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Patten, William / The Junior Classics — Volume 6 Old-Fashioned Tales
There were ten of these last,
and the ten always needed something. Gerty White, the doctor's
daughter, was twelve years old; she had three brothers: Tom, John, and
Harry, all older than she was. Mrs. Rutledge, who had been Annie
Grant, was a widow with three daughters--Sylvia, Amelia, and Anne,
these latter two now out in society and always glad of new dresses,
gloves, bonnets, ribbons, lace, and the thousand small fineries girls
never have to their full satisfaction. There were Thomas Grant's two
girls of thirteen and fifteen, Rosamond and Kate, and his little boy
Hal, crippled in his babyhood so that he must always go on crutches,
but as bright and happy as Grandma herself, and her prime favorite.

Now it was Grandma's way to draw her money out of the bank two weeks
before Christmas, and go into Boston with Mrs. White to buy all the
things she had previously thought over for these ten and their
parents; and one winter she had made herself all ready to take the
ten-o'clock train, and had just taken her pocket-book out of the
drawer when she was called down-stairs to see a poor woman who had
come begging for some clothes for her husband.

"Come right upstairs, Mrs. Slack," said Grandma. "I don't have many
applications for men's things, so I guess there's a coat of Mr.
Grant's put away in the camphor chest, and maybe a vest or so; you sit
right down by my fire whilst I go up to the garret and look."

It took Grandma some time to find the clothes under all the shawls and
blankets in the chest, and when she had given them to Mrs. Slack she
had to hurry to the station with her daughter, and the cars being on
the track they did not stop to get tickets, but were barely in time to
find seats when the train rolled off. The conductor came round in a
few minutes and Grandma put her hand in her pocket, suddenly turned
pale, opened her big satchel and turned out all its contents, stood up
and shook her dress, looked on the floor, and when Mrs. White said in
amazement, "What _is_ the matter, mother?" she answered curtly, "I've
lost my pocket-book."

"Was it in your pocket?" asked Maria.

"Yes; at least I s'pose so: I certainly took it out of my drawer, for
I noticed how heavy 'twas; that new cashier gave me gold for most of
it, you see."

"You'd have known then if you dropped it on the way, mother."

"I should think so: any way, I can't go to Boston without it! We may
as well stop at the next station and go back."

So back they went; asked at the ticket office if any such thing had
been picked up on the platform, and leaving a description of it, went
rather forlornly back to the house. Here a terrible upturning of
everything took place; drawers were emptied, cupboards ransacked,
trunks explored, even the camphor chest examined to its depths, and
everything in it shaken out.

"You don't suspect Mrs. Slack?" inquired Maria.

"Sally Slack! no, indeed. I've known her thirty year, Maria; she's
honest as the daylight."

Still Maria thought it best to send for Mrs. Slack and inquire if she
had seen it when she was at the house.

"Certain, certain!" answered the good woman. "I see Mis' Grant hev it
into her hand when she went up charmber; I hedn't took no notice of it
before, but she spoke up an' says, says she, 'I'll go right up now,
Mis' Slack, for I'm in some of a hurry, bein' that I'm a goin' in the
cars to Bosstown for to buy our folkses' Christmas things;' so then I
took notice 't she hed a pocket-book into her hand."

This was valuable testimony, and Mrs. Slack's face of honest concern
and sympathy showed her innocence in the matter. Next day there was an
advertisement put in the paper, for the family concluded Grandma must
have dropped her money in the street going to the station, but the
advertisement proved as fruitless as the search, and for once in her
life the dear old lady was downcast enough.

"The first time I never gave 'em a thing on Christmas! I do feel real
downhearted about it, Maria. There's Annie's three girls lotted so on
their gloves an' nicknacks for parties this winter, for I was goin' to
give them gold pieces so's they could get what they wanted sort of
fresh when they _did_ want it; and poor Gerty's new cloak!"

"Oh, never mind that, mother. I can sponge and turn and fix over the
old one; a plush collar and cuffs will make it all right."

"But there's the boys. Tom did want that set of tools and a bench for
'em; and I reckoned on seeing Harry's eyes shine over a real
Newfoundland dog. That makes me think; won't you write to that man in
New York? I've changed my mind about the dog. And Jack can't go to
Thomas's now for vacation; oh dear!"

"_Don't_ worry, mother," said Maria; but Grandma went on:

"Kate and Rosy too, they won't get their seal muffs and caps, and dear
little Hal! how he will long for the books I promised him. It's real
trying, Maria!" and Grandma wiped a tear from her eyes, a most unusual
symptom.

But it was her way to make the best of things, and she sat down at
once to tell Thomas of her loss, and then put it out of her mind as
well as she might.

It spoke well for all those ten grandchildren that they each felt far
more sorry for Grandmother Grant's disappointment than their own, and
all resolved to give her a present much nicer and more expensive than
ever before, pinching a little on their other gifts to the end; and
because they had to spare from their own presents for this laudable
purpose, it was natural enough that not one should tell another what
they meant to send her, lest it should seem too extravagant in
proportion to what the rest of the family received. Christmas morning
the arrival began. The stocking of Grandpa's which Gerty had insisted
on hanging to the knob of Grandma's door was full, and when she came
down to breakfast she brought it with her still unsearched, that the
family might enjoy her surprise.

At the top a square parcel tied with blue ribbon was marked "from
Gerty," and proved to be a little velvet porte-monnaie.

"Dear child! how thoughtful!" said Grandma, giving her a kiss, and not
observing that the doctor looked funnily at Mrs. White across the
table.

The next package bore John's name and disclosed a pocket-book of
Russia leather.

"So useful!" said Grandma, with a twinkle of gratitude in her kind old
eyes.

Harry emitted a long low whistle, and his eyes shone as the next paper
parcel with his name on it showed an honest black leather pocket-book
with a steel clasp.

Grandma had to laugh. Doctor White roared, and Tom looked a little
rueful as his bundle produced another wallet as like to Harry's as two
peas in a pod:

"Dear boys!" said Grandma, shaking like a liberal bowl of jelly with
the laughter she tried to suppress in vain; but it was the boys' turn
to shout as further explorations into the foot of the old blue
stocking brought up a lovely seal-skin wallet from their mother, and
a voluminous yellow leather one from the doctor.

"Six souls with but a single thought;
Six hearts that beat as one;"

misquoted Mrs. Maria, and a chorus of laughter that almost rattled the
windows followed her. They were still holding their sides and bursting
out afresh every other minute, when little Sylvia Rutledge sailed into
the dining-room with a delicate basket in her hand.

"Merry Christmas!" said she, "but you seem to have it already."

The boys all rushed at once to explain.

"Wait a minute," said she, "till I have given Grandma her gifts," and
she produced successively from her basket four parcels.

Sylvia's held another velvet porte-monnaie; Annie's contained a second
of hand-painted kid, daisies on a black ground; and Amelia's was a
third pocket-book of gray canvas with Russia leather corners and
straps; while Mrs. Rutledge's tiny packet produced an old-fashioned
short purse, with steel fringe and clasp, which she had knit herself
for her mother.

How can words tell the laughter which hailed this repetition?

The boys rolled off their chairs and roared till their very sides
ached; tears streamed down Mrs. White's fair face; Grace gazed at the
presents with a look half rueful and half funny, while the doctor's
vigorous "haw! haw! haw!" could have been heard half a mile had it not
been happily the season of shut doors and windows, while Sylvia
herself perceiving the six pocket-books which had preceded her
basketful, appreciated the situation and laughed all the harder
because she was not tired with a previous fit of mirth, and Grandma
sat shaking and chuckling in her chair, out of breath to be sure, but
her face rosy and her eyes shining more than ever.

Suddenly a loud knock at the front door interrupted their laughter.
Tom ran to admit the intruder; it was the expressman with a box from
New York directed in uncle Tom's hand to Mrs. J. G. Grant.

"Something better than pocket-books this time, mother!" said the
doctor, as Tom ran for the screwdriver; but alas! the very first
bundle that rolled out and fell heavily to the floor, proved when
picked up to be indeed another pocket-book, cornered and clasped with
silver, and Grandma's initials on the clasp; beautiful as the gift was
it was thrust aside with a certain impatience, for the next package,
labelled "from Rosamond," but opened only to display the very
counterpart of Amelia's gift; and a paper box with Kate's script
outside held the recurrent pocket-book again in black velvet and gilt
corners, while a little carved white-wood box, the work of Hal's
patient fingers, showed within its lid a purse of silvered links which
had cost all his year's savings.

This was the last touch. Hitherto their curiosity as one thing was
displayed after another had kept them in a sort of bubbling quiet, but
this final development was too much; they laughed so loud and so long
that old Hannah, hurrying from the kitchen and opening the door to see
what was the matter, looked thunderstruck as she beheld the whole
family shaking, choking, rolling about or holding on to each other in
roars of sidesplitting laughter, while fourteen purses and pocket-books
made the breakfast table look like a fancy fair.

"I thought I heard a crackling of thorns, as scripter says," she
growled. "Be you a-going to set up a fancy store, Mis' White?"

"Bring in breakfast, Hannah," said the doctor, recovering himself.
"It's a melancholy truth that we can't eat pocket-books!"

For the satisfaction of the curious I must explain that the next May,
when a certain old clock on the landing of the garret stairs was taken
down to be put in order and made into a household god after the modern
rage for such things, right under it lay Grandma's pocket-book intact.

"Well, now I remember!" said the astonished old lady, who never did
remember where she had hidden anything till somebody else found it.

"I was goin' up to the chest to get out those things of husband's for
Sally Slack, and I thought I wouldn't leave my pocket-book in my room,
'twould be putting temptation in her way, which isn't really right if
a person is ever so honest; we're all frail as you may say when our
time comes, and I didn't have my cloak on to put it in the pocket, and
my under pocket was full, so I just slipped it under the clock case as
I went up, feeling certain sure I should remember it because I never
put it there before."

But the family voted that no harm had been done after all, for next
Christmas the Rutledge girls each had a lovely silk party dress from
the double fund; Gracie's cloak was mated by the prettiest hat and
muff; Tom had his wild desire for a bicycle fulfilled; Harry owned a
real gold watch which was far better than a dog; and Jack's ten gold
eagles took him in the spring to Niagara and down the St. Lawrence, a
journey never to be forgotten. Kate and Rosamond had their sealskin
caps with muffs, gloves and velvet skirts to correspond with and
supplement their last year's jackets; and Hal not only had his
precious books, but a bookcase for them, and the pocket-books were
redistributed among their givers; so that in the end good and not evil
came of Grandma's losing her Christmas pocket-book!




THE FLIGHT OF THE DOLLS

By Lucretia P. Hale


How could the heart of doll wish for anything more in such a
baby-house! It was fitted up in the most complete style; there were
coal-hods for all the grates, and gas-fixtures in the drawing-rooms,
and a register (which would not _rege_., however!), carpets on all the
floors, books on the centre-table; everything to make a sensible doll
comfortable. But they were not happy, these dolls, seven of them, not
counting the paper dolls. They were very discontented. They had always
been happy till the Spanish Doll had come among them, dressed in a
gypsy dress, yellow and black lace. But she had talked to them so much
about the world that all were anxious to go abroad and see it,
all,--from the large one that could open and shut her eyes, to the
littlest China that could not sit down.

So they set out, one clear night. The Spanish Doll had put a chip in
the play-room window that made it easier to open; and the Large Doll
had slept outside the baby-house, so she opened the doors and let out
the others. All stepped safely upon the piazza. Where should they go
first?

The first plan was for the lamb-pen, and they made for it directly.
The Spanish Doll walked through its slats; the Large Doll pushed in
the little ones, but when she came to go in herself, horrible to
say--she _stuck_! The Spanish Doll pulled, and the little dolls ran
out and pushed. No use!

If Angelica Maria could have seen her Large Doll now! But no, Angelica
Maria's head was asleep on its pillow; she little knew of the escape
of her dolls!

At last said the Large Doll, "Wake up the Lamb and tell him!" Which
they did, and he came and butted, till he butted the Large Doll out.
"It is no use," said the Large Doll, "we must try something else," and
the rest all came out of the pen. They went to the dovecote. The
Spanish Doll quickly climbed the ladder; so could the Large Doll. But
when she turned to help the little ones, her head was too heavy, and
she was not stiff enough to stoop. "We must try something else," said
she, and the Spanish Doll had to come down, scolding Spanish all the
way. Then they walked down the garden walk, all in a procession, the
Large Doll leading the way; they reached the arbor at the foot of the
garden. "Let us all sit in a row here," said the Large Doll. So they
got upon the seat, facing the door, running up a board that was laid
against the seat. Here they sat till the morning began to dawn.
Angelica Maria could have seen them now, but she was still fast asleep
on her pillow.

"This will never do," exclaimed the Large Doll, as soon as light came,
"for they can see us from the play room, our eyes all in a row." They
must hide during the day time, and start on their journey when night
should come again. But where should they go? They walked up and down
the green alleys. The scarlet poppies nodded to them sleepily, and the
roses put out a thorn or two, to get them to stop. The little China
would have been very tired, but a broad-backed Toad kindly offered to
carry her. If Angelica Maria could have seen them now!

"Let us speak to some of the animals," said the Large Doll, "and ask
where we shall hide."

"Not the Cat," said a middle-sized Doll, "for she makes up faces."

"Suppose we ask the birds," said the Large Doll, for they were just
waking up. The Spanish Doll soon made acquaintance with an Oriole, who
agreed to take her up to his nest for the day. It was just fitted up,
and Mrs. had not moved in. Fortunately the Spanish Doll was quite
slender, so the Oriole could lift her, and her dress matched his
feathers. The squirrels kindly took some of the others into their
nests under the beech-tree, and the Large Doll tucked the littlest
China into a fox-glove. "Where shall I go myself?" thought she. "There
is one comfort; if I want to go to sleep, I can shut my eyes, which
none of the rest can do wherever they are." So she walked round till
she came to a water-melon, with a three-cornered piece cut out. She
climbed up on a Rabbit's back, and looked in. A cat had eaten out the
inside. "This will do very well for me," said she, "and I feel like
having a nap by this time, if only somebody would pull my wire!" The
Rabbit knew of a dragon-fly who was strong in his feelers; but the
Large Doll had an objection to dragon-flies, so she flung herself in
with a jounce, and that closed her eyes. The Rabbit tucked in her
skirts, and there she was.

Could Angelica Maria have seen them now! Some hidden among the low
branches of the spruces, where the robins had invited them; some still
chatting in the bushes, with the jays; the Spanish Doll swinging in
the Oriole's nest, way up in the elm. That was life!

But Angelica Maria was calmly eating her breakfast. A friend had
invited her to a picnic for the day, so, instead of thinking of her
dolls she was planning what she should carry.

One thought she did give to her Large Doll. She wished to take her to
the picnic. But, of course, she could not be found! If the Large Doll
had only known, how she would have regretted that she had run away!
For she was fond of picnics, and now she was sleeping in this damp
melon!

But she knew nothing of it till the Spanish Doll came to wake her, and
tell her that all the family had gone away for the day. Far up in the
Oriole's nest in the elm tree, the Spanish Doll had seen them go. Now,
if ever, was the time for fun. So the Large Doll came out of her
melon, jumped open her eyes, assembled the rest, and asked what they
should do. A large Dor-bug who was going that way, advised them to try
the strawberry bed. "Oh, yes," all exclaimed, "the strawberry bed!"

The procession was formed but two were missing! In passing the
fox-gloves, where the little China had been hidden, many had shut up
never to open again, and she could not be found. A middling-sized
Doll, with boots, was missing also! In vain they called; there was no
answer.

The Spanish Doll ran up a nasturtium vine, to see that all was safe.
She sat on a scarlet nasturtium at the very top of the post, and
declared "all was quiet in the strawberry bed," and came down.

What a jolly time they had among the strawberries! The Large Doll sat
under a vine, and the strawberries dropped into her mouth, and the
stiffer dolls stood up and helped themselves. Such fun as they had!
They got strawberries all over their faces, and their hands, and their
light dresses! This they liked so much, for they usually had to be
careful. How they chatted, and one told how the squirrels lived, and
another about the robins. And the Spanish Doll told how delightful it
was up in the Oriole's nest. She had half a mind to hire it for the
summer. All this was much more charming than their dull baby-house;
though the Large Doll declared she had been used all her life to
better society than she had yet found in the melon.

But all this festivity was put an end to by a sudden shower. The
Spanish Doll, afraid for her black lace, made for a hen-coop, where
she had a battle with a Poland. The rest ran into the summer-house.

As soon as the rain ceased, however, all came out from their
hiding-places. There was a beautiful rainbow in the sky, and as the
dolls walked down the alley, they suddenly saw that the garden gate
was open. They ran eagerly toward it, and soon were out in the Wide
World! They crossed the broad road, into the fields, into the meadows.
They stumbled through a potato-patch, and ran in and out of
cornstalks. In their hurry they had to stop to breathe now and then,
all but one Doll whose mouth was always open. They reached a little
stream and ran along its border, and never stopped till they came to
a shady place among some trees, by mossy rocks. Here they might be
safe, and here they stopped to think.

Hunger was their first sensation. One of the dolls drew from her
pocket a pewter gridiron, which she had snatched from the kitchen fire
when they fled, the night before. There were three fish on it, one
red, one yellow, one blue. These they shared, and were satisfied for a
little while.



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