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Title: Mary Jane's City Home
Author: Judson, Clara Ingram, 1879-1950
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Mary Jane's City Home" ***

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[Illustration: And she pointed out the little seal who was a bit too slow.
Frontispiece]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

MARY JANE'S CITY HOME

BY
CLARA INGRAM JUDSON

Author of
"Flower Fairies," "Good-Night Stories,"
"Billy Robin and His Neighbors," "Bed Time Tales,"
"The Junior Cook Book," and Other Works

ILLUSTRATED BY
THELMA GOOCH

NEW YORK
BARSE & HOPKINS
PUBLISHERS

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Copyright, 1920,
by
Barse & Hopkins

PRINTED IN THE U. S. A.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

TO
MY MOTHER and FATHER

------------------------------------------------------------------------

CONTENTS

                               PAGE
Finding the New Home             11
The Folks Around The Corner      22
Visiting with Betty              35
Sand Castles                     49
The Beach Supper                 64
Mary Jane Goes Shopping          76
The Bus Ride                     88
The Birthday Luncheon           100
Lost--One Doll Cart             115
A Trip to the Zoo               128
A Day in the Parks              143
Visitors--and a Boat Ride       156
School Begins                   171
Christmas in Chicago            184
A Summer Home--and a Telegram   201

------------------------------------------------------------------------

ILLUSTRATIONS

                                                              PAGE

And she pointed out the little seal who was a bit
too slow.                                             Frontispiece

And then, sliding in the wet sand, she sat right
down in the lake and sent a wave of ripples right
over her castle                                                 60

"But it's all down my dress," said Mary Jane, trying
her very best not to cry                                       107

This year, seeing Mary Jane was such a _very_ old
person, she was allowed to put the gold star on the
top of the tree                                                188

------------------------------------------------------------------------



MARY JANE'S CITY HOME

FINDING THE NEW HOME


The late afternoon sunshine sent its slanting, golden rays through the car
windows on to the map that Mary Jane and her sister Alice had spread out
on the table between the seats of the Pullman in which they were riding.

"And all that wiggly line is water?" Mary Jane was asking.

"Every bit water," replied their father, who bent over their heads to
explain what they were looking at; "a lot of water, you see. You remember
I told you that Chicago is right on the edge of Lake Michigan. And Lake
Michigan, so far as looks are concerned, might just as well be the ocean
you saw down in Florida--it's so big you can't see the other side."

"And does it have big waves?" asked Mary Jane.

"Just you wait and see," promised Mr. Merrill. "Big waves! I should say it
has!"

"And all the green part of the map is parks," said Alice, quoting what her
father had told them when he first showed them the map.

"Then there must be a lot of parks," suggested Mary Jane with interest. "I
think I'd like to live by a park," she added thoughtfully.

"I think I should too," agreed Mr. Merrill, "and it's near a park we will
make the first hunt for a home."

"Oh, look!" cried Mary Jane suddenly as she glanced up from the spread-out
map; "what's that, Dadah?"

"That's the beginning of Chicago," said Mr. Merrill. "Let's fold up the
map now and see what we can of the city. This is South Chicago; and those
great stacks and flaming chimneys are steel mills and foundries and
factories--watch now! There are more!"

The train on which the Merrill family were traveling went dashing past
factory after factory--past an occasional open space where they could see
in the distance the blue gleam of Lake Michigan and past great wide
stretches where tracks and more tracks on which freight cars and engines
sped up and down showed them something of the whirling industry that has
made South Chicago famous. No wonder it was a strange sight to the two
girls--they had never before seen anything that made them even guess the
big business that they now saw spread out before them.

They had spent all their lives thus far--Alice was twelve and Mary Jane
going on six--in a small city of the Middle West and though they had had a
fine summer in the country visiting grandma and grandpa and had only the
winter before taken a beautiful trip through Florida, they had never been
to a great city. And now they were not going to visit or to take a trip.
They were going to live there. The great big city of Chicago was to be
their home.

The pretty little house they had loved so well was sold. The furniture and
books and dolls and clothes were all packed and loaded on a freight car to
follow them to the city and all the dear friends had been given a
farewell. Mary Jane had loved the excitement and muss of packing; the
great boxes and the masses of crinkly excelsior and the workmen around who
always had time for a pleasant joke with an interested little girl. But
when it came time to say good-by to Doris and to her much loved
kindergarten and to all the boys and girls in school and "on her block,"
going away wasn't so funny. In fact, Mary Jane felt a queer and
troublesome lump in her throat most of the morning when the good-bys were
said.

But the ride on the train (and how Mary Jane did love to ride on the
train); and the nice luncheon on the diner (and how Mary Jane did _adore_
eating on a diner--hashed brown potatoes, a whole order by herself and ice
cream and everything!); and then father's nice talk about all the fun they
were going to have, made the lump vanish and in its place there developed
an eager desire to see the new city and to begin all the promised fun. It
was then that Mr. Merrill showed them the big map of the city and pointed
out the part of the city where they would likely live.

As the girls watched, the great factories and foundries slipped away into
the distance, and in their place the girls could see houses and occasional
stores and here and there a station, past which their train dashed as
though it wasn't looking for stations to-day, thank you.

"Don't we stop anywhere?" asked Mary Jane after she had counted three of
these little stations.

"Those are suburban stations," explained Mr. Merrill, "and a big through
train like ours hasn't time to stop at every one. Pretty soon another
train will come along and stop at each one of those we are now passing so
don't you worry about folks getting left. _This_ train we are on has got
to get us into Chicago in time for dinner."

And just at that minute, when the big three story apartment buildings that
looked so very queer and strange to Mary Jane, began to fill every block,
the porter came to brush her off and to help her on with her coat.

"I'm going to live here in Chicago," she said to him as he held the coat
for her, "and it's a big place with lots of lake and parks and--houses, I
guess, and most everything."

"'Deed it is big, missy," replied the porter, "and I hope you's going to
like it a lot, I do."

"I'm a-going to," answered Mary Jane confidently, as she picked up
Georgiannamore and Georgiannamore's suit case which at the last moment
couldn't possibly be packed in the trunk, and followed her father and
mother down the aisle, "'cause mother and Dadah and Alice are going to
live here too and we always have fun."

Mr. and Mrs. Merrill had decided to get off at one of the larger suburban
stations and spend a few days in a near-by hotel; they thought the
comparative quiet of a residence hotel would be better for their girls
than the flurry and hurry of a big down town hotel. But to Mary Jane,
accustomed to the sights and sounds of a small city where street cars went
dignifiedly past every fifteen minutes and where traffic "cops" would have
very few duties, the confusion she found herself in was quite enough to be
very interesting.

They stepped off the train, walked down some stairs and found themselves
on the sidewalk of a very busy street. Overhead the noise of their own
train rumbling cityward made a terrific din; and as though that were not
enough, still higher up the great elevated car line made a rumble and
roar. Mary Jane craned her neck as they walked from under the trains and
there high in the air, she saw street cars running along as though street
cars always had and always would, run on tracks high up in the air!

"Can we ride on it, Dadah?" she shouted to her father, "are we going to
ride on that train up on stilts?"

Mr. Merrill shook his head laughingly and hurried them into a waiting
taxi.

"We're not going to ride there to-day," he explained when the door of the
car shut out some of the noise, "but some day soon we'll take a long ride
on the elevated and then you can see all the back yards and back porches
and parks and streets and everything about the city, just as plain as
plain can be."

While he was talking, the Merrills drove through streets lined on both
sides with three-story apartment buildings. But before Mary Jane had time
to ask a question or even think what she would like to say, they whisked
around a corner and out into the beautiful wide driveway on the
Midway--the long, green parkway that stretched, or so it seemed to Mary
Jane, for miles in both directions. The taxi pulled up in front of a
comfortable looking hotel right on the side of the park and Mary Jane
wasn't a bit sorry to get out and take a breath of fresh air and look at
the lovely view before her.

"Now just as soon as you are washed up," said Mrs. Merrill, briskly, as
they went into the hotel, "you and Alice may come out onto this nice porch
and watch the children play on the Midway and get a little run before
dinner."

You may be sure that with that promise before her, Mary Jane didn't take
very long to primp. She had spied a group of children about her age, who
seemed to be having a beautiful time playing ball out there on the grass
and she couldn't help noticing that they played just as she and Doris did
and she couldn't help wishing that she too, even though she was a new
little girl just come to town, could play with them. So she stood very
still while Mrs. Merrill tied the fresh hair bow and slipped on a clean
frock and then, holding tight to big sister Alice's friendly hand she went
down the one flight of stairs--she was in far too big a hurry to wait for
the elevator--and out onto the long roomy porch.

Just across the narrow street in front of the hotel and on the nearest bit
of parkway, three little girls about Mary Jane's age were still playing
ball. One was dainty and small and had yellow curls; one was rather tall
and had long straight dark hair and the third had dark, straight hair
bobbed short, and snapping black eyes.

"Wouldn't it be funny," said Mary Jane as she looked at them wistfully,
"if I'd get to know those girls and they'd be friends. If I _did_," she
added, "I think she'd be my mostest friend," and Mary Jane pointed to the
little girl with the dark, bobbed hair.

While they watched and were trying to get up courage to go over and play
too, a pretty girl about Alice's age came along the street. Her hair was
copper colored and curly and very, very pretty. And her smile when she saw
the little girls who were playing, made her seem so friendly and "homey."

"I've been hunting you, Betty," she said to the little girl Mary Jane
liked best. "It's time to come home for dinner."

So the four girls, three little folks and one bigger one, went around the
corner toward home, and two strangers, standing on the porch, watched them
till they were quite out of sight.

"It would be funny," said Alice, "if we'd ever get to know them. I'm sure
I'd like to."

"Wouldn't it though!" exclaimed Mary Jane. "I hope we do!"

And all the time they were eating their first dinner in Chicago, and
telling mother and father about the children they had seen and making
plans about what to do to-morrow, they were thinking about those two girls
and wishing to know them better.

Little did they guess what would really truly happen before the week was
over!



THE FOLKS AROUND THE CORNER


Three whole days of flat hunting! And of all the fun she had ever had in
her more than five years of life, Mary Jane thought flat hunting in
Chicago was the most fun of all! She loved the mystery of each new
apartment; the guessing which room might be hers and which mother's; the
hunting up the door bell and hearing its sound (for as you very well know
each door bell has a sound of its own); the poking into closets and
pantries and porches. It was the most delightful sort of exploring she had
ever come across and she couldn't at all understand why mother and father
got tired and somewhat discouraged. For _her_ part Mary Jane was tempted
to wish that they would never find a flat, well hardly that; but that
finding the right one would take a long, oh, a very long time!

But by the afternoon of the third day, her legs began to get a little
tired too, and her eyes looked more often to the green of the Midway they
occasionally saw and she thought that flats, even empty flats, really
should have chairs for folks to sit on. So, as a matter of fact, she
wasn't half as sorry as she had thought she would be, when, on the
afternoon of the third day of hunting the Merrill family came across a
charming little apartment.

It was on the second floor of a very attractive red brick building; it had
five rooms, quite too small, father thought, but then one can't have
everything, they had found, and every room was light and sunny and
cheerful. But the part about it that Mary Jane and Alice liked the best
was the back porch. To be sure there was a front porch, a pretty, little
porch with a stone railing and a view way down the street toward the park
and lake. But off the dining room the girls discovered a small balcony
that overlooked the back yard next door, a back yard that had a garden
laid out and a chicken house and everything so homey and comfortable
looking that the girls immediately wanted to sit out and watch.

"I think if we'd stay here maybe some children would come out to play,"
suggested Mary Jane in a whisper.

"I think they would, too," agreed Alice. "And I think if we lived here
maybe we could get acquainted and play with them."

"Let's live here!" exclaimed Mary Jane and she ran back into the house
just at the very minute Mr. and Mrs. Merrill decided to rent the
apartment.

"So you think you'll like it, do you?" said Mrs. Merrill, smiling; "the
rooms are pretty small."

"I know we'll love it," said Alice eagerly, "and you should see the back
porch."

But Mr. Merrill laughed when they showed him the porch.

"Do you call this a porch," he exclaimed, "why it's not half big enough
for a porch! I'd call it a balcony."

"Yes," agreed Mrs. Merrill, "and then when you watch folks in the yard
down there,--for you _are_ planning to watch and get acquainted, aren't
you?--then you can pretend that this is your balcony seat and that the
folks down there are in a play for you--wouldn't that be fun?"

The girls thought it would, but there was so much to plan and think about
that they didn't stay on their little balcony any longer just then, which
was something of a pity, for right after they went indoors, somebody came
out into the yard-- But then, there's no use telling about _her_ for Mary
Jane didn't see her.

So Mary Jane and Alice went with their father and mother into the room
that was to be theirs and they planned just where each bed should be and
where was the best place for the desk and dressing table and who should
have which side of the closet. And by that time, it was nearly six
o'clock--time to go back to the hotel for dinner.

Mr. Merrill stopped at the desk for mail as they went up to their room and
there he found a message telling him that their furniture had arrived in
Chicago and that it must be taken out of the freight house the next
morning.

"Dear me!" exclaimed Mrs. Merrill with a gasp of dismay, "I think it's a
good thing we found that flat! What ever would we have done if we hadn't!
Well, girls, I think we'd better eat a good dinner and then go to bed
early for we'll have to get down there and clean up the flat while father
tends to getting our things delivered."

So bright and early the next morning everybody started to work. Mr.
Merrill went down town to meet the moving men he had engaged by 'phone and
Mrs. Merrill and the two girls put aprons and cleaning rags and soap, all
of which they had brought in their small trunk, into a little grip and
went down to the new home.

Mary Jane had lots of fun that morning. First she went down to the
basement and borrowed a broom from the janitor. Then she went back for
clean papers which she folded neatly and spread on the pantry shelves
which Mrs. Merrill with the good help of the janitor's wife had cleaned
and ready. Then she put papers on the shelf of the closet she and Alice
were to share and papers in the drawers near the floor of that same
closet. By that time--it takes pretty long to fold papers neatly and get
every bit of the shelf covered, you know--the door bell rang--a great,
long, hard ring.

"Oh, dear! Can you go, Mary Jane?" exclaimed Mrs. Merrill, "Alice and I
both have wet hands!" You see, Alice had been washing mirrors that were on
the closet doors while her mother and the janitor's wife did windows and
wood work.

"Yes, I'm dry," said Mary Jane, "and my papers are done and I'd like to
go."

To tell the honest truth, Mary Jane had just that very minute been wishing
the door bell would ring. For the janitor's wife had showed her how to
press the buzzer that would release the lock of the front door and let a
person come up the stairs. And of course Mary Jane wanted to try it. So
she hurried over to the house 'phone, took down the receiver and said,
"Who is it?" just as any grown-up person would.

"Here's your things!" said a gruff voice, "we'll bring 'em up the back!"

Mary Jane didn't stop to press any buzzer. She dashed over to the window
nearest the alley and there, sure enough, was a great big moving van and
it was piled up full of boxes and barrels and crates--all the things that
Mary Jane had watched the packing of only such a few days before. Talk
about fun! Moving was surely the best sport ever!

Mary Jane stayed at the window watching till the men brought the first
load up. Then they announced that they were going for lunch and Mrs.
Merrill said she and the girls had better eat while the men were away. So
hastily putting on wraps, they went over to a small tea room only a few
doors away, where they had a tasty little luncheon so quickly served that
they easily got back to their flat before the moving men arrived again.

How that afternoon went, Mary Jane never quite remembered. It was one long
succession of excitement and fun. The unpacking of boxes and crates, the
piling up of rubbish, the finding of cherished belongings and putting them
where they belonged in the new home, and the gradual change of the living
room from a mess of boxes to a place that might some day really look like
home, all seemed thrillingly interesting to a little girl who had never
moved before.

But by half past four or thereabouts, even Mary Jane began to get a little
tired.

"I'll tell you something to do," suggested Mrs. Merrill, when a pause in
her own work gave her a chance to notice that Mary Jane was getting
flushed and tired. "Here is a box of doll things I have just come across.
Suppose you take them out into your own little balcony and sort them over.
Put in this box (and she handed her a little box) all the things you must
surely have upstairs; and leave in the big box all the things you will be
willing to put in the store room. Now take your time, dear, and sit down
while you work."

Mary Jane was very glad for that advice. For even though moving men are
wonderful to watch, and even though rubbish and boxes and barrels are all
very fascinating, a person _does_ get tired and sitting down isn't at all
a bad idea.

One of the men who was unpacking gave her her own little chair that he had
just uncrated and so she sat down in state, in her own chair, on her own
balcony and opened the box of doll things. But that's every bit that got
done to those doll things that day, every bit.

For at that very minute, who should come out of the house around the
corner, the house with the back yard and garden and chickens and
everything, but--yes, you must have guessed it--the same two girls that
Alice and Mary Jane had seen on the Midway the day they arrived in
Chicago. Think of that! Right under Mary Jane's own balcony and, moreover,
it was plain to see that they lived there.

"Now I guess we'll get to know them," whispered Mary Jane to herself
happily. But of course, she didn't say a thing out loud. She only sat very
still and watched.

And as she watched, two boys came out on the back porch of the house
around the corner and one of the boys called, "Say, Fran, did you feed the
chickens?"

The girl who was about Alice's age answered back, "No I didn't, Ed, I
thought it was Betty's turn to-day."

"Now I know a lot," Mary Jane whispered to herself. "She's Frances, I'm
sure, and he's Ed; and Betty must be the little girl that's 'bout as big
as me."

Just then, when Mary Jane was wishing and wishing and wishing that she
would come, Alice came to the door of the balcony and looked out.

"Sh-h-h!" whispered Mary Jane, tensely, "they're here, both of 'em, and
there's more of 'em, too!"

Alice seemed to understand exactly what Mary Jane meant, even though her
sentence was decidedly mixed up, and she stepped out onto the balcony.

Frances heard the door shut and looked up. For a long minute the two girls
looked at each other, then Frances, the girl with the auburn hair and the
friendly smile, nodded shyly.

Little Betty didn't take long deciding what she would do. She called
eagerly, "Moving in?"

"Yes, we are," laughed Alice, waving her hand toward the piles of boxes
and rubbish stacked up on the back stairs of the building.

Ed, who had started back into the house, looked around and, seeing his
sisters had made a small start toward conversation, called a question on
his own responsibility.

"Going to use 'em all?" he asked, pointing to the boxes.

"Dear me, I guess not," said Alice. "I don't see how we could!"

"Then will you give me a box?" he asked, running back in the yard till he
stood right under the balcony. "We're going to get some rabbits, John and
I are, and we want a box for their home."

"Come on over and see which one you want," suggested Alice, "and I'll ask
father."

Ed and his brother John lost no time climbing over the fence and
inspecting the boxes. By the time Alice brought Mr. Merrill, he had picked
out just the one he wanted and was very grateful when it was given him for
his own.

"Don't you want to come over and see 'em make the rabbit house?" suggested
Frances shyly. "Oh, maybe you're busy."

"I'm sure we can come," replied Alice, "because mother just told me she
wished we'd get some fresh air." So Alice and Mary Jane followed the
others to the back yard and helped hold nails and boards and make the
rabbit house. When it was nearly finished the children's mother, who
proved to be very charming Mrs. Holden, came out with a plate of cookies
and a welcome for the two little strangers.

"Thank you for the cookies," said Mary Jane politely, "but we're not
strange--that is, not any more, we aren't, we know each other--all of us
do!"

And so it really seemed to all the children. They were friends from the
first day and making the rabbit house was just the beginning of many nice
times in that friendly back yard.



VISITING WITH BETTY


Three days of hard work for everybody and then the little flat into which
the Merrills had moved began to look like a real home. The unpacking was
all done and the rubbish cleared away; the furniture was polished and set
in place; the closets were in order and every cupboard and shelf held just
the right things for comfort. It wasn't such an easy matter to stow away
all the things the Merrills had used in their pretty house--the five room
apartment was much smaller than the house of course--but with everybody's
help the job was done.

"Now then," said Mrs. Merrill, happily, in the late afternoon of the third
day, "if you'll run the rods in these curtains, Mary Jane, I'll hang them
up where they belong and then we'll all three go to market and then--guess
what? We'll have dinner in our own new home!"

Mary Jane thought that would be fun, for, much as she loved eating in the
hotel where they had been living while getting the new home fixed, she
liked better to eat her mother's cooking. So it was a very happy little
girl who slipped the rods into the living room curtains and then put on
her hat and hunted up the market basket from the pantry.

Now many times before this, Mary Jane had been marketing with her mother.
But never had she been to such a market! Before, marketing meant going to
the grocery store about three blocks from their home; it meant talking to
the very interested and friendly grocer who had known Mary Jane ever since
she first appeared at the grocery in her big, well-covered cab--she was
then about two months old; it meant telling Mr. Shover, the grocer, just
what they wanted and picking out the sorts of things they liked best. But
marketing in Chicago was very different. In the first place there wasn't a
person around they had ever seen before; and then everything was so big
and there was so much food. Mary Jane thought there couldn't possibly be
enough folks in Chicago to eat all those good things! But when she and her
mother actually got into the store and began to buy, Mary Jane forgot all
about the strangeness and remembered only the fun. For they didn't get
somebody to wait on them as they used to at Mr. Shover's--not at all! They
waited on themselves! They went through a little turnstile and then
wandered around among the good things all by themselves and they took down
from the well-stocked shelves anything they wanted. It certainly was
queer.

"Can we just take _anything_?" exclaimed Mary Jane in amazement as her
mother explained what they were to do.

"Well," laughed Mrs. Merrill, "you must remember we have to pay for things
just the same as we used to at Mr. Shover's. But we can take anything we
want--if we pay for it."

"Then I'll pick you out some good things to eat, mother!" cried Mary Jane
happily, "don't you worry about thinking what we're going to have!"

Now Mary Jane really did know how to read, at least a little, but she
didn't stop to read on this important occasion. She looked at the pictures
on the cans of goodies and she picked out a can of all her favorites and
set them in the basket Mrs. Merrill carried on her arm. But that didn't
work, for Mrs. Merrill had a long list and the basket wouldn't hold only
so much. So they decided to let Mrs. Merrill pick out three things from
her list and then Mary Jane could buy one favorite; then three more things
from the list and then another favorite. That proved to be great fun and
it certainly did fill the basket in a hurry! Mary Jane was just trying to
decide between a box of marshmallows and a pan of nice, gooey, sugary
sweet rolls when Mrs. Merrill said, "whichever you decide, Mary Jane,
you'll have to carry the bundle yourself, because this basket won't hold
another parcel--not even a little one."

Mary Jane decided on the rolls and she took them over to the counter to
have them wrapped up and there she almost bumped into--Betty Holden, no
less! Betty and her mother were shopping too, and their basket was almost
as full as Mrs. Merrill's.

"We market after school," said Mrs. Holden, "and then Ed brings his wagon
to meet us and hauls the stuff home. We'll get him to give you a lift
too."

"And then can Mary Jane come over to our house to play?" asked Betty.

"For a little while," agreed Mrs. Merrill, smilingly, "but she won't want
to stay very long to-day because we're going to have our first dinner in
our new home and she's promised to help me lots--and I need it."

Just then they spied Ed's face at the door so they hurried through the
second turnstile, paid for their groceries and left the store. Ed's wagon
proved to be very big and he was glad to give them plenty of room for the
Merrill basket.

"Are you going to start in school to-morrow?" asked Betty as they walked
off toward home.

"I'm going over to see about that to-morrow morning," said Mrs. Merrill.
"We've been so busy unpacking and settling that we haven't even thought
about it till now. Do you like your school, Betty?"

"Yes, I do, lots!" exclaimed Betty heartily. "I'm just through
kindergarten this spring, I am, and next fall I'm first year."

"Then I think you must be just about where Mary Jane will be," said Mrs.
Merrill.

The two little girls ran skipping ahead, talking about what they would do
and where they would sit and all the things that girls plan for school.

But when Mrs. Merrill took Alice and Mary Jane over the next morning, it
didn't work out as planned. Alice was entered and found herself in the
very same room and only two seats away from Frances, which seemed perfect.
But there wasn't room for Mary Jane! The kindergarten was crowded, very,
very crowded, and new little folks weren't allowed to come in. Miss
Gilbert, the teacher, talked with Mary Jane a while and Mary Jane told her
all the work she had done and all the things she had learned about.

"I really think, Mrs. Merrill," said the teacher finally, "that your
little girl is ready for the first grade. She seems very well prepared.
But they don't take new first graders so late in the year. Why don't you
keep her out of school the rest of this term and then next year, enter her
in the first grade?"

Mrs. Merrill thought that was a fine plan. There would be so many new
sights to see and things to learn in the city that Mary Jane would find
plenty to do.

But Mary Jane was keenly disappointed. "I wanted to stay in Betty's room,"
she explained to the teacher. "She asked me to sit by her this morning,
she did, and I promised yes I would."

"Then I'll tell you what you may do," suggested the teacher kindly. "Two
of our folks are absent this morning so we have enough chairs to go
around. Wouldn't you like to stay with Betty and visit? And then just a
little before time for school to be out, Betty can take you up to your
sister's room and she can bring you home."

Mrs. Merrill agreed that that was a fine plan, so Mary Jane went to the
cloak room to hang up her hat and her mother hurried back home.

At first Mary Jane felt very strange in the new school room. There were so
many children there and the songs were new and the games were new and
everything seemed different. She almost--not really, but _almost_--wished
she had gone home with her mother. And then, after singing three songs
Mary Jane didn't know, the children made a big circle and let Mary Jane
stand in the middle and they sang the song Mary Jane knew so very well,

"I went to visit a friend to-day, She only lives across the way, She said
she couldn't come out to play Because it was her ----"

Quick as a flash Mary Jane dropped onto her knees and began to act out
packing things into a box.

For a minute the children hesitated. That was a strange thing to be
acting; Mary Jane was not washing or ironing or churning or sweeping or
any of the things the children usually acted and they were all puzzled.
Then suddenly Betty remembered the back stairway and all the piles of
boxes and excelsior on Mary Jane's back stairway and she called out the
end of the song--"because it was her moving day!" And everybody finished
the verse with a flourish.

After that Mary Jane felt more at home and the morning went oh, so very
quickly, till recess time, when they all went out into the big yard to
play in the sunshine.

Betty and her particular friends were gathering together for a circle game
in the corner of the yard when Mary Jane heard a soft, helpless little
sound close at hand. Without stopping to say anything to any one, she ran
over to the fence and there, caught in between the tall iron bars, was the
tiniest, blackest little dog she had ever seen. He evidently had seen the
children coming out to play, had wanted to play with them and had supposed
he could slip right through between the bars of the fence.

Mary Jane tried to pull him out but he was stuck fast. So she called
Betty.

"Here!" shouted one of the boys, "I'll pull him out!"

"No you don't," cried Betty imperatively, "you let him alone! We'll do
it!" And her snapping black eyes flashed so positively that the boy
obeyed. But Betty couldn't pull the dog through either, the bars were too
close, she couldn't move him either way.

"I'll tell you what let's do," she said. "Mary Jane, you stay here and
guard him so nobody tries to pull him out and I'll go and get Tom and
he'll know what to do." Tom was the janitor.

Mary Jane stood close by the dog and patted his head and talked kindly to
him so he would know somebody was trying to help him. And all the girls
and boys who had started to play together gathered around and watched Mary
Jane while Betty ran back to the school building and down into the
basement to fetch the janitor.

Fortunately, Tom was in his office and came quickly in response to Betty's
call. He saw at once what the trouble was and discovered a way to remedy
it. It seems that the big iron bars that made the fence were heavier at
the bottom than nearer the top, so the space between the bars got wider
higher up. Tom took firm hold of the wiggling little creature and gently
but very firmly pushed him straight up between the bars. That didn't hurt
like trying to pull him out, so the dog stopped barking and whining. And
in a second Tom had him out--half way up the fence there was plenty of
room to lift him right through.

Poor little doggie! He was so glad to be out and so frightened by his
experience that when Tom laid him down on the grass he looked quite
forlorn. Mary Jane sat down beside him and gathered him up into her arms.

"Don't you be afraid, doggie," she said softly, "we'll take care of you,
don't you be afraid a bit!"

"What you going to do with him?" asked one of the girls.

But Mary Jane didn't have to answer that question. Before she could speak,
a small boy came running along the street, crying as hard as he could cry
and shouting between sobs, "I've lost my dog! I've lost my dog! Somebody's
stole my dog!"

"No they haven't," called Betty, "maybe this is yours!"

The little boy rubbed his eyes, looked through the fence--and a look of
happiness spread over his small face.

"It's him! It's him! It's him!" he shouted happily, "then he isn't
stole!"

It took only a minute to run around the gate, dash across the school yard
and grab the tiny little dog into his arms. And the children could tell by
the way the little creature snuggled down that the love wasn't all on one
side--evidently the little boy was a good master.

Right at that minute, before there was a chance to start a game or any
play, a great bell in the school doorway began to ring. Mary Jane was used
to a small school of course--a school so small that the teacher came to
the window and simply called when recess was over. So she stared in
amazement when the great bell rang out so noisily.

"Come on!" shouted Betty, "recess is over!"

"Soon as I tell this doggie good-by!" replied Mary Jane.

Betty didn't hear and, supposing Mary Jane was right behind her, she went
on into her place in line. And Mary Jane, remembering how leisurely folks
went up after recess at her old school, didn't pay any attention to the
rapidly forming lines. She turned around and patted the tiny dog and
nodded and smiled and whispered her good-by.

When she did turn to go in with Betty, she was amazed to see all the
children had disappeared into the building. She scampered over to the door
as fast as ever she could. And up the stairs--but not a soul did she see!
Only the click of a closing door could be heard--a click that made Mary
Jane feel really shut out and lonely.

"Now let's see," said Mary Jane to herself, "Betty's room was right around
a corner--" But there wasn't any room around that first corner--only a
long hall. A lump came into Mary Jane's throat. The building was so big,
so very, very big. And she felt so little, so very, very little. She
swallowed twice, determined not to cry and then she said out loud in a
queer frightened little voice, "I guess I'm lost. I'm lost in school!"



SAND CASTLES


"I Guess I'm lost! I'm lost in school!"

Mary Jane's frightened little whisper sounded like a shout and the doors
and walls and hallways seemed to echo back, "Lost! Little girl lost!" in a
most desolate fashion. Mary Jane was so frightened that she stood
perfectly still--just as still as though her shoes were fastened to the
floor. And she looked straight ahead as though she was trying to see
through the wall at which she was staring. To tell the truth, Mary Jane
wasn't trying to see through the wall. She didn't even know a wall was in
front of her. She couldn't see a single thing, not even a big wall,
because a mist of tears was in her eyes and a great lump was growing in
her throat.

Now Mary Jane wasn't a baby. And she never cried--or any way, she _hardly_
ever cried because she was going on six and girls who are going on six
don't cry. But to be lost in a strange school and in a strange city
and--everything; well, it's not much wonder that Mary Jane felt pretty
queer.

But before the tears had time to fall, there was a heavy footstep behind
her and Mary Jane whirled around to see--the kindly face of Tom the
janitor smiling at her.

"Aren't you pretty late getting to your room?" he asked.

Mary Jane couldn't answer. She was so relieved to have someone around that
for a minute she just couldn't get the lump out of her throat enough to
talk.

Tom must have been used to little girls--maybe he had one of his
own--because he didn't pay any attention to Mary Jane's silence. He took
hold of her hand and said pleasantly, "Now don't you worry a minute. You
just show me which your room is and I'll go with you."

"I'm looking for it too," said Mary Jane, finding her voice again, "but I
don't know where it is."

"Don't know where your room is?" asked Tom in surprise.

"No," replied Mary Jane with a decided shake of her head, "I don't." And
then, for talking was now getting comfortable and easy, she added, "you
see, it isn't really my room. It's Betty's. And I'm just a-visiting her.
I'm just moved to Chicago and they haven't any chair for me only just to
visit in when somebody's absent."

"That sounds like the kindergarten," said Tom.

"It is," agreed Mary Jane with a laugh of relief, "I'm kindergarten, I
am."

"Then here we go, right down this way," said Tom, and off they started in
just the opposite direction.

Before they got clear up to the kindergarten, though, they met Miss
Gilbert, who was coming in search of the little visitor. "Betty missed
her," she explained, "but I thought you'd find her, Tom." With a thank you
to her janitor friend, Mary Jane took tight hold of the teacher's hand and
they went into the kindergarten room together.

After that, the morning went very quickly and happily and Mary Jane could
hardly believe her ears when the big whistles began to blow for twelve
o'clock and Miss Gilbert told them to put away their scissors and cut-out
papers and get ready to go home. Mary Jane had cut out two beautiful
tulips and she was very happy when she was told they might be taken home
as a souvenir of her visit.

On the way home they met Frances and Alice and Ed so they had plenty of
company.

"What you doing Saturday?" asked Ed as they neared their own corner.

"I don't know," replied Alice, "is there anything nice to do--special?"

"Well," answered Frances, "we were afraid you might all be busy--but--well
you see, we were going to have a beach party and we thought maybe you
folks would like to go along. All of you."

Now Alice and Mary hadn't the slightest idea what a beach party was, only
of course they knew it must be something about the lake. But there wasn't
time for questions and talk just then for Frances discovered that they had
walked so slowly that they must rush on home to lunch.

"We'll get mother to tell you," she promised, "and do say you'll come
'cause it's a fire and cooking and marshmallows and piles of fun."

"And we've plenty of wires," added Betty, "and they're plenty long so you
won't burn your fingers."

It sounded amazingly puzzling to Alice and Mary Jane, who couldn't in the
least understand what a fire and wires and all that had to do with a
beach. But they were to find out before so very long. For that same
afternoon, while Alice was still in school, Mrs. Holden and Betty came
over to call on Mrs. Merrill and Mary Jane and then the beach party was
all explained.

"We go over to the lake very often," said Mrs. Holden. "And on the sandy
beach, close by the water, the children build a big fire. Then, when the
coals are good, we toast sandwiches and roast 'weenies' and toast
marshmallows. The children are so anxious to show your girls just how it
is done," she added, "and as the weather promises to be warm and sunny I
think we should have an extra fine time."

So it was settled. And a person would have thought from the excitement and
fun of preparation that the party was to be that same day instead of
twenty-four hours away. For as soon as Alice and the older Holden children
came home from school, they all set to work planning the menu and getting
out baskets and cleaning the wires on which, so the Merrill girls learned,
marshmallows were held over the coals to be toasted.

But when everything that could be done the day before, was finished, there
was still some time for play, so the children went down into the Holden
yard and the boys, Ed and John, showed the girls how to run a track
meet--how to jump and vault and race in proper track style. Alice and Mary
Jane thought the boys wonderfully skilled and the boys, thrilled by such
warm admiration, broke all their previous records and had a beautiful
time.

At four o'clock the next afternoon the two families set out for the beach
party. And it surely was quite a procession that made its way the four or
five blocks to the park. First there was John with the wagon which held
all the heavy things--baskets of food and such. Next came Ed, who started
out walking behind the wagon to see that nothing dropped off. He and John
were to take turns pulling the load. Then the others carried bundles of
kindling and the wires for marshmallows and toasting racks for meat. They
had such a jolly time getting off that everybody felt sure the party was
to be a success.

Mary Jane had been so busy helping get settled and all that, that she
hadn't had time for a real visit on the beach. To be sure she had had
glimpses of the big blue they could see down their own street, but to
really come over and see the lake and play in the sand--this was her first
trip. So she skipped along very happily and thought she could hardly wait
till they got there.

Fortunately they hadn't far to go. Three blocks down and two blocks over
and there was the park--such a beautiful park with tiny lakes and bridges
and great trees whose buds were swelling in the warm afternoon spring
sunshine. Mary Jane thought she must be in fairyland come to life, it was
all so beautiful. They crossed an arched bridge; saw a lovely view off
toward the south where other bridges and lagoons and trees made such a
pretty picture they were tempted to stay and look longer; walked around a
big circle where, so John told them, the band gave concerts in the summer
time; circled a tiny little inlet lake and came out, quite suddenly, right
close to the big lake--Lake Michigan. It almost took Mary Jane's breath
way, coming suddenly that way, upon the sight of so much water. It was all
so blue and clear, she thought, for the minute, that surely it must be the
very same ocean she had seen in Florida only a few weeks before.

But the boys didn't give much time for sight-seeing of lakes--they had
seen the good old lake many a time and they were thinking more about
supper than any view, however pretty.

So they hurried their wagon across the boulevard driveway, and of course
all the folks had to follow close behind, and down the beach walk a couple
of hundred yards and there they settled themselves on a stretch of clean
white sand.

"Now," said big brother Linn, whom the girls hadn't seen much of as yet,
but who seemed to be master of ceremonies, "you boys gather those big logs
down there, you girls fix the kindling and I'll set these stones up so we
get a good draft when we light our fire."

Everybody set to work. The logs proved to be so big and heavy that Ed and
John were very glad to have the help of their father and Mr. Merrill to
roll them into place. The four girls sorted out the kindling in their
basket and added to it by picking up drift wood on the beach. Frances
explained that they always brought some along to be sure they had some
real dry wood for a start.

With such good help and so much of it, of course it wasn't long till a
fine blaze was going and the beach party was actually begun.

"Go ahead and play now," said Linn, when he saw the fire was started and
that there was a big pile of reserve wood close by. "You know we can't
cook till we get some coals."

"But I'm starved," hinted Ed, with a hungry look toward the baskets his
mother and Mrs. Merrill were guarding.

"Then you'll have to stay starved, young man," said his mother, laughing,
"because not a basket is to be opened till the coals are ready for
cooking."

"Then let's make a sand castle," suggested Betty and she ran down to a
smooth place on the beach, away from possible smoke, and began molding the
white sand.

That pleased Mary Jane. She hadn't forgotten the fun she had playing on
the beach in Florida, and while this beach was different--it didn't have
any of the pretty shells or funny little crawdads she had found on the
Florida beach--still it had lovely white sand and dainty little waves and
was quite the nicest place for play that Mary Jane had seen.

"I'll tell you what let's do," suggested Alice, as she saw that all the
children were going to play in the sand, "let's each build a castle and
make it any way we like best and then when they're all finished, have an
exhibition and everybody look and see which is the best."

"All right, let's," agreed the children and they set to work.

Mary Jane chose for her castle a place down close by the water. She loved
the nearness of the waves and the thrill of knowing that maybe, if she
didn't watch out, a wave would come up really close and get her wet. Betty
picked out a spot nearer the fire on the side away from the smoke and
Alice chose a place where a few pretty pebbles would give her material
with which to pave a "moat" she intended to make.

And then everybody set to work. So busy were they that Linn had to tend
the fire all by himself and Ed forgot he was hungry.

Before very long that beach looked like a picture book. Towers and ditches
and castles and bridges were where flat sand had been a few minutes
before. The Holden children had made many a sand house and they knew just
how to pack the damp sand so it would stay in place and just how to put a
small board here and there to hold a second story or a tower straight and
tall.

But with all their experience, Alice's castle was as pretty as theirs, or
at any rate she thought it was, and Mary Jane's was quite wonderful. She
smoothed off the "garden" in front of her palace, stuck in a few sticks
for flowers, made a pebbly path down to the tiny lake she had scooped out
at one side and then shouted, "Mine's done! Look at mine!" and stepped
aside so all could see her handiwork.

[Illustration: And then, sliding in the wet sand, she sat right down in
the lake and sent a wave of ripples right over her castle _Page 61_]

But Mary Jane wasn't used to working so close to the water and she forgot
entirely where she was! Instead of stepping to one side, as she should
have done, she stepped backwards--straight into the big lake! And then,
sliding in the wet sand, she sat right down in the lake and sent a big
wave of ripples--right over her castle and garden and lake and everything
and washed it all away, every bit!



THE BEACH SUPPER


A minute before Mary Jane slid into the lake, the beach was a scene of
busy building and fun. Linn tended the fire, the grown folks gathered wood
and visited and guarded baskets and the children all were intent on their
sand castles. But with Mary Jane's tumble everything changed.

Sand flew helter skelter as the children jumped hastily and ran to Mary
Jane's assistance; castles were trampled on as though they didn't exist
and fire wood and baskets were all forgotten.

"Don't be afraid, you're all right!" called Mrs. Merrill as she ran toward
her little girl.

"Coming! Coming! Here!" shouted Mr. Merrill reassuringly as he dashed over
to his little daughter, picked her up by the shoulders and set her, safe
and sound, on dry sand just in time to miss a fair sized wave.

"I guess I'm wet!" said Mary Jane.

"I guess you are," laughed Mr. Merrill, "but I guess things will dry and
you're not so very awfully too wet--not enough to spoil the party, is she,
mother?"

Mrs. Merrill looked thoughtful and all the children waited anxiously for
her answer. Would Mary Jane have to go clear off home and miss the party
and everything! But it wasn't to be as bad as all that. Mrs. Merrill
remembered the warm day, the glowing sun that was still bright and warm
and she also remembered the hot fire Linn had underway and the warm sand
all around the fire.

"Of course she isn't wet enough to spoil the party," said Mrs. Merrill,
much to every one's relief. "Only she'll have to stay close by the fire
till she gets warm and dry. Suppose we appoint her head cook and make her
stay right there where it's hot?"

"She'll get dry then!" exclaimed Ed, so fervently that they all knew he
had had many a hot face from working by the fire at previous picnics.

"But how about your castles?" asked Mr. Holden, "weren't we to have an
exhibit?"

But the castles! Dear me! In the excitement of Mary Jane's tumble, no one
had given a thought to the castles. They were stepped on, and trampled
down and all matted down into the sand.

"That's just too bad!" said Mrs. Merrill.

"Pooh!" exclaimed John, dismissing the whole question of castles with one
wave of the hand, "who cares about castles! _We're_ going to have supper."
And every one set to work.

Mary Jane was supposed to be head cook, but as she had never before been
to a beach party, she really didn't know what to do. So she simply stayed
close by the hot fire while the boys brought three benches and made them
in a triangle around the fire--a little way back of course. Then Mrs.
Holden and Mrs. Merrill unpacked the baskets and fixed a place on the
bench for each person. To be sure nobody was expected to sit on the
bench--that would be quite too proper for a beach party meal. But the
mothers put a paper plate and a cup for each person on the benches and
then they put on the plate as many sandwiches and pickles and cookies and
everything as each person was entitled to.

While they were doing this, Linn raked down the hot coals, set in place a
light wire rack he had made and spread a couple of dozen weenies out to
roast.

"Now then, Mary Jane," he said to the head cook, "you take this long fork.
And as soon as a weenie begins to sputter and brown, turn it over so it
browns on the other side too."

That was a very important job, Mary Jane could easily see, and she
determined that every weenie _she_ cooked would be done just to a turn.
She bent over the fire till her back got a crook in it; then she sat down
on the hot sand close to the coals and by the time the weenies were done
ready to eat she was so dry and hot that she felt sure she had never
slipped into the lake--never!

And all the time Mary Jane was cook, Linn and Mr. Merrill stayed close to
see that the coals kept evenly hot and that no bit of flame started up to
burn the head cook.

At last the weenies were ready. Each one was beautifully brown and was
sizzling and sputtering and sending a most tempting odor to hungry folks.

"Form a line, folks," said Mrs. Holden, "ladies first!"

With much laughter, each person got their own roll, which had been split
and buttered, and filed passed Mary Jane. And Mary Jane, instructed by
Linn just how to do her job, picked up one weenie after another on the
long fork and dropped each one in an open roll held out before her. It was
a scary job, for the sand was close below and Mary Jane knew that weenies
dropped into the sand wouldn't taste very good. But she took her time--too
much time, John thought.

"Don't be 'fraid of any old sand," he assured her when she put his weenie
in his roll so very carefully, "I eat 'em any way--sand or not."

Betty eyed Mary Jane a bit enviously. This being chief cook and having a
chance to fill the rolls of each person must surely be fun.

"Next time we have a beach party," she announced between bites, "_I'm_
going to fall into the lake too!"

"I'll save you the trouble," replied Mr. Holden understandingly, "I'll let
you be chief cook without getting wet."

Betty needn't have worried about Mary Jane's being willing to give up her
job. For there was one disadvantage in that position Miss Betty hadn't
thought of and Mary Jane had just discovered--the head cook had no time to
eat. And Mary Jane was getting fearfully hungry. She was more than willing
to give up the big fork, let Betty fill her roll for her and stand up with
the others to eat the good hot morsel.

Did anything ever taste as good as those hot weenie sandwiches, eaten
there on the edge of Lake Michigan, with the fine lake air blowing in
their faces and the sunshine warming them and making them forget the chill
of the long winter? The Merrills thought they had never had so much fun
and tasted such good things. Every weenie (and there had seemed to be far
too many) was eaten up; every roll disappeared and cookies and pickles and
sandwiches just vanished as though a warm breeze had melted them away.

Supper over, the sun going down reminded the children that they must get
the fire ready for dark. They scampered up and down the broad beach,
gathering together all the pieces of drift wood they could find. Later in
the year wood along that beach would be hard to find. But in the early
spring, before the driftings of the winter's storms had been burned up by
picnickers like themselves, there was plenty to be had.

Linn and Ed put away the cooking rack in the case they had made for it,
the two mothers packed up débris and burned it so the beach would be left
clean and tidy, and all the others gathered wood. Such a lot as they did
find! Linn piled it on high and by the time the sun went to sleep in the
west, the fire was so bright that nobody noticed the growing darkness.
They all sat around on the warm sand and sang--college songs that the
children had learned from the fathers, school songs and popular songs that
they all knew. It was fun to sit there close by the big lake, to watch the
sparks fly upward, to hear the waves swish against the sand and to sing
and sing as loud as they liked.

But when the darkness settled down enough so that mysterious shadows
lurked over every shoulder and the stars helped the fire make a light, Ed
announced, "Now let's play Indian."

So they did. Playing Indian, the Merrill girls found, meant a queer
follow-the-leader game. Ed led off first and everybody had to follow. He
ran round and round the fire, prancing and yelling like a wild man. And
the point of the game was for everybody to do exactly as he did. They ran
and jumped and yelled till everybody was breathless with exercise and
laughter and was glad to sit down again and do nothing.

By this time the fire had again died down to a bed of coals.

"_Now_ it's time for the marshmallows, isn't it?" asked Betty. She was
right, it was.

The boxes of marshmallows were opened, wires pulled out of the baskets and
all the children sat around the fire a-toasting. 'Twas just as Betty had
promised. The wires were plenty long enough so that no fingers needed to
be burned or dresses scorched and the bed of coals was big enough to make
room for all.

Betty and Mary Jane thought they would keep count and see who could eat
the most, but after six they lost count, and they ate and ate till they
simply couldn't eat any more.

"Let's play still pond," suggested Frances.

She stood up near the fire and announced, "Twenty steps, two jumps, three
hops and a roll. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine,
ten--STILL POND."

As she said the numbers off, the children began scampering to a place to
safety. All but Mary Jane. She wasn't used to playing on the slippery,
slidy sand. And though she started off just as big as anybody, she slipped
and stumbled and hadn't more than got to her feet when the words, "Still
pond!" were called. And after that she couldn't move but just to use the
steps, jumps, hops and roll Frances had given them.

To make matters even more exciting, Frances started off exactly in her
direction.

But Mary Jane hadn't played "Still Pond" in her own yard for nothing.
Perhaps she hadn't learned to run on slippery sand as yet, but she did
know how to play that game. Instead of trying to quietly take her twenty
steps in an effort to get out of Frances' way, she took two quick steps,
dropped down on the sand, gave one little roll, and--was safely hidden
under one of the picnic benches they had used for supper!

Frances passed so close Mary Jane could have touched her. Other folks were
chased and found, but Mary Jane's hiding place was undiscovered. Of course
when she rolled in under the bench, Mary Jane had expected to roll right
out again when somebody else was caught. But when she found that they
couldn't see her; that they went right around close at hand, talking about
her and wondering where she was and all that, she thought it was such a
good joke that she lay very still and watched.

She heard them asking each other where she was seen last; she heard her
father say she couldn't be so very far away; and she saw them all start
off in search of herself. Then, just the minute their backs were turned
but before they had had time to be really frightened, she slipped out from
under her seat, stood up close by the dying fire and shouted, "Here I am,
can't you see me?"

They thought it a very good joke she had played and Mary Jane was sure she
would always remember that the best hiding place is often the nearest
one.

"Time to go home," said Mr. Holden, looking at his watch, "the fire's most
out and the party's over."

"But there'll be another one, won't there?" begged Mary Jane.

"Let's have it next week," said Betty.

The boys loaded up the empty baskets on their wagon--not much of a load
going home! Mr. Merrill raked out the fire so no harm would come to
anything; Mr. Holden gathered the children together and started the line
of march. It was a happy little crowd that wandered homeward and they all
agreed with Mary Jane when she said, "Well, anyway, I think a beach
party's the mostest fun I know. It's more fun than moving!"



MARY JANE GOES SHOPPING


The days after the beach party seemed to fly past on wings. First it was a
Monday and then, before a person could do half the nice things planned,
Saturday was coming 'round again and Alice was home all day from school
and fun for the four Merrills could be planned. Mrs. Merrill and Mary Jane
took to doing all their "Saturday marketing" on Friday afternoon so they
could have more time on Saturday for trips and sight-seeing and all the
lovely things folks like to do when they've just moved to a big city.

One Saturday morning, not so very long after the beach party, dawned--not
bright and warm and sunny as Mary Jane had hoped it surely would--but
rainy and cold and windy as some May mornings are sure to be in Chicago. A
cold northeast wind raced across the city and folks had blue noses and
shivery finger tips and not a single thing to be seen looked like spring.

"Now just look at it!" exclaimed Mary Jane as she stared out of the
living-room window, "and we were going to take a trip through the parks
and I was going to wear my new hat and everything. And look!"

"And we can't go to the parks again for another whole week!" bemoaned
Alice, "'cause there's school!"

"Just look!" exclaimed Mary Jane again as a hard gust of wind tossed the
rain against the winds exactly as though Mr. Rain was saying to Mary Jane,
"Thought you'd go out, did you? Well, look what I'm doing!"

"You girls talk as though parks were the only things to see in Chicago,"
said Mrs. Merrill as pleasantly and comfortably as though there was no
such thing as a disappointment in the world.

Alice and Mary Jane turned away from the window quickly. Something in
their mother's tone of voice made them suspect that the day wasn't to be a
disappointment after all.

"It's funny to me," continued Mrs. Merrill in a matter of fact voice,
"that you folks haven't asked to go to the big stores--wouldn't you like
to?"

"Like to!" exclaimed Alice.

"Would we?" cried Mary Jane. "But we didn't think about it!"

"Then we'll think about it now," replied Mrs. Merrill. "If you can hold an
umbrella down tight over your head so as not to get your hat wet, I think
we could manage to get to the train without getting soaked. And once down
at the store, we could check our wet umbrellas and shop and sight-see
through the stores all we wished to without a bit of hurry."

"Oh, may we really go?" asked Alice.

"Well," answered Mrs. Merrill, pretending to hesitate, "if you _really_
care to--"

That settled it and there was no more time wasted talking about weather
_that_ morning. Dishes were washed and beds were made and dusting was done
so quickly that the little flat must have been quite surprised and pleased
with itself--it got put into rights so very quickly. Then Mary Jane got
her hair fixed nicely and a pretty hair bow put on--the bow wouldn't show
very much under the new hat, but even that little had to be just
right--and then, while mother fixed her own and Alice's hair, she put on a
pretty dress--not a party dress, of course, but a nice, pretty, dark
dress. Then they all put on rubbers and raincoats and locked up the doors
and took their umbrellas and started for the train.

Going down town on the train was fun. In the city where Mary Jane lived
before, one could walk down town. Or if one really wanted to ride, a
street car hustled one to the stores in about five minutes. But in
Chicago, so she discovered, she had to have a ticket and go through a
gate, and up stairs and onto a platform and aboard a train and everything
just as though one intended to go away, far off. The girls both liked to
ride down town. To be sure they couldn't see much of the lake, even though
they did ride right along beside it, because the rain made it all look dim
and gray and foggy. But they knew the lake was there; they could see the
spray the waves made and once in a while they could hear the noise of
splashing water above the roar of the train. All too soon, for there was
so much to see, the train pulled into their station and the conductor
shouted, "Randolph Street! Everybody out! Far's we go!" And all the folks
aboard got their umbrellas ready and went out into the rain.

Fortunately it was only a very little way from the station to the big
store where Mrs. Merrill took the girls, so they didn't have a chance to
get tired or very wet. And as soon as they got indoors, Mrs. Merrill found
a checking place and they left wet umbrellas and wet raincoats and wet
rubbers and started out for fun.

"I think that's awfully convenient--just to leave things that way," said
Alice as she settled her collars and cuffs and made sure she was tidy,
"and of course we'll get them back safely?" This checking system was new
to her and she wanted to be assured it was all right.

"To be sure we will," said Mrs. Merrill. "See? I have the checks for
them."

"Well, then," said Mary Jane, "let's begin."

"Yes," said Alice, "let's. And let's see _everything_!"

"All right," laughed Mrs. Merrill; "shall we take an elevator first?"

"Oh, no," answered Alice, "'cause then we'd miss the first floor."

So they "did" the first floor, seeing all the handkerchiefs and jewelry
and bags and fans and pretty decorations and ribbons--Alice could hardly
leave those lovely ribbons--and neckwear--Mary Jane saw five different
neckties she needed--and so many things.

"Do they have anything left for the second floor?" asked Mary Jane when
they finally got around to where they had started.

"You just see," said Mrs. Merrill.

And sure enough there were plenty of things on the second floor, pretty
dishes and lamps and so many things that, really, Mary Jane almost got
tired looking at them all.

By the time they got ready for the third floor, Mary Jane was wondering if
there were any seats in that store. Not seats where you sit down to buy
things, but really seats where you just sit down whether you buy anything
or not. And sure enough there were just those seats. Nice, big comfy ones,
that appeared to be made for Mary Janes who went a-shopping and wanted to
sit down. The Merrills sat down on a big couch and Mary Jane leaned back
ready to rest when--who should she see right in front of her but Frances
Westland! The girl she met at grandmother's house nearly a year ago.

In a jiffy Mary Jane forgot all about wanting to sit down. She slid down
from the comfortable couch, dashed after Frances, who, not guessing that a
friend was so near, was hurrying by, and brought her back to meet mother
and Alice.

Then they all sat down for a visit.

"No, I'm not living here," said Frances in answer to Mrs. Merrill's
question, "I've been spending the spring with my auntie and going to
school here. But just as soon as school is out I'm going back home. Mother
needs me."

"I don't doubt it," replied Mrs. Merrill, who was much pleased with the
little girl, "I'm sure your mother misses you greatly. But where are you
living and can't we see you before you go and can't you take lunch with us
to-day?"

It seemed that Frances's auntie lived in the same part of the city the
Merrills lived in and there was every reason to believe that the girls
might see each other at least once or twice in the little time left of the
school year.

"But I don't believe I can eat lunch with you," added Frances, "'cause
auntie and I have to hurry home." So with a promise to come to see them
soon at the address Mrs. Merrill wrote out on her card for Frances, the
friends said good-by.

"I'll declare!" exclaimed Mrs. Merrill, looking at her watch after Frances
left them. "It's almost twelve o'clock already! And we were to meet father
at one. If you girls want to see anything of the toys and dolls and
playrooms, we'd better not be sitting around here any longer."

Of course the girls did want to see the toys and dolls and everything.
When they got to the fourth floor where all the children's things were
kept, they were sorry they had spent even a minute any place else. For all
the lovely dolls and marvelous toys and enticing games and beautiful
pictures and fascinating puzzles made a person think that Santa Claus's
shop and fairyland and magic were all mixed up together and set down in
one place. The girls looked and looked and looked. They "oh-ed" and
"ah-ed" and exclaimed till they couldn't think of anything more to
say--and then they kept right on looking just the same.

Mary Jane picked out the doll coat she wanted Georgiannamore to have and
Alice selected a lovely desk. They agreed upon a set of dishes and upon
charming furniture for their balcony--just the right size too.

"And we'll pretend we'll buy it all, mother," said Mary Jane, who knew
perfectly well she couldn't buy all the things she talked about getting,
"and we'll pretend we'll have it all sent up, that'll be such fun."

So they pretended and looked and looked and pretended till they had been
over most all that part of the store.

"Now then," said Mrs. Merrill, "if we're to meet Dadah for lunch--"

"Oh, goody!" cried Alice, "are we to meet him here?"

"Not here," said Mrs. Merrill, "but in this store in the lunch room and in
ten minutes. So we'd better wash our hands and go to the lunch room
floor."

Mr. Merrill was waiting for them and had a table engaged close by a
charming fountain ("Just think of a fountain in a house!" exclaimed Mary
Jane when she spied it) and all the time Mary Jane sat there eating, she
could look right over and watch the fishes and she could hear the splash
of the water.

But Mary Jane wasn't thinking of fishes or water just then. She was
hungry. And the things her father read to her sounded so good--oh, dear,
but they did sound good! She and Alice had a dreadfully hard time deciding
just what did sound the best. But Alice finally decided on stuffed chicken
legs (she hadn't an idea what they were but they sounded good) and potato
salad and strawberry parfait. And Mary Jane chose chicken pie--a whole one
all her own--and hashed brown potatoes and orange sherbet.

While the lunch was being fixed, Mr. Merrill took Mary Jane over to the
window so she could look down, down, way down, to the street below, where
the folks appeared so little and upside down and where the automobiles
looked like the ones they had just seen in the toy department.

When the lunch came, it proved to be just as good as the menu promised it
would be and the girls enjoyed every bite. Mary Jane was afraid for a
minute that she had made a mistake. For Alice's parfait came in a tall
glass, with a long spoon that made the girls think of the story of the fox
and the goose and the banquet, and Mary Jane was sure nothing she had
ordered could be as nice as parfait. But when the maid set the orange
sherbet at her place, Mary Jane was quite satisfied, for the ice was set
in a real orange, all cut out in dainty scallops and trimmed with green.

"Yummy-um!" she whispered, happily. "I'm so glad you had this party,
Dadah!"

Dadah seemed to want everything to be all right, for he had added to their
order some little cakes, done up in frilly papers and unlike anything the
girls had ever seen. They almost hated to eat them, they were so pretty,
but cakes one cannot eat are not good for much, Mr. Merrill reminded them,
and so the cakes were eaten up.

"Now then," said Mary Jane, as she dabbled her fingers in the finger bowl
and ate up the candy she found at the side of the tiny tray, "what do we
do next?"



THE BUS RIDE


"What do we do next?" asked Mr. Merrill, repeating Mary Jane's question.
"I'm sure of this much--we must do something _very_ nice because it's such
a nice day."

"_Nice day_!" exclaimed Alice. "What in the world are you talking about,
Dadah? This is the worst weather we've had since we came to Chicago--but
we don't care 'cause we're having such a good time anyway."

Mr. Merrill laughed and replied, "Suppose you look out of the window."

So they left their cozy table, where nothing but empty dishes told the
story of their delightful lunch party, and wandered over to the window
where Mary Jane had looked down at the street not much over an hour
before. But what a difference! With a sudden, unexpected shift of wind
that only the Chicago weather man knows how to bring about, the stiff,
cold northeaster that had brought the cold rain of the morning had been
sent off and in its place a warm breeze from the south blew softly across
the city, bringing with it sunshine and warmth and pleasantness for all.

"Why--" exclaimed Mary Jane, much puzzled, "where's the rain?"

"Did you want it back?" laughed Mrs. Merrill, and then she explained to
the girls something about the effect the big lake might have on weather
and told them that one of the queer things about Chicago was its sudden
changes to good, or sometimes bad, weather.

"So I was wondering," said Mr. Merrill, "if you folks wouldn't like an
hour of fresh air and then, if you're not through shopping we can come
back to the stores."

The girls hadn't an idea what he might want to do, but they were pretty
sure it would be fun. So they agreed that an hour out of doors was just
what they most wanted and they went down to get wraps from the check room.
They left the umbrellas till later, put on their wraps and left the
store.

"Now then," said Mr. Merrill, "see that big bus down there--we're going
for a ride on the top."

"What's a bus?" asked Mary Jane, who had never heard the word before. But
before her father could answer they were pushed into the crowd at the
crossing, hurried across and the next second Mr. Merrill had hailed a
great, lumbering, top-heavy automobile and was helping the girls to step
aboard.

The "bus" proved to be a large-sized passenger automobile, with a deck on
top for passengers who wished to ride in the open air. Mary Jane and Alice
were thrilled with the fun of getting on it. It seemed exactly like going
aboard a house-boat on wheels. They stepped into a little hallway and
then--and this wasn't so easy because the bus immediately began to
move--they climbed up a curving flight of stairs and walked down an
aisle--an awfully wiggly aisle it was too!--to seats on the very front
row.

Then, before they had had a chance to look around or feel at home, the
conductor, who stood at the back, shouted, "Low bridge!" and everybody
ducked their heads while the great bus went under the elevated railroad.
Mary Jane felt, truly, as though she must be a person in a story
book--Arabian Nights or something marvelous--because surely the things
that were happening to her weren't _really_ happening.

But after the elevated was passed, the bus rolled out onto Michigan
Boulevard and Mary Jane settled herself comfortably in her front seat with
her mother, smiled across the aisle to Alice and her father and began to
feel really at home in her high perch. By the time the bus had turned
northward and crossed the river, she began to feel that riding on the top
of a bus was the thing she'd been wanting to do all her life. It was such
fun to sit up high and watch the lake, so blue and beautiful in the
sunshine, the trees just getting a tinge of green at the tips, the pretty
houses that lined the parkway, the people--it seemed as everybody in
Chicago must be out in their 'tother best clothes--and most of all, it was
fun to watch the automobiles dart in and out of the crowd, around the bus
and beside it, till Mary Jane was sure their driver must be some wonderful
being to be able to manage so that everybody stayed alive!

"Here, Mary Jane," said Mr. Merrill, interrupting Mary Jane's
sight-seeing, "don't you want to pay your fare--Alice is paying ours." He
slipped two dimes into her hand just as the conductor stepped to the front
of the bus. Mary Jane wasn't quite sure what she was to do with the dimes
till she noticed that the conductor had in his hand a queer-looking thing
like a clock, only it had a hole in the top just the right size for a
dime. Into that hole Mary Jane dropped a dime. And--"ding_ding_!" went a
musical little bell somewhere in the "clock." Then she dropped the other
dime. And again the bell sounded, "ding_ding_!" just as though it tried to
say "Thank _you_!" that way. Alice then dropped her two dimes and Mary
Jane had the fun of hearing the bell again. She thought she wouldn't do a
thing but watch the conductor and listen to his bell all the time he
collected fares, but just as he stepped back to get the next folks' money
the bus passed in front of the queer old stone building with great tower
that Mr. Merrill said was the city water works building, and of course
that meant the girls wanted to hear about when it was built and hear again
the story Mr. Merrill had started to tell them several evenings before
about how the great Chicago fire started and how it burned up to this very
spot they were now passing. Somehow, being at that place and seeing the
one building that stood through the fire made the history stories seem
very plain and there were a lot of questions to be asked and answered.

But buses don't wait for questions--the girls soon discovered that! Long
before the fire story was told they had raced up Lake Shore Drive, passed
its beautiful old homes, and were turning into Lincoln Park. Here it
seemed to the girls that the city ended and fairyland began. The grass
seemed greener, the lake bluer and the trees greener than any place they
had seen; and hundreds of tulips peeping up through the ground here, there
and everywhere, made spots of bright vivid color and beauty.

"Oh!" exclaimed Mary Jane happily, "I hope the bus goes on and on forever!
I'd like to keep on riding all the time!"

But when, a minute or two later, they passed near the buildings of the
Zoo, Mary Jane forgot all about wanting to ride forever and wanted to get
out, right away quick and see all the animals she had heard lived there.

"Not to-day," said Mr. Merrill, looking at his watch. "You remember we are
to go back to the stores--we're just out for a bit of fresh air this time.
Some other day when it's still warmer so we can get our dinner here, then
we'll come and visit the Zoo. But to-day I want to get back to the stores
before they close."

"Of course," added Alice, "for our umbrellas."

"Of course for something else too," laughed her father, and though both
girls were very curious, not another word would he say.

So they stayed on the bus and rode clear through the park, and up Sheridan
Road a long way till the bus turned around at a corner and the conductor
shouted, "Far's we go!"

But the Merrills didn't get off. They wanted to keep those good front
seats so they sat still and in about two minutes the bus started south and
whirled them through the park and past all the same interesting sights on
the way cityward. This time, Mary Jane felt very much at home in her
high-up perch. She dropped in the dimes her father gave her, eyed the
passing autos without a bit of fear and looked down on all the children
she saw walking and playing quite as though she had lived in a city and
ridden in busses all her young life.

It was a very reluctant pair of young ladies that Mr. Merrill assisted to
the sidewalk when the big stores and "time to get off" were reached.

"But what was it besides umbrellas you wanted to get?" asked Mary Jane,
suddenly remembering.

"Well," said Mr. Merrill, "I haven't been through the toy department with
anybody. And I have a calendar."

The girls looked puzzled. What had the toy department to do with a
calendar? They couldn't guess. Even Mrs. Merrill looked puzzled.

"Of course if you don't intend to have birthdays since we've moved--" said
Mr. Merrill teasingly. And then everybody knew! To be sure! It was almost
time for Mary Jane's birthday--almost a year, it was, since the lovely
birthday party when the little girl was five years old--and in the
excitement of moving and getting settled and seeing new sights, even the
little lady herself had forgotten how near the day was at hand.

"It's mine!" exclaimed Mary Jane happily, "and I'll be six! Come on,
quick, Dadah! and I'll show you perzactly what I want." When Mary Jane got
excited she sometimes got words a little mixed, but her father knew well
enough just what she meant. She grabbed hold of his hand, called to her
mother and Alice to come on with them and away they went toward the
elevator that quickly took them to the toy section.

Going through that department the second time was even more fun than the
first trip, because now father was along to see things and to explain
mechanical toys. And also because there was the fun of picking out the
thing she wanted to wish for, for her birthday. That last was a very
serious matter, as every little girl knows.

They looked at dolls--but not a doll was as lovely as Georgiannamore, at
least that was Mary Jane's opinion--and then they looked at furniture and
at dishes and toys and games and clothes for dolls and, well, at every
single thing in that whole big department. After everything had been
considered and looked at and thought about, and it was about time for the
big warning bell to ring and tell folks that in ten minutes the store
would close and everybody'd have to get out, then and not until then, Mary
Jane decided that the thing she wanted most of all was a doll cart. A
beautiful little ivory enameled doll cart made just exactly like the one
that Junior's little brother had back at their old home. A cart with a top
that moved back and forth just like a real baby cart and that had cushions
and tires and everything that a really truly mother is particular to want
for her baby.

"Yes," said Mary Jane, as she looked around the store with a rather tired
sigh, "I think that's the thing I want the most and I'm going to wish for
it, Dadah."

"Sounds easily settled," laughed her father, "but do you know what time it
is?"

Before she could answer, the warning bell rang and clerks began to cover
up counters and to straighten up the store for its Sunday rest. So the
Merrills four hurried down to get umbrellas and to go home.

On the train going home Mary Jane was so tired looking at things that she
didn't care a bit about looking any more. She watched the lake some, but
mostly she simply settled back in her little corner behind the door and
just sat. Thoughts of all the wonderful things she had seen that day raced
through her mind--the lunch, the ride, the lake, the park--but most of
all, that wonderful doll cart, and she couldn't help wondering (and of
course hoping) if she really truly would, _possibly_, get that lovely gift
for her birthday.



THE BIRTHDAY LUNCHEON


As soon as they got home that evening, and had dinner and rested up a bit,
Mary Jane hunted up a calendar so she could find out about her birthday.
And she discovered that two weeks from that same day was "her" day.

"It's Saturday, so you can do something too!" she said to Alice. "Now,
Mother, let's plan."

So they talked over all the nice things a person _might_ do for a
birthday, but long before they could decide which was the very nicest of
all the plans, bedtime came. Then the next morning there were interesting
things to do, and nobody thought about plans for a day that was two weeks
away. That is, nobody but Mary Jane thought about it, and, if the truth
must be told, she thought more about the doll cart she had wished for than
she did about what she might do to celebrate.

Monday noon, when Alice came home for her luncheon, she was much excited.

"Who do you s'pose I saw at recess this morning?" she demanded. "Guess!"

But Mrs. Merrill and Mary Jane couldn't guess--they didn't know anybody in
Chicago to guess! Or at least they thought they didn't.

"I saw--" began Alice slowly, for she wanted the fun of keeping them
waiting to last as long as possible, "I saw--Frances Westland! And she
goes to my school!"

"Why in the world didn't we know that?" said Mrs. Merrill. "We should have
guessed! Of course she goes to your school. I remember of thinking she
wasn't very far from us."

"Can't we have her come to see us?" asked Mary Jane eagerly.

"I already asked her if she couldn't come," explained Alice, "because I
knew you'd want me to, and she says she's sure she can. But she can't come
next Saturday because she and her auntie are going to Milwaukee to spend
the week-end. But she thought she could come the next Saturday."

"And that's my birthday," Mary Jane reminded her.

"I know it," agreed Alice, "but I didn't tell her. I just said I'd find
out what we were doing that day and let her know this afternoon--was that
all right, Mother?"

"You did exactly right, dear," said Mrs. Merrill reassuringly. "Come right
out to the dining-room now, because your soup is ready and you mustn't
hurry yourself too much with your lunch. While we eat, we'll plan for the
birthday."

Of course there were many plans to be talked of, because in a big city
there are so many kinds of things one may do. And it was awfully hard to
decide which plan was the very most fun--you know how that is yourself.
But after every plan that any of the three could think of had been
discussed carefully, Mary Jane decided that there were two things she
wanted the most to do. First, she wanted to stay home to celebrate and
have a party and all that; and, second, she wanted to go down town and go
to a big grown-up theater where there was music and lights and pretty
things just like grown folks see up town. And for her part she admitted
that she didn't see how a person possibly, even on a birthday, could do
those two conflicting things.

"Pooh!" laughed Mrs. Merrill, "that's easy! I was telling Dad the other
night that inasmuch as this was the first birthday in the city and on
Saturday and everything--so convenient for us all--we'd better do those
very two things."

"But how'll we do it, Mother?" asked Alice. "We can't stay home for a
party while we're down town at the theater!"

"To be sure, we can't," agreed Mrs. Merrill. "But we can stay home for a
party _before_ we go down town for a show. And that's just what we're
going to do. You hurry off to school now, dear, because it's ten of one.
And next time you see Frances Westland, you invite her to come here for
twelve o'clock luncheon a week from next Saturday. Be sure to tell her
it's an all-afternoon party, so she can stay long enough to go down town
with us."

"And who else'll we have?" asked Mary Jane, when Alice had gone. "It
wouldn't be a party with one person."

"Of course not," said her mother. "There are going to be three folks.
After school this very day you are going to invite Frances and Betty
Holden--that'll make it almost a 'Frances' party, won't it? We'll ask them
right away, even though a week from Saturday is a long time off, because
Dadah will want to get the tickets and we will all want to make our
plans."

A week and five days seem a very long time, when you have to wait for
them. But Mary Jane found that, after all, they went quicker than she had
thought they could, because there was so much to do. First she had to
decide what she wanted to have to eat at the luncheon. After much thought
and consultation the menu was made out and tacked up on the kitchen
cabinet for future reference. Mary Jane printed it out all by herself and
the letters were big and plain and could be easily read by any
cook--especially Mother. It said:

                     CHICKEN BALLS
                     HOT ROLLS
                     FRUIT SALAD WITH WHIPPED CREAM
                     ICE CREAM        CAKE
                     HASHED BROWN POTATOES
                     JELLY

Chicken balls really meant chicken croquettes, but croquettes proved to be
such a big and puzzling word that Mary Jane decided she would say balls
and Mrs. Merrill agreed to take a verbal order for the croquette part of
the luncheon.

When the food was planned for, Mary Jane began to talk about the
decorations. It was soon found that to be really pretty, the table
trimmings would have to be made by the hostess herself, so Mary Jane set
to work. From the advertising sections of magazines she cut letters about
an inch high. Letters enough to spell everybody's first name and last
initial. She had to have the last initial because two of her guests had
the same first name. These she sorted very carefully and put in envelopes;
one envelope for each person and just the right letters in that envelope
for the person's name. Then, she planned, when the luncheon was all ready,
she would put the letters in little piles in front of each person's place
and let them puzzle out the names before they sat down.

Mrs. Merrill promised to have a basket of flowers, spring flowers that
Mary Jane loved so very much, in the center of the table. And Mary Jane
planned to make a procession of girls and boys all around the basket.
These she cut out of magazines too and she chose girls and boys who were
doing all the things that she herself liked to do.

With all these things, besides regular duties and fun, to keep her busy,
Mary Jane didn't really have a chance to think her birthday was a long
time coming. First thing _she_ knew it was Friday night and the birthday
was the very next morning!

On Saturday morning, she waked up knowing something nice was going to
happen. Then, before her eyes were really open, she felt herself getting
mother's birthday kisses and, before those were all delivered, Alice's
birthday spats--six good big lively ones!

"Never you mind, Alice," she promised, "just wait till it's _your_
birthday and you'll get some of the hardest--"

"Don't stop for promises," said Mr. Merrill, coming in to deliver his
spats too, "what I want is breakfast and for the life of me, _I_ can't get
into that dining-room."

"_Oh!_" cried Mary Jane rapturously, "I'll be right out!"

"Not till you get dressed, you know," Alice reminded her, "so do hurry!"
For it was one of the rules of the Merrill household that birthdays and
Christmases didn't really begin till folks were dressed. So Mary Jane
scrabbled into her clothes and gave her face and hands about the most
hurry-up washing they had ever had and then rushed out to the
dining-room.

And there, standing right by her chair, was the--yes, really--the very
doll cart she had picked out! She was so happy that for a minute she
couldn't speak, she just stared. The next minute she was down on her knees
with her arms around the whole cart--or at least as much of the cart as
two six-year-old arms could get around--and she was counting over all the
wonderful virtues of her gift. It surely was a cart to make any little
girl proud and when Mary Jane saw her own Georgiannamore, wearing a lovely
new coat (Mrs. Merrill's gift), and a pair of really truly gloves (from
Alice), and sitting up as big as life in the cart, she thought the
happiest day of her life had come.

After breakfast the morning raced by on wings. Of course Mary Jane had to
show the cart and doll's clothes to Betty and they had to walk around the
block to give the doll an airing. Then, just as they got back to Mary
Jane's apartment, the postman came with a box from grandpa and grandma.
Betty was invited up for the fun of opening it and she was glad to come
both for the fun and for the big pieces of grandmother's candy that she
got when the box was opened. Then there was the table to set and the
puzzle letters to put around and everybody to dress in their best--that's
a good deal for one morning. No wonder it seemed to be an unusually short
one.

At the very last minute, Mary Jane with her new white dress and pink
ribbons all just as they should be, went in to the kitchen to see if she
could help. And at that very minute a neighbor came in to get Mrs.
Merrill's advice about an important matter.

"Everything's ready now," said Mrs. Merrill, as she left the kitchen.
"Only, I believe, Mary Jane, it would be a good idea for you to put that
whipped cream into the ice box. We won't make the salad till they get here
and I want to keep it stiff and cold."

Now, Mary Jane had put things in the ice box many a time. Big things and
little things and spilly things and all, and there was no reason in the
world why she couldn't do it all right. No reason, except-- Just as she
picked up the bowl of cream, the door bell rang a long, loud peal that she
was sure must be her three guests coming all at once, so she hurried and
the cream jiggled in the bowl, and slid over the edge--and all down the
front of her best new dress!

Fortunately Alice came into the kitchen just then, in time to see the
accident, and to notice two big tears which popped into Mary Jane's eyes
and threatened to spill down her cheeks.

"Pooh!" she exclaimed comfortably, "don't you worry about a little thing
like that, Mary Jane," and she made a grab for the bowl, rescued some of
the cream and set it in the ice box. "I'll have you fixed up so soon that
you won't know anything happened."

"But it's all down my dress," said Mary Jane, trying her very best not to
cry.

[Illustration: "But it's all down my dress," said Mary Jane, trying her
very best not to cry _Page 111_]

"Oh, well," replied Alice, nothing daunted, "it's not going to stay there
long." She took a clean cloth, dampened it with cold water and, with quick
little dabs, scrubbed the cream all off the front of the birthday dress.
Then she took a fresh cloth, and more cold water and, putting a big, clean
towel under the front of the dress, scrubbed again till every trace of the
cream was gone. Then she opened the oven door so the heat would help dry
the wetness and with a fresh cloth rubbed and rubbed the wet place till it
was entirely dry.

"There now," she said, as she shook the dress into place, "I think the
girls are here; let's go see." And immediately the accident that
threatened to spoil Mary Jane's fun was forgotten.

Sure enough, the girls had come and the party began at once.

The letter puzzles for place cards proved to be lots of fun and filled in
the time while Mrs. Merrill brought in the plates of good things to eat.
Judging by the appetites Mary Jane's menu must have been a favorite with
everybody, for the goodies disappeared by magic and Mrs. Merrill filled up
plates and passed rolls and brought in salad and everything till she
hardly had time to eat her own luncheon.

The ice cream was a surprise even to Mary Jane. On the plate was, first, a
big, round piece of cake; then, on top of that, was a slice of ice cream,
white, and on top of _that_ a ball of pink ice cream with a pink candle,
lighted, stuck in the top. They looked so pretty and bright that the girls
hated to blow them out, but Mrs. Merrill said every one was to make a wish
and then blow and if the candle went out on the first blow the wish would
come true.

Alice suddenly remembered that they were to take a train at one-thirty and
that it was nearing one now, so the dessert was finished in a hurry, wraps
were hastily put on and the whole party started for the train to meet Mr.
Merrill and have the rest of the fun.



LOST--ONE DOLL CART


There was only one thing wrong about the birthday celebration and that was
that the day was such a very busy, happy one that there was very little
time for playing with the new doll cart. Of course Mary Jane and Betty
took their dolls out for one airing in the morning soon after breakfast.
But what is one little airing when one has a new cart? Nothing at all,
Mary Jane thought. All through the luncheon and the ride down town and the
play father took them to, which proved to be just the very most
interesting kind of a play for little girls to see, Mary Jane kept
thinking of her new cart and of the fun she would have on Monday when
there was a whole day for Georgiannamore and the doll cart.

So when Monday morning actually came Mary Jane lost no time getting up and
doing her share of the morning work. Mary Jane was very particular about
her morning work. She didn't want her mother to have to do the things a
six-year-old girl was plenty big enough to do; and then, anyway, she knew
it was lots more fun to work when two did the job than for one person to
work alone. She picked up all the papers, and emptied the waste baskets,
and cleaned the bathroom washstand and the kitchen sink--she liked those
jobs the best because they were so scrubby and grown-up and
interesting--and put out clean towels and dusted the living-room. Of
course this was after the dishes were washed and put away; that was a job
with which Alice helped too, before she started for school. So by the time
Mary Jane was ready to play Mrs. Merrill was about through too, ready for
sewing or baking or whatever she had to do that day.

"I think I'd better help you take down your cart," suggested Mrs. Merrill,
when the last job was finished. "It's not so easy for one person to take
that cart down from the second floor. But it will be no trouble at all for
you to take one end and me to take the other and carry it down together.
Then you can put Georgiannamore in it before you start down and there'll
be no danger of bouncing her out."

"But how'll I get back up, Mother?" asked Mary Jane.

"Ring the bell three short taps and I'll come down to meet you," answered
Mrs. Merrill. "Don't try to bring it up alone; it's far too heavy."

Mary Jane dressed Georgiannamore in her very best dress, put on the new
coat and gloves, tucked her carefully into the cart so she wouldn't catch
cold by being out for a long walk, and then she and Mrs. Merrill carried
the cart, oh, so very carefully, down stairs and out to the sidewalk.

Fortunately, that May morning was bright and sunny; the breeze blew warm
from the southland instead of cold and blustery from the lake, and it was
the very best kind of a morning possible for being out of doors. Mary Jane
walked around the block, starting toward the lake, then she went around
the block the other way, and of course she went rather slowly because
there was so much to see and to show Georgiannamore. Bright colored
crocuses were blooming in all the yards where there were houses--and in
that particular neighborhood there were many houses as well as
apartments--tulips were bursting up through the ground and the lilac buds
were swelling their plump green sides nearly to the bursting point.

On the third time around, Mary Jane thought of school--to be sure, it
couldn't be anywhere near time for school to be out, because the morning
hadn't much more than begun, but then it would be fun to go around to the
corner where the children crossed the street to go to school. There were
so many automobiles whizzing around the streets that a little girl even as
old as six couldn't be allowed to cross streets without a grown person or
an older sister along.

She went around the block to the corner where the children would come,
after a while, and there, just as she turned to start back home, thinking
she'd come here again nearer noon, she heard a commotion. Looking down the
half block to the yard around the school house she heard a bell peal out
and saw, yes, truly, crowds of children coming out of school! And just as
she was about to look around to see if there was a fire or a parade or
anything special to cause school to be dismissed early, she heard the
whistles blow for noon--the morning was gone! That's how time flies when a
person has a new doll cart!

Mary Jane waited at the corner till Alice and Frances and Betty came along
together and they all four walked home.

"You shouldn't bother to carry your cart clear upstairs every time,"
suggested Frances, "when our front porch is so handy. Just run the cart up
on the porch, lock the brake and it will be safe as can be till you eat
your lunch."

Alice thought that was a good idea too, so the cart was left there, locked
with the brake, and with the understanding that if Mrs. Merrill didn't
approve, the girls would come down and get it at once.

Lunch was ready and waiting, so the cart stayed on the porch while the
girls ate and then Mary Jane walked back toward school as far as she was
allowed to go.

By the time Mary Jane got back in front of her own apartment, Mrs. Merrill
was ready to go and do her marketing and errands and of course Mary Jane
and Georgiannamore went along and had a beautiful time--especially when
they looked in the windows and saw all the good things to eat. Mary Jane
had thought that she knew every sort of good thing a person could possibly
want to eat, but she soon found out that she didn't. For in one of the
windows they passed she saw a tray of apples, covered with something slick
and brown and carrying in their stem ends a small smooth stick like a
butcher's skewer.

"What are they, Mother?" she exclaimed. "Don't they look _good_! And may
we buy some?"

Mrs. Merrill went inside the store and Mary Jane, anxiously watching her
mother through the window, waited outside with the doll and cart. She saw
her mother speak to the salesman, look at the apples and then, oh, joy!
saw him pick out four fine ones under Mrs. Merrill's direction and put
them in a paper bag.

"He says they are called Taffy Apples," explained Mrs. Merrill when she
came out, "and that all the girls and boys like them very much. So I
didn't bother to consult you," she added with a twinkle in her eye. "I
bought some for you four girls to eat after school--just on a chance that
you might like them."

The bag was carefully tucked in under the folds of Georgiannamore's robe
and the walking and shopping were resumed, but all the time, Mary Jane
kept her eye on the hump made by the bag of apples and kept wishing that
time for school to be out would hurry up and come. Some good fairy must
have heard the wishes too, for the afternoon hurried by almost as fast as
the morning and first thing Mary Jane knew they were all through the
errands and were going down the street toward the school, ready to meet
Alice.

"Do you like 'Taffy Apples'?" Mary Jane asked Betty as soon as she came
out of the school yard.

"Like 'em--u-um!" replied Betty expressively.

"Well," continued Mary Jane slowly, so the surprise wouldn't be over too
soon, "I've got one in there," pointing to the cart.

Betty eyed the hump Mary Jane pointed out and smiled knowingly.

"It looks like more than one," she suggested hopefully.

"It is more than one," answered Mary Jane delightedly; "it's four--all for
us."

"Can we eat 'em now?" demanded Betty.

"Better wait till we get home," suggested Mrs. Merrill; "that won't be
more than five minutes and then there won't be any danger of stumbling and
running a stick into your throats."

The two little girls didn't loiter much after that. They skipped along
briskly and soon were ahead of Mrs. Merrill and Alice and Frances.

"I'll tell you what," said Betty, as they turned into her own yard, "let's
put the cart up on the porch while I get my doll and then when we get
through eating our apples we'll be all ready to go walking."

She picked up the front end and Mary Jane took the handle end and they set
the cart up at the end of the porch and went into the house. Fortunately
Mary Jane took Georgiannamore along with her into the house; if she
hadn't--but then, that's getting ahead of the story.

The little girls had no more than gone inside before Mrs. Merrill, Alice
and Frances turned the corner and strolled along toward the Holden house.

"Funny where those girls have gone," said Frances, looking at the empty
porch.

"They've hid our Taffy Apples somewhere, I just know they have!" said
Alice. "Frances, we ought to be smart enough to find them so quickly they
won't try teasing again."

"I don't believe they've hidden the apples," said Frances thoughtfully,
"because Betty would be so hungry she wouldn't bother with teasing till
after she was through eating. Maybe they've gone into the house to get
Betty's doll and cart."

"But why would they bother to take Mary Jane's cart indoors if Betty was
just going in for her doll?" asked Alice.

Before Frances or Mrs. Merrill could suggest an answer, the two little
girls themselves came out of the front door, turned to look at the porch
and then stood there, as though fastened to the floor--they were that
surprised.

"Why--why--" said Mary Jane, "I left it right here!"

"Well, nobody ever stole anything before," said Betty. "Maybe the boys
just hid it!"

"No, they didn't," replied Frances, "because they haven't come home from
school yet. They stopped to see Jimmie's new chicken house and they won't
be home for an hour."

"What's the trouble?" asked Mrs. Holden, who, hearing voices, came to the
front door to invite folks in for a visit.

"Trouble enough, Mother," said Frances, worriedly. "Mary Jane left her
brand new doll cart on our porch and it's gone!"

"And we just went in to get my doll," explained Betty, getting very
excited. "We just went in a little minute and then we were going to eat
the taffy apples and now they're gone too--oh, dear!"

At that minute, yes, things really do happen this way sometimes, who
should go by the house but the big friendly policeman who always stood at
the street corner nearest the school to guard the children from swiftly
moving autos. Betty spied him and ran down the walk to speak to him.

"So the cart's gone, is it?" he said as he and Betty came up toward the
house. "Well, if you'll let me use your 'phone, I'll tell them down at the
station just what kind of a cart it is and maybe we can get a trace of
it--anyway, we can try."

Mrs. Holden went indoors with him and the others stood around on the porch
hardly knowing what to do. Losing her cart was a real calamity to poor
Mary Jane--she very well knew that her father couldn't afford to get her
another one and she had hard work, awfully hard work, to keep back the
tears that came to her eyes and to swallow the lump that filled her
throat. She didn't want to be a crybaby, but--and the lump got bigger and
bigger--

Mrs. Merrill noticed that Mary Jane was trying so very hard to be brave so
she did her best to help.

"Wasn't it lucky that officer came by just then!" she said cheerfully. "I
can't for the life of me see why anybody would be mean enough to steal a
little girl's doll cart and I keep thinking we'll find it somewhere. Come
on, Mary Jane, let's sit down on this settee here till Mrs. Holden comes
out. Then perhaps some of you girls will be good enough to go up to the
candy shop with me and get some more taffy apples--I suppose those went
with the cart!"

Mary Jane stepped over toward her mother, who had already seated herself
on the settee at the end of the porch. But before she sat down she just
happened to look down toward the ground. The Holden porch had no railing
around the side and as Mary Jane was always a little timid about falling
she kept a close watch on the end of the porch every time she went near
it. She glanced down at the ground and then--her face changed! The
sorrowful look vanished and smiles spread like sunshine over her face.

"Look!" she exclaimed, as she pointed to the ground. "Look there!"



A TRIP TO THE ZOO


It wasn't hard to guess what Mary Jane had found; nothing but her precious
doll cart could have made her feel and look so happy. They all ran to the
end of the porch, looked over the edge, and there, sure enough, was the
birthday cart all tumbled down in a heap. Alice and Frances jumped down,
set it up straight and then, with Mrs. Merrill's help from above, lifted
it up to the porch just as the policeman and Mrs. Holden came out of the
house.

"Bless my soul!" exclaimed the officer. "Another cart?"

"No, it's mine!" cried Mary Jane happily. She ran her hands over the hood,
the body part and then the wheels to make sure nothing was broken.
Everything seemed all right, even the bag of taffy apples was still tucked
under the carriage robe that had come loose but had not fallen clear out.

"Yours?" asked the officer. "But I thought yours was lost!"

"It was," admitted Mary Jane, "but it isn't any more."

Mrs. Merrill hastened to explain that the cart had just then been
discovered on the ground at the end of the porch.

"I know what was the trouble," said Frances, "she didn't fasten the
brake--did you, Mary Jane?"

Mary Jane and the policeman bent down to inspect the brake. No, it wasn't
fastened.

"It wouldn't take much of a breeze to blow that cart off the porch, young
lady," said the officer, laughingly, "and so I suggest that if you ever
want to leave your doll in the cart, you'd better be sure the brake is
locked. You might have a smashed doll instead of a lost cart to report and
then things wouldn't be so easy to straighten out!" And with a pleasant
good-by he went on about his business.

Left alone the two mothers looked at each other and laughed--such an easy
ending to disappointment didn't often come! The four girls made a dive for
the bag of apples and settled themselves on the broad front steps for a
few minutes of real enjoyment. Mary Jane found that taffy apples were a
lot of fun to eat. The hard, slick surface was delicious to "lick" and
then, when a small part was licked thin, it was fun to bite right straight
through to the apple.

"If you think they're good now," said Frances, "you should taste them in
the fall when the fresh apples are in--yummy-um!"

"These are good enough for me," said Betty contentedly and she bit off a
big chunk of apple.

"Betty Holden!" exclaimed Frances with big sisterly chagrin, "you look
like a monkey with that apple all over your face!"

"Oh, fiddle!" replied Betty indifferently, "I like monkeys."

"Did you ever see one?" asked Mary Jane, "a really truly live one?"

Betty stared. "Why of course!" she answered, "haven't you?"

Mary Jane shook her head.

"Well then you ought to go up to the Zoo," she said positively, "let's all
go." She jumped up and ran over to her mother. "Mother!" she announced,
"Mary Jane's never seen a monkey--never! Can't we take her up to the Zoo
and show 'em to her?"

"Never seen a monkey!" exclaimed Mrs. Holden and she was as surprised as
Betty had been, "are you sure?"

"Yes, Betty's right," said Mrs. Merrill. "Mary Jane has seen a great many
things for a little girl who has just had her sixth birthday. But she
hasn't seen a monkey. Her father and I were saying only last night that we
must take the girls up to the Zoo as soon as possible."

"Let's all go next Saturday," suggested Mrs. Holden, "no, we can't go next
Saturday because the girls and I have some shopping to do. Let's go a week
from Saturday. By that time the restaurant in Lincoln Park will be open.
The way we do," she explained to the Merrills, "is to take our lunch, a
picnic lunch, with us. We start up about eleven, eat over by the lake and
then have the whole afternoon for watching the animals; we eat dinner in
that nice restaurant, before dark, and then come home in the early
evening. Can you all go on that day?"

Mrs. Merrill said she was sure they could, so plans were made right then
and there.

Mary Jane and Alice thought those two weeks, or nearly two weeks, never
would pass. Of course there was the doll cart to play with and Mary Jane
loved it exactly as much as ever. But she did want to see the monkeys, and
the foxes (Betty told her she would love the foxes!) and all the creatures
that Betty seemed to know so much about and which she had never even
seen.

But at last the morning came, warm and sunny and clear and the lunch boxes
were packed, the apartment locked up and everybody started toward Lincoln
Park feeling happy and ready for fun. The fathers couldn't come for lunch,
but really when all the Holden girls and boys were added to the three
Merrills, there was such a crowd that, for the time at least, fathers
weren't so very much missed.

When they reached the park Mary Jane realized, for the first time, how
close it was getting to really truly summer. The sun shone with real
summer warmth, the lake was blue and beautiful and flowers bloomed on
every corner.

"Oh, I'd just like to live in a park all the time," she exclaimed as she
looked around her, "it seems just like home!"

"Yes, it does," said Mrs. Merrill, with a wee bit of a sigh, "I'm afraid I
know some folks who are going to miss their gardens and flower bed this
summer."

"How stupid of me not to have thought of that!" exclaimed Mrs. Holden.
"You know it will be just two weeks now till we go up to the lake for all
the summer. Why didn't I think to have you plant stuff in our back garden?
Then you could have all the garden you liked right there handy--we always
do hate to leave the ground idle."

"Perhaps we might plant something even yet," suggested Mrs. Merrill, much
delighted with the idea, "we'd love to try."

But there was no time for further planning just then--John Holden demanded
his lunch; Betty made a lively second and in a minute or two a clean
grassy place was picked out, the individual lunch boxes were passed out
and then, for a few minutes, everybody was quiet.

"I'm going to feed the black bear," announced Betty, as she paused to pick
out another sandwich, "I'm going to feed him peanuts--I saved up enough
money for two bagsful."

"But aren't you afraid of him?" asked Mary Jane breathlessly.

"Afraid? Pooh!" grunted Betty.

"Never you mind, Mary Jane," said Linn comfortingly, "she was afraid the
first time she saw him and I remember all about it. But now she's learned
that he can't get out the cage."

"Now, Linn, I never--" began Betty.

But John interrupted. "There!" he said, "I'm through. Come on, let's
gather up the boxes and papers and stick 'em in the trash box on the way
to get the peanuts." So the children all helped and in a jiffy the pretty,
grassy spot where they had eaten lunch was as clean and tidy as when they
came. And then away they scampered after the peanuts.

Such an afternoon as it was! Mary Jane tried to remember each thing they
did so she could tell her father when he met them after three o'clock. But
she couldn't remember half what they had done. She knew they saw the
little foxes--such pretty, dainty white and tan colored foxes that played
together like little pet kittens and made her want to hold them in her lap
and pet them. She knew they saw the bears--great big bears and middle
sized bears and little bit o' bears just like in the story book, and she
fed them peanuts which they caught very deftly in their soft cushioned
paws. But all the rest, she really couldn't remember in the right
order--there were kangaroos and buffaloes and a giraffe who stuck his long
neck over the top of a great high fence and made Mary Jane think of
nothing so much as a funny paper picture. And then of course the
monkeys--dozens of them and queer birds with curious colored feathers and
funny bills and feet. Really, she had seen in that one afternoon, more
animals than she had guessed lived in the whole world, oh, many more!

"But have you seen the seals?" asked Mr. Merrill who met them at the bird
house.

No, they hadn't.

"It's almost four o'clock," said Mr. Merrill, looking at his watch, "and
Mr. Holden said they ate at four and we should meet him there, so let's
hurry."

It was a good thing they did hurry for other folks seemed to know, too,
that the seals were fed at four. From all directions, folks could be seen
walking toward the big enclosed pond where the seals were kept. But, by
hurrying, they got there in time to stand close to the iron fence where
they could see the antics of those queerest of animals, the seals.

One would suppose that even the seals knew it was nearly four o'clock,
dinner time, for they were so excited and eager. They barked and swam and
flung themselves around vigorously as though they could hardly stand
waiting for anything. Then, just at four, a man came out of a near-by
building. In his hand he carried a basket of fish--a great, well-filled
basket. He came over to a little platform close by where the Merrill and
Holden children were standing; so they could see everything.

He picked up a big fish, tossed it over into the rocky island in the
middle of the seals' pond and then! such a scrambling as there was till
the middle-sized seal with a few ungainly flops, grabbed the fish and
gulped it down in one bite.

Then he threw another fish and another and another--one after the other so
fast that Mary Jane felt sure the seals must get all mixed up about
catching them. But they didn't. Those seals must have been smarter than
folks had thought for they seemed to know, every time, just about where
the fish was to hit on the rocks and to know, too, just how to get to that
particular spot the quickest. Mary Jane thought it very wonderful.

But one thing worried her. There was one small seal, who for some reason
or other, seemed to be always just a second too late to get a fish. Mary
Jane was sure he had had but one and all the others had had, oh, a lot.
And she couldn't help wishing all the others wouldn't be quite so grabby.

When the man who was feeding the seals got almost to the bottom of his big
basket, he stopped and looked at the crowd of children assembled for the
feeding. And as he looked, he spied Mary Jane's sober little face.

"Don't you like to watch them?" he asked her in surprise.

"Yes, I like to only they're so grabby," she replied promptly, "and he
hasn't had but one." She pointed out the little seal who was a bit too
slow.

"We'll fix that," said the keeper, kindly, "you just watch."

He tossed a great big fish close to the crowd of waiting seals, then,
quick as a flash and before they had had time to get that one, he tossed
another, straight at the little seal who was on the edge of the crowd.

"He got it! He got it!" cried Mary Jane happily, "he got it before they
had a chance!"

"And he's going to get another," said the keeper as he threw another and
still another, straight at the hungry little seal. "There!" he added as he
looked at the now empty basket, "that ought to do him till to-morrow."
Mary Jane thought he looked so comfortable now that surely he had had as
much as he needed for the day.

"Better hurry if we're to see the lions eat," said Mr. Holden, who during
the seals' dining hour had come up behind his little party.

"Lions!" exclaimed Mary Jane.

"Yes, hurry up!" called Betty and she and her brother who were quite
familiar with the park because of many previous visits, ran on toward a
big brick house near by.

Mary Jane wasn't afraid, but all the same she thought it would be more fun
to hold her father's hand and even though they were a bit behind, they got
into the lions' house in time.

Here the dinner was of meat, great big chunks of raw, red meat that the
keepers tossed into the cages. And it was so funny to watch! Just before
the keeper appeared, the lions and tigers and jackals and leopards were
pacing up and down their cages with such weird roars and grunts and growls
that Mary Jane held tightly to her father's hand and didn't go very close
to the iron bars. But when the keepers appeared with the meat there was a
wild scramble, and then silence except for the crunching and smacking of
eating. It certainly was different, oh, very, very different from anything
Mary Jane had ever seen before!

"Let's not wait here any more," suggested Alice, "let's show Dadah the
monkeys."

"Yes, and the foxes--the white ones," said Mary Jane, "they're my
favorites of all."

But before they had had time to show Mr. Merrill every single creature
they had seen, the Holden boys announced that they were hungry and that it
was long past dinner time. And sure enough! Even though it wasn't really
long _past_ dinner time, it _was_ half past five--the time they had agreed
upon for dinner. So a very jolly party seated themselves at a big round
table on a second story porch of the Park restaurant. That was the nicest
place to eat Mary Jane had ever seen--unless perhaps a diner on a train.
For after they gave their order, she discovered that they could look right
down on a small lake where ducks and geese and swans lived. The children
got so interested watching the pretty creatures that for once they didn't
have time to think the waiter was slow!

They stayed there eating and watching the birds, till the sun set back of
the trees. Then, when there wasn't another scrap of cake or teaspoonful of
ice cream left, they gathered up wraps and hats and started for home.

"I know one thing," said sleepy Mary Jane as they waited for the bus that
was to take them to their train. "I know there're a lot more animal folks
in the world than I thought for--oh, a lot more! And I think I'd better
come again to see them all."



A DAY IN THE PARKS


A whole long vacation begun! Alice home all day and plenty of time for
walks and playing together! It seemed almost too good to be true. For
although Alice was several years older than her sister Mary Jane, the two
girls had always had very happy times playing together and they had missed
each other very much during school days. Now that the Holden family was
away, for they went off, bag and baggage, to their country home up in
Wisconsin the very day school closed, the two girls had no one near by to
play with, so more than ever before they needed and enjoyed each other's
company. Frances Westland had gone back to the country and the Merrill
girls had not made friends with anyone who lived near enough to make a
convenient playmate.

They didn't do as some girls and boys do in vacation, get up late in the
morning. No, they thought it was more fun to get up promptly and have
breakfast with Dadah and then, when the afternoon got hot, as often
happened, they took a nice long rest and dressed fresh and clean for
dinner. On many a day Mrs. Merrill packed a basket of dinner and they met
Mr. Merrill over by the park, had their dinner near one of the small
lagoons or close to the big lake. After dinner they played ball or
tennis--Alice was learning to be very good at tennis.

"I wish there were swans in our park," said Mary Jane as she sat on the
edge of the lagoon and watched the row boats and the electric launches
gliding about on the water. "I liked those swans at Lincoln Park."

"I was just thinking to-day," said Mr. Merrill, "we haven't seen all the
parks and I promised you, that you should see them--all the big ones
anyway. I wonder when we could go, mother?"

"I wonder _how_ we could go," said Mrs. Merrill, "the parks are so far
apart that a journey through them all would be a hopeless task, seems to
me."

"Depends on how you do it," laughed Mr. Merrill. "I'll tell you what I
thought. I'll take the whole day away from the office so as to go along.
We'll start fairly early and take the elevated out to Garfield Park--you
know we promised the girls a trip on the elevated and we've always taken
the train! We'll see that park well, you know it has gardens and
greenhouses and lakes, and then we'll get a taxi and go to two or three
other parks and ride home."

The girls thought that was a wonderful plan and they wanted to set the day
for that very same week. So Thursday was decided upon.

"Now there's one thing besides getting a good lunch ready that I want you
folks to do," said Mr. Merrill as they picked up their baskets and balls
ready to go home, "I want you to get out that map of Chicago we had on the
train the day we came up here and find just where Garfield Park is and how
we get there and how many interesting sights like rivers and parks and
boulevards we pass on the way." And of course the girls promised that they
would find the map and get all that information first thing in the
morning.

Riding on the elevated proved to be great fun. Mary Jane was afraid for a
few minutes she wasn't going to like it--the stairs were so very high up
with holes in each step to see down to the ground; and the train dashed to
the platform with such a roar and bustle and people crowded on and jerk!
the train rushed off. But when she settled down in the seat, comfortingly
near her mother, and looked out over the roofs of houses and stores, and
down long streets, one after another, she found she wasn't a bit afraid
and that she liked it very much. She liked watching for children on folks'
back porches. Some played on the porch and some played in the dining-room
windows--it was easy to tell which were the dining-room windows because
always there were three big windows and always she could look right
through the curtains and see the big table in the middle of the room. The
only trouble with watching folks from an elevated was that the train
dashed by so quickly she couldn't any more than see, till--flash, flash,
and they were gone and there was another street and another set of back
stairs and some different children playing. It really was awfully queer.

Pretty soon they reached the big down town and there they got off their
train, climbed over a big bridge to another elevated train and away they
went whizzing again. It certainly was a queer way to travel, Mary Jane
thought.

But finally father announced that they had come to Garfield Park, so they
got off, walked down the stairs to a park that looked so much like their
own park that Mary Jane had to rub her eyes and look twice to make sure
she wasn't dreaming. Here were the same winding driveways, beautiful trees
and small lakes.

"Did we come back to our Park?" she asked in surprise.

"Oh, no," answered Alice who had run on a little ahead, "look at the big
greenhouse and look back there! Now don't you see the swans?"

No, it wasn't their own neighborhood park, Mary Jane soon realized that,
because there were many new things to be seen. The wonderful tropical
greenhouse where palms and bananas and wonderful ferns such as the girls
had seen in Florida were growing. And then there were beautiful out of
door gardens--Mary Jane liked those even better than the greenhouse
gardens, wonderful as those were. She seemed to feel, someway, as though
the flowers must like the out of doors better.

Right in the middle of the many lovely flower beds in the out of doors
gardens, there was a lily pool in which grew water lilies of all colors
and sorts. Mary Jane had never seen water lilies before and she thought
them very lovely--and rather queer too, if the truth must be told. She
decided she would stay right there a while and let Alice and her father
explore the rest of the gardens--they wanted to know names of flowers and
names didn't seem a bit interesting to the little girl.

Just after she had decided to stay there and play, she spied a boy of
about her age who was watching the lilies too.

"Can you walk all the way around the edge?" he asked her.

"Edge of what?" asked Mary Jane.

"The edge of the pool," he replied, "see," and he put his foot up on the
stone rim of the pool, "all the way around on this."

"Can you?" asked Mary Jane. She wanted to see what he would say before she
answered his question.

"Sure!" he replied, "it's just as easy! Only girls are 'fraidies."

"I guess I'm not," declared Mary Jane firmly, "watch!" She stepped up on
the stone rim--it was about eight inches wide--and walked boldly along
toward the middle of the long side of the pool.

"You can, can't you," said the boy admiringly.

"Just as easy," replied Mary Jane, for when she found she could do what he
had asked she was anxious to have it appear to be as easy for her as for
him.

"Come on," the boy suggested, "let's race!"

"Race?" asked Mary Jane, "how?"

"'Round the pool. You start this way, and I'll start that way and the one
that gets around home first beats."

"All right," agreed Mary Jane, "let's."

Now before Mary Jane saw the boy by the pool, Mrs. Merrill spied some very
beautiful grasses over at one side of the gardens; the very sort of
grasses, she decided, that Mary Jane's grandmother would like to use in
her flower beds by the driveways. And of course she wanted to find out the
names of the grasses so she could write to grandmother about them. Seeing
that Mary Jane was so absorbed in the pool and the lilies, she slipped
over to look at the name sign which she knew would be stuck right by the
roots. She jotted the name down in her note book, looked along at a few
others and--turned back to the pool just in time to see her small daughter
and a strange boy run racingly along the rim of the pool straight at each
other.

"Mary Jane! Mary Jane!" she called, "jump down onto the ground! Jump
down!"

Whether Mary Jane heard her and became confused, or whether the boy's
bumping into her made her lose her balance, nobody ever quite found out.
But anyway, right before Mrs. Merrill's astonished eyes, Mary Jane Merrill
tumbled 'kplump--into the lily pool!

Fortunately the lily pool wasn't very deep so Mary Jane didn't fall far.
But she did hit the bottom pretty hard; so hard that when she bobbed up,
her head out of water and her feet on the bottom, she hardly knew what had
happened to her.

Mrs. Merrill screamed and Mr. Merrill, Alice, three policemen and about
twenty other people came running to see what had happened. It wasn't
necessary for anybody to jump in and make a triumphant rescue for Mary
Jane was so close to shore that Mrs. Merrill had taken firm hold of her
hand and pulled her out just as all the folks got there. So there was
nothing for them to do but to stare and to ask questions.

"How did she do it?" asked the first policeman.

"Hurt you any?" asked the second.

"You and your mother come with me," said the third (and Mary Jane guessed
right away from his voice that he must have some little girls of his own),
"and I'll show you where you can dry your clothes."

The procession of policemen and onlookers, led by a very wet and greatly
embarrassed little girl, crossed the gardens, crossed the street and went
into a comfortable big building. There a kindly matron produced a big
bathrobe in which Mary Jane sat while her dress was wrung out and dried.
And wasn't she glad there was a good hot sun so things could dry quickly!

Finally, when Mary Jane was beginning to get awfully hungry, mother
announced that the clothes were dry and that she had pulled and stretched
them the best she could in the place of ironing. So Mary Jane dressed and
they went in search of Alice and her father.

"Well, you certainly do mix up baths with your picnics," laughed Mr.
Merrill when he saw them coming. "Remember the time you fell into
Clearwater, Pussy?"

"But it isn't so bad, really, Dadah," said Mary Jane, "and I'm not wet
now."

"So you're not," said Mr. Merrill, "but _I_ am hungry--anybody agree with
me?"

They all admitted to being nearly starved, so they found a pretty, grassy
spot close by the lake on which several beautiful swans were sunning
themselves, and there they spread out the luncheon they had brought. At
first the girls were so hungry they didn't want to do anything but eat.
But by the time they had eaten a plateful of potato salad and three or
four sandwiches, the swans discovered their lunching place and came to
call. Evidently swans were used to being treated very nicely by folks who
came to the park for they didn't seem to have a trace of fear of
strangers.

The girls tossed the crusts of the sandwiches to the edge of the water and
the swans bent their long necks and picked them up and ate them, every
crust, so daintily just as though crusts were a diet fit for kings--and
swans. The swans didn't actually come out of the water, but they came so
close to the shore that the girls could almost touch them and they soon
got to feeling very well acquainted.

So it was with some regret that they heard Mr. Merrill say, "Well, girls,
weren't we to see some of the other parks too?" And here it was four
o'clock!

The basket was packed--and there wasn't a scrap of anything a swan could
eat, you may be sure of that--and they strolled down to the roadway. In a
minute or two Mr. Merrill hailed a passing taxi and they settled
themselves for a nice long ride.

They didn't stop at any other park; Mary Jane was sure no other could be
as interesting as the one where she had had such exciting experiences and
Alice was quite as content as her father and mother to sit back, cool and
comfortable, and see the beautiful flowers and shrubbery slip past them.
So they rode and rode through one park after another, it seemed, till
suddenly Mary Jane spied something that looked familiar.

"That's my Midway!" she announced, as the car turned into the long, broad
stretch of parkway near their own home.

"Sure enough it is!" exclaimed Mr. Merrill in pretended amazement, "we'll
have to turn around and go back!"

"No we won't," said Mary Jane, "we'll go home."

So they went on home, just in time to cook a good warm dinner and to talk
over and over again the many things they had seen in the parks.



VISITORS--AND A BOAT RIDE


One day, not so very long after the trip through the parks, the bell at
the Merrills' front door pealed long and hard. Mary Jane, whose job was
answering the door, ran to the little house 'phone, and heard a loud voice
shout, "Special for Merrill!"

"What's he mean, mother?" she asked, in a puzzled voice.

"Better press the buzzer and let him in, dear," replied Mrs. Merrill, "if
he has the name right he must have something for us."

So Mary Jane pressed the downstairs buzzer and then opened the front door.
Yes, it was for them--a special delivery letter for Mrs. Merrill. Mary
Jane and Alice were much excited and could hardly wait till the
messenger's book was signed and the letter was opened.

"It's from grandma," said Mrs. Merrill as she glanced at the writing, "and
listen! This is what she says:

"'Grandpa finds quite unexpectedly that he must come to Chicago on
business and he says that if it's convenient to you folks I can come along
and we'll stay two or three days for a visit. Please wire reply because we
must start Wednesday evening.'"

"And it's ten o'clock Wednesday morning now!" exclaimed Mrs. Merrill. She
hurried to the telephone, called Mr. Merrill so he could send a telegram
at once, then she and the two girls went right to work making ready for
the guests.

It was decided that Alice and Mary Jane should sleep on couches and give
up their room to the visitors. "Now's when I wish we had our nice guest
room," said Mrs. Merrill, "but then, grandma knows that folks who live in
Chicago flats don't keep guest rooms for infrequent visitors." For her
part, Mary Jane thought sleeping on a couch would be great fun--so grown
up and different from every day. She was to have the dining-room couch and
Alice was to sleep in the living-room. When all plans were made, bedding
sorted out and laid ready for making up the beds fresh first thing in the
morning, Mrs. Merrill began planning the meals. If the visitors were to
stay only a short time she wanted to have as much baking and marketing as
possible done beforehand, so every minute could be spent in fun and
visiting. Alice and Mary Jane, who had been marketing so much with their
mother of late that they really could be trusted, took a long list up to
the grocery and Mrs. Merrill set to work baking coffeecake and bread and
cookies. Um-m! It wasn't an hour till that tiny kitchen began to smell so
good that the girls could hardly be coaxed away. Mrs. Merrill let them
help in a good many ways. Mary Jane put the sugar and nuts on the tops of
the cookies after her mother put them in the pan and Alice, who was
getting to be a really good cook, tended to the baking. She put the big
pans in, and watched the baking, and took them out when every cookie was
evenly browned. Then, after she took a pan out of the oven, she gently
lifted the hot cookies out from the baking pan onto a wire rack where they
could cool without losing their pretty shapes. When the cookies were cool,
it was Mary Jane's turn again. She put them all in the tin cookie box,
counting them and laying them neatly between layers of paraffin paper so
they would keep fresh even in the hot weather.

It was a rule that only perfect cookies should be packed away--scraps
never went into the tin box. But for some reason or other, the girls never
seemed to mind the job of eating the broken ones! In fact Mary Jane often
asked Alice _not_ to be so careful--to please break a few so there would
be plenty to eat right then and there.

The day went by so quickly that it was bed time before the girls realized
it and then, after about forty winks, it was morning--the morning when
grandma and grandpa were coming.

Everybody was up early, Alice and Mary Jane made up the beds fresh and
neat, mother cooked a good breakfast and Dadah went to the train, at a
near-by suburban station, to meet the travelers. It was a jolly party that
sat around the breakfast table--you may be sure of that!

"Now then," said Mr. Merrill, when the breakfast was eaten up and news of
the farm had been told, "I'll have to go to work and I suppose grandpa has
to do his business to-day, so we'll leave you folks to yourselves. Then
to-morrow, if grandpa is through his business, we can plan some fun."

So the two business folks went down town and grandma was left to enjoy
life at home. The girls were glad she could stay.

"Let's take grandma over to the lake," suggested Alice, "I know you'd love
riding in one of those little electric launches, grandmother."

"Let's take some lunch and not come home till she's seen everything in
Chicago," said Mary Jane in a rush of hospitality.

"Dear me! Child!" exclaimed grandma in dismay, "don't you know there's
another day coming!"

Mary Jane agreed to leave a few sights for the next day, but she didn't
want to lose any time getting off. Fortunately the morning work didn't
take but a tiny bit of time, and as grandma, who didn't care much for
"stuffy sleepers," was very glad to get out into the fresh air, they very
soon were on their way to the park.

The girls felt quite at home in the neighborhood and in the park by this
time, and they thought it was great fun to show the sights to somebody
else--somebody who didn't know all about Chicago. Grandma loved the
beautiful Midway, the charming lagoons and she enjoyed her ride on the
little launch fully as much as the girls had thought she would.

"But don't you have any _big_ boats?" she asked, "great big ones with two
decks and lots of passengers and all that? I'd like to ride on a big boat
too."

"Then that's exactly what we'll do to-morrow, mother," said Mrs. Merrill.
"There is a big boat that runs from Jackson Park up to the municipal pier.
We'll go on it to-morrow and we'll get our lunch up town and then we'll
come back home on the boat."

And that's exactly what they did.

When Mr. Merrill heard that grandma wanted a ride on a big boat, the plans
for the next day were as good as made. He thought the idea of going to
town on the boat and then getting lunch and coming home was a fine one and
he only made one change in the plan.

"Instead of going to a store, in the loop, let's take one of the little
launches that run from the Municipal pier to Lincoln Park and go up there
for our lunch so grandma can see your favorite swans and perhaps, if we
want to stay that long, see the seals get their four o'clock tea." But
dear me, he little guessed what would happen as his nice-sounding plan
worked out!

So the next morning, the Merrills all had a nice, leisurely, visity
breakfast, then a walk through the park, and never did the park look
lovelier than on the sunny summer morning, and then, boarding the boat
that rocked at the pier on the big lake, they found comfortable seats on
the shady side and prepared for a pleasant ride.

Mary Jane chose to sit on the side nearest the pier because she loved to
look down from the upper deck and watch the people boarding the boat. She
had never ridden on boats very much, only when she went to Florida, and
this boat they were now aboard seemed very different from the big,
awkward, flat bottomed boat they took their river trip on through Florida
jungles.

"You don't need to sit by me if you want to talk to mother," she said to
her father.

"Humph!" said her father teasingly, "how do I know you're not going to
tumble overboard! You know you have a way of mixing up picnics and water,
Mary Jane, so I don't think I'll take any chances." But when Mary Jane
promised that she would sit very still and not walk around a step and not
lean over the edge, he went to speak to grandpa a few minutes. And while
he was gone, Mary Jane leaned up against the side of the boat and watched
the folks down on the pier.

She thought it must surely be about time for the boat to start because
there was hurrying on the pier, and men were busy taking ropes off of the
big wooden posts along the side nearest the water. While she was watching,
a woman came along the dock toward the boat and with her were two little
children, a girl about Mary Jane's own age and a little boy some two years
younger. Just as they reached the gang plank, ready to step onto the boat,
the little boy began to cry.

"I left my boat! I left my boat! I left my boat!" he cried. Mary Jane
could hear him very plainly even though she sat so far up above him.

She couldn't hear what the mother said, but evidently she promised to get
the missing boat for him, because she left both children by the side of
the gang plank, and hurrying as fast as possible she ran back toward the
shore. And right at that minute, the big bell overhead rang three times
and the engine aboard the boat began to throb--it was time to go.

The men on the dock noticed the two children and one said to the little
girl, "Were you going?" and she nodded yes. So he picked up the boy and
hurried the two children aboard just as the gang plank was hauled in and
the boat made away from the pier.

Mary Jane was so thrilled and excited she could hardly sit still. She
tried to call her father but he was on the other side of the boat and she
had promised to sit still--perfectly still--till he came back. What in the
world was a little girl to do? And back on the shore that was so rapidly
getting farther and farther way, Mary Jane could see the mother of the
children, running frantically toward the dock which the boat had left.
Surely the captain would see her, Mary Jane thought. But if he did, he
likely thought she was merely somebody who had missed the boat and that he
had no time for turning back. And so the boat continued out into the
lake.

Finally after what seemed the _longest_ time (though it really was hardly
more than five minutes), Mr. Merrill came back and then, such a story as
he heard!

"Are you sure, Mary Jane?" he asked, "certain sure? The men wouldn't put
children on a boat without grown folks along!"

"But they did, Dadah!" insisted Mary Jane, "I saw 'em!"

"Then you come with me," said Mr. Merrill, "and we'll see if we can find
them."

So Mr. Merrill and Mary Jane went down the stairs, and that took some time
because folks were coming and going and getting settled for the trip, and
there, huddled close together and crying as hard as they could cry, were
the two little waifs!

Mary Jane with real motherliness began talking to the little girl; Mr.
Merrill picked up the boy and together the whole party went in search of
the captain. By the time he was found though, the boat was still farther
on its journey toward the city and the dock they started from was farther
and farther behind.

"Well, that is a time we were wrong," admitted the captain when he had
listened to all Mary Jane had to say and talked with the man who had put
the children aboard. "But even though we were wrong, we can't go back now.
We'll have to make the children comfortable and take them back to their
mother on the return trip."

So Mr. Merrill and Mary Jane went back to the deck, only this time they
took with them the two little strangers. Mrs. Merrill was told the story
and she and Alice and Mary Jane, with help from grandma, grandpa and Mr.
Merrill, set themselves to the task of making the little children happy.
At first it was hard work, because they cried all the time for their
mother. But erelong they understood the friendliness around them and they
stopped crying and began to have a good time. Grandpa discovered some
crackerjack and everybody knows what a help _that_ is; Mrs. Merrill told
some funny stories and Mr. Merrill took them all over the boat--to see the
great engine and everything. Then there were the sights to watch from the
deck and the big buildings to count and the boats they passed to
watch--oh, there surely was a lot to do that made that trip interesting
and so very short.

As the boat pulled up near the down town pier, the Merrills saw a taxi
dash up near where the boat was to land: saw a woman get out and, followed
by a policeman, hurry up to the side where the boat would pull in.

"Look!" exclaimed Mary Jane excitedly. "Look!"

The little girl, whose name was Ann, looked along with the others, and
then she gave a happy cry.

"Mother!" she shouted, so loudly that her mother, waiting on the pier
could hear and was so very relieved!

When the boat pulled into the dock, the captain was the first one to step
off; he met the mother and the officer and brought them aboard at once.
Mary Jane was called upon to explain all that she had seen and the
officer, as well as the mother, was satisfied that the whole thing was an
accident and not an attempt to steal the children.

"But how did you get up here so quickly?" asked Mary Jane, when the first
excitement was over.

"My dear child!" laughed Ann's mother, "a person can do a lot when she
thinks something is happening to her children! I took a passing taxi,
dashed to a police station and then on up here. And nothing has happened
at all--except you nice people have given my little folks a very pleasant
trip. Next time, Bobby," she added, "we'll leave your toy boat or we'll
all go together to find it. We won't take any chances of losing each
other!"

"Well," laughed Mr. Merrill when the mother and children and officer and
captain had all gone on about their own business, "what was it we were
going to do to-day?"

Everybody laughed at that! They had been so excited that they had
forgotten, yes, actually forgotten, that this was a sight-seeing trip for
grandma and grandpa. But once they remembered, they knew just what to do.
They climbed aboard a waiting launch, rode up to Lincoln Park, had a
wonderful dinner and fun all the rest of the day.

"I don't see," remarked grandma, as they neared home, late that evening,
"how you girls are ever going to settle down to school again! Did you know
that school was only a few weeks away? Vacation will be over before you
know it!"



SCHOOL BEGINS


When grandma suggested that it was nearly time for school to begin, on
that day of the boat ride, she guessed better than the girls suspected. At
the time they laughed and thought she was joking, but, after she and
grandpa had gone home, they got out a calendar and counted up and there,
to be sure, only one and one-half weeks of vacation were left.

"I didn't realize school began so early," exclaimed Mrs. Merrill in
dismay.

"I thought summer was a long time!" cried Alice, "but it isn't any time at
all!"

"Goody! Goody! Goody!" Mary Jane said happily, "then I get to start to
school like a big girl."

It was no wonder Mary Jane was happy, for she remembered that the plan was
for her to start in the really truly school, not the kindergarten where
she had gone in her other home, and any little girl likes to start to
school like her big sister.

When the day finally came, Alice was as much excited as Mary Jane herself.
For although the summer had been so pleasant she almost hated to see it
end--the free days with plenty of time for visits with mother and picnics
and marketing and all--still, school was pleasant too and any little girl
who does nice work and tries to learn, will make good friends and have
happy days, just as Alice always had had.

Mary Jane had a hard time deciding which dress to wear. She wanted to look
very grown up, so that teacher would realize she was a big girl, so she
finally decided upon a dark blue sailor suit. The one that had the red
insignia on the sleeve and that looked just like a big girl's dress. With
a clean 'kerchief peeking out of her pocket and a smashing big red bow on
the top of her brown head, she looked very nice.

Alice and Mary Jane waked up that morning the very minute they were called
for they wanted to help mother so she could go over to school with them.
And with all that good help of course they were off on time. Alice was
glad to have company going to school for Frances wasn't home yet and
wouldn't be there for a couple of weeks.

Mary Jane's heart went thump, thump as she and her mother went in at the
teachers' gate, and up the stairs and into the principal's office. And
thump, thump some more when she saw the whole roomful of strange boys and
girls and thump, thump some more when her turn came and she was sent
(fortunately with her mother along) to the first grade room--number 104.
The room was full of children, hundreds, Mary Jane thought there must be,
though the teacher told Mrs. Merrill there were about forty-five. And if
her heart went thump, thump before, it certainly went thump, thump,
_thump_ when the teacher, smiling at her so kindly, gave her a seat in
the--front-row--such a nice seat for her very own! and she sat down and
tried to look as though she had been used to going to school all her whole
life.

For a minute she couldn't look around or anything, she felt so queer. Then
she glanced at the next seat and there, sitting right beside her,
was--whom do you suppose? Ann! The same pretty little Ann who had been
lost on the boat. Immediately Mary Jane forgot all about being afraid and
thumping hearts and strangeness and everything and began to like school.
The two little girls had much to say about what they would do at recess
and where did they live and everything, so the time before school began
passed very quickly.

Suddenly, in the midst of their talk, a bell rang, "GONG-GONG!" Two loud
tones close together that way, and school began. Mary Jane Merrill was in
a really truly school like the big girl she was getting to be.

Ann came home with Mary Jane that first afternoon and Mrs. Merrill
discovered that her name was Ann Ellis and that she lived two blocks from
their own home and that the two little girls would no doubt find it very
easy to be friends. They began having a good time that very afternoon and
they planned still better times when Betty would be back and they could
all play together. Now wasn't that fine!

Mary Jane found that she liked school every bit as much as she had thought
she would. She liked her teacher, a charming Miss Treavor, and she liked
her studies. But most of all she liked the fun she had on the playground.
In the big cities, like Chicago, where lots of girls and boys have no
yards, the school yards are the only places were children can play. So, to
make everything safe and orderly, the school folks have a playground
teacher stay at school all the day, to help in the games and to see that
every one has a happy time. The playground teacher at Mary Jane's school
liked little girls very much and she knew many good games for them to
play. So in addition to "London Bridge" and "Drop the Handkerchief" and
"Tag" that all children play, Mary Jane learned "Roman Soldiers" and
"Ghost Walk" and "Three times Three."

Of the new ones, Mary Jane liked "Ghost Walk" the best. To play it, the
girls and boys made a big circle, then they selected some one to be
"Ghost." This person stood in the middle of the circle and everybody shut
eyes tight, very tight. Then the Ghost, while every one kept very quiet,
tried to tip-toe to the edge of the circle, slip out between two folks and
get away without being caught. That may sound easy, but played in a yard
full of romping boys and girls, it is not really as easy as it might seem
and it was lots of fun, because often folks would think the "Ghost" was
near them and would try to grab--and the joke was on them because all the
while, maybe, the "ghost" was in another part of the ring. And whenever
folks thought they caught the "Ghost" and _didn't_, then every one opened
their eyes, the person who had made the mistake had to get out of the
circle and the game began again. But if the "Ghost" really did get out of
the circle without being caught, then the "Ghost" could hide anywhere in
the yard and the game became an old-fashioned hide-and-seek with everybody
hunting one lucky person.

One day, when Mary Jane was "Ghost," she was determined she would get out
of that circle without getting caught. She had tried it many a time before
and failed; this time she was going to do it. She tiptoed, oh, so softly
over the loose gravel to the edge of the circle. Then noiselessly she
dropped down on hands and knees and, without a thought for her dress,
crawled slowly between Ann and the girl next to her. She could hardly keep
from giggling, it was so funny to be so close she almost bumped them and
yet not to be discovered. Now she was right between them, now she was
almost outside--now she was free and away she dashed to the spot she had
long ago picked out as a hiding place for just such a time as this.

The folks in the circle waited--but nobody was caught, so they shouted,
"Ghost Walk?" and when the "ghost" didn't answer they opened their eyes
and--no Mary Jane was there!

"I'll get her," shouted Ann, "I'll find her! I'll bet she got out on your
side of the circle, Janny, she never could have passed _me_!"

"I'll find her myself," answered Janny, "but she never passed by me, she
didn't!"

So they hunted, up and down the yard, around the bushes, by the doorway,
everywhere they could think of. But no sign of Mary Jane did they
discover. They hunted and they hunted till the gong sounded and they had
to go into school again. But not a sign of any Mary Jane did they find.
Was Mary Jane lost? Miss Treavor must be told so everybody could hunt, for
something surely must have happened to a little girl who didn't answer the
recess bell when it rang for school to begin.

Now it happened that some days before, when Mary Jane had first learned to
play "Ghost walk" she hunted around the yard for a good place to hide--in
case she ever succeeded in getting out of the circle so she _could_ hide.
She didn't want to hide among the bushes because that was the first place
the children looked; she didn't want to hide in the doorway because that
was against rules and if a child was discovered there by a teacher, the
child had to go straight upstairs and stay the rest of recess. And there
didn't seem to be any other place. But there was another hiding place--and
Mary Jane found it. Around the corner of the building, on the side nearest
the furnace entrance, there was a jog in the brick wall. And in front of
the little niche made by this jog, boards left by some carpenters had been
carelessly tossed.

"I could climb over the boards," Mary Jane had thought, "and hide down
behind and nobody'd ever find me--ever."

So when her time came, and she really did get out of the circle without
being caught, she didn't have to stop and hunt a hiding place; she knew
exactly where she wanted to go.

But there was one thing Mary Jane hadn't figured on; one thing she didn't
even think of as she crouched down behind her boards while the children
hunted for her, hither and yon over the school yard. She hadn't thought
that way off, 'round the corner and behind boards that way, she
couldn't--_hear_. The sounds of playing and romping seemed so quiet, so
quiet that they were hardly noticeable. She didn't hear the bell and she
didn't even notice the sudden quiet when the children fell in line to
march upstairs. She sat there, huddled in a snug little heap, and she
laughed to herself about the joke she was playing on her mates.

To be sure the time _did_ seem pretty long and she thought they were very
stupid--but then--she never suspected that recess was over and--

Till suddenly there descended upon her a cloud of chalk dust! It powdered
her face and dress and shoes and made her forget all about being quiet and
jump up with a lively scream of fright.

Overhead she heard Miss Treavor's voice, exclaiming, "Whatever in the
world!" And then, before she could quite get the dust out of her eyes and
understand what had happened, Miss Treavor and two other teachers who had
heard the scream, stood before her and the whole story came out. Miss
Treavor tried not to laugh when Mary Jane told her she was hiding but she
couldn't help it. Mary Jane looked so be-powdered and forlorn. But Mary
Jane didn't mind the laughing because at the same time, Miss Treavor
lifted her out from behind the boards and set her down in the cheerful
sunlight.

"That _was_ a good place to hide," the teacher admitted, "and you were a
clever little girl to think of it. But I believe, dear," she added kindly,
"that next time you'd better hide some place where you can hear the bell,
even though you _are_ more likely to get caught."

And Mary Jane promised that she would never, never hide in such a very
good place again.

Mary Jane hated to go back into the school room all mussed and tumbled as
she was, so Miss Treavor sent for Alice and the two little girls skipped
home for a fresh dress and clean ribbons so Mary Jane could enjoy the
classes.

When, a half an hour later, she came back, with the dark blue dress
changed to a plaid gingham and the red bow changed to green, the children
wanted to know where she had been and what had happened. But Miss Treavor
wouldn't tell. And she had made Mary Jane promise not to tell, because
that place was _such_ a good hiding place that the teachers didn't want
other folks finding it and hiding there to make trouble too.

But all of Mary Jane's school fun wasn't from trouble. That was just one
day. Most of the time, she played without anything happening just as the
other folks did. And all the time she made more friends and had a better
time, till, when Betty came back from the country, she knew most everybody
in her room.

She liked school so very much that the days slipped by one after another
so fast a person could hardly count them--one day and another day and
another day--just that way. Till one Monday morning when they went to
school, Miss Treavor announced, "Do you boys and girls know what we are
going to do to-day? We're going to start making Christmas presents.
Because Christmas is only _three weeks away_!"

"Christmas!" thought Mary Jane, with a thrill of joy, "Christmas! Why,
they _do_ have Christmas in Chicago! I wonder what I'll get and what I'll
do!"



CHRISTMAS IN CHICAGO


Christmas in Chicago! When Mary Jane heard those words she had her first
real pang of homesickness for the home she had left when they moved to
Chicago. Would any Christmas anywhere ever be so beautiful as the
Christmas in that dear home? She remembered the pine trees in the yard,
loaded down with their wealth of snow: the glowing fire on the hearth with
its Christmas-y smell from the pine cones that were saved through the year
for the Christmas Day fire; the tree in the angle near the fireplace where
the afternoon sun touched it into a blaze of glory; the party for the poor
children that had been such fun to plan for--would anything in Chicago
ever be half the fun of Christmas in the old home? But Mary Jane was soon
to discover that Christmas doesn't need certain houses or fires or trees
to make it perfect; that Christmas is made in folks' hearts and that
wherever there is a Christmas heart, there will be a happy day--in village
or city, the place makes no difference.

When she went home from school that afternoon and announced that Miss
Treavor said Christmas was so very near, she found that mother wasn't even
a little surprised.

"Why to be sure Christmas is coming," laughed Mrs. Merrill, "and here I've
been waiting and waiting and _waiting_ for you to talk about it till,
actually, I thought I'd had to begin myself, if you didn't wake up pretty
soon." And then everybody began to talk at once.

"Do they have trees in Chicago?" asked Alice.

"Are there any poor folks who would like parties?" asked Mary Jane.

"Is anybody coming to see us?" demanded Mary Jane.

"Here! Here! Here!" exclaimed Mr. Merrill, "one at a time, ladies, one at
a time! If you doubt that there will be trees in Chicago, you should see
what I saw this morning as I went down to work. A train load of Christmas
trees--yes, sir!" (for he noticed the girls could hardly believe him) "a
whole train load of trees. And I see by the paper this evening that a boat
load has arrived, too, so there will be no shortage of trees."

"Then we can have one," said Mary Jane, with a satisfied sigh.

"And let's put it in front of this foolish little gas log," suggested
Alice, "then we won't think about a real fireplace."

"And there are plenty of poor folks," said Mrs. Merrill, going back to
Mary Jane's question, "only they will not be so easy to get together, as
back at home. How would you like to take a Christmas party to some family
instead of having a party at home as we did last year?"

The girls hardly knew what to say about that new idea so Mrs. Merrill
explained further. "I telephoned to the Associated Charities this very
day," she said, "and they gave me the names of a fatherless family in
which there are two girls about your ages, and one boy. I thought we could
plan a fine Christmas for them and then, on Christmas morning, take it
over and surprise them."

"Oh, let's do that, mother," said Mary Jane happily, "then we'd be like a
real Santa Claus only we'd be a morning Santa. May we do it, surely?"

"I thought you'd like the idea," said Mrs. Merrill, "so I got lists from
the association as to just what was most needed. Alice, if you'll get a
pencil and paper, we'll figure it all out."

Making plans was the girls' favorite way of spending an evening so they
whisked the cover off the dining table, pulled up chairs for four and went
to work list-making.

"Tom," began Mrs. Merrill, consulting her list, "hasn't a bit of warm
clothing."

"Why couldn't I knit him a muffler and some mittens?" asked Mary Jane. "I
remember how and I haven't knitted anything since the war stopped."

"Fine!" approved Mrs. Merrill, "I think I have enough yarn for the mittens
and if you'll get it out of the drawer there we can wind it while we talk
and it will be all ready for you to set up at once. You'll have to work
hard and fast if you want to make a muffler and a pair of mittens before
Christmas."

"Now then," she continued, looking at the list, "they have very few bed
covers and the children get so cold at night."

"Why couldn't you make some covers, mother?" suggested Alice, "and let me
make them each some flannelette pajamas like we wear--you know how
toasting warm they are. And I have the pattern and I know I could make
them all myself."

"That's a beautiful idea," approved Mrs. Merrill, "and I hadn't even
thought of such a thing. When we get through planning, dear, you can get
out your pattern and see how much material you'll need. Then, when I go up
town to-morrow, I'll get it for you."

"And they need stockings," she continued, "and shoes--"

"Could any of 'em wear my good shoes that are too little?" asked Mary Jane
eagerly. She had been greatly distressed about those "best" shoes that
were so good, and yet were hopelessly outgrown.

"I think they'll be exactly right," said Mrs. Merrill. "In fact I picked
out this particular family because I was sure we could find nice things
for them among you girls' outgrown things and that, put with what we buy
new, would make all the bigger Christmas for them.

"And about toys," she continued with the list, "the girls have never had a
doll--"

"Never had--" began Mary Jane but she couldn't quite get the words out.
Never had a doll. Never had a Marie Georgiannamore to love and care for
and take riding in a beautiful cart. Never had--no, she couldn't quite
imagine it.

After that there was no more reading off a list. Mary Jane and Alice began
making a list of their own, of what those children were to have for
Christmas.

"But," objected Mrs. Merrill, "you girls forget that things cost money--a
lot of money these days. And you can't possibly buy all those things and
get any Christmas of your own too."

"Humph!" grunted Mary Jane as she squeezed her face up tight in an
effort to write, "then we won't have one of our own! Haven't we got Marie
Georgiannamore and a cart and a nice house and warm
clothes--and--everything?"

That settled it. There would be a tree and dinner and a lot of fun in the
Merrill house on Christmas Day, but the presents were to go to their
adopted family to make _their_ Christmas one never to be forgotten.

If you have ever planned a Christmas for somebody who never, in all their
lives had one, you will know something about the fun that Mary Jane and
Alice had in the time that was left before Christmas. They were about the
busiest girls in all Chicago! They hurried home from school and they
worked Saturdays but, actually, as soon as they got one thing done they
thought of something else they wanted to make or buy and they had to begin
all over again. They made cookies and candies and dressed dolls, one for
each girl, and made a complete set of covers and pillows and "fixings" for
an adorable doll bed that Mr. Merrill made in the evenings. Alice had to
work pretty hard to get the pajamas all finished in time for there was
considerable work on each pair; but she got them finished and she could
hardly wait till Christmas to take them over to their family.

Mary Jane finished the muffler and mittens though she _almost_ had to knit
while she ate--towards the last--it takes a good many stitches to make a
muffler big enough for an eight year old boy. The muffler was a deep
crimson and the mittens a warm shade of gray with three rows of crimson in
the wrist end; Mary Jane had picked colors she was sure Tom would like.

At last the twenty-fourth of December came around--cold and snowy and just
the kind of a day for making a Christmas. The trees were bought and set on
the balcony, the turkeys, two of them, were in the pantry ready to dress
and three big baskets were set on the dining-room table ready for
packing.

"Now, then," said Mrs. Merrill, "if you have everything ready, I think
we'd better pack all the things we can now, because when Dadah comes home
there'll be plenty to do."

Mary Jane thought the packing was the most fun of anything she had ever
done. They packed all the doll things in one basket, doll things and toys
and three nice books. Of course the doll bed wouldn't go in the basket; it
had to have a package all by itself. A second basket was for clothing, the
pajamas--and no one would ever guess that a girl as young as Alice had
made those charming garments--the muffler, the mittens, one pair for each
child, warm underwear and a dress for each girl (one of the nicest of
Alice and Mary Jane's outgrown frocks). Mr. Merrill had added a nice
flannel shirt for Tom and Mrs. Merrill put in a warm sweater for the good
mother.

"That's a basket they'll like to open," said Alice, proudly, as she tucked
the brand new comforter Mrs. Merrill had made, around the top, "they'll be
so happy they won't hardly be able to wait till they can put 'em on!"

The third basket was fully as interesting as the others. It was a big, big
one and in it the girls packed groceries, cans of vegetables and soup and
sugar--a very little bit to be sure for there wasn't much to be had, but
the Merrills had decided to send exactly half of what they had--and
oranges for breakfast and cereals and bread. Then on top, they were to put
cookies and candy and the turkey. But of course those last things would go
in in the morning, just before the baskets were taken away.

By the time Mr. Merrill came home, the three baskets were packed, covered
up and set in the corner of the dining-room ready for morning.

"Now for the tree!" said Mr. Merrill as he took off his coat ready for
work. He set their tree in the dining-room and with Alice's good help
fixed a solid bottom standard and set it up in the living-room right in
front of the foolish little fireplace. They wired it firmly and then Mrs.
Merrill brought in the boxes of Christmas trimmings and everybody set to
work.

Such fun as it was! Mary Jane kept saying, "Remember this!" And Alice
added, "Remember that!" till it seemed as though it _couldn't_ be more
than a week since last Christmas when they had put the same things on a
tree that looked exactly like the one they were now trimming. This year,
seeing Mary Jane was such a _very_ old person, she was allowed to put the
gold star on the top of the tree; she climbed the ladder, with father
holding one hand and wired it on all by herself; and Alice, as a special
privilege, was allowed to hang the crystal icicles on every tip.

Nobody put any tinsel on the tree--that was left for the middle of the
night like the story of the old time legend. Whether the spiders and the
Christmas fairies, working together, really covered the tree with silver,
Mary Jane never stopped to figure out. But at any rate the tree was
covered with strings of gold the next morning and Mary Jane thought it the
prettiest Christmas tree she had ever seen!

[Illustration: This year, seeing Mary Jane was such a _very_ old person,
she was allowed to put the gold star on the top of the tree
_Page 195_]

The very last thing before she went to bed, Mary Jane hung up her
stocking. And Alice, looking a bit foolish, hung hers close by.

"I thought you two folks weren't going to have any Christmas," said Mr.
Merrill teasingly.

"Of course we're not," said Mary Jane bravely, "but we want to hang our
stockings just the same as if--you know." And Dadah must have understood
for he nodded his head and didn't tease any more.

Nobody would say how it ever happened. Certainly it was well understood
that there were to be no presents. But, anyway, when Mary Jane and Alice
looked at those stockings Christmas morning they were fat, as fat could
be! Just bulging over with queer shaped parcels!

Mary Jane couldn't even wait to put her slippers on! She bundled a kimono
around her, grabbed up her stocking and ran into her mother's room to open
it. Alice wasn't far behind and certainly for girls who were to have _no_
presents, they fared very well indeed! Santa Claus must have got his
signals mixed some way! There were doll things for Marie Georgiannamore,
and a ring for Mary Jane; hair ribbons, handkerchiefs, skates for Alice
(think of that in a stocking!) and slippers for the little girl who forgot
to put on her old pair and, oh, many lovely little things that could be
tucked into a stocking.

The girls spread the things out on mother's bed and had a happy time till
suddenly Mr. Merrill exclaimed, "Girls! It's eight o'clock and I ordered
that taxi for nine!"

Then there _was_ a scramble! Gifts were hustled away, clothes were put on,
breakfast was eaten and a few last things packed in the baskets, just as
the taxi arrived.

It was fortunate Mr. Merrill had ordered a big car for with three baskets,
a bundle containing the doll bed and another the turkey, to say nothing of
the tree roped on the side of the car and the box of trimmings on Mrs.
Merrill's lap even a big car was pretty full.

Mary Jane felt like a real Santa Claus for sure!

The family they were going to see didn't know they were coming, so when
the car stopped in front of a shabby little house, three puzzled and very
sober faces pressed against the window and looked out. But the sober faces
soon changed. In a few minutes the mother was helping Mrs. Merrill put the
turkey in to roast, the older girl was helping Mr. Merrill set the
Christmas tree in place and Tom and Ellen, the little girl, were helping
the Merrill girls trim the tree.

When the Merrills left the house some two hours later the turkey was
almost cooked, the tree was trimmed, presents unpacked and happiness and
good cheer had settled down in the little house for many a day.

It was a good thing they came away when they did, though, for exactly as
they drove up to their own home, they met an express wagon. And in their
own vestibule they found the driver. "Family of Merrill here?" he asked
them.

"They're us," said Mary Jane eagerly. And whereupon the driver carried
upstairs the biggest, fattest Christmas box Mary Jane had ever seen.

Of course it was from grandma and in it were so many lovely things from
uncles and grandparents and cousins that Mary Jane thought she never would
get everything unpacked!

"Well," said the little girl as some time later the family sat down to
their own belated dinner, "I think for not having any presents, we got a
lot! And I think I like Christmas in Chicago just as much as anywhere, I
do."



A SUMMER HOME--AND A TELEGRAM


"Let's go skating!" called Frances one cold morning as she saw Alice shake
the bath room rug from the balcony.

"Skating?" answered Alice, "where?"

"Down on the Midway," said Frances. "As soon as you get your work done,
you and Mary Jane come around to our front door and Betty and I will be
ready."

"But Mary Jane doesn't know how to skate," said Alice.

"Betty doesn't either," answered Frances, "but they can take their sleds
and coast down the sides of the bank while you and I skate."

Alice promised and then she hurried inside to finish her work. She had
heard about the fine skating on the Midway where the park board flooded
the sunken greens for the benefit of neighborhood children, but thus far
the weather had been too mild for any skating, so she hadn't had a chance
to try it. But a sudden cold snap, with snow enough to cover the sloping
banks, had provided both skating and coasting.

Well protected with warm mittens and leggings the girls set out and had
the jolliest kind of a morning. At one end of the ice, the younger folks
did their coasting, the sloping sides giving a flying start and the smooth
ice a glorious finish. At the other end the older boys and girls did their
skating, so there was no mix up or interference.

That morning was the first of many happy Saturday mornings spent on the
ice. Even Mary Jane got some skates and, with the help of Dadah when he
could get away from the office, she learned to be a fine skater.

But winter fun never lasts very long. Just about the time Mary Jane
learned to skate well enough to challenge Alice to a race, the spring sun
sent the ice to nowhere land and the while-ago ice pond turned to green
grass! Spring had come.

With the coming of spring, Mary Jane grew very restless. She wasn't sick,
but something was wrong. Something was making her very solemn and
sober--quite unlike her usual lively self.

"I know what's the matter with me," she announced one warm sunny morning,
"I want to dig."

"You want to dig?" exclaimed Mrs. Merrill in amazement, "well, why don't
you go down and dig in the Holdens' yard? You know Mrs. Holden said you
might."

"But I don't want to dig in somebody's yard," answered Mary Jane, without
a spark of interest, "I want to dig in my _own_ yard and have flowers and
a sand pile and everything right in my own yard, I do."

Mrs. Merrill didn't reply but she did do a lot of thinking and that
evening she and Mr. Merrill had a long conference.

As a result, at breakfast table the next morning Mr. Merrill said, "How
would you girls like to have a summer home of your own? A place in the
woods where we could go as soon as school closes and where you could wear
bloomers and play in the sand and gather flowers and make garden and all
the things you love to do but can't do in the city. How would you like
that?"

Mary Jane and Alice stared at him. Would they _like_ it? anybody could see
by their faces that they would _love_ it!

"But we wouldn't want to leave you here in Chicago, all summer," objected
Alice.

"And I wouldn't want to be left," Mr. Merrill assured them. "But I am
sure, somewhere in the suburbs around Chicago there must be _some place_
we could get a summer home. And we'll make it our business to find that
place."

"I thought," began Mrs. Merrill, and then she hesitated.

"Something nice?" asked Alice, encouragingly.

"It would have been nice," admitted Mrs. Merrill, "but likely we couldn't
do it. I'd been thinking how pleasant it would be to take another trip
this summer. You know how you girls enjoyed going to Florida. And you
remember Uncle Hal graduates from Harvard this June. I had been wondering
if we could go east in time to be there when the festivities are going
on."

"Oh, mother!" cried Mary Jane, "what fun! I do want to ride on a train, a
big train with a sleeper and a diner! But then I want to dig, too," she
added, insistently.

"Then we'll take one thing at a time," suggested Mr. Merrill. "We'll look
into the question of a summer home--we know we'd all like that. And you
folks don't know that a very popular uncle would _want_ a grown up sister
and two small nieces hanging around at commencement time," he added
teasingly.

"How do you find a summer home?" asked Alice thoughtfully.

"That's what we'll have to discover," laughed Mr. Merrill. "And we'll
begin this very Saturday afternoon if the weather is fine. We'll take a
suburban train and ride till we see a place that looks homey and there
we'll get off and hunt."

The next Saturday was warm and sunny, the kind of a day for bringing
flowers into bloom and for making little girls want to play out of doors.
Mrs. Merrill and the girls met Mr. Merrill at his office so as not to lose
a minute's time, and they hurried right over to the station, and got
aboard the first suburban train they could find.

"I think this is lots of fun," said Mary Jane as they found their seats,
"we don't know where we're going--we're just going!" And the train was
off.

For some time the girls were really discouraged. They passed factories,
and tenements, and more factories till Mary Jane was sure they were never
coming to country--real country. But suddenly, when she was about to give
up, the factories were gone and from the window the girls could see wide
fields and strips of woods and an occasional brook. Two or three little
stations were passed and then the train ran through a beautiful stretch of
woods--rolling woods all leafy and budding and flower decked. The ground
was fairly covered with early blossoms and trees of wild crab were just
bursting into pink bloom.

Mary Jane grabbed her coat and started down the aisle.

"Make 'em stop the train, Dadah," she said, "this is where we want to
live!"

Fortunately at that minute the train really did stop at a small station
and the Merrills got off and looked around. It didn't take long to explore
into the woods far enough to find that they had come to the very place
they were looking for--a spot not too far from the city for Mr. Merrill's
daily trip and yet wild enough to give the girls some real woods. The
girls picked flowers as they explored and had such a happy time that it
was hard work to persuade them to go back to the city when the twilight
came. But they had found the very place!

Three weeks later Mr. Merrill bought a lot in the heart of the woods, and
the summer home was no longer a mere dream--it was to be really truly.

"Now," announced Alice, "we'll draw the kind of a house we want. I love to
draw plans of a house!" She cleared off the dining table, sharpened
pencils, brought two tablets and insisted that everybody come out and
help.

And just then the door bell rang.

"Telegram for Merrill!" shouted a voice through the tube and Mary Jane
pressed the buzzer in a hurry--a telegram usually meant something
exciting.

It was addressed to Mrs. Merrill and said, "Have all tickets and hotel
reservations. You and the girls must come." And it was signed by Mrs.
Merrill's brother.

"If that isn't just like a college boy!" laughed Mrs. Merrill. "For weeks
he doesn't answer a letter and then he telegraphs! Girls," she added,
"let's go! Wouldn't you like to go to Boston and see the college and the
ocean and the White Mountains--and--everything?"

"Oh, mother, _really_?" exclaimed Mary Jane. (She felt as though she must
be dreaming, things were happening so fast!)

"But what about the summer home?" asked Alice.

"Don't you worry about the summer home," Mr. Merrill assured her, "we'll
have that summer home just the same. You girls take your trip east. You
won't be gone more than a couple of weeks--and what are two weeks out of a
whole summer? And before you go, we'll get the shack all planned and when
you come back we'll move out."

"Goody! Goody! Goody!" cried Mary Jane happily, "then I can see Uncle Hal
and ride on the train and dig a garden and _everything_!"

And if you want to hear all about Mary Jane's beautiful trip to Boston and
the White Mountains, the fun she had sight-seeing and the jolly party on
"Class Day," you must read--

                       "MARY JANE IN NEW ENGLAND"

------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE MARY JANE SERIES
BY CLARA INGRAM JUDSON
Cloth, 12mo. Illustrated.
With picture inlay and wrapper.

[Illustration]
Mary Jane is the typical American little girl who bubbles over with fun
and the good things in life. We meet her here on a visit to her
grandfather's farm where she becomes acquainted with farm life and farm
animals and thoroughly enjoys the experience. We next see her going to
kindergarten and then on a visit to Florida, and then--but read the
stories for yourselves.

Exquisitely and charmingly written are these books which every little girl
from five to nine years old will want from the first book to the last.

                       1 MARY JANE--HER BOOK
                       2 MARY JANE--HER VISIT
                       3 MARY JANE'S KINDERGARTEN
                       4 MARY JANE DOWN SOUTH
                       5 MARY JANE'S CITY HOME
                       6 MARY JANE IN NEW ENGLAND
                       7 MARY JANE'S COUNTY HOME

BARSE & HOPKINS
PUBLISHERS
NEWARK, N. J.               NEW YORK, N. Y.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHICKEN LITTLE JANE SERIES
_By_ LILY MUNSELL RITCHIE

[Illustration]
Chicken Little Jane is a Western prairie girl who lives a happy, outdoor
life in a country where there is plenty of room to turn around. She is a
wide-awake, resourceful girl who will instantly win her way into the
hearts of other girls. And what good times she has!--with her pets, her
friends, and her many interests. "Chicken Little" is the affectionate
nickname given to her when she is very, very good, but when she misbehaves
it is "Jane"--just Jane!

                 Adventures of Chicken Little Jane
                 Chicken Little Jane on the "Big John"
                 Chicken Little Jane Comes to Town

With numerous illustrations in pen and ink
By CHARLES D. HUBBARD
BARSE & HOPKINS
NEWARK         NEW YORK
 N. J.          N. Y.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dorothy Whitehill Series
For Girls

[Illustration]
Here is a sparkling new series of stories for girls--just what they will
like, and ask for more of the same kind. It is all about twin sisters, who
for the first few years in their lives grow up in ignorance of each
other's existence. Then they are at last brought together and things begin
to happen. Janet is an independent go-ahead sort of girl; while her sister
Phyllis is--but meet the twins for yourself and be entertained.

5 Titles, Cloth, large 12mo.,
Covers in color.

                     1. JANET, A TWIN
                     2. PHYLLIS, A TWIN
                     3. THE TWINS IN THE WEST
                     4. THE TWINS IN THE SOUTH
                     5. THE TWINS' SUMMER VACATION
                     6. THE TWINS AND TOMMY JR.

BARSE & HOPKINS
PUBLISHERS
NEWARK, N. J. NEW YORK, N. Y.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

THE POLLY PENDLETON SERIES
BY DOROTHY WHITEHILL

[Illustration]
Polly Pendleton is a resourceful, wide-awake American girl who goes to a
boarding school on the Hudson River some miles above New York. By her
pluck and resourcefulness, she soon makes a place for herself and this she
holds right through the course. The account of boarding school life is
faithful and pleasing and will attract every girl in her teens.

                1 POLLY'S FIRST YEAR AT BOARDING SCHOOL
                2 POLLY'S SUMMER VACATION
                3 POLLY'S SENIOR YEAR AT BOARDING SCHOOL
                4 POLLY SEES THE WORLD AT WAR
                5 POLLY AND LOIS
                6 POLLY AND BOB

Cloth, Large 12mo., Illustrated.

BARSE & HOPKINS
PUBLISHERS
Newark, N. J. New York, N. Y.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Sunny Boy Series
By RAMY ALLISON WHITE

[Illustration]
Children, meet Sunny Boy, a little fellow with big eyes and an inquiring
disposition, who finds the world a large and wonderful thing indeed. And
somehow there is lots going on, when Sunny Boy is around. Perhaps he helps
push! In the first book of this new series he has the finest time ever,
with his Grandpa out in the country. He learns a lot and he helps a lot,
in his small way. Then he has a glorious visit to the seashore, but this
is in the next story. And there are still more adventures in the third
book and fourth book. You will like Sunny Boy.

4 Titles, Cloth, illustrated, 12mo.,
with colored covers.

                     1. SUNNY BOY IN THE COUNTRY
                     2. SUNNY BOY AT THE SEASHORE
                     3. SUNNY BOY IN THE BIG CITY
                     4. SUNNY BOY IN SCHOOL AND OUT
                     5. SUNNY BOY AND HIS PLAYMATES

BARSE & HOPKINS
PUBLISHERS
NEWARK, N. J. NEW YORK, N. Y.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

GOOD STORIES FOR CHILDREN
(From four to nine years old)
THE KNEETIME ANIMAL STORIES
By RICHARD BARNUM

[Illustration]
In all nursery literature animals have played a conspicuous part; and the
reason is obvious, for nothing entertains a child more than the antics of
an animal. These stories abound in amusing incidents such as children
adore, and the characters are so full of life, so appealing to a child's
imagination, that none will be satisfied until they have met all of their
favorites--Squinty, Slicko, Mappo, and the rest.

                    1 Squinty, the Comical Pig.
                    2 Slicko, the Jumping Squirrel.
                    3 Mappo, the Merry Monkey.
                    4 Tum Tum, the Jolly Elephant.
                    5 Don, a Runaway Dog.
                    6 Dido, the Dancing Bear.
                    7 Blackie, a Lost Cat.
                    8 Flop Ear, the Funny Rabbit.
                    9 Tinkle, the Trick Pony.
                    10 Lightfoot, the Leaping Goat.
                    11 Chunky, the Happy Hippo.
                    12 Sharp Eyes, the Silver Fox.
                    13 Nero, the Circus Lion.
                    14 Tamba, the Tame Tiger.
                    15 Toto, the Rustling Beaver.
                    16 Shaggo, the Mighty Buffalo.
                    17 Winky, the Wily Woodchuck.

Cloth, Large 12mo., Illustrated.

BARSE & HOPKINS
Publishers
Newark, N. J.            New York, N. Y.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Yank Brown Series
By DAVID STONE
Cloth, large 12 mo. Illustrated.

[Illustration]
When Yank Brown comes to Belmont College as a callow Freshman, there is a
whole lot that he doesn't know about college life, such as class rushes,
rivalries, fraternities, and what a lowly Freshman must not do. But he
does know something about how to play football, and he is a big, likeable
chap who speedily makes friends.

In the first story of this series we watch Yank buck the line as a
Halfback. In the second story he goes in for basketball, among many other
activities of a busy college year. Then there are other stories to
follow--each brimful of action and interest. This is one of the best
college series we have seen in a long while.

                    YANK BROWN, HALFBACK
                    YANK BROWN, FORWARD
                    YANK BROWN, CROSS-COUNTRY RUNNER

BARSE & HOPKINS
NEWARK         NEW YORK
N. J.          N. Y.

(Other volumes in preparation.)





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