum, and so
for one day she is going to put up with a doddering old gentleman
instead. Get your bonnet and shawl, my child."

Marjorie looked at her mother for confirmation of this good news, and
receiving an answering smile, she excused herself from the table and ran
away to her room. Nannie helped her, and soon she tripped downstairs
prettily dressed in a dark blue cloth frock and jacket, a blue felt hat,
and her Christmas furs.

"Whew! what a fine lady!" said her father. "I shall have to don my best
hat and feathers, I think."

"I've lost my chum, too," said King, as he watched the pair about to

"Yes, you have, my boy, but he wasn't your 'perfectly darling
confidential friend,' as girls' chums are! Moreover, you haven't shed
such gallons of first-class well-salted tears as this young person has.
No, Son, I'm sorry to leave you behind, but you didn't weep and wail loud

King had to laugh at the way his father put it, but he well knew Marjorie
was given a day's pleasure to divert her mind from Gladys's departure,
and he didn't begrudge his sister the trip.

"We must be extra kind to old Midge, Kit," he said, as Marjorie and her
father walked briskly down the drive.

"Yes," said Kitty, earnestly, "she does feel awful about losing Gladys.
I'm going to make fudge for her, while she's gone to-day."

"I wish I could do something for her. Boys are no good!"

"You are too!" cried loyal little Kitty. "You can help her with her
arithmetic every night. She can do it all right, if she has a little
help, and Glad used to help her a lot."

"Good for you, Kitsie! of course I will. Dear old Midge, I'm terrible
sorry for her."

Meantime, Marjorie, by her father's side, was rushing along in the train
to New York.

While Mr. Maynard read his paper, he glanced sometimes at his daughter,
and rejoiced that she was interestedly gazing out of the window at the
flying scenery.

Occasionally, she turned and smiled at him, but she said little, and he
knew she was being brave and trying not to think too much about her loss.

Gladys had gone away early and when they had passed the closed and
deserted-looking Fulton house, Marjorie had swallowed hard and looked the
other way.

But once in New York, the child had no time to think of anything but the
present hour, so full of joy was the whole day.

"My time is yours," announced Mr. Maynard, as they reached the city.
"I've telephoned to the office that I won't be there at all today, so
what shall we do?"

"Oh, Father, a whole Ourday, all for you and me?" Marjorie's eyes danced
at this unheard of experience.

"Yes, Midget; partly because I'm sorry for my troubled little girl, and
partly because you _are_ bearing your trouble bravely and cheerfully."

"Who wouldn't be cheerful, with a whole Ourday, and a whole father, all
to myself!"

"Well, you'll probably never have another, alone with me. So make the
most of it. Where shall we go first?"

"Oh, I don't know; it's all so lovely."

"Then I'll choose. Step this way, Madame."

This way, was toward a line of waiting taxicabs, and Mr. Maynard engaged
one, and handed Marjorie in.

"A taxy ride! Oh, lovely!" she cried, as they started off at a fine pace.

On they went, spinning across town, till they reached Fifth Avenue, and
turned up that broad thoroughfare.

Marjorie enjoyed every minute, and looked out of the open window at the
bustling city life all about. Up town they went for blocks and blocks,
and stopped at the Metropolitan Art Museum.

They went in here, after Mr. Maynard had dismissed the cab, and staid the
rest of the morning.

Marjorie, perhaps, would not have cared so much for the pictures and
statues had she been alone; but her father called her attention to
certain ones, and told her about them in such a way, that she was amused
and instructed both.

They looked at strange and curious relics of ancient times; they studied
the small models of the world's greatest buildings; and they lingered in
the hall full of casts of the noblest statues of all time.

"Hungry, Chickadee?" said Mr. Maynard, at last, looking at his watch.

"Why, yes, I believe I am; but I hadn't thought of it."

"I'm glad you are, for I can assure you I am. Suppose we make a mad dash
for a pie-shop."

"Come on," said Marjorie, and away they went, through the turnstiles, and
out upon Fifth Avenue again.

Mr. Maynard hailed a motor-omnibus, and Marjorie carefully climbed the
spiral staircase at the back. Her father followed, and sitting up on top
of the 'bus, in the crisp, wintry air and bright sunshine, they went
whizzing down the avenue.

"Isn't it fun, Father!" said Marjorie, as she held tightly to his arm.

"Yes, and there's a fine view to-day." He pointed out many famous
buildings, and when they neared a large hotel, he said:

"We'll have to get out, Midge. I shall pine away with hunger before
another block."

"Out we go!" was the reply, and they clambered down the twisty stair.

"Is there anything that would tempt your appetite, Miss Maynard?" said
her father, as, seated at a small round table, he looked over the menu.

"No, thank you; I don't think I can eat a thing!" said Midge, dropping
her eyes, and trying to look fragile and delicate.

"No? But really, you must try to taste of something. Say, the left wing
of a butterfly, with hard sauce."

This made Marjorie laugh, and she said, "I couldn't eat it all, but I
might nibble at it."

Then what Mr. Maynard really did, was to order Marjorie's favourite

First, they had grape-fruit, all cut in bits, and piled up in dainty,
long-stemmed glasses. Then, they had a soft, thick soup, and then
sweetbreads with mushrooms.

"You're not to get ill, you know," said Mr. Maynard, as Marjorie showed
a surprising appetite, "but I do want you to have whatever you like

"Oh, I won't get ill," declared Marjorie, gaily, "and now, may I select
the ice cream?"

"Yes, if you won't ask for plum pudding also."

"No, but I do want little cakes, iced all over. Pink and green and white
and yellow ones."

These were allowed, and Marjorie blissfully kept on nibbling them, while
Mr. Maynard sipped his coffee. In the afternoon they went to a matinee.
It was one of the gorgeous spectacular productions, founded upon an old
fairy tale, and Marjorie was enraptured with the beautiful tableaux, the
wonderful scenery, and the gay music.

"Oh, Father," she said, "aren't we having the gorgeousest time! You are
the beautifulest man in the whole world!"

After the performance, Mr. Maynard spoke of going home, but Marjorie's
eyes held a mute appeal, which he could not resist.

"Ice cream _again!_" he said, though she had not spoken the words. "Well,
ice cream it is, then, but no rich cakes this time. I promised Motherdy
I'd bring you home safe and sound. But I'll tell you, we'll buy some of
those cakes to take home, and you may have them to-morrow."

"And Kitty and King, too," said Midge. "And let's take them some

So the candy and cakes were bought and carried home by two tired but very
happy people, and Marjorie fully appreciated the lovely day her father
had given her, because of Gladys's going away.

"And I _will_ be good and brave," she resolved to herself, on her way
home in the train. "I'm going to try to be just as cheerful and pleasant
as If Gladys hadn't gone away at all, but was in her own house, across
the street."



But though Marjorie made her brave resolutions in good faith, it was hard
to keep them. School was awful. The very sight of Gladys's empty seat
made Midge choke with tears.

Miss Lawrence appreciated the case, and was most gentle and kind to
Marjorie, but still the trouble was there.

"Wouldn't you like to have Katy Black sit with you, dear?" asked the

"No, thank you." said Midge, "I can't bear to put any one in Gladys's
place. Don't bother about me, Miss Lawrence, I'm not going to cry."

She didn't cry, but she sighed so frequently and so deeply, that
kind-hearted Miss Lawrence almost wept in sympathy.

At home it was better. The Maynards always had good times at home, and of
course when there, Marjorie didn't miss Gladys so much. But the long
mornings in the school-room, and the long afternoons when she wanted to
run over to Gladys's house were almost unbearable.

Merry, madcap Midget became a sober-faced little girl, who was all the
more pathetic because she tried to be cheerful.

Mrs. Maynard felt worried about the matter, and proposed to her husband
that she should take Marjorie, and go away for a trip somewhere.

"No," said Mr. Maynard; "let her fight it out. It's hard for her, but
it's doing her real good, and bringing out the best side of her nature.
We'll all help her all we can, and if I'm not greatly mistaken our
Marjorie will come out of this ordeal with flying colors."

"It's will-power, little daughter," said Mr. Maynard to her one evening.
"Just determine that this cloud shall not entirely obscure the sun for

"Yes," said Midge, smiling, "it's just an eclipse, isn't it?"

"Yes, and it seems to be a total eclipse; but even total eclipses pass,
if we wait long enough. Any letter from Gladys this week?"

"One came this morning. Would you like to read it?"

"Of course I should, very much."

"It's strange," said Marjorie, as she produced the letter, "for all
Gladys loves school so, and is a good student, she can't seem to spell

"I know another lady who has difficulty in that direction," said Mr.
Maynard, smiling.

"Yes, but Glad is different. She can spell the spelling-book stickers,
'embarrassed,' and 'cleemosynary,' and such words, 'cause she studies
them; and then she'll misspell simple every-day words. Now, you see."

Mr. Maynard smiled a little as he read the letter.

_Los Angeles, Cal._


We are having a lovely time. We have not found a house yet, but are
staying at the hotel till we do find one to suite us, I like it here very
much. I miss you very much, dear Marjorie. There are lovely people in the
hotel, and we go for walks to pick flowers. The flowers here are
beautiful. Now I must close. With lots of love and kisses, your


"Between you and me and the post, Midget, I don't think that's a very
interesting letter, do you?"

"No, Father, I don't. I thought Glad would write more as she talks. She
doesn't talk a bit like that, when we're together."

"I know it, Mops, I've heard her. But some people never can write as they
talk. As soon as they get a pen between their fingers, their brain seems
to freeze up, and break off in little, cold, hard sentences. Now, what
sort of a letter do you write?"

"Here's the answer I wrote to-day to Gladys. I haven't sent it yet."


I wish you would come back. It's perfectly horrid at school without you,
and though Miss Lawrence said Katy Black could sit with me, I don't want
her. She's a nice enough girl, but she isn't you. And nobody is, Dear old
Glad, I do miss you so. Of course as there's no remedy under the sun, I'm
being cheerful and gay about it, but my heart misses you just the same.
We don't have the Jinks Club any more. It made me sick to go to it
without you. I expect you're having good times in California, and I'm
glad of that. Write soon to


"Now, of the two, Midge, yours is the much better letter. Don't ever try
to copy Gladys's style, will you?"

"No; I'm glad you like mine best. You see, I write without thinking about
anything except not to spill the ink."

"A very good plan. Stick to it all your life. Midget, I don't want to be
unkind, but has it struck you that Gladys is not so heart-broken over
your separation as you are?"

A look of pain came into Marjorie's loyal eyes, as she said:

"It does seem so, I know. But I think it's because Gladys has all sorts
of new places and new people to amuse her, while I'm left here alone."

"It's partly that, little girl; and partly because Gladys hasn't such a
warm, loving loyal heart as my Marjorie's."

"She is different," admitted Midget; "but I know she loves me, even if it
doesn't say so right out in her letter."

"Perhaps she forgot to put it in, because she was so busy trying not to
spill the ink."

"Perhaps so," agreed Marjorie, answering the twinkle in her father's eye.

"And now, Miss Mops, I have a bit of news for you. The Fulton house is
rented to some people from New York."

"Is it?" said Marjorie, indifferently.

"And in the family is a girl twelve years of age."

"And you think she'll take Glad's place!" cried Midge, indignantly.
"Well, I can just tell you she won't! A girl from New York! She'll be
stuck-up, and superior, and look down on us Rockwell girls!"

"How do you know all this?"

"I know; 'cause Katy Black had a girl from New York visiting her, and she
was just horrid! All stiff and mincy, and dropping curtseys every two

"But you're taught to drop curtseys."

"Yes, when I enter or leave a room where there are ladies, but that girl
was always at it, in school and everywhere."

"Sort of a jumping-jack, wasn't she? Well, try to like this new girl,
dearie; it's the best I can do for you in the way of neighbors."

"Oh, I may like her,--and I'll be polite to her, of course; but I know I
shan't want her for an intimate friend, like Glad."

"Perhaps not; but I was so pleased when I heard a little girl was coming
to live across the street, that I think you ought to be pleased too."

"Well, I will! I am! And if she isn't too stuck-up, I'll try to like

A few afternoons later, King, who was sitting by a front window, called

"Hi! I say, Mops! Here's the new family moving into the Fulton house!"

Marjorie only upset a waste-basket and a very small table as she ran to
the window to look out.

Kitty raced after her, and Rosy Posy toddled up too, so in a moment the
four were eagerly gazing at the new-comers, themselves quite hidden by
the lace curtains.

"Nice looking bunch," commented King, as he watched a well-dressed lady
and gentleman get out of the carriage.

"And there's the girl!" cried Marjorie, as a child followed them. "Oh,
she _is_ a stuck-up!"

"How do you know?" said King. "I think she's a daisy!"

They could only see her back, as the new neighbor walked up the path to
the house, but she seemed to be of a dainty, not to say finicky type.

She wore a large hat with feathers, and a black velvet coat that covered
her frock completely.

A mass of fluffy golden hair hung below the big black hat, and the little
girl tripped along in a way that if not "mincing," was certainly

"No, I don't like her," declared Midge, as she watched the stranger go up
the steps and into the house; "she isn't a bit like Gladys."

"Neither am I," said King, "but you like me."

"Yes, you dear, cunning little sweet thing, I do like you," said Midget,
touching King's hair in a teasing way.

He promptly pulled off her hair-ribbon, and as Marjorie felt in the
humor, this began one of their favorite games of make-believe.

"The diamond tiara!" she shrieked, "the villain hath stole it!"

"Horrors!" cried Kitty, "then shall he be captured, and forced to restore

She pounced on King, and aided by Marjorie, they threw him on the couch,
and wrapped his head in the afghan. Horrible growls came from the
prisoner, but no word of surrender.

"Art vanquished?" asked Kitty pulling the afghan away from one of his

"I art not!" he declared in a muffled voice, but with so terrific a glare
from that one eye, that they hastily covered him up again.

But he managed to free himself, and stood towering above the
terror-stricken girls, who now knelt at his feet and begged for mercy.

"Spare us!" moaned Kit. "We are but lorn damsels who seek food and

"Me wants a selter, too," announced Rosy Posy, joining the others, and
clasping her little fat hands as they did. "What is a selter?"

"A selter for none of you!" roared King, with threatening gestures. "To
the dungeon, all three! Ha, varlets, appear, and do my bidding!"

"I'll be a varlet," said Midge, suddenly changing her role. "We'll put
Lady Katherine in the dungeon, and let the fair Lady Rosamond go

"As thou sayest," said King, agreeably, and, though bravely resisting,
Kitty was overpowered, and thrown into a dungeon under the table. From
this she contrived to escape by the clever expedient of creeping out at
the other side, but as it was then time to get ready for dinner, the game
came to an untimely end.

"We've seen the new girl, Father," said Marjorie, as they sat at the

"Have you? Well, I've seen the new man,--that is, if you refer to our new
neighbors across the street."

"Yes, in Gladys's house. What's his name, Father?"

"Mr. Spencer. I met him at the post-office, and Mr. Gage introduced us.
Mr. Gage is the agent who has the Fulton house in charge, and he told we
before that these newcomers are fine people. I liked Mr. Spencer
exceedingly. I'm sorry, Mops, you're so determined not to like the
daughter. Mr. Spencer tells me she's a lovable child."

"Oh, of course he'd think so,--he's her father."

"Well, I admit, fathers are a prejudiced class. Perhaps I have too high
an opinion of my own brood."

"You couldn't have," said Kitty, calmly, and Mr. Maynard laughed as he
looked at the four smiling faces, and responded:

"I don't believe I could!"

"Don't spoil them, Fred," said Mrs. Maynard, warningly, but King broke

"Too late, Mother! We're spoiled already. Father's high opinion of us has
made us puffed up and conceited."

"Nonsense, King," cried Midge; "we're not conceited. Not nearly as much
so as that girl across the way. You ought to see, Father, how she hopped
up the walk! Like a scornful grasshopper!"

"Marjorie," said Mrs. Maynard, repressing a smile, "you must not
criticise people so; especially those you don't know."

"Well, she did, Mother. She thinks because she came from New York,
Rockwell people are no good at all."

"How do you know that, Midge?" said her father, a little gravely.

"Oh, Midget is a reader of character," said King. "She only saw this
girl's yellow hair, hanging down her back, and she knew all about her at

"She had a velvet coat," protested Marjorie, "and a short dress and long
black legs--"

"You wouldn't want her to wear a train, would you?" put in Kitty.

"No, but her frock was awful short, and her hat was piled with feathers."

"That will do, Marjorie," said her father, very decidedly, now. "It isn't
nice to run on like that about some one you've never met."

"But I'm just telling what I saw, Father."

"But not in a kind spirit, my child. You're trying to make the little
girl appear unattractive, or even ridiculous; and you must not do that.
It isn't kind."

"That's so," said Marjorie, contritely; "it's horrid of me, I know, and
I'll stop it. But she did look like a flyaway jib!"

"What is a flyaway jib?" said her father, with an air of one seeking

"I haven't an idea," said Mops, laughing; "but I know I've heard of it

"And so you describe a girl whom you don't know, in words whose meaning
you don't know! Well, that's consistent, at any rate! Now, I _do_ know
something about this young lady. And, to begin with, I know her name."

"Oh, what is it?" said Midge and Kitty together.

"Well, Mops is such a reader of character, she ought to be able to guess
her name. What do you think it is, Midget?"

Marjorie considered. She dearly loved to guess, even when she had no hint
to go by.

"I think," she said, slowly, "it is probably Arabella or Araminta."

"'Way off," said her father; "you're no good at guessing. Kitty, what do
you say?"

"It ought to be Seraphina," said Kitty, promptly. "She looks like a wax

"Wrong again! King, want to guess?"

"'Course I do. I think her name is Flossy Flouncy. She looks so dressy
and gay."

"That's a good name, King," said Marjorie, "and just suits her. I shall
call her that, what ever her real name is. I suppose it's Mary Jane, or
something not a bit like her. What is it, Father?"

"Well, it's not a common name, exactly. It's Delight."

"Delight!" cried King. "What a funny, name! I never heard of it before."

"I think it's lovely," declared Marjorie. "It's a beautiful name. Why
didn't you name me Delight, Mother?"

"You didn't say you wanted me to," returned Mrs. Maynard, smiling, for
Marjorie often wished for various names that pleased her better than her
own for the moment.

"Well, I think it's sweet, don't you, Kit?"

"Beautiful!" said Kitty, enthusiastically.

"And she's not at all 'stuck-up,'" went on Mr. Maynard; "she's rather
shy, and though she wants to get acquainted with you children, she's
afraid you won't like her. I didn't tell Mr. Spencer that you had decided
already not to like her."

"I like her name," said Marjorie, "but I don't like her because she lives
in Gladys's house, and she isn't Gladys!"

"So that's where the shoe pinches!" said Mr. Maynard, laughing at
Marjorie's troubled face. "A foolish resentment because strangers are in
your friend's home. Why, dearie, Mr. Fulton was most anxious to rent the
house, and he'll be glad to have such good tenants. And, by the way,
Midge, don't say anything more unpleasant about the little Spencer girl.
You've said enough."

"I won't, Father," said Midget, with an honest glance from her big, dark
eyes into his own, for truth to tell, she felt a little ashamed of her
foolish criticisms already.

"Delight!" she said, musingly as she and Kitty were preparing for bed
that night. "Isn't it a dear name, Kit? What does it make you think of?"

"A princess," said Kitty, whose imagination Was always in fine working
order; "one who always wears light blue velvet robes, and eats off of
gold dishes."

"Yes," agreed Marjorie, falling in with the game, "and she has white
doves fluttering about, and black slaves to bow before her."

"No, not black slaves; they're for princesses named Ermengarde or
Fantasmagoria." Kitty was not always particular about any authority for
names, if they sounded well. "A princess named Delight would have
handmaidens,--fair-haired ones, with soft trailing white robes."

"Kit, you're a wonder," said Marjorie, staring at her younger sister;
"how do you know such things?"

"They come to me," said Kitty, mystically.

"Well, they sound all right, but I don't believe handmaidens ought to
wear trailing gowns. How could they handmaid?"

"That's so," said Kitty, a little crestfallen.

"Never mind; I spect they could. They could gracefully throw the trails
over their arms, as they glide along in their sandalled feet."

"Yes, and strains of music came from concealed luters--"

"Huh! looters are burglars, and it's slang besides."

"No, not that kind. Luters that play on lutes, I mean. And the Princess
Delight would sniff attar of rose, and fan herself with waving peacock

"A slave ought to do that."

"Well, all right, let him. And then the Princess falls asleep 'neath her
silken coverlet, and lets her sister put out the lights,--like this!" and
with a jump, Kitty bounced into her own little bed, and pulled up the
down coverlet to her chin.

Imitating the white-robed handmaidens, Marjorie swayed around to an
improvised chant of her own, and putting out the electric lights with
much dramatic elaboration, she finally swayed into her own bed, and after
they had both chanted a choric good-night, they soon fell sleep.



One afternoon Marjorie sat by the fire reading. She was not specially
interested in her book, but Kitty had gone to see Dorothy Adams, and King
was off somewhere, so she had no one to play with.

Presently Sarah entered.

"There's somebody wants you on the telephone, Miss Marjorie," she said,
and Midget jumped up, wondering who it could be.

"Hello," she said, as she took the receiver.

"Hello," said a pleasant voice; "is this Marjorie Maynard?"

"Yes; who is this?"

"This is Cinderella."


"Cinderella. My two stepsisters have gone to a ball, and my cruel
stepmother has beaten me and starved me--"

"What are you talking about? Who is this, please?"

"Me. I'm Cinderella. And I'm so lonely and sad I thought perhaps you'd
come over to see me."

A light began to dawn on Marjorie.

"Oh," she continued, "where do you live?"

"Across the street from your house."

"Then you're Delight Spencer."

"Yes, I am. Can't you come over and let's get acquainted?"

"Yes, I will. I'd like to. Shall I come now?"

"Yes, right away. Good-bye."


Marjorie hung up the receiver and after a hasty brush at her curls, and a
few pinches at her hair ribbons, she flung on hat and coat and flew
across the street.

If only this new girl should be a desirable chum!

That opening about Cinderella sounded hopeful,--she must know how to

Well, at any rate, Midget would soon know now.

She rang the bell at Gladys's house, with a queer feeling, and as she
went in, and saw the familiar rooms and furniture, and no Gladys, she
almost started to run away again--

"Miss Delight wants you to come right up to her room, Miss," said the
maid who admitted her, and Marjorie followed her upstairs, glad to find
that at least the new girl didn't have Gladys's room for her own. The
maid indicated the room, and stood aside for Marjorie to enter, but at
the first glance Midget stood still on the threshold.

In the first place the room was transformed. It had been the Fultons'
playroom, and furnished rather plainly; but now it was so full of all
sorts of things, that it looked like a bazaar.

In a big armchair sat Delight. She had on a Japanese quilted kimona of
light blue silk, and little blue Turkish slippers. Her hair was pure
golden, and was just a tangle of fluffy curls topped by a huge blue bow.

But her face, Marjorie thought at once, was the most beautiful face she
had ever seen. Big blue eyes, a soft pink and white complexion, and red
lips smiling over little white teeth, made Delight look like the pictures
on Marjorie's fairy calendar.

And yet, as Midget stood for a moment, looking at her, the pink faded
from her cheeks, and she rose from her chair, and said, stiffly:

"Sit down, won't you? I'm glad you came."

Marjorie sat down, on the edge of a couch, and Delight sank back in her
big chair.

She was so evidently overcome with a spasm of shyness that Midget was
sorry for her, but somehow it made her feel shy, herself, and the two
little girls sat there, looking at each other, without saying a word.

At last, overcoming her embarrassment, Marjorie said, "Was it you who
telephoned?" A sudden wave of red flooded Delight's pale cheeks, and she

"Yes, it was. I have a cold, and can't go out of my room,--and mother is
out,--and--and I was awfully lonesome, so I played I was Cinderella. And
then I just happened to think I'd telephone you--just for fun--"

"Have you a stepmother? Is she cruel to you?"

"Mercy, no! Mother is the dearest thing in the world, and she adores
me,--spoils me, in fact. She's gone out now to get me some things to make
valentines with. But I wish she was here. I thought it would be fun to
see,--to see you alone,--but you're so different from what I thought you

"Different, how?" said Midget, forgetting her own shyness in her interest
in this strange girl.

"Why, you're so--so big, and rosy,--and your eyes snap so."

"You're afraid of me!" exclaimed Midget, laughing merrily.

"I'm not when you laugh like that!" returned Delight, who was beginning
to feel more at ease.

"Well, I was afraid of you, too, at first. You looked so--so, breakable,
you know."


"Yes, fragile. Like those pretty spun sugar things."

"I am delicate. At least, mother says I am. I hate to romp or run, and
I'm afraid of people who do those things."

"Well, I'm not afraid of anybody who can play she's Cinderella over a
telephone! I love to run and play out-of-doors, but I love to play
'pretend games' too."

"So do I. But I have to play them all by myself. Except sometimes mother
plays with me."

"You can play with us. We all play pretend games. Kitty's best at
it,--she's my sister. And King--Kingdon, my brother, is grand."

"Take off your things, won't you? I ought to have asked you before. I
haven't any sense."

Marjorie jumped up and threw off her hat and coat, tossed them on the
couch, and then plumped herself into another big chair near Delight's.

The children were indeed a contrast.

Marjorie, large for her age, full of hearty, healthy life, and
irrepressible gayety of spirit, bounced around like a big, good-natured
rubber ball. Delight, small, slender, and not very strong, moved always
gently and timidly.

Marjorie, too, was dark-haired, dark-eyed, and rosy-cheeked; while
Delight was of lovely blonde type, and her pale blue robe suited her, as
Midget's crimson cashmere set off her own vivid coloring.

The ice fairly broken, the little girls forgot their shyness, and
acquaintance progressed rapidly.

"Have you always lived in New York?" asked Midget.

"Yes; but I'm so delicate mother thinks this place will be better for me.
Do you like it here?"

"Why, yes. But I've always lived here, you know. Are you going to

"No; I never go to school. It makes me nervous. I always have a governess
at home."

"Oh, how lovely! I'd give anything if I could study that way. Isn't it

"Oh, no; it's so lonely. I'd ever so much rather go to school and be in a
class. But I always faint in a schoolroom."

"I don't faint,--I don't know how. I wish I did, I'd try it, and then
Miss Lawrence would have to send me home. Where are you in arithmetic?"

"Partial Payments; but I'm reviewing. Where are you?"

"Cube root, and I hate it."

"So do I. How do you like my room?"

"It's splendid. But I can't take it all in at once."

Marjorie jumped up and walked round the room, stopping to look at the
aquarium, the blackboard, the gramophone, and many other modes of
entertainment which had been collected to give Delight pleasure.

"Yes, I love my things. I have so many, and father is always bringing me
new ones. That's to make up for my being an only child. I often beg
mother to adopt a sister for me."

"I'll be your sister," said Midget, in a sudden heartfelt burst of
sympathy for the lonely little girl.

"Oh, will you?" she said, wistfully; "and come and live with me?"

"No, not that," laughed Marjorie; "but we'll play we're sisters, and you
can call my brother and sisters yours too."

"I'm glad I came to Rockwell," said Delight, with happy eyes; "I think
you're splendid."

"And I think you're lovely. I hope we'll get along. Do you squabble?"

"I don't think so," replied Delight, doubtfully; "you see, I never had a

"I don't believe you do. I hate it, myself; but lots of the girls think
it's fun to get mad at each other, and stay mad a few weeks and then make

"How silly! You're not like that, are you?"

"No, I'm not. I had a friend who used to live in this very house, and we
never have been mad at each other in our lives. That's why I didn't say
I'd be your friend. It seems sort of--kind of--"

"Yes, I see," said Delight, gently. "You're awfully loyal, aren't you?
Well, I'd rather be your sister, anyway,--your play-sister."

"I'll be your step-sister," said Midget, remembering Cinderella. "Not the
cross kind."

"No, the pleasant kind. All right, we'll be step-sisters, and will you
come to see me often?"

"Yes, and you must come over to my house."

"I will, when mother'll let me. She hates to have me go anywhere."

"Do you know," said Midget, in a spirit of contrition, "I thought you
were 'stuck-up.'"

Delight sighed a little. "Everybody thinks that," she said, "just because
I don't go to school, and so I don't get acquainted much. But I'm not

"Indeed you're not, and I shall tell all the girls so. But after your
cold gets well, you can go out doors to play, can't you?"

"I don't know. Mother never lets me go out much, except with her. Oh,
here comes mother now!"

Mrs. Spencer came into the room and smiled pleasantly at Midget.

Delight introduced them, and Marjorie rose and curtseyed, then Mrs.
Spencer said:

"I'm glad you came, my dear child. I meant to ask you soon, as I want you
and Delight to be great friends."

Mrs. Spencer was an attractive-looking lady and spoke cordially, but
somehow Marjorie didn't fancy her.

There was no tangible reason, for she was charming and gracious, but
Midget felt she was a nervous, fussy woman, and not calm and capable like
her own dear mother.

"My mother is coming to call on you," said Marjorie to her hostess. "I
heard her say so. She doesn't know I'm here, for she wasn't at home when
I came, but I know she'll be pleased when I tell her."

"Did you come away without mother's permission? Naughty! Naughty!" said
Mrs. Spencer, playfully shaking her finger at Marjorie.

Midget's eyes opened wide. "Of course, I shouldn't have come," she said,
"if I hadn't known she would be willing." She resented Mrs. Spencer's
reproof, as that lady knew nothing of the circumstances, and besides,
Marjorie was always allowed to do as she chose afternoons, within certain
well-understood restrictions.

But Mrs. Spencer had brought several interesting-looking parcels, and all
else was forgotten in the examination of their contents.

They proved to contain gold and silver paper, lace paper, small pictures,
crepe paper, cards, ribbons, paste, and lots of other things.

Marjorie's eyes sparkled as she saw the lovely things tumbled out on a
low table which Mrs. Spencer drew up in front of the girls. "For
valentines?" she exclaimed, as she realized the possibilities.

"Yes; will you help Delight to make them?"

"Indeed, I will, Mrs. Spencer; but not now. It's five o'clock, and I have
to go home at five."

"Dear, dear, little girls that run away without mother's permission
oughtn't to be so particular about going home on time."

Marjorie was puzzled. Mrs. Spencer didn't see the matter rightly, she was
sure, and yet to explain it to her seemed like correcting a grown-up
lady, which, of course, was impolite. So she only smiled, and said she
must go home, but she would be glad to come again.

To her surprise, Delight began to cry,--not noisily,--but with quiet,
steady weeping, that seemed to imply a determination to keep it up.

Marjorie looked her amazement, which was not lessened when Mrs. Spencer
said, almost coldly:

"I should think she would cry, poor, dear sick child, when her little
friend refuses to stay with her."

"But, Mrs. Spencer," said Midget, really distressed, now, "it is our rule
always to go home at five o'clock, unless mother has said we could stay
later. So I have to go."

"Very well, then, go on," said Mrs. Spencer, a little pettishly; but she
helped Marjorie on with her coat, and patted her on the shoulder.

"You're a good little girl," she said, "and I suppose I'm selfish where
Delight is concerned. Will you come again to-morrow morning?"

"Oh, no, thank you; I have to go to school."

"Yes, I suppose you do. Well, come to-morrow afternoon."

"Yes, do," said Delight, staying her tears, as they seemed to do no good.

"I'll see about it," said Midget, a little bewildered by these emotional
people. "I'd like to come."

She said her good-byes, and flew across the street to her own home.

She flung to the front door behind her, with what was _almost_ a bang,
and then throwing her coat and hat on the hall rack, she burst into the
living-room, where Mrs. Maynard was sitting with Rosy Posy in her lap.

"Marjorie," her mother said, as she observed the impulsive child, "you
are just a shade too noisy. Will you kindly go back to the hall, and try
to enter this room in a manner more becoming to a lady and a Maynard?"

"I will, indeed, Mother. And you're quite right; I was awful racketty."

Marjorie returned to the hall, and then came in with graceful, mincing
steps, purposely overdoing the scene. She paused in front of her mother
dropped an elaborate curtsey, and holding out her hand daintily, said:

"Good-evening, Mrs. Maynard; are you at home?"

"I am, you silly child," said her mother, kissing her affectionately,
"and overdone manners are much better than no manners at all."

"Yes'm; and what do you think, Mother? I've been over to see Delight

"You have? Why, I meant to take you when I go to call. How did you happen
to go?"

So Marjorie told the story of the telephoning, adding: "And you know,
Mother, you always used to let me go to Gladys's without asking you, so I
went. Wasn't it all right?"

Marjorie looked so disturbed that Mrs. Maynard smiled, and said:

"Why, I suppose there's no harm done,--since the little girl asked you to

Marjorie looked greatly relieved. "Well," she said, "Mrs. Spencer thought
it was awful for me to go without asking you,--and then,--she wanted me
to stay after five o'clock, and was madder 'n hops 'cause I didn't!"

"What a remarkable lady! But I can judge better if you tell me the whole

So Marjorie told all about the afternoon, and Mrs. Maynard was greatly

"Not exactly stuck-up, is she, Midget?" said King, who had come in during
the recital.

"No," owned up Marjorie. "I was mistaken about that; and I think I'd like
her a lot, if she wasn't the crying kind. I do hate cry babies."

"Ho! You wept oceans when Glad went away."

"Yes," retorted Marjorie, unabashed, "but that's very different. I don't
burst into weeps just because a next-door neighbor is going home!"

"'Deed you don't, old girl! You're a brick, and I was a meany to say what
I did. But perhaps Delight doesn't cry so much when she's well."

"She's never well. I mean she's delicate and frail and always having
colds and things."

"Pooh, a nice sort of girl for you to play with! You're as hardy as an

"I know it. We all are."

"She probably stays in the house too much," said Mrs. Maynard. "If you
children can persuade her to go out of doors and romp with you, she'll
soon get stronger."

"She says she hates to romp," observed Marjorie.

"Then I give her up!" cried King. "No stay-in-the-house girls for me.
Say, what do you think, Mops! A straw-ride to-morrow afternoon! Mr. Adams
is going to take a big sleigh-load of us! Isn't that gay!"

"Fine!" cried Marjorie, the delicate Delight quite forgotten for the
moment, "tell me all about it!"



"Then, mother," said Marjorie, as she started for school next morning,
"you'll call on Mrs. Spencer this morning and ask her to let Delight go
on the straw-ride with us this afternoon. Will you, Mother, will you?"

"Yes, my Midget, I told you I would. But I doubt if she'll let the little
girl go."

"So do I, but you coax her. Good-bye, Mother."

With a kiss and a squeeze, Marjorie was off, swinging a strap-full of
books till they all tumbled on the ground, and then picking them up

"I'll help you, Mops," said King, who had followed her down the path.
"What a tumble-bug you are!"

"Yes, I am. Say, King, do you believe Delight will go with us?"

"Don't know and don't care. She's a Flossy Flouncy, anyway. Too dressy
and fiddle-de-dee for me!"

"Oh, you don't know her. I think she's going to be real nice."

"All right. You can have her. Hi! there's Bunny Black; let's run."

Run they did, and Marjorie flew over the ground quite as fast as Kingdon

"Hey, Bunny, wait a minute!" So Bunny waited, and then all three trudged
on to school; Marjorie in the middle, while they talked over the fun of
the coming sleigh-ride.

Mr. Adams, who was the father of Dorothy, Kitty's chum, took the young
people on a straw-ride every winter, if the sleighing happened to be
good just at the right time.

The trip was always made out to Ash Grove, the pleasant farm home of Mr.
Adams' aunt, and the old lady heartily welcomed the crowd of laughing
children that invaded her quiet abode.

After school, Marjorie and King and Kitty ran home to eat a hearty
luncheon, and get ready for the great event.

It was a perfect winter day; crisp, clear air, bright sunshine, fine
sleighing, and no wind.

"Mothery," called Marjorie, as she entered the house, "where are you?"

"Here I am, dear, in the library. Don't come a like a whirlwind."

"No'm. I'll come in like a gentle summer breeze," and Midget tripped
lightly in, waving her skirts as she side-stepped, and greeting her
mother with a low bow.

"What about Delight?" she asked, at once, "can she go?"

"Yes, she's going," answered Mrs. Maynard, "but I don't think her mother
wants her to go very much. I went over there this morning, and after
making my call on the lady, I delivered the invitation for the daughter.
Delight was most anxious to go, and coaxed her mother so hard, that Mrs.
Spencer finally said yes, though I'm sure it was against her will."

"Is Delight's cold well?"

"I think so, or her mother wouldn't let her go. She'll be more or less in
your charge, Marjorie, so do look after her, and don't be thoughtless and

"How do you like Mrs. Spencer, Mother?"

"She's a very pleasant lady, my dear, and Delight is a beautiful child."

"Yes, isn't she pretty! I'm so glad she's going with us."

The straw-ride was of the real old-fashioned sort.

A big box-sleigh, well filled with clean straw, and with plenty of warm
robes, made a cosy nest for a dozen laughing children.

Except for Delight, the Maynards were the last ones to be picked up, and
when the jingling sleigh-bells and the chorus of voices was heard, they
ran out and were gaily greeted by the others.

"Hop in, Kitty; here, I'll help you. In you go, Midget!" and genial Mr.
Adams jumped the girls in, while King climbed over the side by himself.
Then Mr. Adams went back to his seat beside the driver, and they crossed
the street to call for Delight.

She was watching at the window, and came out as the sleigh drove up.

She was so bundled up in wraps and scarfs and veils, that they could
scarcely see her face at all, but Marjorie introduced her to the others,
and then Delight cuddled down in the straw close to Marjorie's side.

"Isn't it strange?" she whispered. "I never saw a sleigh before without
seats in it. Won't we fall out?"

"No, indeed!" answered King, heartily; "that's just what we won't do.
Unless when we strike a bump."

Just then they did "strike a bump," and Delight was almost frightened at
the jounce she received.

"Oh," she exclaimed, "it--it takes your breath away,--but--but I think
it's very nice."

"Plucky girl!" said King, and as that was the highest compliment he could
pay a girl, Marjorie felt a thrill of pleasure that King was going to
like Delight after all.

"I think you'd like it better without that awful thick veil over your
face," King went on. "You can't see the snow through that, can you?"

"No, I can't," said Delight, and she pulled off her veil, leaving her
roseleaf face, with its crown of golden curls exposed to view. A hood of
white swansdown was tied under her chin with white ribbons, and her
smile, though shy, was very sweet.

"That's better!" cried King, approvingly. "Now we can see what you say.

King blew a sudden blast on a tin horn which he drew from his pocket, and
as all the boys in the sleigh, and some of the girls did the same, the
noise was deafening.

Delight looked startled, and no wonder, but Marjorie reassured her by

"Don't let that scare you. It's the signal that we've crossed the city
limits. They always toot when we cross the line. I don't, 'cause I hate
to blow a horn, and anyway, there's noise enough without me."

"I should say there was!" said Delight, for the boys were still tooting
now and then, and there was gay laughter and shouting.

"Haven't you ever been on a straw-ride before?" asked Ethel Frost, who
sat the other side of Delight.

"No, I never have. I've always lived in the city."

"Stuck-up!" thought Ethel, but she said nothing. It was a peculiar but
deep-seated notion among the Rockwell children, that any one from the
city would look down on them and their simple pleasures, and they
foolishly, but none the less strongly resented it.

And so, poor Delight had unwittingly said the worst thing she could say
by way of her own introduction.

"Do you like the city best?" said Harry Frost, who sat opposite the

"I don't know yet," said Delight, honestly; "it's all so different here."

This was not helping matters, and Harry only said "Huh!" and turned to
talk to King.

Ethel, too, seemed uninterested in the city girl, and as Marjorie felt
herself, in a way, responsible for the little stranger, she spoke up,

"Of course she can't tell yet, but of course she will like Rockwell as
soon as she gets more used to it, and if she doesn't like the Rockwell
boys and girls, it'll be their own fault. So there, now!"

"I do like them," said Delight, with her shy little smile; "and I think I
can get used to those awful horns that they blow."

"Good for you, Flossy Flouncy!" cried King, and the nickname so suited
the pretty, dainty little girl, that it clung to her ever after.

But though she tried, Delight couldn't seem to adopt the ways of
the other children. They were a hearty, rollicking crowd, full of
good-natured chaff, and boisterous nonsense, and Delight, who had
lived much alone, was bewildered at their noise and fun.

But she slipped her hand from her pretty white muff, and tucked it into
Marjorie's, who gave her a squeeze that meant sympathy and encouragement.

Midget was beginning to realize that the more she saw of Delight, the
better she liked her. And the brave way in which the little girl met the
coolness and indifference that were shown her, roused Marjorie's sense of
justice, and she at once began to stand up for her.

And when Marjorie Maynard stood up for anybody, it meant a great deal to
the youthful population of Rockwell. For Midget was a general favorite,
and since Gladys was gone there were several girls who would gladly have
stepped into her place in Marjorie's affections. They had begged to share
her desk at school, but Midget didn't want any one to do that, so she
still sat alone each day.

And now, she had this new girl under her wing, and she was beginning to
make it felt that she was Delight's champion, and the others could act

"Do you like coasting?" said Ethel Frost, as they passed a fine hill
dotted with boys and girls and sleds.

"Yes, I love it!" replied Delight, her blue eyes sparkling as she watched
the sleds fly downhill.

"Why, Flossy Flouncy!" cried King; "you couldn't go coasting! I don't
believe you've ever tried it!"

"I never did but once," said Delight, "and then the hill wasn't very
good, but it was fun. I'd love to go on a hill like that."

"Would your mother let you?" said Marjorie doubtfully.

"No, I don't believe she would. But I'd coax her till she had to."

"That's right," said King. "We'll go to-morrow, and then you'll see what
real coasting is."

It was not a very long ride to their destination, and at last the sleigh
turned in at a farm entrance and passed through a long winding avenue of
trees to the house.

It was an old yellow farmhouse, big and capacious, and in the doorway
stood a smiling-faced little old lady awaiting them.

This was Miss Adams, Dorothy's grand-aunt, and called Auntie Adams by all
the children who visited her. They all tumbled out of the sleigh, and ran
laughing into the house.

Each was greeted by Miss Adams, and cries of "Where's Ponto?" and "Oh,
here's Polly!" and "Hello, Tabby," were heard.

"This is Delight Spencer," said Marjorie, as she presented her to Miss
Adams; "she's a new friend of mine, and Mr. Adams said I might bring

"I'm very glad to see you, my dear," said Miss Adams, kissing the wistful
little face; "you are welcome to the old farm."

"I've never seen a farmhouse before," said Delight, as she glanced round
at the old mahogany furniture and brass candlesticks shining in the
firelight from the big fireplace; "and, oh, isn't it beautiful!"

Miss Adams was much pleased at this honest compliment to her old home,
and she patted Delight's shoulder, as she said: "I'm sure we shall be
great friends, you and I. Run away now, with Marjorie, and lay off your
wraps in the north bedroom."

The girls went up the short turning staircase, and into a quaint
old-fashioned bedroom, with four-poster bed, chintz hangings, and fine
old carved furniture.

"Isn't it strange?" said Delight, looking about. "I suppose the ladies
who used to live here are dead and gone. I mean, the old ancestors of
Miss Adams. Let's play we're them, Marjorie. You be Priscilla and I'll be

"Not very pretty names," said Midget, doubtfully.

"Oh, yes, they are. I'll call you Prissy and you call me Abby. I'll be
knitting, and you can be spinning on that spinning-wheel."

The others had gone downstairs, but forgetting all about them, Delight
sat herself stiffly in one of the high-backed old chairs, and knitted
industriously, with invisible yarn and only her own slender little
fingers for needles.

Always ready for make-believe play Marjorie sat at the
spinning-wheel,--on the wrong side, to be sure, but that didn't matter.

"Are you going to the ball at Squire Harding's?" said Delight, in a prim

"Yes, that I am," said Marjorie. "Half the county will be there. I shall
wear my blue brocade, with collar of pearls."

"How fair thou wilt look! I have but my crimson taffeta turned and made
over. But I have a new wimple."

"What is a wimple, Delight?"

"I don't know exactly, but they wore them once. We're not sisters you
know, I'm just calling on you; I'm quite poor. Ah, Prissy, I would I
could achieve a new gown for the ball. My lady Calvert will be there, and
she is of the quality, forsooth."

"Aye, Abby, but thou art more beautiful in thy ragged garb, than she in
her stiff satins."

"Sayest thou so? Thou dost but flatter. But among all my noble ancestors,
the Adamses, there was never a woman aught but fair; or a man aught but

Delight said this in a high, stilted voice, and as she sat primly in the
straight-backed old chair, knitting away at nothing, she presented a
funny, attractive little picture.

Miss Adams, who had come in search of the girls, paused at the door, and
heard Delight's words.

"You dear child!" she cried; "you dramatic small person! What are you two

"We fell to playing, Miss Adams," said Marjorie, "and we forgot to go

"We couldn't help it," supplemented Delight. "This old room and dear old
furniture just made me think I really was a Colonial Dame, so we played
we were."

"You're a treasure!" said Miss Adams, clasping Delight in her arms. "As
for Midget, here, she's always been my treasure, too. I think some day
you two little girls must come and visit me, all by yourselves, will

"Yes, indeed we will."

"But now, come downstairs, and join the games down there."

Down they went, and found the gay party playing Fox and Geese.

Marjorie was an adaptable nature, and equally well pleased with any game,
so she flung herself into the circle, and ran about as gaily as any one.
But Delight shrank away from the frolic, and asked to be allowed to look

"No, indeed, Flossy Flouncy!" cried Harry Frost. "You must play our
games, if you want us to like you. Come on, we won't hurt you."

"Come on in, the water's fine!" called King, and Delight reluctantly took
the place assigned her.

She tried to do as the others did, but long practice had made them alert
and skillful, while she was inexperienced at such sports. She became
bewildered at the quick changes of position, and as a result was soon
caught, and had to be the "Fox."

Then the situation was hopeless, for it was impossible for Delight to
catch any of the quick-witted and quick-moving "geese," who darted in and
out, tapping her shoulder, when she should have tapped theirs, and
teasing her for being slow.

They were not intentionally rude, these gay-spirited young people, but a
girl who couldn't play Fox and Geese seemed to them a justifiable butt
for ridicule. Determined to succeed, Delight ran from one to another,
arriving just too late every time. The unfamiliar exercise wearied her,
her cheeks glowed pink with mortification at her repeated failures, and
her breath came quickly, but she was plucky and kept up her brave

Kingdon saw this, and admired the spirit she showed.

"Look here, Flossy Flouncy," he said, not unkindly, "you've been Fox long
enough; now I'll be Fox, and you sit down on the sofa and get rested."

Delight looked at him gratefully, and without a word she went and sat on
the sofa and Miss Adams came and sat by her and put her arm round the
trembling child. Soon after this, the game was stopped because supper was

Delight sat between Marjorie and King, and though she ate but little she
enjoyed seeing the delicious country viands that were served.

Little chicken pies, a whole one to each person; flaky biscuits, and
golden butter; home-made ice cream and many sorts of home-made cakes and
jellies and preserves. The hungry children disposed of an enormous
quantity of these pleasant things, but Miss Adams was not surprised at
their appetites, for this was an annual experience with her.

After supper, they sang songs. Miss Adams sat at her old-fashioned square
piano, and played some well-known songs in which they all joined.

"I heard a song on a phonograph, the other day," said Harry Frost; "it
was about a bonnie lassie. Do you know that, Miss Adams?"

"No, dear boy, I don't. I'm sorry. Can't you sing it without the piano?"

"No, I don't know it. But I'd like to hear it again."

"I know it," said Delight, timidly. "If you want me to, I'll sing it."

She looked so shy and sweet, that there was nothing forward about her
offer, merely a desire to please.

"Do, my dear," said Miss Adams, giving her place to the child.

Delight sat down at the piano, and striking a few chords, began: "I know
a lassie, a bonnie, bonnie lassie," and sang it through in a sweet,
childish voice.

"That's it!" cried Harry, as she finished. "Jiminy! but you're a singer,
all right."

There was much applause, and requests for more songs, but Delight,
overcome by attracting so much attention, turned bashful again and
couldn't be persuaded to sing any more.

However, it was time to go home, so they all bundled into their wraps
again, and clambered into the sleigh.

Delight was quiet all the way home, and sat with her hand clasped close
in Marjorie's.

"Good-night," she whispered, as she got out at her own house.
"Good-night, Marjorie dear. I thank you for a pleasant time, but I don't
believe I want to go again."

"Oh, yes, you will," Marjorie whispered back. "Don't be so easily



"Now, what do you think of a girl like that?" Marjorie exclaimed, as she
finished a description of Delight's behavior on the straw-ride.

"I think she's a little lady," said Mr. Maynard, with a twinkle of
amusement in his eye, "and she was pretty well frightened by the noisy
fun of the Rockwell young people."

"But, Father," said King, "we didn't do anything wrong, or even rude, but
of course, you can't go on a straw-ride and sit as still as if you were
in church, can you?"

"No," said Mrs. Maynard, taking up King's cause; "children are meant to
be noisy, especially on a sleighing party. But I wouldn't worry about the
little Spencer girl. If she continues to live here, she can't help doing
as you young Romans do, after a time."

"Ho!" cried King. "Imagine Flossy Flouncy tumbling around like our
Midget. Hi, there, sister, you're it!"

King clapped Marjorie on the back and then ran around the dining-table,
from which they had all just risen.

"Kit's it!" cried Marjorie, clapping Kitty in turn.

"Nope, I had my fingers crossed," said Kitty, exhibiting her twisted
digits, and calmly walking out of the room, her arm through her father's.

"All right, I'll catch you, King," and Marjorie made a dive for him.

He was wary, and just as she nearly touched him, he stooped and slid
under the table. After him went Midget, and of course, scrambled under
just as King dodged up on the other side.

Out came Marjorie, flying after King, who raced up the front stairs and
down the back ones, landing in the kitchen with a wild shriek of, "Hide
me, Ellen, she's after me!"

"Arrah, ye bletherin' childher!" cried Ellen, "ye're enough to set a
saint crhazy wid yer rally poosin'! In there wid ye, now!"

The good-natured Irishwoman pushed King in a small cupboard, and stood
with her back against the door.

"What'll ye have, Miss Marjorie?" she said, as Midget rushed in half a
minute later.

"Where's King?" asked Marjorie, breathless and panting.

"Masther King, is it? I expict he's sthudyin' his schoolbooks like the
little gintleman he is. Shkip out, now, Miss Marjorie, dear, I must be
doin' me work."

"All right, Ellen, go on and do it. Go on now, why don't you? Why don't
you, Ellen? Do you have to stand against that door to keep it shut?"

"Yes, Miss, the,--the lock is broke, sure."

"Oh, is it? Well, you go on to your work, and I'll hold the door shut for
a while."

"Och, I cuddent think of throublin' ye, Miss. Run on, now, happen yer
mother is wantin' ye."

"Happen she isn't. Scoot, Ellen, and give me a chance at that door."

Unable to resist Midget's wheedling glance, the big Irishwoman moved away
from the door, and Marjorie threw it open, and disclosed King, calmly
sitting on a flour barrel.

As he was fairly caught, the game was over, and the two, with intertwined
arms rejoined the family.

"Good race?" said Mr. Maynard, looking at the exhausted runners.

"Fine!" said Marjorie. "You see, Father, Delight has no brothers or
sisters, so how could she be very racketty? She couldn't play tag with
her mother or father, could she?"

"I think you'd play tag with the Pope of Rome, if you couldn't get any
one else."

"That would be rather fun," said Midget, laughing, "only I s'pose his
robes and things would trip him up. But I do believe he'd like it. I
don't 'spect he has much fun, anyway. Does he?"

"Not of that sort, probably. But, Midget mine, there are other sorts of
fun beside tearing up and down stairs like a wild Indian."

"Yes, and one sort is playing 'Authors'; come on, and have a game, will
you, Father?"

"I'll give you half an hour," said Mr. Maynard, looking at his watch.
"That's all I can spare for my wild Indians this evening."

"Goody!" cried Midget, "half an hour is quite a lot. Come on, King and
Kit. Will you play, Mother?"

"Not now, I have some things I must attend to. I'll take Father's place
when his half-hour is up."

So they settled down to "Authors," which was one of their favorite games,
and of which they never tired. "Delight would like this," said Marjorie,
as she took a trick; "she's fond of quiet games. Mother, may I go over
to-morrow afternoon and make valentines with her?"

"Yes, if you like, dearie," replied Mrs. Maynard.

"May I go, too?" said Kitty.

"No, Kitty, I want you at home to-morrow. The seamstress will be cutting
your new frock, and you must be here to try it on when she wants you."

"All right, Mother. May I ask Dorothy here, then?"

"Yes, if you like. But you must stay in the house."

"Yes'm, we will."

The Maynards were obedient children, and though sometimes disappointed,
never demurred at their parents' decrees. They had long ago learned that
such demurring would do no good, and that to obey pleasantly made things
pleasanter all round.

After luncheon the next day, Marjorie got ready to go to spend the
afternoon with Delight.

She wore her new plaid dress trimmed with black velvet and gilt buttons,
and as red was the prevailing color in the plaid, her dark curls were
tied up with a big red bow.

Very pretty she looked as she came for her mother's inspection.

"Am I all right, Mother?"

"Yes, Midget mine; you look as spick and span as a nice little Queen of
Sheba. Now don't slide down the banisters, or do anything hoydenish. Try
to behave more as Delight does."

"Oh, I'm bound to be good over there. And making valentines is nice,
quiet work. May I stay till six, Mother?"

"No, come home at half-past five. That's late enough for little Queens of
Sheba to stay away from their mothers."

"All right, I'll skip at five-thirty. Good-bye, Mothery dearie."

With a kiss and a squeeze Marjorie was off, and Mrs. Maynard watched her
from the window, until she disappeared through the Spencers' doorway.

"I'm so glad to see you!" said Delight, as Marjorie came dancing into her
room. "Everything's all ready. You sit over there."

So Midget sat down opposite her friend at a long, low table, on which
were all the valentine materials laid out in readiness.

"What beautiful things," cried Midget; "but I don't know how to make

"I'll show you. It's awfully easy, and lots of fun."

It was easy for Delight. Her deft little fingers pinched up bits of
tissue paper into charming little rosebuds or forget-me-nots, and her
dainty taste chose lovely color combinations.

Marjorie's quick wits soon caught the idea, and though not quite so
nimble-fingered as Delight, she soon showed an inventive originality that
devised novel ideas.

Sometimes they only took the round or square lace papers, and mounted
them on cards, and added little scrap pictures of doves or cupids or

Then some of them were quite different. Delight cut a heart-shaped piece
of cardboard, and round the edge dabbled an irregular border of gold
paint. The inside she tinted pink all over, and on it wrote a loving
little verse in gilt letters.

This, though simple, was such a pretty card, that Marjorie made one like
it, adding a garland of roses across it, which made it prettier still.

Then they made pretty ones of three panel cards. To do this they took an
oblong card, and cut it half through with a penknife in such a way that
it divided the card into three parts, the outside two shutting over the
middle one like window blinds over a window.

The card would stand up like a screen, and they decorated each panel with
posies and verses.

"What are you going to do with all these valentines?" asked Midget, as
they were busily working away at them.

"Half are yours," said Delight, "and half are mine. We can each send them
wherever we please. Of course I'll send most of mine to friends in New
York; I haven't any friends here."

"Indeed you have!" cried Midget. "Don't be silly. You've three Maynard
friends, to begin with; and all the boys and girls are your friends, only
you don't know them yet. I'll tell you what to do. You send valentines to
all the Rockwell children,--I mean all our crowd, and they'll just love
'em. Will you?"

"Why, yes, if you think I can when I don't know them very well. I can
easily make enough for them and my New York set too."

"Yes, do; I'll help you, if I get mine done first. And anyway, it's 'most
two weeks before Valentine's day."

"Oh, there's plenty of time. Look, isn't this a pretty one?"

Delight held up a card on which she had painted with her water colors a
clouded blue sky effect. And on it, in a regular flight, she had pasted
tiny birds that she found among the scrap pictures.

"Lovely!" said Midget; "you ought to have a verse about birds on it."

"I don't know any verse about birds, do you?"

"No; let's make one up."

"Yes, we could do that. It ought to go some-thing like this: 'The
swallows tell that Spring is here, so flies my heart to you, my dear.'"

"Yes, that's nice and valentiny,--but it isn't Spring in February."

"No, but that's poetic. Valentines have to be love-poems, and Spring is
'most always in a love-poem."

"Yes, I s'pose it is. I'd like to do some funny ones. I'm not much good
at sentimental poetry. I guess I'll do one for King. Here's a picture of
a bird carrying a ring in its beak. Ring rhymes with King, you know."

"Oh, yes, make one of those limerick things: 'There was a young fellow
named King,--'"

"That's the kind I mean. Write that down while I paste. Then write: 'Who
sent to his lady a ring.' Now what next?"

"Something like this: 'He said, "Sweet Valentine, I pray you be mine."
And she answered him, "No such a thing!"'"

"Oh, that's a good one. Do send that to your brother. But it hasn't much
sense to it."

"No, they never have. Now, I'll make one for Kit: 'There was a dear
girlie named Kit, who was having a horrible fit.'"

"That isn't a bit valentiny."

"No, I know it. This is a funny one. We'll make her another pretty one.
'When they said, "Are you better?" she wrote them a letter in which she
replied, "Not a bit!"'"

"I think that's sort of silly," said Delight, looking at the rhymes she
had written at Midget's dictation.

"Yes, I know it is," returned Marjorie, cheerfully. "It's nonsense, and
that's 'most always silly. But Kit loves it, and so do I. We make up
awful silly rhymes sometimes. You don't know Kitty very well yet, do you?
She's only ten, but she plays pretend games lovely. Better'n I do. She
has such gorgeous language. I don't know where she gets it."

"It comes," said Delight, with a far-away look in her eyes. "I have it
too. You can't remember that you've ever heard it anywhere; the words
just come of themselves."

"But you must have heard them, or read them," said practical Midget.

"Yes, I suppose so. But it doesn't seem like memory. It's just as if you
had always known them. Sometimes I pretend all to myself. And I'm a

"I knew you would be! Kit said so too. She likes to be a princess. But I
like to be a queen. You might as well be, you know, when you're just

"Yes, you'd be a splendid queen. You're so big and strong. But I like to
be a princess, and 'most always I'm captive, in a tower, waiting for
somebody to rescue me."

"Come on, let's play it now," said Marjorie, jumping up. "I'm tired of
pasting things, and we can finish these some other day. You be a captive
princess, and I'll be a brave knight coming to rescue you."

But just then Mrs. Spencer appeared, carrying a tray on which were
glasses of milk, crackers, and dear little cakes, and the two girls
concluded they would postpone their princess play till a little later.

"I'm so bothered," said Mrs. Spencer, in her tired, plaintive voice, as
she sat down with the children; "I cannot get good servants to stay with
me here. I had no trouble in the city at all. Does your mother have good
servants, Marjorie?"

"Yes, Mrs. Spencer, I think so. They're the ones we've always had."

"Well, mine wouldn't come with me from the city, so I had to get some
here. And the cook has a small child, and to-day he's ill,--really quite
ill,--and the waitress is helping the cook, and so I had to bring up this
tray myself."

"Can't I help you in some way, Mrs. Spencer?" asked Marjorie,
impulsively. It was her nature to be helpful, though it would never have
occurred to Delight to make such an offer.

"No, dear child; there's nothing you could do. But the doctor is down
there now, to see the little one, and I fear if the child is very ill,
cook will have to leave, and what to do then, I don't know."

"Perhaps the child is only a little sick," said Midge, who wanted to be
comforting, but did not know quite what to say to comfort a grown-up

"We'll soon know, after the doctor makes his decision," said Mrs.
Spencer. "Oh, that's Maggie crying. I'm afraid it's a bad case."

Sure enough, sounds of loud sobbing could be heard from the direction of
the kitchen, and Mrs. Spencer hurried away to learn what had happened.

"It must be awful," said Marjorie, "to be a cook and have your little boy
ill, and no time to attend to him, because you have to cook for other

Delight stared at her.

"I think the awful part," she said, "is to have your cook's baby get ill,
so she can't cook your dinner."

"Delight, that is selfish, and I don't think you ought to talk so."

"I don't think it's selfish to want the services of your own servants.
That's what you have them for,--to cook and work for you. They oughtn't
to let their little boys get sick."

"I don't suppose they do it on purpose," said Midge, half laughing and
half serious; "but I'm sorry for your cook anyway."

"_I'm_ sorry for _us_! But, gracious, Marjorie, hear her cry! The little
boy must be awfully sick!"

"Yes, indeed! She's just screaming! Shall we go down?"

"No, I'm sure mother wouldn't like us to. But I don't feel like playing
princess, do you?"

"No, not while she screams like that. There goes the doctor away."

From the window, the girls saw the doctor hasten down the path, jump into
his electric runabout, and whiz rapidly away.

They could still hear sobbing from the kitchen, and now and then the
moans of the baby.

At last, Mary, the waitress, came to take the tray away.

"What is the matter with Maggie's little boy, Mary?" asked Delight.

"He's sick, Miss Delight."

"But why does Maggie scream so?"

"It's near crazy she is, fearin' he'll die."

"Oh," said Marjorie, "is he as bad as that! What's the matter with him,

"He,--he has a cold, Miss."

"But babies don't die of a cold! Is that all that ails him?"

"He has,--he has a fever, Miss."

"A high fever, I s'pose. Rosy Posy had that when she had croup. Is it
croup, Mary?"

"No, Miss,--I don't know, Miss, oh, don't be askin' me!"

With a flurried gesture, Mary took the tray and left the room.

"It's very queer," said Delight, "they're making an awful fuss over a
sick baby. Here's the doctor back again, and another man with him."

The two men came in quickly, and Mrs. Spencer met them at the front door.
They held a rapid consultation, and then the doctor went to the telephone
and called up several different people to whom he talked one after

And then Mrs. Spencer went to the telephone.

"Oh," said Delight, looking at Marjorie with startled eyes, "she's
calling up father in New York. It must be something awful!"



It _was_ something awful. The doctor diagnosed the child's case as
diphtheria, and proceeded at once to take the steps ordered by the Board
of Health in such cases.

Mrs. Spencer wanted to send the little one to the hospital, but Doctor
Mendel said that would not be allowed. So the house was to be
disinfected, and a strict quarantine maintained until all danger should
be past.

"The woman and her child must be put in certain rooms, and not allowed
to leave them," said the doctor; "and no one in the house must go out of
it, and no one out of it may come in."

"What!" cried Mrs. Spencer, in dismay, thinking of Marjorie. And Marjorie
and Delight, unable to keep away any longer, came into the room just in
time to hear the doctor's statement.

"What's the matter, mother?" cried Delight. "Tell me about it! Is
Maggie's little boy going away?"

"You tell her, Doctor Mendel," said Mrs. Spencer; I can't."

"Why, Marjorie Maynard?" exclaimed the doctor, "are you here? Well, this
is a pretty kettle of fish!"

Although the Spencers had never seen Doctor Mendel before, he was the
Maynards' family physician, and he realized at once the great misfortune
of Marjorie's presence in the infected house.

"Yes, I'm here," said Midget; "can't I go home?"

"No, child," said Doctor Mendel, gravely; "you cannot leave this house
until all danger of infection is over. That will be two weeks at least,
and perhaps more."

"And can't Mr. Spencer come home?" asked Mrs. Spencer.

"No; unless he stays here after he comes in. He can not go back and forth
to New York every day."

Mrs. Spencer looked utterly bewildered. Accustomed to depend upon her
husband in any emergency, she felt quite unable to meet this situation.

"And there is danger of these two girls having diphtheria?" she said, in
a scared voice, as if anxious to know the worst at once.

"There is grave danger, Mrs. Spencer, for all in the house. But we will
hope by careful treatment to avoid that. The quarantine, however, is
imperative. You must not let your servants or your family go out into the
street, nor must you allow any one except myself to come in."

"Oh, Doctor Mendel," cried Marjorie, "how can I see Mother?"

"You can't see her. I'm sorry, Marjorie, but you simply can not go home,
nor can she come here."

"And I'll have to have diphtheria, and die, without seeing her at all!"

"Tut, tut! You're not going to have diphtheria, I hope. These precautions
are necessary, because of the law, but you're by no means sure to take
the disease."

"Delight will," said Mrs. Spencer, in a hopeless tone. "She's so
delicate, and so subject to throat affections. Oh, how can I stand all
this without any one to help me? Can't I have a trained nurse?"

Doctor Mendel almost laughed at the lady's request.

"Of course you may, as soon as there's a patient for her to take care of.
But you surely don't want one when there's no illness in this part of the

"Why, so there isn't!" said Mrs. Spencer, looking greatly relieved. "I'm
so bewildered I felt that these two children were already down with

"It's a very trying situation," went on Doctor Mendel, looking kindly at
Mrs. Spencer. "For I do not see how your husband can come home, if he
wants to continue at his business. And surely, there's no use of his
coming home, so long as there's no illness in your immediate family. He
would better stay in New York."

"Oh, not in New York," cried Mrs. Spencer. "He can come to Rockwell every
night, and stay at the hotel or some place."

"Yes, that would be better; then you can telephone often."

"And I can telephone to Mother!" said Midget, who was beginning to see a
brighter side.

"Yes, of course," agreed the doctor. "I'll go there, and tell her all
about it."

"_Won't_ she be surprised!"

"Yes, I fancy she will! Do you want her to send you some clothes?"

"Why, yes; I s'pose so. I never thought of that! Oh, I'd rather go home!"

The bright side suddenly faded, and Midget's curly head went down in her
arm, and she shook with sobs. A vision of home, and the dear family
around the dinner-table, while she was exiled in a strange house, was too
much for her.

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest