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´╗┐Title: Brother and Sister
Author: Lawrence, Josephine, 1897?-1978
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 "Brother and Sister" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



BROTHER AND SISTER


BY

JOSEPHINE LAWRENCE


AUTHOR OF

  "BROTHER AND SISTER'S SCHOOLDAYS"
  "BROTHER AND SISTER'S HOLIDAYS"

  BROTHER AND SISTER SERIES

  BY JOSEPHINE LAWRENCE

  1. BROTHER AND SISTER
  2. BROTHER AND SISTER'S SCHOOLDAYS
  3. BROTHER AND SISTER'S HOLIDAYS



BROTHER AND SISTER



CONTENTS

     I. THE MORRISONS
    II. GRANDMA HASTINGS
   III. SISTER IN MISCHIEF
    IV. PARTY PREPARATIONS
     V. DICK'S BUTTONS
    VI. RALPH'S PRESENT
   VII. MORE PRESENTS
  VIII. THE PARTY
    IX. OUT IN THE BARN
     X. THE HAUNTED HOUSE
    XI. JIMMIE'S SURPRISE
   XII. A LITTLE SHOPPING
  XIII. A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT
   XIV. TWO IN TROUBLE
    XV. TROUBLE AGAIN
   XVI. MISS PUTNAM COMPLAINS
  XVII. MAKING UP WITH JIMMIE
 XVIII. MICKEY GAFFNEY
   XIX. A VERY SICK DOLL
    XX. PLANS FOR MICKEY
   XXI. BROTHER AND SISTER PAY A CALL
  XXII. MICKEY OWNS UP



BROTHER AND SISTER



CHAPTER I

THE MORRISONS


"Brother," said Mother Morrison, "you haven't touched your glass of
milk. Hurry now, and drink it before we leave the table."

Brother's big brown eyes turned from his knife, which he had been
playing was a bridge from the salt cellar to the egg cup, toward the
tumbler of milk standing beside his plate.

"I don't have to drink milk this morning, Mother," he assured her
confidently. "Honestly I don't. It's raining so hard that we can't go
outdoors and grow, anyway."

Louise, his older sister, said sharply. "Don't be silly!" but Ralph,
who was in a hurry to catch his train, stopped long enough to give a
word of advice.

"Look here, Brother," he urged seriously, "better not skip a morning.
Your birthday is next week, isn't it? Well, if you're not tall enough
by Wednesday morning, you can't have the present I bought for you last
night. Too short, no present--you think it over."

He stooped to kiss his mother, tweaked Sister's perky bow of
hair-ribbon, and with a hasty "Good-bye" for the others at the table,
hurried out into the hall. They heard the front door slam after him.

Spurred by Ralph's mysterious hint, Brother drank his milk, and then
the Morrison family scattered for their usual busy day.

Brother and Sister were left to clear the breakfast table. They always
did this, carrying out the dishes and silver to Molly in the kitchen.
Then they crumbled the cloth neatly. Molly declared she could not do
without them.

"What do you suppose Ralph is going to give you?" speculated Sister,
carefully folding up the napkin Louise had dropped, and slipping it
into the white pique ring embroidered with an "L." "Maybe it's a train?"

"No, I don't believe it's a train," said Brother slowly, crumbling a
bit of bread and beginning to build a little farm with the crumbs. "No,
I guess maybe he will give me a tool-chest."

"Come on, and bring the bread tray," suggested Sister practically. She
never forgot the task in hand for other interests. "Mother says we
mustn't dawdle, Roddy, you know she did. It's my turn to feed the
birds, so I'll crumb the table. Could I use your saw if you get a
tool-chest?"

Brother answered dreamily that he supposed she could. He watched Sister
and her crumb-brush sweep away his nice little bread-crumb fences,
while he planned to build a real fence if Ralph's present should turn
out to be the long-coveted tool-chest.

When Sister had swept up every tiny crumb, she and Brother went out to
scatter the bits of bread to the birds who, winter and summer, never
failed to come to the back door and who always seemed hungry.

This morning there were robins, starlings, a pair of beautiful big blue
jays, and, of course, the rusty little sparrows. Each bird seemed to be
pretending to the others that he was looking for worms, and each one
slyly watched the Morrison back door in hopes that two small figures
would presently come out and toss them a breakfast of breadcrumbs.

Sister flung her crumbs as far as her short arm would send them, and
managed to hit an indignant old starling squarely in the eye. He glared
at her crossly.

"Birds don't mind getting wet, do they?" said Brother, as the sparrows
hopped about in the driving rain and pecked gratefully at the crumbs.
"Let's hop the way they do, Betty."

Sister obediently hopped, looking not unlike a very plump little robin
at that, with her dark eyes and bobbing curls. Only, you see, she and
Brother were much heavier than any birds, and they made so much noise
that Molly came to the door to see what they were doing.

"Another rainy day and the two of you bursting with mischief!" she
sighed good-naturedly. "Will you be quiet for an hour if I let you make
a dough-man while I'm mixing my bread?"

Brother and Sister loved to make dough-men, and so while Molly kneaded
her bread, they worked busily and happily at the other end of the
table, shaping two men from the bit of sponge she gave them and quite
forgetting to scold about the unpleasant weather which kept them
indoors.

Their real names, you must know, were Rhodes and Elizabeth Morrison.
Rhodes was six, and Elizabeth five, and sometimes they were called
"Roddy" and "Betty," but most always Brother and Sister.

This was partly because they were so many Morrisons.

There was Daddy Morrison, who was a lawyer and who went to town every
morning to a busy office that seemed, to Brother and Sister, when they
visited him, to be all papers and typewriters.

There was dear Mother Morrison, who was altogether lovely, with brown
eyes like Brother's, and dark curly hair like Sister.

There were Louise and Grace, the twins; they were fifteen and went to
high school, and were very pretty and important and busy.

Then there was Dick, the oldest of them all, and Ralph, who went to law
school in the city, and Jimmie, who was seventeen and the captain of
the high school football team.

Counting Brother and Sister, seven children, you see, and as Molly
truly said, "a houseful." Molly had lived with Mother Morrison since
Louise and Grace were babies, and they would not have known what to do
without her. She was as much a part of the family as any of them.

The Morrison house was a big, shabby, roomy place with wide, deep
porches and many windows. There was a large lawn in front and an old
barn in back where the older boys had fitted up a gymnasium with all
kinds of fascinating apparatus, most of which Brother and Sister were
forbidden to touch.

The Morrisons lived in Ridgeway, a thriving suburb of the city, where
Daddy Morrison, Dick and Ralph went every day.

And now that you are introduced, we'll go back to Brother and Sister
making dough-men in Molly's kitchen.

"What makes my dough-man kind of dark?" inquired Sister, calling
Molly's attention to the queer-shaped figure she had pieced together.

Sure enough Sister's dough-man, and Brother's, too, was a rather dark
gray, while the bread Molly was mixing was creamy white.

Mother Morrison, coming into the kitchen carrying Brother's rubbers and
raincoat, saved Molly an explanation.



CHAPTER II

GRANDMA HASTINGS


"Where are you going Mother?" asked Brother, when he saw the rubbers.

"I'm not going out," smiled Mother. "You are going for me, dear. These
are your rubbers and coat--hop into them and run across the street to
Grandma's with this apron pattern."

"Will you bake my dough-man, Molly?" begged Brother, struggling into
his coat and taking the small parcel Mother gave him. "Is Betty coming?"

"Not this time," answered his mother. "It is raining too hard. Yes,
Molly will bake your dough-man and you may eat him for lunch. Run along
now."

Grandmother Hastings lived almost directly across the street from the
Morrison house and she was putting her beautiful Boston fern out to get
the rain when Brother tramped sturdily up her side garden path.

"Bless his heart, he's a regular little duck!" cried Grandma, giving
him a tremendous hug.

That is the way grandmothers are, you know, whether they live across
the street from you and see you every day, or whether they live miles
away and come to visit you Christmas and summer times. A grandmother is
always glad to see you.

Grandmother Hastings was short and plumpy and her white hair was curly
and her eyes were blue. She had pink cheeks and wore a blue dress and a
white apron with a frilly bib, and altogether, Brother thought
privately, she looked very nice indeed.

"I'm very glad to get that pattern," she told him, patting the long
leaves of the fern and spreading them out to catch the rain. "I've a
magazine you can take back to Mother, dearie, and an old fashion book
Sister will like for paper dolls. Come into the sitting-room while I
find them for you. Take off your rubbers, child."

Brother followed her into the house and there Aunt Kate swooped upon
him and tickled him as she always did. Aunt Kate was a school teacher.
In summer she tutored backward pupils. She was on her way to give a
lesson now and in a few minutes she went away merrily into the driving
rain. That left Grandmother and Brother to entertain each other.

"Do you know what Ralph is going to give me for a birthday present,
Grandmother?" Brother asked, dropping flat on his stomach to play
jungle with the tigerskin that lay before the fireplace. "He says if
I'm not tall enough I can't have it. But he's bought it all ready--he
said so."

Brother, you see, would be six years old in a few days. He couldn't
help thinking a great deal about his birthday.

Grandmother and Brother had no secrets from each other, though
sometimes they planned surprises for the other members of the family.

"No, I don't know what Ralph plans to give you," admitted Grandmother.
"Don't try to find out, dearie. It is much nicer to be surprised. Why,
you know you wouldn't have a bit of fun next Wednesday if you knew what
your presents were to be."

Brother was willing to be surprised, because Wednesday wasn't so long
to wait. Still he thought he would like to know what Ralph's present
was. Ralph was his dearest brother, and he had a happy knack of always
giving Brother and Sister exactly what they wanted. Louise and Grace
were apt to make them presents which were useful, like pretty socks and
hair-ribbons for Sister, and gloves and handkerchiefs for Brother, but
Ralph never did anything like that.

"I've dropped a stitch in my knitting," said Grandmother suddenly.
"Brother, I wonder if you could run upstairs and bring me my glasses? I
think they are on the bureau in my room."

Brother ran upstairs and went into Grandmother's pretty bedroom. There
were white and silver things on her bureau and a little gold jewel box
and several bottles of different colors. But, though Brother looked
carefully, he could not find the glasses.

He went out into the hall.

"Oh, Grandma!" he called. "Your glasses aren't on the bureau."

"Dear, dear," sighed Grandmother. "'Let me see, where can they be? Do
you know, Brother, I'm afraid I have left them in my black silk bag on
the closet shelf. Can you get it, or shall I come up?"

"I can get it," answered Brother confidently. "You wait, Grandma."

The closet shelf was pretty high, but Brother carried a chair to the
closet door and by standing on it he was able to reach the shelf.
Goodness, what was more, he could see the things on the shelf.

And they were bundles!

One--two--three--Brother counted three mysterious paper bundles, tied
with brown string.

Now you know if you had a birthday due most any minute and your head
was full of the presents you hoped to receive, and you saw three
bundles on the shelf in your grandma's closet, you know you would
probably do just what Brother did; poke your finger into the top
bundle. Brother poked. Then he prodded. The top bundle slipped and
carried the other two with it. Brother was brushed off the chair and
three bundles and one boy landed in a heap on the floor.

"Brother!" cried Grandma, who had come up to see what kept him so long.
"Are you hurt?"

"No'm," answered Brother, rather foolishly. "I was just feeling these
bundles, Grandma, to see--to--see----"

"Whether they were birthday presents?" smiled Grandma. "Well, dearie,
they are nothing but blankets tied up to send to the cleaners. I'm
glad, for your sake, they were, for you might have hurt yourself,
otherwise, as it is, they were soft and thick for you to fall on."

"I'll get the glasses now," murmured Brother hastily.

He climbed up on the chair again and this time found without any
trouble the black bag which held Grandma's glasses.

"Mother is waving a handkerchief--that means she wants you," said
Grandmother, glancing from the window. "Scoot along, dear, and don't
think too much about the birthday till it comes. Here are the
magazines. And here's a drop-cake for you."

Brother paddled down the steps, went halfway to the front hedge, and
then turned.

"Oh, Grandma!" he shouted. "Do you know what I think Ralph is going to
give me? I think it's a tool-chest!"



CHAPTER III

SISTER IN MISCHIEF


"I hope it's like this to-morrow!"

Brother stood on the front porch, flattening his nose against the
screen door and sniffing the fragrant June sunshine.

Ever since his unsuccessful attempt to find out from Grandma Hastings
what Ralph's present was to be, it had rained. That was three days ago,
so you may be sure the whole Morrison family were very glad to see the
sun again. Especially as the very next day was Brother's birthday.

"Brother, I'm going down town to buy the favors for your party,"
announced Louise, who sat in the porch hammock crocheting a sweater.
"Wouldn't you like to go with me?"

Brother thought he would.

"Take me?" begged Sister, falling over the small broom she carried, in
her eagerness to be one of the party. "It's my turn, Louise, honestly
it is."

"Well, you see, I can't very well take you both," explained Louise
kindly. "Mrs. Adams is going to call for me with her car, and it
wouldn't be polite to ask her to take two children; and as it is
Brother's birthday, he ought to be the one to go--don't you think so?"

Sister nodded, though her lower lip trembled suspiciously. And when
Mrs. Adams drove her shiny automobile up to the curb, and Louise and
Brother were whisked away in it, two big tears rolled down Sister's
round cheeks.

"Why, honey!" Grace, the other twin sister, swinging her tennis
racquet, came through the hall and saw the tears. "What you crying
for?" she asked. "Everyone gone and left you? I'll tell you what to
do--you go out in the kitchen and take a peep at what is on the table
and you won't feel like crying another moment."

"What is it?" asked Sister cautiously.

She wasn't going to stop crying and then find out she had been cheated.

"You go look," answered Grace mysteriously.

So sister started for the kitchen and Grace ran off to her game of
tennis with Jimmie.

The kitchen was in perfect order and very quiet. Molly was upstairs
making the beds, and Mother Morrison was planning the party with
Grandmother Hastings.

"Oh!" said Sister softly as she saw what was on the table. "Oh, my!"

For right in the center of the white-topped table, on a large pink
plate, perched Brother's birthday cake! It was a beautiful cake,
perfectly round and very smooth and brown.

"But the icing!" said Sister aloud. "There's no ICING! I s'pose Molly
didn't have time."

If Sister had stopped to think, she would have remembered that all the
birthday cakes Molly made--and she made seven every year for the
Morrisons, and one for Grandmother Hastings--were always iced with pink
or white or chocolate icing.

But, you see, she didn't stop to think, and when she discovered a bowl
of lovely creamy white stuff on the small table between the windows,
this small girl decided that she would ice the cake and save Molly the
trouble.

There was a little film of water over the top of the bowl, but Sister
took a wooden spoon and stirred it carefully, and the water mixed
nicely with the white stuff, so that she had a bowl filled with the
smoothest, whitest "icing" any cook could ask for.

"I'll get a silver knife to spread it with," said Sister, who had often
watched Molly, and knew what to do.

She brought the knife from the dining-room and had just put one broad
streak of white across the top of the cake when Molly came down the
back stairs and saw her.

"Sister!" cried Molly. "What are you doing with my cold starch?"

"I'm icing the cake," answered Sister calmly. "You forgot it, I guess."

Poor Molly grabbed the bowl from Sister's hands.

"Can't I leave the kitchen one minute that you don't get into
mischief?" she scolded. "This isn't ICING--it's STARCH for Mr. Jimmie's
collars. I'm going to make a beautiful chocolate icing for the cake
this afternoon and write Brother's name on it in white frosting."

"Oh!" said Sister meekly.

"Go on upstairs, do," Molly urged her. "I've my hands full today
getting ready for the party; can't you find something nice to do
upstairs?"

Thus sped on her way, Sister reluctantly mounted the stairs to the
second floor.

"I could play jacks with Nellie Yarrow," she said to herself. "Only
she's lost her jackstones and I can't find mine. What's that on Dick's
bureau?"

Ralph and Jimmie roomed together, but Dick had a room of his own, and
though Sister was strictly forbidden to meddle with his things, they
had a great attraction for her. She could just see the top of Dick's
chiffonier from the floor and now she dragged a chair up to it and
climbed up to see what the shining thing was that had caught her eye.

It was a gold collar button, and Dick, she found, had a box of pearl
and gold buttons that Sister was sure she had never seen before. She
played with them, tossing them up and down and watching them glitter,
until a sudden thought struck her.

"They'd make lovely jackstones," she whispered. "I could use 'em and
put them right back. I know Nellie has a ball."

Dick had several new ties, and Sister had to admire these before she
could leave the chiffonier. Finally she slipped the box of pretty
buttons in her pocket and jumped down. She put the chair where she had
found it, and ran downstairs and through the hedge that separated the
Morrison house from that of Dr. Yarrow's.

"Nellie, oh, Nellie!" called Sister. "Come on, let's play jackstones."

"Haven't any," answered Nellie Yarrow, a little girl a year or so older
than Sister. "All I have left is my ball."

"Well, get that and we can play," Sister told her. "I've found
something we can use--see!"

Nellie admired the collar buttons immensely and thought it would be
great fun to play with them. She ran and got her ball and the two
little friends sat down on the concrete walk to play jackstones,
heedless of the hot morning sun.

Sister had won one game and Nellie two, when they heard Louise calling.

"Sister! Sister! Where are you? If you want to help fix the fishpond,
you'll have to come right away."

Sister stuffed the buttons in her pocket and ran home, eager to see
what Louise and Brother had bought.



CHAPTER IV

PARTY PREPARATIONS


When Mother Morrison had suggested a fishpond for the party, Louise and
Grace had protested.

"Oh, Mother!" they cried. "That's so old!"

"But the children like it," said Mother Morrison mildly.

"It's fun," urged Brother. "It's fun to fish over the table and catch
something!"

Sister, too, had asked for the pond, so it was decided to have one.
Louise and Grace might not care for such things at their birthday
parties, but this, as Sister said, was "different."

"We bought bushels and bushels," Brother informed Sister as she bounded
through the hedge and up to the front porch. "Little colored pencils,
and crayons, and games, and dolls, and oh!--everything!"

Louise, whose shopping bag was certainly bulging with parcels, laughed
merrily.

"We bought all the little gifts for the fish-pond and for the--there! I
almost told you." She clapped her hand over her mouth and laughed again.

"For the what?" teased Sister. "Tell me, Louise--I won't tell."

"No, Mother said no one was to know," declared Louise firmly. "Now all
these packages you may open, and after lunch I'll help you tie them up
again and fix the pond. But these other parcels go upstairs to Mother's
room and no one is to touch them."

She tumbled half the contents of her bag on the porch floor and then
ran upstairs with the rest.

"Let's look at them," said Sister eagerly. "What's the matter, Roddy?"

"I was thinking," explained Brother, making no move to open the
packages. "We saw a little boy down town and his foot was all tied up
in a rag, and I know it hurt him 'cause he limped."

"Maybe he sprained his ankle," said Sister. "Like Dr. Yarrow's cousin,
you know."

"It wasn't his ankle--it was his foot," insisted Brother. "And I told
Louise Mother said we mustn't go on the ground without our sandals, and
she said she guessed the boy didn't have any sandals; she said he
prob'bly didn't have any shoes, either."

"Nor any stockings--just rags?" asked Sister in pity. "I like to go
barefoot, Roddy, but I like my new patent leather slippers, too."

"Maybe he has some for Sunday," comforted Brother, trying to be
hopeful. "Everybody has to wear shoes on Sunday."

"Yes, of course they do," agreed Sister, who had never heard of a boy
and girl who didn't wear shoes on Sunday and every day in the week
except when they were allowed to go barefoot as a great treat.

The tempting packages were not to be forgotten one moment longer, and
they decided to "take turns" opening them.

"Isn't it fun!" giggled Sister. "What do you s'pose Mother is going to
make you, Roddy?"

"I don't know," replied Brother absently. "I keep thinking about
Ralph's present. He says that he thinks I'll be tall enough to have it
by tomorrow."

"Did you drink all your milk for breakfast?" asked Sister anxiously.

Ralph was most particular about the children's milk. He insisted that
they couldn't grow properly without enough milk, and as both were
anxious to grow tall, Brother and Sister usually drank their milk
without fussing.

Brother had finished his to the last drop that morning, he said, and
when they were called in to lunch presently, he drank another glass so
that he would surely grow enough to please Ralph.

"And now we'll do up the fishpond presents," said Louise, when they had
finished lunch.

She and Grace both helped, for Mother Morrison was busy in the kitchen
with Molly, and of course none of the brothers were home during the day
except Jimmie, and he was usually busy out in the barn where the
gymnasium was.

You have probably "fished" in a fishpond yourself at parties, and know
what it is. Little gifts are placed somewhere out of sight, and each
small guest is given a fishing rod and line with a hook at the end. He
dangles this over the back of a sofa, or over a table, and when he
draws it up there is a "fish," or the present, attached to it.

Louise had plenty of nice white paper and pink string, and each gift
was carefully wrapped and tied. Dark blue crepe paper was tacked around
three sides of a table and this table placed across one corner of the
parlor. This was the "ocean." The presents were placed on the floor
back of the table, and Brother and Sister knew, from past pleasant
experience, that when it came time to fish, the packages would
obligingly attach themselves to the hooks.

"Tomorrow's ever so long off," sighed Brother, when the fishpond was
ready and Louise and Grace had gone over to the library to take back
some books.

He and Sister were not wanted in the kitchen and they were asked not to
touch the clean white clothes spread out on the guest room bed for them
to wear to the party. There really did not seem to be anything for them
to do.

"Let's go out and watch for Ralph?" suggested Sister.

Ralph was the best loved brother, after all, though, of course, the
children loved Dick and Jimmie dearly. But no one was quite as patient
as Ralph, no one had time to read to them as often as he did, no one
told them stories without coaxing as Ralph did.

He and Dick came up the street from the station together this night,
and though Dick kissed Sister and said, "Hello, kid," to Brother, he
dashed into the house, while Ralph stayed to talk.

"Birthday tomorrow, Brother?" he asked teasingly, though he knew very
well that Brother would be six years old.

"Oh, Ralph!" Brother was so excited he nearly stuttered. "Ralph,
couldn't you tell me what the present is now? I'm just as tall, and
it's almost my birthday. Please, Ralph?"

Ralph swung Sister up and sat her on the fence-post.

"Well, I don't believe I could do that," he replied slowly. "Let's see,
did you drink your milk today without grumbling?"

"Yes, I did--didn't I, Sister?" said Brother eagerly.

"Yes," nodded Sister. "He drank all of his for lunch, too, Ralph, and
didn't spill any."

"That's certainly fine," praised Ralph. "I'm sure you've grown a little
bit every day, too. Well, Brother, I tell you what I'll do--tomorrow
morning I'll bring the present up to your room before breakfast. How
will that do?"

Brother was more excited than ever, and for once he was ready to go to
bed that night without a protest. He and Sister trailed sleepily off
upstairs, wishing for the morning to come so that they might know what
this mysterious present was.

They had two little white beds in the same room and they could undress
themselves very nicely if they helped each other with the buttons.
Mother Morrison usually came up before they were ready for bed, and on
bath nights she always came up with them and stayed till they were in
bed.

The night before a birthday party was, of course, a bath night, and
Sister was very willing to let Brother take his bath first because she
had a picture book she wanted to look at. She was lying on her bed, in
her nightie, looking at the pictures while Brother splashed in the tub
and Mother Morrison waited for him to stop playing and use the soap to
lather himself, instead of pretending it was a boat, when Dick knocked
on the door.

"Look here!" he said, opening it and thrusting in his head. "Have
either of you kids been in my room today?"

"How nice you are!" cried Sister, sitting up to look at Dick, who,
indeed, did seem very nice, though he was without his coat.

"I'm twenty minutes late now," growled Dick. "I've hunted everywhere
for my collar buttons and studs, and I can't find them."



CHAPTER V

DICK'S BUTTONS


Before Sister could say anything, in pranced Brother, very pink and
clean from his hot bath and treading on his gray bathrobe at every
other step.

"Have you been meddling with my things again?" demanded Dick. "Mother,
I've an engagement at eight o'clock and it's quarter past now; every
blessed collar button is gone from my chiffonier!"

Mother Morrison, who had followed Brother into the room, looked
anxiously at him.

"Brother, you haven't been in Dick's room today, have you?" she asked
him.

Then Sister, whose memory had been waking up, spoke.

"Please, Dick," she said in a very little voice. "Please, I had the
buttons."

"Oh, you did!" Dick quite forgot to smile at her. "What did you want
'em for? Where are they now?"

"You see, I was playing jackstones with Nellie Yarrow, and afterward
I--I left them in my pocket--" Sister's voice trailed off.

She recollected that the dress she had been wearing was now down the
laundry chute.

"Mother, something's got to be done!" fumed Dick. "I can't have the
kids going through my stuff and helping themselves to whatever they
want; those buttons were my solid gold ones and my good studs were in
the same box. There's the telephone!--Nina will be furious! Sister,
where did you say that dress was?"

Dick rushed downstairs to answer the telephone, leaving a sorrowful
Sister curled up in a forlorn little heap on the bed.

"My blue dress is way down in the laundry," she wailed. "The buttons
are in the pocket. Oh, Mother, it's awful far down there, and it's dark
on the stairs!"

"What's all the racket about?" inquired Ralph, coming to the door. "Is
Sister crying? And Dick is trying to smooth down Nina Carson, who seems
to be in a bad way. Want any help with these young ones, Mother?
Anyway, tell a fellow the cause of the excitement."

Sister smiled through her tears. "Young ones" was what Molly's country
sister had once called them, and Ralph always said it when he meant to
make her laugh.

"I really think Sister should go down and get the buttons from her
dress pocket," said dear Mother Morrison decidedly. "I have forbidden
her, time and again, to touch anything in Dick's room. Take your kimona
and slippers, Sister, and hurry; I'll have your bath ready for you when
you come back."

More tears ran down Sister's round cheeks. Her eyes were so full of
salt water she couldn't find the armholes of her pink kimona, and Ralph
had to help her.

"I'll go with her, Mother," he offered. "I'll sit on the stairs and
wait while she hunts for the buttons; and after this you--will leave
Dick's things alone, won't you, Sister?"

Sister promised joyfully, and paddled off downstairs with Ralph. The
dark stairs that led to the laundry didn't frighten her one bit, and
while Ralph sat on the last step and held the door open, Sister snapped
on the light and found the blue dress on top of the basket that stood
under the chute. Surely enough, the buttons were in the pocket just as
she had left them. She took the box and hurried back to Ralph. "Where's
Dick going?" she asked him, as they went upstairs.

"Oh, out somewhere, to see some girl," replied Ralph, who seldom went
to call on a girl. "Scoot now, Sister--I'm going out on the porch and
read. You've made poor old Dick half an hour late as it is."

Ralph went out on the screened front porch, where Daddy Morrison was
reading beside the electric lamp, and had just picked up his magazine,
when there was a patter of little feet and Sister threw her arms around
him breathlessly.

"I love you, Ralph!" she said quickly, hugging him and then turning to
run.

"Here, here!" cried Daddy Morrison in surprise. "Thought you were in
bed long ago. Don't I get any kissing?"

"Mother is waiting to bathe me," explained Sister hurriedly, "and Dick
wants his collar buttons, so I have to go, Daddy."

Her father caught her as she rushed past him and gave her a quick kiss.

"Sister!" called Mother Morrison. "Sister, are you coming?"

Sister, the box of buttons clutched tightly in her hand, ran upstairs.
Dick, glowering, met her at the top.

"For goodness' sake!" he ejaculated. "I'd about given up hope--and if
you ever touch one of my things again--"

"I won't!" promised Sister hastily. "Honest Injun, I won't. You aren't
mad, are you, Dick?"

Dick was wrestling with a stiff collar before the glass in the hall.

"No, I'm not mad, but I shall be in a minute," he announced grimly.
"Don't stand there and watch me, please; you make me nervous."

"Come and take your bath, dear," called Mother Morrison.

"Don't you hear Mother? What are you waiting for?" demanded Dick.

"Waiting for you to kiss me good-night," answered Sister composedly.

Dick stared at her. Then he laughed.

"There!" he said, picking Sister up and kissing her soundly. "Now will
you leave me in peace, you monkey?"

Sister was satisfied and hurried off to her bathing. When she came out
of the bathroom, she found Brother sleepily waiting for her, sitting
up, in his bed.

"If you hear Ralph in the morning," he told her earnestly, "you call
me, 'cause I want to see my own birthday present before you do."

"Can't I look at it if you're not awake?" asked Sister hopefully.

"No, you mustn't," said Brother firmly. "It's my birthday present, and
I want to see it first. Now you remember!"

Mother Morrison kissed them both, put a screen in another window, for
the night was warm, and snapped off the light. It was time for Brother
and Sister to be asleep.

"Roddy!" whispered Sister softly.

"Uh-huh?" came sleepily from Brother.

"Suppose I can't help looking when Ralph opens the door?"

Brother roused himself.

"You mustn't," he repeated. "It's my birthday. I wouldn't look first if
it was your birthday present. You can shut your eyes, can't you?"

Sister sighed, and a big yawn came and surprised the sigh.

"Maybe he'll have it tied in a paper," she murmured hopefully. "Then I
can't see it."



CHAPTER VI

RALPH'S PRESENT


The sun rose bright and early on Brother's birthday morning. Not any
earlier than usual, perhaps, but it certainly woke Brother a whole
half-hour earlier than he usually opened his eyes.

Almost at the same moment that his brown eyes opened wide, and he sat
up in bed, Sister's dark eyes also opened wide and she sat up in her
little white bed.

"Oh!" she said, blinking. "OH, it's your birthday, Roddy! Many happy
returns of the day--and I have a present for you!"

She slipped out of bed and ran over to the chest of white drawers that
held her own possessions.

"You can play with them a little while and then you can eat 'em," she
explained, returning with a flat, white box which she put on Brother's
lap.

The present proved to be a pound of animal crackers, of which Brother
was very fond, and Sister was telling him how she had carefully picked
out as many horses and elephants as she could--for indulgent Grandma
Hastings had bought several pounds of the crackers, and allowed Sister
to select the two kinds of animals that were Brother's favorites--when
they heard Ralph's quick step in the hall.

"Here comes Ralph! Don't look!" commanded Brother hastily.

Sister promptly dived under the bedclothes, and when Ralph softly
opened the door--lest the children were still asleep--he saw Brother
staring eagerly toward him and a little lump in the middle of Sister's
bed.

"Well, young man, how does it feel to be six years old?" Ralph asked
merrily, putting down the basket he carried on the floor, and coming
over to Brother, who stood up to hug him.

"Just as nice," gurgled Brother, standing still to receive the six
"spanks" without which no birthday could be properly celebrated.

"Can I look yet?" asked a muffled voice meekly.

"Why, sweetheart, what have they done to you?" demanded Ralph in
amazement, uncovering a very warm and flushed little girl. "I thought
you were asleep, honey. Don't you feel well?"

"Oh, I feel all right," Sister assured him cheerfully. "Only I promised
Brother I wouldn't look at the present before he did."

"That's so, I did bring a present, didn't I?" said Ralph, pretending to
have forgotten. "Well, Brother, stand up while I measure you once more;
I must be sure that you are tall enough and that means that you drank
your milk every time without grumbling."

"Couldn't he grumble?" asked Sister, watching while Ralph stood brother
against the wall and made a tiny mark with a pencil. "You never said he
couldn't grumble, Ralph."

"Didn't I?" Ralph said. "Well, then, I should, because that is very
important. You will grow, you know, if you drink your milk and grumble
about it, but not half as fast as you will grow if you drink the milk
and make no fuss. That's true, Sister--I'm not joking."

"I didn't grumble much, did I, Sister?" interposed Brother. "Haven't I
grown, Ralph?"

"Yes, I think you have--enough to have what I have brought you,"
returned Ralph cheerfully. "Here, now, tell me what you think of this."

He stooped down and lifted the lid of the basket. Then he tipped it
over on one side and out rolled the fattest brown and white collie
puppy dog you ever saw!

"Oh! Oh! Oh!" shrieked Brother and Sister together. "What a perfectly
dear little puppy!"

"He's yours, Brother," said Ralph, smiling like the dear big brother he
was. "Yours to take care of and love, and to name."

"Hasn't he any name?" asked Brother, hugging the fat puppy, who seemed
to like it and tried to say so with his little red tongue. "I don't
know what to name a puppy dog."

"Call him 'Brownie,'" suggested Sister, down on her knees on the floor,
watching the dog with shining eyes. "I think that is a nice name."

"So do I," agreed Brother.

"I do, too," said Ralph. "And now you must get dressed if you are not
to be late for breakfast; and I must go down now--I have to take an
earlier train in."

"Won't you come to the party?" begged Sister, as Ralph stood up to go.

"Don't believe I'll be home in time," he answered. "But you can tell me
all about it and that will be almost as nice."

Mother Morrison came in to help them dress and she kissed Brother six
times because it was his birthday. He wore a new blue sailor suit, and
Sister put on her next-to-the-best hair-ribbon in his honor.

"I like birthdays," sighed Brother, slipping into his seat at the
breakfast table and eyeing the little heap of bundles at his plate with
great delight. "Look at my puppy dog, Dick."

"Well, that is a nice pup," admitted Dick, putting down his paper.
"Have you named him yet?"

"Name's Brownie--Betty thought of it," replied Brother. "Can he have
cereal, Mother? And Daddy wrote on this box, didn't he?" The little boy
picked up a box wrapped in paper.

"Now just a minute," said Mother Morrison firmly. "The dog can't eat at
the table, dear; put him down until you have finished breakfast. I
don't want you to open the parcels, either, until you have had your
milk and cereal. But those two on top you may open--they are from Daddy
and Dick and they're going to leave in ten minutes."

Brother opened the two packages eagerly. That from Daddy Morrison was a
little wooden block and a set of rubber type with an ink-pad, so that
Brother might play at printing. He knew his letters and, if someone
helped him, could spell a number of words. Dick's parcel contained a
little silver collar for the new puppy, so made that it could be made
larger for him as he grew.

"Oh, Dick!" Brother flung himself upon that pleased young man and
kissed him heartily. Somehow Brother seldom kissed Dick, although he
loved him dearly. "It's the nicest collar!"

"All right, all right," said Dick hastily. "Glad you like it. Coming,
Dad?"

Brother had to thank Daddy Morrison for his gift and kiss him good-bye,
and then the interrupted breakfast went on. As soon as they had all
finished, they gathered around Brother to watch him open his birthday
gifts.



CHAPTER VII

MORE PRESENTS


"With so many birthdays in one family, we must not give elaborate or
expensive presents ever," Mother Morrison had once said, and she had
made that a rule.

So Brother's presents, while representing a great deal of beautiful
love, were simple and mostly home-made.

Louise had made him an entire set of new sails for his ship Swallow;
Grace had cleverly painted and cut out a set of paper soldiers, and set
them in tiny wooden blocks so that they stood upright; Jimmie's present
was a set of little garden tools; Molly brought in a gingerbread man,
very wide and tall and most handsomely decorated with pink sugar icing.
And Mother Morrison gave him a box of watercolor paints and a painting
book.

Just as Brother had unwrapped the last of his gifts, dear Grandmother
Hastings hurried in. Under her arm she carried a large square box, and
her eyes twinkled as she set it down.

"For the birthday boy!" she said.

"A toolchest!" shouted Brother in delight. "Look, Grandma, Ralph gave
me a puppy!"

"I hope you said 'thank you!' just like that!" laughed Grandmother, as
Brother hugged her so tightly she could scarcely get her breath. "Let
me give you six kisses, dearie. Why, Brother, what is the matter?"

"I never said 'thank you' at all," mourned Brother. "Did I, Sister? And
Ralph gave me such a nice puppy dog."

"But you can say 'thank you' tonight, can't he, Grandma?" protested
Sister loyally.

"Why, of course, dear. Don't worry, Brother--Ralph knew you were very
happy to have the doggie. Now come and tell me what you are going to
call him."

There were many things to be done to get ready for the party that
afternoon, and while Brother and Sister introduced Brownie to their
grandmother, the rest of the family scattered to their work. Presently
Grandmother Hastings declared she must run home and put a lace collar
on her best frock so that she could come to the party, and Brother and
Sister were left alone with the new presents.

"Let's take Brownie out for a walk," suggested Sister. "Have you fed
him, Roddy?"

Brother shook his head. No, Brownie had had no breakfast.

"I wish I'd said thank you' to Ralph," worried Ralph's little brother.
"Maybe he won't come home to supper tonight, and I'll be in bed when he
comes."

"Telephone him," said Sister, stroking one of Brownie's velvet ears.

"I don't know the name of the law school," objected Brother.

"Ask Daddy," promptly responded Sister. "He'll know."

The children knew the number of Daddy Morrison's big office in the
city, and both could telephone very nicely. The phone booth was under
the hall stairs and Brother knew no one in the house could hear him
when he took down the receiver.

"Please give me 6587 Main," he said politely, while Sister and Brownie
sat down on the floor to wait and listen.

Dick was in his father's office, and unless the person calling asked
for Mr. Morrison, senior, the switchboard operator gave them Mr.
Morrison, junior. That was Dick, who was named for Daddy Morrison.

"Hello, hello!" came Dick's voice over the wire in answer to Brother's
call.

"I want Daddy," said Brother distinctly.

"Is that you, Brother?" asked Dick in surprise. "Did Mother ask you to
call him? Is anything wrong at home?"

"No, only I want to speak to him," said Brother impatiently.

"He's busy--if you are only trying to amuse yourself, I advise you to
stop it," answered Dick rather sharply. "You know you are not supposed
to use the 'phone, Brother."

"I guess I can talk to my father," asserted Brother indignantly. "You
tell him I want to speak to him, Dick Morrison!"

Dick apparently made the connection, for in another moment Brother
heard his father's voice.

"Yes, Son?" it said gently. "What can I do for you?"

"Oh, Daddy!" Brother spoke rapidly, his words tumbling over each other.
"I never said 'thank you' to Ralph for the puppy dog! An' sometimes he
doesn't come home to supper, and I don't see him till tomorrow morning.
I want to tell him how much I like Brownie, and I don't know the name
of the law school. Will you tell me so I can ask 'Central' for the
number and call Ralph up?"

There was a pause. Daddy Morrison was apparently thinking.

"I'll tell you, son," he said presently. "I do not believe Ralph's
school allows their pupils to be called from a class to answer the
telephone, so you had better not try that plan. But Ralph is coming to
the office this noon to go to lunch with Dick. You tell Mother that I
said you were to be permitted to telephone the office at half-past
twelve. In that way you'll catch Ralph here and can say what you want
to him. How will that do?"

"That's fine, Daddy!" replied Brother gratefully. "Thank you ever so
much--wait a minute, Daddy--"

"I'm just saying the good-bye," called Sister, who loved to telephone.

"Good-bye, youngsters," said Daddy Morrison, laughing as he hung up the
receiver.

"Well, for goodness' sake, what are you two doing here?" demanded
Louise, coming through the hall with something hidden in her apron.
"Who said you could telephone? Whom did you call up?"

"Daddy," answered Brother serenely. "He said I could call the office
again at half-past twelve. What you got, Louise?"

"Secrets," said Louise mysteriously. "People with birthdays shouldn't
ask questions."

She hurried on toward the kitchen and in a few moments the children
heard her laughing with Molly.

"I think Brownie is hungry," insisted Sister. "Aren't you ever going to
feed him?"

"Of course he's hungry," chimed in Grace, who had overheard. "There's a
bowl of bread and milk Mother fixed for him before breakfast, out on
the back porch, with a plate over it to keep the cats out. Take him out
there and feed him, Brother."

Brownie was indeed very hungry and the children enjoyed watching him
eat the bread and milk Mother Morrison had fixed for him. After he had
eaten it all up, they took him out on the grass to play, but that fat
little brown puppy, instead of playing with them, curled up and went to
sleep.

"Never mind--here comes the party!" cried Sister, whose bright eyes had
spied a wagon turning into the drive.



CHAPTER VIII

THE PARTY


"The party" happened to be the ice-cream, and Brother and Sister
watched eagerly as the delivery boy carried the heavy wooden tub in
which the cream was packed, up the back steps.

"Going to have a party?" he smiled at them as he came back to his
wagon. "Have a good time!"

The pretty little notes of invitation, which Mother Morrison had
written to six boys and six girls, friends of Brother's and Sister's,
two weeks ago, had said from "four to six," so it was time to dress in
the best white clothes soon after lunch. Indeed, Brother's collar bow
was not tied before the doorbell rang, and Nellie Yarrow arrived.

"I suppose she lived so far away, she thought she might be late," said
Louise.

She ran downstairs and showed Nellie where to put the present she had
brought for Brother.

After that the other boys and girls came, one by one, and Brother soon
had a little pile of presents on the living-room table. He opened each
one, and said thank you to the child who had brought it, and he forgot
to be shy, so that he really enjoyed it all very much.

Charlie Raynor and his sister, Winifred, were the last to come, and
Winifred was excited over something.

"I had the most awful time with Charlie!" she announced earnestly, to
sympathetic Mother Morrison. "He acted dreadful!"

Winifred was two years older than Charlie and felt responsible for him.

"Give Roddy his present now," Winifred urged Charlie. "Hurry, I tell
you."

Silently Charlie held out a little paper bag of candy.

"I had all I could do to keep him from eating it on the way here," his
sister explained. "He just loves candy!"

Brother took the bag of candy and put it with his other gifts on the
table. Then the children began the peanut hunt, which was the first
game Louise and Grace had planned for them.

This was played outdoors, and it was fully half an hour before all the
peanuts had been discovered. Then, as several of the girls wanted to
start the old, old game of "Going to Jerusalem," and Grace offered to
play the music, they all trooped back to the living-room.

"Why, Roddy, your candy is gone!" announced Sister in surprise. "When
did you eat it?"

Brother came up to her where she stood by the table of presents.

"I didn't eat it," he said wonderingly. "I left it right there on top
of that book. Isn't that funny!"

"Well, it's gone," asserted Sister. "Someone ate it!"

Winifred had heard, and now she turned on the unfortunate Charlie.

"Charles Eldridge Raynor!" she said sternly. "Did you eat Roddy's candy
that you brought him? Did you?"

Charlie nodded miserably. He had slipped into the room, unnoticed
during the peanut hunt, and unable to longer withstand the temptation,
had calmly eaten up his birthday gift.

"I hope," stammered Winifred with very red cheeks, "I hope you will
excuse him, Mrs. Morrison. I never knew him to do such a thing before!"

"Oh, it isn't anything so very dreadful," declared Mother Morrison,
smiling. "Any laddie with a sweet tooth might easily do the same thing.
Come, children, Grace is waiting to play for you."

They played "Going to Jerusalem" and "Drop the Handkerchief," and all
the time there was the mysterious fishpond back of the table! But they
could not fish till after they had had ice cream.

As they were playing a noisy game of "Tag" out on the lawn, Molly came
to the door to ask them to come into the dining-room.

Such a pretty table met their eyes! It seemed to be all blue and white,
and in the center was the big birthday cake--iced as only Molly could
ice it, and showing no trace of the starch Sister had tried to cover it
with. Six candles twinkled merrily on the top.

"Make six wishes, Brother," said Mother Morrison.

"Then he blows, and as many candles as he blows out he will have wishes
come true," explained Sister quaintly.

Brother made his wishes--they must not be spoken aloud--and then took a
deep breath.

Pouf! Three of the candles went out

"Three wishes!" shouted the children. "You'll have three wishes come
true!"

It was a lovely birthday supper. Everyone said so. They had chicken
sandwiches, and cocoa, and vanilla and strawberry ice-cream, and of
course the birthday cake, which Brother cut in slices himself with the
big silver cake knife.

"Why--look!" ejaculated Sister in surprise, glancing up from her cake
at the doorway.

Mother Morrison stood there, smiling, and in her hands she carried what
seemed to be a very large pudding or pie baked in a milk pan.

"What is it?" said Brother curiously. "What is it?"

"It's a secret," answered his mother mysteriously. "Grandmother
Hastings planned it for you."

"And you and Louise bought part of it," Grandmother Hastings assured
him, nodding and smiling from the other doorway, the one that led into
the hall.

She had come over, in her prettiest white and lavender gown, to see the
end of the party.

Mother Morrison came up to the table with the pie and the children saw
that the paper crust was full of little slits and that from each slit a
ribbon hung out. Some were blue and some were pink.

"Each girl must choose a blue ribbon," said Mother Morrison. "The pink
ones are for the boys. You pull first, Lucy."

Lucy Reed pulled one of the blue ribbons. She hauled out a little
celluloid doll dressed in a gay red frock.

"How lovely!" Lucy cried. "Do we all get something?"

Each child was eager to pull a ribbon, and, wasn't it strange?--there
were just enough ribbons to go round! After every one, including
Brother and Sister, had had his turn, the "crust" was all torn, and not
a single present or ribbon was left.

"Half-past five!" said Louise then, looking at her little wrist-watch.
"We must hurry with the fishing."

So they went into the living-room and had a delightful time fishing in
the pond back of the table. There was a gift for everyone who fished,
and when six o'clock struck, and it was time to go home, each small
guest had a package to take along.

"We've had the nicest time," they called to Mother Morrison as they
said good-bye. "We hope Roddy has a party every year."



CHAPTER IX

OUT IN THE BARN


"The party was a great success, eh?" asked Ralph at the breakfast table
the next morning. "I judged so, because it was one o'clock before I
could leave Dad's office to get some lunch. He and Dick insisted on
holding me there till quarter past."

Brother looked at Sister. Sister looked at Brother. They had both
forgotten they meant to telephone Ralph at half-past twelve!

"Don't worry over it, Brother," said Ralph, laughing. "No serious harm
was done, old chap. I made Dad tell me the mysterious reason of the
wait, and when you didn't 'phone in we all three concluded the party
had been too much for you. I'm glad you liked the dog."

"Oh, yes!" Brother seized upon this safe topic. "It is the nicest dog,
Ralph. And I did mean to say thank you,' only I forgot."

After Daddy Morrison and Ralph and Dick had gone off to the station,
Brother and Sister began to have queer feelings. Yes'm, they both felt
"somehow different," as Brother said.

"I don't want to clear off the table," complained Sister, drawing
pictures on the tablecloth with a fork, a practice which Molly had
always sternly forbidden.

"Neither do I," agreed Brother. "Let's go out in the barn and play."

"Jimmie won't like it," suggested Sister, taking up a cup so carelessly
that some of the coffee left in it slopped over on the clean cloth.

"Jimmie doesn't own the barn," sniffed Brother crossly. "I guess we can
just play in it without hurting any of his stuff."

"Here, here, what are you talking so long about?" demanded Molly
good-naturedly.

She came to the dining-room door and inspected the table critically.

"Just as I thought," she said grimly. "Too much party yesterday!
Sister, give me that cup and stop marking the cloth. Run off and play,
both of you, till you get over being cross. I'd rather do the work
myself than listen to you grumble."

Thus dismissed, Brother and Sister wandered off to the barn. They ought
to have felt happy with the extra time for play, but, for some reason,
they were decidedly uncomfortable.

"Everybody's busy," grumbled Brother. "Nobody cares what we do. Louise
and Grace are sewing, and Mother is going to make strawberry jam. Let's
try the rings, Betty."

They were inside the old barn now, and the swinging rings had always
fascinated Sister. But she knew that Jimmie had said they were not to
touch them, and indeed Daddy Morrison had warned the children not to
play in the barn unless some of the older boys were with them.

"It is really Jimmie's and Ralph's gymnasium," he had explained. "They
know how to use the apparatus, and you don't. When you are older,
Jimmie will teach you and you may play there all you wish."

Sister looked longingly at the rings when Brother suggested them.

"Where's Jimmie?" she asked cautiously.

"Up in his room studying," answered Brother confidently.

Jimmie had been "conditioned" in the June examinations, and now spent
part of every vacation day studying so that he might take another test
before school opened in the fall.

"All right," agreed Sister, assured that Jimmie was not likely to walk
in upon them. "How'll we get the rings untied?"

The rings were fastened up out of the way, tied to a nail on the side
wall, so that when not in use they did not take up any room. Jimmie
could reach this nail easily, but, of course, it was far above
Brother's head.

"I'll get the step-ladder," announced Brother confidently. "You hold it
for me."

The step-ladder was an old one and inclined to wobble. Brother mounted
it slowly, and Sister sat down on the lowest step to hold it steady.
Her weight was not enough to anchor the ladder, and it still shook
crazily when Brother reached the highest step and stood on his tiptoes
to reach the string that held the swings on the nail.

"What are you kids up to now?" a voice asked suddenly.

It was Jimmie! He had come out to the barn to get a book he had left in
the corner cupboard.

Sister jumped to her feet, startled. Her elbow brushed the wobbily
ladder and over it went, carrying Brother with it. He was too surprised
to cry out.

"Are you hurt? Of all the crazy actions?" Jimmie scolded vigorously as
he rushed to his small brother's rescue.

Fortunately for him, Brother had landed on one of the heavy, thick,
quilted pads that were on the floor. The boys used them when on the
apparatus in case they fell. Brother was not hurt at all, but he was
frightened, and when Jimmie picked him up he was crying bitterly.

"I've a good mind to tell Father," continued Jimmie, who, of the three
older boys, was less inclined to leniency with the performances of
Brother and Sister. "Next time you might be badly hurt, and then it
would be too late to punish you. Come here, Sister."

Sister came reluctantly.

"What were you trying to do?" said Jimmie grimly.

"Trying to use the swinging rings," answered Sister meekly.

"There's nothing to do," wailed Brother forlornly. "Everybody's busy
and no one wants to play. And you don't own this barn, Jimmie
Morrison--so there!"

"Perhaps I don't," retorted Jimmie. "But Dad happens to have given me
the use of it. And you're going to stay out if I have to put a padlock
on the door. You've got all outdoors to play in--can't you find
something pleasant to do?"

"Betty! Roddy!" called Nellie Yarrow from her side of the hedge.
"Betty! Come on out, I want to tell you something."

Brother and Sister ran toward the door.

"Wait a second!" shouted Jimmie. "Turn around."

They looked back at him. He was smiling.

"No hard feelings?" he suggested.

Sister dimpled and Brother laughed.

"No hard feelings," they chuckled and ran on down to the hedge.

That was the way the Morrison family always smoothed out their
disputes. There was so many of them that they really could not be
expected to be always pleasant and never quarrel, but every
disagreement was, sooner or later, sure to end with the cheerful
announcement, "No hard feelings."

"I suppose they ought to have a place of their own to play in," said
Jimmie to himself when the children had gone. "I wonder if--"

He had an idea which for the present he meant to keep to himself.



CHAPTER X

THE HAUNTED HOUSE


"Hello!" Nellie Yarrow greeted Brother and Sister. "What do you think?"

"What?" asked Sister, apparently unable to think.

Nellie Yarrow pointed her finger as one having important news to tell.

"The haunted house is rented!" she said, excitedly.

The "haunted" house was an object of curiosity to every child in
Ridgeway. It was a small, shabby brown shingled dwelling on one of the
side streets, and it was whispered that a man had once seen a "ghost"
sitting at one of the windows. That was enough. Ever after no boy or
girl would go past the house at night, if it were possible to avoid it,
and the more timid ran by it even in the day time. Of course they
should have known there are no such things as "ghosts," but some of
them didn't.

"Who is going to live in it?" asked Sister curiously. "Don't you
suppose they will be afraid?"

"Well, I wouldn't live in it," declared Nellie positively. "Some folks
don't care anything about ghosts, though. Let's go down and watch 'em
carry in the furniture."

Not many new families moved into Ridgeway during the year, and a June
moving was something of an event. The children found a little group of
folk watching the green van backed up to the gate. Two colored men were
carrying in furniture, and an old lady with her head tied up in a towel
was sweeping off the narrow front porch.

"Gee, she's got a parrot!" cried a ragged, redheaded little boy who was
trying to walk on top of the sharp pickets.

He was barefooted and the pickets were very sharp, so when the
moving--van man, having put down the parrot and its cage on the porch,
pretended to run straight toward him, the boy lost his balance and
fell. He was up in a moment and running down the street as fast as
though the furniture man were really chasing him.

"Sister!" Brother spoke excitedly. "That's the little boy I told you
about. We saw him downtown, Louise and I, when we were buying things
for the fishpond for my birthday; remember? Only he didn't have a rag
on his foot today."

"He used to be in my class at school," said Nellie. "Oh, look at all
the boxes of books!"

Brother meant to ask Nellie what the redheaded boy's name was, but she
had danced out to the van to see how large it was inside, and when she
came back Brother had forgotten his question.

"My father says an old lady is going to live here," volunteered Francis
Rider, a freckle-faced lad of ten or twelve. "She lives all by herself,
and she doesn't like noise. Her name is Miss Putnam."

Neither, they were to learn, did Miss Putnam like company, especially
that of boys and girls.

When the last piece of furniture had been carried in, and the van had
driven creakingly off down the street, the old lady, with her head tied
in the towel, was seen approaching the fence.

"That's Miss Putnam," whispered Francis.

"Get off that fence!" cried Miss Putnam, brandishing her broom. "Get
off! I'm not going to have my fence broken down by a parcel of young
ones. Go on home, I tell you!"

The children scrambled down and scattered like leaves. Francis, when he
was a safe distance up the street, put out his tongue and made a face
at Miss Putnam. The old lady continued to stand by the gate and shake
her broom threateningly as long as there was a child in sight.

"The Collins house is rented at last," said Daddy Morrison at the
supper table that night. "I came through there on my way home from the
station, and there was a light in the kitchen window. I wonder who has
taken it?"

"I know, Daddy," answered Louise quickly. "An aunt of Mrs. Collins has
rented it. She is a Miss Putnam and she makes lovely braided rugs for
the art and craft shops in the city. Sue Loftis told me."

"Well, she's cross as--as anything!" struck in Brother severely. "She
chased us all off her fence this morning; didn't she, Betty?"

"Yes, she did," nodded Sister. "And we weren't doing a thing 'cept
watch her move in. Francis Rider stuck out his tongue at her, and she
called him a 'brat.'"

Daddy Morrison glanced at her sharply.

"Don't let me hear of either of you annoying Miss Putnam in any way,"
he said sternly. "I know how children can sometimes, without meaning
it, bother an elderly and crochety person. Miss Putnam has every right
to keep her house and yard for herself, and if she is 'cross,' as you
call it, that is her affair, too. My advice to you youngsters is to
stay away from the Collins house."

"Now will you be good?" said Ralph, catching Sister by her short skirts
as she attempted to slip past him as he sat in one of the comfortable
porch rockers.

The family had scattered after supper, and only Ralph and Jimmie were
on the front porch.

"The day after a party is always unlucky," observed Jimmie, tweaking
his little sister's hair-ribbon playfully. "You and Brother have had
more than your share of scolding today, haven't you, Sister?"

To his surprise, and Ralph's, Sister's small foot in its patent leather
slipper and white sock struck at him viciously.

"Why, Elizabeth Morrison!" exclaimed Ralph, lifting the little girl to
his lap and holding her firmly there in spite of her struggles. "I'm
astonished at you. What are you kicking Jimmie for?"

"Go way!" cried Sister furiously, as Jimmie tried to see her face. "Go
way--you're a mean, hateful boy!"

"Quit it!" commanded Ralph, giving her a little shake. "Stop acting
like this, Sister, or I'll take you in and put you to bed!"

Sister knew he was quite capable of doing this very thing and she
stopped struggling.

"Jimmie is just as mean!" she sobbed, burying her head in Ralph's coat.

"What have I done?" demanded Jimmie, much surprised.

"You've gone and put a padlock on the barn door!" flashed Sister,
sitting up and drying her eyes.

Jimmie laughed, and Ralph laughed a little too.

"Well, I haven't locked the door for the reason you think," explained
Jimmie kindly. "It isn't just to keep you and Brother out, Sister. I'm
making you something nice, and I don't want you to see it until it is
all finished."

"All right," conceded Sister graciously. "I thought maybe you didn't
want Brother and me to play in the barn."

"No hard feelings, then?" inquired Jimmie, holding out his hand.

And--"No hard feelings," admitted Sister, smiling after the "salt-water
shower."



CHAPTER XI

JIMMIE'S SURPRISE


The "haunted" house continued to be an attraction to the children of
the neighborhood even after Miss Putnam moved in, and the ghost might
reasonably be supposed to have moved out. Alas, it was Miss Putnam
herself who now supplied the thrills.

Miss Putnam, you see, had never had much to do with children, and she
thought she disliked them very much indeed. Boys, in her opinion, made
a great deal of noise and girls always giggled and were silly. So
whenever she saw a child hanging over her gate, or even stopping to
glance at her house, she was apt to come charging out at them with a
broom. The younger ones were afraid of her and the older, larger boys
naughtily enjoyed provoking the poor old lady. So it was soon a common
sight to see several boys flying up the street, Miss Putnam after them,
waving her broom wildly.

Brother and Sister, mindful of Daddy Morrison's warning, never actually
did anything to make Miss Putnam chase them. But it must be confessed
that they used to walk through the street on which she lived, in the
hope of seeing her chase someone. Ridgeway was a quiet place in summer
time, and any excitement was welcome.

For several days after Sister's outburst because of the locked barn
door, Jimmie worked away busily in his beloved gymnasium. He would not
let either Brother or Sister as much as put their noses inside the
door, and when they tried to find out from Molly what he was doing--for
Molly could usually be depended upon to know what everyone in the
family was up to--she simply shook her head and said she had promised
not to tell.

"I wish," said Sister for the tenth time one warm morning, "I wish
there was something new to do."

"So do I," agreed Brother. "There's Jimmie--he's beckoning to us."

Jimmie stood in the barn doorway, motioning the children to come in.

Brother and Sister jumped down the three back steps in one leap and
raced toward the barn.

"Want to see what I've been making?" asked Jimmie proudly, "Come on in,
and look--there!"

The tools from the carpenter's bench which occupied one side of the
barn were scattered about on the floor where Jimmie had been using
them. All Brother and Sister could see was a wide, rather shallow box,
painted a dark green.

"Is it--is it a boat?" ventured Sister doubtfully.

"What's it for?" asked Brother.

"It's for you to play with," explained Jimmie. "I thought maybe you
would help me carry it out under the horsechestnut tree in the side
yard."

"But how do we play with it?" insisted Brother. "Is it a game, Jimmie?"

"Put your hand in that bag back of you," directed Jimmie. "Perhaps then
you can guess."

A burlap bag, opened, stood close to Sister. She and Brother plunged
their hands in and drew them out filled with something that trickled
swiftly through their fingers.

"Sand!" they shouted. "Seashore sand! Oh, Jimmie, is it a sandbox?"

Jimmie nodded, smiling. He knew they had long wanted a sandbox, and
like the dear, good brother he was, he had spent his mornings sawing
and fitting and smoothing off boards to make a nice, strong box.

"What fun!" Sister bounced up and down with pleasure. "Can we play with
it right away?"

"Don't know why not," said Jimmie. "You two take one end, and we'll
carry it out under the tree. Mother thought that was the best place
because it will be shady most of the day for you."

They carried the box out to the tree, and then Jimmie brought the bag
of sand on the wheelbarrow and dumped it into the box.

"Just like the seashore!" beamed Brother. "Thank you ever so much,
Jimmie."

"Yes, thank you ever so much, Jimmie," echoed Sister, jumping up and
standing on tiptoe to kiss Jimmie. "It's the nicest box!"

Jimmie pretended that it wasn't much to do, but of course he was very
much pleased that his little brother and sister should be so delighted.
Big brothers often pretend that they don't want anyone to make a fuss
over the presents they give or the nice things they do, but just the
same they are secretly glad when their efforts are appreciated.

"Here's fifty cents for each of you," announced Jimmie, pulling some
change from his pocket and handing two quarters to Brother and a shiny
half-dollar to Sister. "If Mother is willing for you to go downtown you
can get some sand-toys."

Mother Morrison was willing they should go if they would remember to be
careful about automobiles and if they would promise to be back within
an hour.

The Morrison house was not very near the section of Ridgeway which
contained the shops and stores, but the children often took the long
walk alone. There were no trolleys to be careful about, except the one
line that ran to the city, but the automobile traffic was rather heavy
and one had to remember to stop and look both ways before crossing a
street.

"Let's take Brownie with us," suggested Brother, when they were ready
to start out to spend their wealth. "We can carry him if he gets tired."

The fat little collie puppy wagged his tail cordially. He loved to go
walking and felt that too often he was neglected when he should have
been invited. He always wore his silver collar, and Louise had given
Brother a little leather leash that could be snapped on when he took
the dog outside the yard.

"Want to go, Brownie?" asked Sister. "Want to go out?"

Brownie barked sharply. Indeed, he did want to go!

Brother and Sister took turns leading him, and before they had gone
very far they met Nellie Yarrow. She offered to go with them and she
was much interested to hear that there was a new sandbox in the
Morrison yard.

"I'll come over and play with you this afternoon," she promised. "Let
me lead Brownie, Roddy?"

Brother gave her the leash, watching her anxiously. Nellie was
sometimes careless with other people's property, he had learned, though
she was so generous with her own it was hard to refuse her anything.

"Don't let him get away," he cautioned.

Nellie opened her mouth to say "I won't," when with a sudden jerk
Brownie tore the leather line from her hand and dashed into the road.

"Here comes a big motor-truck!" screamed Sister. "Brownie will be run
over and killed!"



CHAPTER XII

A LITTLE SHOPPING


The foolish little puppy crouched down directly in the path of the
lumbering motor-truck. The children could feel the ground quivering as
the weight of the heavy wheels jarred at every turn.

Brother forgot that he had promised to be careful about automobiles. He
forgot that, bad as it would be for a motor-driver to run over a puppy
dog, it would be twenty times worse for him to run down a little boy.
He forgot everything except the fact that his dog was in danger!

"Look out!" shrieked Nellie Yarrow. "Roddy, come back!"

A huge red touring car, filled with laughing girls, whizzed past him,
and after that a light delivery car that had to swerve sharply to avoid
striking him. As Brother reached the dog he thought the motor-truck was
going to roll right over him, and he closed his eyes and made a grab
for Brownie. When he opened them, the truck was standing still, two
wheels in the ditch, and three men were climbing down and starting
toward him.

"Are you hurt, Roddy?" cried Sister, skipping into the road, followed
by Nellie. "My, I thought that truck was going to run over you sure!"

"Come out of the road, you kids!" ordered one of the men roughly,
pushing the three children not unkindly over in the direction of the
ditch. "This is no place to stand and talk--hasn't your mother ever
told you to keep out of the streets?"

The driver of the truck, who was a young man with blue eyes and a quick
smile, patted Brownie on the head gently.

"I saw the dog," he explained to Brother. "I wouldn't have run over
him, anyway. Next time, no matter what happens, don't you run into the
road. Cars going the other way might have struck you, and I didn't know
which way you were going to jump after you got the dog. No driver wants
to run over a dog if he can help it, and you children only make matters
worse by dashing in among traffic."

"I didn't mean to," said Brother sorrowfully. "Only I didn't want
Brownie to get hurt. I hardly ever dash among traffic, do I, Sister?"

"No, he doesn't," declared Sister loyally, while Nellie stood silently
by. "Mother always makes us promise to be careful 'bout dashing."

The three men laughed.

"Well, as long as you don't make it a practice, we won't count this
time," said the man who had told them not to stand talking in the road.
"Now scoot back to the sidewalk--or, here, George, you take them over.
That's a nice dog you have."

George, it proved, was the driver, and he took Sister by one hand and
Brother by the other. Nellie held Sister's other hand and Brother
carried Brownie, and in this order they made their way safely back to
the pavement on the other side of the street.

"Good-bye, and don't forget about keeping out of the street," said the
truck-driver cheerfully, when he had them neatly lined up on the curb.

They watched him run back to his machine--as Brother observed, he
didn't look to see whether any motor-cars were likely to run him down,
but then, of course, he was grown up and used to them--saw him mount to
the high seat, and waved good-bye to all three men. Then they walked
on, for the sand-toys were still to be bought.

Brother and Sister were the most careful of shoppers, and with Nellie
to help them by suggestions, they managed to find a set of tin
sand-dishes, a windmill that pumped sand, a little iron dumpcart that
would be very useful to carry loads, and a string of tin buckets that
went up and down on a chain and filled with sand and emptied again as
long as anyone would turn the handle.

"Come over after lunch and we'll play," said Sister as Nellie left them
at her own hedge.

Nellie did come over and the three children had a wonderful time with
the new toys and the clean white sand, while Brownie slept comfortably
under the tree. Before Nellie was ready to go home, however, a thunder
storm came up and her mother called her to come in. Mother Morrison
came out and helped Brother and Sister to carry their box into the
barn, where the sand would not get wet.

"You don't want to play with the sandbox all the time, dearies," she
said, leading the way back to the house. "If you play too steadily with
anything, presently you will find that you are growing tired of it. Now
play on the porch, or find something nice to do in the house, and
tomorrow Jimmie will put the box under the tree again for you."

It was very warm and sticky, and Sister tumbled into the comfortable
porch swing, meaning to stay there just a few minutes. She fell asleep
and slept all through the storm, waking up a little cross, as one is
apt to do on a hot summer afternoon. The rain had stopped and Brother
had gone over to see Grandmother Hastings.

"Hello, Sister," Louise greeted her when she raised a flushed, warm
face and touseled hair from the canvas cushions. "You've had a fine
nap. Want me to go upstairs with you and help you find a clean dress?"

"No," said Sister a bit crossly.

"You'll feel much better, honey, when your face is washed and you have
on a thinner frock," urged Louise, putting down her knitting. "Come
upstairs like a good girl, and I'll tell you what I saw Miss Putnam
doing as I came past her house this afternoon."

Sister toiled upstairs after Louise, feeling much abused. She had not
intended to take a nap, and now here she had slept away good playtime
and was certainly warmer and more uncomfortable than she had been
before she went to sleep.

But after Louise had bathed her face and hands in cool water and had
brushed her hair and buttoned her into a pretty white dress with blue
spots, Sister was her own sunny self. She had not been thoroughly
awake, you see, and that was the reason she felt a little cross.

"What was Miss Putnam doing?" she asked curiously, watching Louise fold
up the frock she had taken off.

"She was out in her yard nailing something on the fence," said Louise.
"I saw her when I was a block away, hammering as though her life
depended on it. A crowd of boys were watching her--at a safe
distance--and when I came near enough I saw she had a roll of wire in
the yard. She was nailing barbwire along the fence pickets!"

"How mean!" scolded Sister. "No one wants to climb over her old fence,
or swing on her gate."

"Well, I think it is a shame the way the boys torment her," declared
Louise severely. "Jimmie says he caught a little red-headed boy the
other day throwing old tin cans over her fence. You know what Daddy
would say if he ever thought you or Brother did anything like that."

"We don't," Sister assured her earnestly. "We never bother Miss Putnam."



CHAPTER XIII

A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT


Fourth of July, always a glorious holiday in the Morrison household,
came and was celebrated by a family picnic which gave Brother and
Sister something to talk about for days afterward. Their sandbox, too,
kept them busy and for a long time Jimmie never had to warn them not to
touch the gymnasium apparatus in the barn.

Daddy Morrison and Dick and Ralph continued to go every day to the city
and Jimmie worked faithfully at his books, determined to begin the fall
school term without a condition. As captain of the football team it was
necessary for him to make a good showing in his lessons as well as in
athletics.

Louise and Grace perhaps enjoyed the vacation time more than any other
members of the family. They would be sophomores when they returned to
high school in September, and while they were willing to study hard
then, they meant to have all the fun they could before they were bound
down to books and lessons again.

"Where you going?" Sister asked one night, finding Louise prinking
before the hall mirror and Grace counting change from her mesh bag.

"Out," answered Louise serenely, pulling her pretty hair more over her
ears.

"I know--to the movies!" guessed Brother. "Can't we go? Oh, please,
Louise--you said you'd take us sometime!"

"Oh, yes, Louise, can't we go?" teased Sister. "I never went to the
movies at night," she added pleadingly.

"You can't go," said Louise reasonably enough. "We didn't go when we
were little like you. Don't hang on me, please, Sister; it's too hot."

"I think you're mean!" stormed Brother. "Mother, can't we go to the
movies?"

Mother Morrison, who had been upstairs to get her fan, was going with
Louise and Grace. She shook her head to Brother's question.

"My dearies, of course you can't go at night," she said firmly. "I want
you to be good children and go to bed when the clock strikes eight.
Ralph promised to come up and see you. Kiss Mother good-night, Sister,
and be a good girl."

Left alone, Brother and Sister sat down on the front stairs. Molly was
out and Daddy Morrison and Dick had gone to a lodge meeting. Jimmie was
studying up in his room and Ralph was out in the barn putting some
things away.

"There's that old clock!" said Brother crossly as the Grandfather's
clock on the stair landing boomed the hour.

Eight slow, deep strokes--eight o'clock.

Sister settled herself more firmly against the banister railings.

"I'm not going to bed," she announced flatly. "If everybody can go to
the movies 'cept me, I don't think it's fair, so there!"

Just how she expected to even things up by refusing to go to bed Sister
did not explain. Perhaps she didn't know. Anyway, Brother said he
wasn't going to bed either. Ralph came in at half-past eight to find
them both playing checkers on the living-room floor.

"Thought you went to bed at eight o'clock," said Ralph, surprised.
"Mother say you might stay up tonight?"

"No, she didn't," admitted Brother, "but she went to the movies with
Louise and Grace. Everybody is having fun and we're not."

Ralph didn't scold. He merely closed up the checkerboard and put it
away in the book-case drawer with the box of checkers. Then he lifted
Sister to his lap and put an arm around Brother.

"Poor chicks, you do feel abused; don't you?" he said comfortably. "But
I'll tell you something--you wouldn't like going to the movies at
night; you would go to sleep after a little while and lose half the
pictures. Now suppose I take you this Saturday afternoon. How will that
do?"

"Will you take us, Ralph?" cried Sister. "Down to the Majestic?"

This was the largest motion picture theatre in Ridgeway.

"I'll take you both to the Majestic next Saturday afternoon," promised
Ralph, "if you will go to bed without any more fuss tonight."

Both children were delighted with the thought of an afternoon's
enjoyment with Ralph and they trotted up to bed with him as pleasantly
as though going to bed were a pleasure. Grownups will tell you it is,
but when you are five and six this is difficult to believe.

Unfortunately Brother and Sister were doomed to another disappointment.
Before Saturday afternoon came, Ralph remembered that he had promised
to play tennis with a friend and he could not break the engagement,
because to do so would spoil the afternoon for eight or ten people who
counted on him for games.

"I'm just as sorry as I can be," Ralph told Brother and Sister
earnestly. "I don't see how I could forget I promised Fred Holmes to
play with him. If you want to wait another week for me, I'll give you
the money for ice-cream sodas."

Grandmother Hastings and Mother Morrison had gone to the city, the
girls had company, Molly was lying down with a headache--there seemed
to be no one to take the children to the matinee.

"I guess we'll have to go buy sodas," agreed Brother disconsolately.
"Only if I don't go to movies pretty soon, I'll--I'll--I don't know
what I'll do!"

"I know," said Sister, dimpling mischievously. "I'll tell you, Roddy."

"You be good, Sister," warned Ralph, eyeing her a bit anxiously. "I
couldn't take a naughty little girl to the movies, you know."



CHAPTER XIV

TWO IN TROUBLE


Ralph knew that Sister could put queer ideas into Brother's head, and
he hoped that the fun of going downtown, and buying ice-cream soda at
the drug store, might cause Sister to forget whatever she had in mind.

When he came home from his tennis game he found both children playing
in the sandbox, and as they were very good the rest of that afternoon
and evening and all day Sunday, Ralph decided that Sister was not going
to be naughty or get Brother to help her to do anything she should not.

Monday evening Mother and Daddy Morrison went through the hedge into
Dr. Yarrow's house to visit the doctor and his wife. Brother and Sister
were told to run in and visit Grandmother Hastings until eight o'clock,
their bedtime.

"Can we take Brownie?" begged Sister. "Grandmother says he is the
nicest dog!"

So Brownie, who was now three times the size he had been when Ralph
brought him home in the basket, was allowed to go calling, too.

"Grandma," said Sister, when Grandmother Hastings had answered their
knock on her screen door, and had hugged and kissed them both.
"Grandma, couldn't we go to the movies?"

Now Grandmother Hastings was a darling grandmother who loved to do
whatever her grandchildren asked of her. It never entered her dear head
that Mother Morrison might not wish Brother and Sister to go to the
movies at night. She only thought how they would enjoy the pictures,
and although she disliked going out at night herself, she said that she
would take Brother and Sister.

"We can't go downtown to the Majestic," she said, "for that is too far
for me to walk. We'll have to go over to the nice little theatre on
Dollmer Avenue. If we go right away, we can be home early."

Sister lagged a little behind her grandmother and brother as they
started for the theatre. She was stuffing Brownie into her roomy middy
blouse. He was rather a large puppy to squeeze into such a place, but
Sister managed it somehow. Grandmother Hastings supposed that the dog
had been left on the porch.

The theatre was dark, for the pictures were being shown on the screen
when they reached it, and Grandmother Hastings had to feel her way down
the aisle, Brother and Sister clinging to her skirts. The electric fans
were going, but it was warm and close, and Grandmother wished longingly
for her own cool parlor. But Brother and Sister thought everything
about the movie theatre beautiful.

"Do you suppose Brownie likes it?" whispered Brother, who sat next to
Sister. Grandmother was on his other side.

"He feels kind of hot," admitted Sister, who could not have been very
comfortable with the heavy dog inside her blouse. "But I think he likes
it."

Brownie had his head stuck halfway out, and he probably wondered where
he was. It was so dark that there was little danger of anyone
discovering him. A dog in a motion-picture house is about as popular,
you know, as Mary's lamb was in school. That is, he isn't popular at
all.

Brownie might have gone to the movies and gone home again without
anyone ever having been the wiser, if there had not been a film shown
that night that no regular dog could look at and not bark.

"Oh, look at the big cat!" whispered Sister excitedly.

Surely enough, a large cat sat on the fence, and, as they watched, a
huge collie dog, with a beautiful plumy tail, came marching around the
corner.

He spied the cat and dashed for her. She began to run, on the screen,
of course. The audience in the movie house began to laugh, for the dog
in his first jump had upset a bucket of paint. The people in the
theatre were sure they were going to see a funny picture.

But Brownie had seen the cat, too. He knew cats, and there were many in
his neighborhood he meant to chase as soon as he was old enough to make
them afraid of him. He scratched vigorously on Sister's blouse and
whined.

"Ki-yi!" he yelped, as though saying: "Ki-yi! I'll bet I could catch
that cat!"

Barking shrilly, he scrambled out from Sister's middy, shook himself
free of her arms, and tore down the aisle of the theatre, intent on
catching the fluffy cat.

"Ki-yi!" he continued to call joyously.

"Brownie! Here, Brownie!" called Sister frantically. "Brownie, come
back here!"

The theatre was in an uproar in a minute. Ladies began to shriek that
the dog was mad, and some of them stood upon the seats and cried out.
The men who tried to catch Brownie only made him bark more, and the
louder he barked the more the ladies shrieked. Finally they stopped the
picture and turned on the lights.

"Rhodes and Elizabeth Morrison!" said someone sternly. "What are you
doing here?"

There, across the aisle from Grandmother Hastings and Brother and
Sister, sat Daddy and Mother Morrison with Dr. and Mrs. Yarrow. They
had come to the movies, too!

"Is that dog Brownie?" asked Daddy Morrison, coming over to them.

Everyone had left his seat and the aisle was in confusion; people
talking and arguing and advising one another.

Sister nodded miserably. She felt very small and unhappy.

"Rhodes, go down and get Brownie at once!" commanded Daddy Morrison.

When they were naughty, Brother and Sister were always called by their
"truly" names, you see.

"I'll go get him," gulped Sister. "I brought him--Roddy didn't want me
to."

Brownie came willingly enough to Sister and she gathered him up in her
arms. He may have wondered, in his doggie mind, what all the fuss was
about and what had become of the fluffy cat, but he was getting used to
having his fun abruptly ended.

"I didn't know you brought the dog, dear," said Grandmother Hastings,
breaking a grim silence as they walked home. "And did you know Mother
wasn't willing to have you go at night when you asked me to take you?"

Poor little Sister had to confess that she had asked Grandmother to
take them because she knew that in no other way could they get to the
movies at night. Grandmother Hastings never scolded, but her
grandchildren hated to know that she was disappointed in them.

No one scolded Brother and Sister very much that night. They were put
to bed, and the next morning Daddy Morrison called them into his "den"
before he left for the office, and told them that for a week they could
not go out of their own yard.

"And I s'pose we can't go with Ralph Saturday," wailed Sister.



CHAPTER XV

TROUBLE AGAIN


However, they were allowed to go with Ralph to the movies the next
Saturday. Ralph himself explained to Daddy Morrison that he had
promised to take them and then found he had a previous engagement. He
thought, and Daddy Morrison did, too, that having to stay in the yard
for a whole week was punishment enough even if one exception was
permitted.

So Brother and Sister went down to the "big" theatre with Ralph the
next Saturday afternoon, and then they had to stay in their yard all
day Sunday and all day Monday, and after that they might again go where
they pleased.

"Let's go see if Norman Crane's aunt sent him a birthday present,"
suggested Sister the first morning they were free to leave the yard.

Norman Crane was a little friend who lived several blocks away, and
whose aunt in New York City sent him wonderful presents at Christmas
time and on his birthday. He had had a party a few days before, and of
course Brother and Sister could not go--all because they would go to
those unlucky movies!

Brother was willing to stop at Norman's house, but when they reached
there they found Norman had gone to the city with his mother for a
day's shopping.

"I smell tar," declared Brother, as they came down the steps and turned
into the street where Miss Putnam lived in the haunted house--only it
wasn't called that any longer. "Oh, look, Betty, they're mending
something."

There was a little group of children about a big pot of boiling tar and
workmen were mending the roofs of three or four houses that were built
exactly alike and were owned by the same man. These houses were always
repaired and painted at the same time every year.

Nearest to the boiling pot--indeed, with his red head almost in the hot
steam--was the little boy Brother and Sister had noticed walking on
Miss Putnam's picket fence. A puddle of tar had splashed over on the
ground and the red-headed boy was stirring it with a stick held between
his bare toes.

"Now don't hang around here all day," said one of the workmen, kindly
enough. "Run away before you get burned. Hey, there, Red! Do you want
to blister your foot?"

The red-haired lad grinned mischievously.

"I'd hate to spoil my shoes," he jeered, "but you watch and I'll kick
over your old pot! I can, just as easy."

The other children drew nearer, half-believing the boy would tip over
the pot of boiling tar.

"Here," said another and younger workman, "if we give each of you a
little on a stick will you promise to go off and leave us in peace?"

There was an eager chorus of promises, and the good-natured young
roofer actually stuck a little ball of the soft tar on each stick
thrust at him and watched the small army of boys and girls march up the
street, smiling.

"That Mickey Gaffney thinks he's smart," said Nellie Yarrow, who had
found Brother and Sister in the crowd, as the red-headed boy dashed
past them, waving his stick of tar wildly and shouting like an Indian.

"Do you know him?" asked Sister. "Doesn't he ever wear shoes?"

"I guess so--I don't know. I don't like him," replied Nellie
indifferently.

"I don't believe he has any shoes, not even for Sunday," Brother said
to himself. "His coat was all torn and his mother sewed his pants up
with another kind of cloth so that it shows. I wonder where 'bouts he
lives?"

He opened his mouth to ask Nellie, when Miss Putnam swooped down to the
fence as they were passing her house.

"Go way!" she called, leaving her weeding to wave a rake at them. "Go
'long with you! Don't you drop any of that messy tar on my sidewalk!"

"What lovely flowers!" whispered Sister as they obediently hurried past.

Indeed, Miss Putnam had made a beautiful garden and lawn of her small
yard, and she did all the work of taking care of it herself.

Sister and Brother carried their tar home with them and left it in the
sand heap. Jimmie had six boys playing in the gymnasium with him and
they all stayed to lunch. Molly and Mother Morrison were used to having
unexpected guests, and no matter how many there were, in some
mysterious manner plenty of good things to eat appeared on the table.

"Can we come out and watch you?" asked Brother when the boys were going
back to the barn.

"We're going swimming," answered Jimmie.

"Can't we go swimming?" inquired Sister hopefully.

"You can NOT!" retorted Jimmie. "Why don't you take a nap,
or--something?"

"Come on out to the barn, Roddy," Sister urged Brother when Jimmie and
his friends had gone whistling on their way to the river.

"Now don't you be meddling with any of those things out there," warned
Molly, clearing the table. "Your brother doesn't like you to touch his
exercises, you know."

Molly called all the apparatus the boys used "exercises."

"We're not going to touch 'em!" declared Sister. "We're only going to
look."

Jimmie seldom snapped his padlock, for lately the children had not
bothered the gymnasium in the barn. They found the door open this
afternoon.

"Bet you can't jump off that!" said Sister, pointing to a home-made
"horse" that Jimmie had ingeniously contrived.

(If you don't know the kind of "horse" they use in a gymnasium, ask
your big brother or sister.)

"Bet I can!" challenged Brother.

They took turns jumping until they were tired, and they went about
poking their little fingers and noses into whatever they could find to
examine. Sister's investigations ended sadly enough, for she succeeded
in pulling down a tray of butterflies that Jimmie was mounting (he had
thought the gymnasium a safe place to keep them out of everyone's way),
and now broken glass and crumbled butterflies were scattered all over
the floor.

"Now you've done it!" cried Brother. "Jimmie will be just as mad!"

They found an old broom and swept the broken glass under one of the
heavy floor pads. Then, very much subdued, they went into the house and
were so quiet for the rest of the afternoon and through supper that
Mother Morrison wondered if they were sick.

They were having dessert when the doorbell rang and Molly went to the
door. She came back in a moment, her eyes round with wonder and looking
rather frightened.

"It's Mr. Dougherty, sir," she said to Daddy Morrison. "He wants to see
you."

Mr. Dougherty was Ridgeway's one and only policeman.



CHAPTER XVI

MISS PUTNAM COMPLAINS


At the mention of the policeman's name, Sister had given a gasp. No one
noticed her as Daddy Morrison pushed back his chair and went into the
hall.

"I wonder what he wants?" mused Mother Morrison, helping Ralph to
blackberries.

"Sister, you're spilling juice on the tablecloth," reproved Dick. "Look
out, there goes another spot."

Sister was trying to eat her berries, and also plan what to say when
the policeman should send for her. She was sure that he had heard about
the broken case of butterflies, for Jimmie, when greatly provoked at
her long ago, had threatened to tell Mr. Dougherty of her next misdeed.

"I like Mr. Dougherty," announced Brother sweetly.

No broken butterflies lay heavy on HIS conscience.

Louise and Grace finished their dessert and were excused to go
upstairs. The others lingered at the table because Daddy Morrison and
Mr. Dougherty had gone into the living-room and they did not wish to
disturb them.

"Lelia," called Daddy Morrison presently, "will you come here for a
moment?"

Leila was Mother Morrison's name, and she rose and went across the hall
quickly.

There was a low murmur of talk, an exclamation from Mother Morrison,
and then the voice of Mr. Dougherty in the hall.

"Then I'm to tell the Chief that you'll drop in tonight?" he was
saying. "All right, sir, that'll be satisfactory, of course. I'm not
overly fond of this sort of work, but when a woman makes a complaint,
you know, we haven't much choice."

"I understand," Daddy Morrison's deep, pleasant voice answered. "I'll
get at the truth, and tell the Chief I'll be down at the town hall
before ten o'clock. Good-night, Dougherty."

"Good-night, sir," said Mr. Dougherty and the screen door slammed.

Daddy Morrison came back to the dining-room.

"Rhodes and Elizabeth, I want to speak to you," he said very gravely.
"Come up to my den."

Sister's small face went very white.

"I didn't mean to, honest I didn't, Jimmie!" she cried, hurling herself
on that astonished young man and clinging desperately to his coat
lapels. "I didn't know they were there till they fell over."

"What ails her?" Jimmie demanded, staring at his father. "What fell
over?"

"Your case of butterflies," Brother informed him sadly "We were playing
out in the barn and Betty reached up to open a window and the pole
knocked the box off."

"Well, I must say--" began Jimmie wrathfully. "I must say! If you two
don't learn to leave my things alone--"

"Save your lecture, Jimmie," advised his father quickly. "I didn't know
about the butterflies, but I want to ask the children about something
else. Come upstairs, now. You, too, Mother."

Brother and Sister followed Mother and Daddy Morrison upstairs, puzzled
to know what was to be said to them. If the butterflies made so little
difference to anyone--except Jimmie, who was perfectly boiling, it was
plain to see--what else was there to scold them about? For that it was
to be a scolding neither Brother or Sister doubted--hadn't Daddy called
them "Rhodes" and "Elizabeth"?

"Now," said Daddy Morrison, when they were all in the little room he
called his den and he had closed the door, although it was a warm
night, "what were you doing this afternoon?"

"Playing in the barn," answered Brother. "It wasn't locked, Daddy."

"And then you broke Jimmie's case of butterflies," said Daddy. "What
did you do then?"

"We swept the glass under a pad," said Sister, finding her voice. "Did
Jimmie tell Mr. Dougherty?"

"Jimmie didn't know, and he certainly would not tell the police,"
declared Daddy Morrison, smiling a little in spite of his evident
anxiety. "Miss Putnam, children, has made a complaint to the police
that you tracked fresh tar over her porch and sidewalk, and she wants
you to clean it off. That was why Mr. Dougherty came tonight."

"We won't either clean it off!" cried Brother angrily. "Serve her right
to clean it off herself; mean old thing!"

"Don't let me hear you talk like that again," said Daddy Morrison
sternly. "Did either of you have anything to do with putting tar on her
porch or walk?"

"No, sir," replied Brother more meekly.

"But did you PLAY with the tar?" asked Mother Morrison. "Mr. Dougherty
told us there were roofers mending the Gillson houses today, and using
hot tar."

"Yes, they gave us some," said Brother honestly enough. "Didn't they,
Betty? All the children had some, and we went by Miss Putnam's house
and she yelled at us."

"But we didn't stop," added Sister. "We went right on and came home,
didn't we, Roddy?"

"Yes," nodded Brother. "And that was before lunch, Daddy."

Daddy Morrison looked troubled.

"If you say you did not throw the tar, I believe you," he said gravely.
"You may get into mischief and do wrong things, but I am sure you do
not tell wrong stories. I don't see how Miss Putnam can be positive
enough to give your names to the police, but I am going around to see
her now and hear what she has to say. Then I'll stop in at the town
hall and see the chief of police."

The telephone rang just then, and he went downstairs. It was only
half-past seven, but Mother Morrison insisted that it was time for them
to get ready for bed.

"Your father doesn't want you to speak of the tar to any of your
playmates," she said as she brushed Sister's hair. "You must be very
careful and not say a word against Miss Putnam. People may make
mistakes easily, and we'll try to think as kindly of her as we can.
Poor old lady! She must be terribly tormented by the children to
dislike them so."

"I wish," wept Sister over her sandals as she unbuckled them, "I wish I
hadn't smashed Jimmie's butterflies. Now he's mad at me."

"Well, you know he has asked you not to play in the barn when he isn't
there to watch you," suggested Mother Morrison mildly. "However, you
can make it up with Jimmie tomorrow; he never holds a grudge."

"Weed the onions for him," advised Brother wisely if sleepily. "He
hates weeding."

"Maybe I will," decided Sister. "Daddy said tonight he couldn't go
swimming again until he had worked in the garden."



CHAPTER XVII

MAKING UP WITH JIMMIE


Daddy Morrison went to see Miss Putnam after the children had gone to
bed. The old lady was very sure that Brother and Sister had thrown the
tar and she was so positive in her assertions that finally he asked her
how she could be so sure.

"Well, one of the neighbors told me," Miss Putnam said reluctantly.
"No, I don't know your children from any of the others, but she does.
All children look pretty much alike to me--noisy, scuffling young ones!
No, I couldn't tell you the neighbor's name--I wouldn't want to get her
into any trouble."

When Daddy Morrison went away, she showed him the tar on her porch and
sidewalk.

"Somebody ought to be made to clear it off," said Miss Putnam severely.

The chief of police, at the town hall, was a little angry that a
complaint had been made merely on the word of a neighbor, who might
easily be mistaken about the children she had seen throwing tar.
However, as Brother and Sister said they had nothing to do with it, and
Miss Putnam refused to believe them, there was nothing to do but let
the complaint stand.

"Keep away from Miss Putnam's house and street," commanded Daddy
Morrison at the breakfast table the next morning. "Don't go past her
house except when it is absolutely necessary. We're not going to have
any more bickering over this matter. Your mother and I believe you and
that is all that is necessary. I shall be seriously displeased if I
find you are talking it over with outsiders, especially other children."

Ralph and Dick had already taken their way to the station and now Daddy
Morrison hurried to get his train.

"Why doesn't he want us to talk about it?" asked Sister, puzzled.
"Couldn't I tell Nellie Yarrow?"

"I wouldn't," counseled Mother Morrison. "You see, dear, you can't help
feeling that Miss Putnam has been unfair and every time you tell what
she has done you will make someone else think she is unfair, too. Your
friends will take your part, of course, and while you think Miss Putnam
is decidedly 'mean,' she is acting right, according to her own ideas.
It is never best to talk much about a quarrel of any kind."

Jimmie, who had been eating his breakfast in silence, rose and looked
toward his mother.

"I suppose I have to work in that old garden?" he said aggrievedly.

"You know what your father said," replied Mother Morrison.

Jimmie did not like to weed, and the Morrison garden, when it came his
turn, was often sadly neglected. He and Ralph and Dick were responsible
for the care of the garden two weeks at a time during the growing
season.

"Well, maybe if I stick at it this morning, I can go swimming this
afternoon," muttered Jimmie. "Dad didn't say the whole thing had to be
weeded today, did he?"

"He wants the new heads of lettuce transplanted, and all the onions
weeded," answered Mother Morrison. "You know you were asked to tend to
those a week ago, Jimmie."

Jimmie flung himself out of the house in rather a bad temper. He did
not like to transplant lettuce and the onions must be weeded by hand.
Other vegetables could be handled with a hoe, or the garden cultivator,
but the eight long rows of new onions must be carefully done down on
one's hands and knees.

"Jimmie!" said a little voice at his elbow as he got the trowel and the
wheelbarrow from the toolhouse. "Jimmie?"

"Well, what do you want?" demanded Jimmie shortly.

"I'll--I'll help you," offered Sister timidly.

"You can't," said Jimmie. "Last time you crammed the lettuce plants in
so hard they died over night."

"But I'll bring the water for 'em, in the watering-pot, and I can weed
onions--I know how to do that," insisted Sister humbly.

"I won't need the watering-pot," said Jimmie more graciously. "I'll use
the hose on them all tonight. I wonder if you could weed the onions?"

"Oh, yes!" Sister assured him eagerly. "You watch me, Jimmie."

She fell on her fat little knees, and began to pull the weeds from a
long row of onions.

The sun was hot and the row was very long. Before she reached the
middle of it, the perspiration was running down Sister's face, and her
hands were damp and grimy.

"Look here," Jimmie called to her anxiously, on his way back for more
lettuce plants, "don't you want to rest? And why don't you wear a
sunbonnet, or something?"

Sister stood up, straightening her aching little shoulders.

"Sunbonnets are hot," she explained carefully. "And I don't want to
rest, Jimmie. I'll go get a drink of water and then I'll weed some
more."

"Bring me a drink, too, will you?" Jimmie called after her.

When she brought it he forgot to say thank you because one of his
friends had ridden past on his bicycle and this reminded Jimmie that he
had meant to do something to his own wheel that morning. So he drank
the water Sister carried out to him without a word because he was
cross, and when we're cross we do not always remember to be polite.

Sister went steadily at the weeding again, and after a while Jimmie
finished the lettuce, and began to weed an onion row himself.

"You can stop if you want to now," he said to Sister presently. "Don't
you want to play? I can finish these."

"I'm not going to stop till they're all done," announced Sister. "Molly
says the only way to get anything finished is to use plenty of
per--perservance!"

Jimmie laughed and glanced at her curiously.

"I guess you mean PERSEVERANCE" he suggested, "Well, Sister, you are
certainly fine help. It begins to look as though I could go swimming
this afternoon after all."

Surely enough, when Mother Morrison called to them that lunch was
ready, they were weeding the last onion row.

"I can finish that in fifteen minutes," declared Jimmie gaily. "You're
a brick, Sister! When you want me to do something for you, just mention
it, will you?"

Sister beamed. She was hot and tired and she knew her face and hands
were streaked and dirty. Brother had spent the morning playing with
Nellie Yarrow and Ellis Carr, and Nellie's aunt had taken them to the
drug store for ice-cream soda. Yet Sister, far from being sorry for her
hot, busy morning in the garden, felt very happy.

"Now you don't mind, do you?" she asked Jimmie anxiously.

"Mind what?" he said, putting the wheelbarrow away in the toolhouse.

"About the butterflies," explained Sister.

"I'd forgotten all about them," declared Jimmie, hugging her.



CHAPTER XVIII

MICKEY GAFFNEY


Brother and Sister were very fond of playing school. They carefully
saved all the old pencils and scraps of paper and half-used blank books
that Grace and Louise and Jimmie gave them, and many mornings they
spent on the porch "going to school."

Neither had ever been to school, and of course they were excited at the
prospect of starting in the fall. Brother had had kindergarten lessons
at home and he was ready for the first grade, while Sister would have
to make her start in the Ridgeway school kindergarten.

"I wish summer would hurry up and go," complained Brother one August
day. "Then we could really go to school."

"Well, don't wish that," advised Louise. "Goodness knows you'll be
tired of it soon enough! Sister, what are you dragging out here?"

"My blackboard," answered Sister, almost falling over the doorsill as
she pulled her blackboard--a gift from Grandmother Hastings--out onto
the porch.

"Come on, Grace, we'll go in," proposed Louise, hastily gathering up
her work. "If these children are going to play school there won't be
any place for us! We'll go up to my room."

"I thought maybe you would be the scholars," said Brother,
disappointed. "We never have enough scholars."

Louise was halfway up the stairs.

"You can play the dolls are scholars," she called back.

Mother Morrison had gone over to Grandmother Hastings to help her make
blackberry jam, and Louise and Grace had been left in charge of the
house.

"Let me be the teacher," begged Sister, when her blackboard was
arranged to her liking. "I know how, Roddy."

"Well, all right, you can be teacher first," agreed Brother. "But after
you play, then it's my turn."

Sister picked up a book and pointed to the blackboard.

"'Rithmetic class, go to the board," she commanded.

Both she and Brother knew a good deal about what went on in classrooms,
because they had listened to the older children recite.

"How much is sixty-eight times ninety-two?" asked Teacher-Sister
importantly.

Brother made several marks on the blackboard with the crayon.

"Nine hundred," he answered doubtfully.

"Correct," said the teacher kindly. "Now I'll hear the class in
spellin'."

"I wish we had more scholars," complained Brother. "It's no fun with
just one; I have to be everything."

"There's that little boy again--maybe he'd play," suggested Sister,
pointing to the red-haired, barefooted little boy who stood staring on
the walk that led up to the porch.

He could not see through the screens very clearly, but he had heard the
voices of the children and, stopping to listen, had drawn nearer and
nearer.

"That's Mickey Gaffney," whispered Brother. "Hello, Mickey," he called
more loudly. "Want to come play school with us?"

Mickey came up on the steps, and flattened his nose against the screen
door.

"I dunno," he said doubtfully. "How do you play?"

Sister pushed open the door for him, and Mickey rather shyly looked
about him.

"It's nice and shady in here," he said appreciatively. "You got a
blackboard, ain't you?"

"You should say 'have' a blackboard and 'ain't' is dreadful," corrected
Sister, blissfully unaware that "dreadful" was not a good word to use.
"You can use the chalk if you'll be a scholar, Mickey."

Mickey was anxious to draw on the blackboard and he consented to play
"just for a little."

As Brother had said, two scholars were ever so much better than one and
they had a beautiful time playing together. Mickey, in spite of his
ragged clothes, and bad grammar, knew how to play, and he suggested
several new things that Sister and Brother had never done.

"I been to school," boasted Mickey.

The children were anxious to have him stay to lunch with them and
Louise, who had heard his voice and who came downstairs to see him,
also invited him to stay. But he was too shy, and shuffled off just as
Nellie Yarrow bounded up the front steps.

"Wasn't that Mickey Gaffney?" she asked curiously. "I shouldn't think
you'd want to play with him. His folks are awful poor, and, besides,
his father was arrested last year."

"Mickey isn't to blame for that," retorted Grace quickly. "Don't be a
snob, Nellie; Brother and Sister had a good time playing with that
little red-headed boy."

"But hardly any of the children play with him," persisted Nellie, who
of course went to the public school. "You see last term Mickey was in
my room, and he only came till about the middle of October--maybe it
was November. Anyway, soon as it got cold he stopped coming.

"The teacher thought he was playing hooky, and she told Mr. Alexander,
the principal. And he found out that the reason Mickey didn't come to
school was 'cause his father didn't send him."

"Why didn't his father send him?" asked Sister.

"He wouldn't work, and Mickey didn't have any shoes to wear," explained
Nellie. "Mr. Alexander got somebody to give Mickey a pair of shoes, but
he wouldn't pay any attention to his lessons, and I know he wasn't
promoted. I suppose he'll be in the first grade again this year."

Brother and Sister thought a good deal about Mickey after Nellie had
gone home. They wondered if he wanted to go to school and whether he
wished the summer would hurry so the new term might open.

"He liked to play school, so I guess he likes to go, really," argued
Sister. "Playing is different," said Brother wisely. "He didn't have
any shoes on this morning, did he?"

"No, that's so," Sister recalled. "And his clothes were all torn and
dirty; maybe he hasn't any new suit to wear the first day."

All the Morrison children had always started school in new suits or
dresses, and Mother Morrison had promised Brother a new sailor suit and
Sister a gingham frock when they started off in September.

"Miss Putnam would say he 'scuffled,'" giggled Sister, remembering that
was what Miss Putnam thought all children did with their feet.

"I wonder who really did put the tar on her porch?" murmured Brother.
"She'll always think we did it, unless someone tells her something
else."



CHAPTER XIX

A VERY SICK DOLL


"Madam," declared Brother seriously, "your child is very ill, I fear!"

He was the "doctor" and had been called to attend Muriel Elsie,
Sister's best and largest doll. The children had started this new game
one day.

"Oh, Doctor!" fluttered Sister, much worried. "Can't you give her
something?"

The doctor sat down on the window-seat and considered.

"You ate all the peppermints up," he told Muriel Elsie's "mother." Then
he went on: "And Louise hid the box of chocolates. No, I don't believe
I can give her any medicines."

"Yes, you can," urged the little mother, hurriedly. "Go to the drug
store; that's where Doctor Yarrow gets all his pills and things."

"Where--where is the drugstore?" stammered the doctor.

He was used to having Sister tell him. She usually planned their games.

"Why, it's--it's--" Sister looked about her desperately. Where should
she say the drugstore was? "I know," she cried. "Over to
Grandma's--hurry!"

Grandmother Hastings glanced up from her sewing in surprise as Brother
and Sister tumbled up the steps of the side porch where she sat.

"Oh, Grandma!" and Sister fell over the Boston fern in her eagerness to
explain the play. "Grandma, Muriel Elsie is ever so sick, and Roddy is
the doctor; and we have to go to the drugstore to get medicine for her.
Have you any? You have, haven't you, Grandma?"

"Dear me," said Grandmother Hastings, adjusting her glasses. "Muriel
Elsie is very ill, is she? Well, now, what kind of medicine do you
think she needs?"

"Muriel Elsie likes medicine that tastes good," explained Sister.

"Well, I must put on my thinking-cap," said dear Grandmother Hastings.
"I didn't know I was keeping a 'drug store' till this minute, you see."

The children were as quiet as two little mice, so that Grandmother
might think better.

"I know!" she cried in a moment. "I think I have the very thing! Come
on out in the kitchen with me."

They pattered after her and watched while she lifted down a large
pasteboard box from a cupboard. From this box she took several tiny
round boxes, such as druggists use for pills.

"I think Muriel Elsie needs two kinds of medicine," said Grandmother
gravely. "Now if you want to watch me put it up, there's nothing to
hinder you."

Grandmother Hastings could play "pretend" beautifully, as Brother and
Sister often said. Now she opened her shining white bread box and took
out a loaf of white bread and one of brown. She washed her hands
carefully at the sink, tied on a big white apron and brought the sugar
and cinnamon from the pantry.

"Oh, Grandma!" squeaked Brother in joyful excitement. "What are you
going to do?"

"Why, get some medicine ready for Muriel Elsie," answered his
grandmother, making believe to be surprised. "Didn't you want me to?"

"Of course--don't mind him, Grandma," said Sister scornfully. "I'd like
to keep a drug store when I grow up."

Grandmother cut a slice of bread from the white loaf and buttered it
lightly. Then she sprinkled it with cinnamon and sugar, broke off a
little piece and rolled that into several tiny round balls. They looked
for all the world like real pills.

Then she cut a slice of brown bread and rolled that into little pills,
too. She filled four of the small boxes.

"There!" she said, giving the boxes to Brother. "See that your patient
takes a white pill and a brown one every two minutes and she will soon
be well."

"Thank you very much, Grandma," said Brother, standing up to go. "Don't
you want us to eat the trimmings?"

Grandmother laughed and said yes, they might eat the crusts, and she
gave them each a slice of the brown bread spread with nice, sweet
butter, too.

Brother and Sister hurried home and on the way over they changed to the
Doctor and Muriel Elsie's worried mamma. They had been so interested in
watching Grandmother Hastings make the pills that they had almost
forgotten that they were playing.

They had left the patient in the porch swing--Sister said it was
important to keep her in the fresh air--but when they went to take her
up and give her a pill, she wasn't to be found.

"Perhaps Louise did something to her," decided Sister.

But Louise, questioned, declared she had not seen the doll.

"Is it Muriel Elsie you're looking for?" asked Molly, her head tied up
in a sweep cap and a broom on her shoulder as she prepared to sweep the
upstairs hall. "Why, I found her half an hour ago on the porch floor,
her face all cracked into little chips."

"Muriel Elsie all chipped?" repeated Sister in wonder. "Why, she's my
very best doll!"

"'Twas that imp of a Brownie did it," related Molly. "I was coming out
to sweep the porch off, and he raced on ahead and went to jerking the
cushions out of the hammock. First thing I knew there was a crash, and
the doll was smashed on the floor. I saved you the pieces, Sister."

Brownie had a trick, the children knew, of snatching the sofa and swing
cushions and flinging them on the floor whenever he thought anyone was
ready to sleep. They had always considered this rather a clever trick
for a little dog, and Sister could not find it in her heart to scold
him even now.

"I suppose he didn't know Muriel Elsie was there," she said
sorrowfully. "I had a cushion over her so she couldn't take cold. Where
did you put her, Molly?"

Molly brought out the box with the unfortunate Muriel Elsie in it. Only
her pretty face was damaged and that was badly chipped. Besides her
whole head wobbled on her body.

Sister began to cry.

"Maybe Ralph can mend her," she sobbed. "My poor little Muriel Elsie!
And we were playing she was sick, too."

"Yes, I guess Ralph can mend her," said Brother bravely. "He can mend
lots of things. And you have all the pieces."

Sister took the box under her arm and went down to the gate to wait for
Ralph, who was expected home on an early train.

"Well, I s'pose we might as well eat the pills," suggested Brother.
"Muriel Elsie's certainly too sick for pills--she needs--operating on!"

So they ate the pills while they were waiting for Ralph, and they gave
Brownie some, too. As Sister said he didn't mean to break the doll and
he probably felt the way she did when she found she had knocked over
Jimmie's case of butterflies.



CHAPTER XX

PLANS FOR MICKEY


The last pill had disappeared down little red lane, when Ralph was seen
to turn the corner.

"Well, Chicks, why so solemn?" he asked cheerfully. "Sister, have you
been crying?"

Sister held out the broken doll silently.

"Why, that's too bad!" exclaimed Ralph, sitting down on the step beside
his little sister. "What happened to Muriel Elsie?"

"Brownie jerked her out of the hammock and she fell on her head,"
Brother explained. "Can you mend her, Ralph?"

"I'm afraid not," said Ralph regretfully. "Mending faces is ticklish
work; I might manage an arm or leg, but not a FACE. I tell you,
Sister--you take Muriel Elsie down to the Exchange and see if Miss
Arline can't mend her. Leave her there, ask how much it will cost and
when she will be ready, and I'll give you the money."

"I'll go with you, Betty," Brother offered. "Let's go now,"

Molly tied the box up with paper and string and hand in hand Brother
and Sister started.

"Certainly I can mend the dollie," announced Miss Arline when they
reached her house and had shown her Muriel Elsie and explained the
accident. "I think I'll take her into the city with me tomorrow to a
doll's hospital. You come for her a week from today and she will be
ready for you. I can't tell how much it will cost, you tell your
brother, until I find out what the hospital will charge me."

On their way home, Brother and Sister met Mickey Gaffney. They had not
seen him since he played school with them, and the sight of him at once
suggested something to Brother.

"Say, Nellie Yarrow says you're going to be in the first grade at
school this term," he said to Mickey. "I'm going to be in first grade,
too. We'll be in the same room."

"Don't know as I'm going to school," declared Mickey perversely. "I
didn't go much last year."

"Wouldn't--wouldn't your 'father let you?" suggested Sister timidly.

Mickey flushed a little.

"Aw, it wasn't so much his fault, leastways he said he didn't care if I
went," he muttered, digging his bare foot into the gravel on one side
of the stone flagging. "After they had him arrested he said I had to
go."

"Didn't you want to go?" urged Brother, round-eyed. "I think it's lots
of fun to go to school."

"Guess you wouldn't think so if you didn't have some shoes and a good
coat," retorted Mickey. "I ain't going to school this year, either, if
I can't have things to wear. None of the boys go barefoot."

"But Nellie says Mr. Alexander got some shoes for you to wear," said
Brother quickly.

"How would you like to wear somebody else's shoes?" inquired Mickey
with scorn. "They belonged to Ted Scott and he was always looking at my
feet when I wore 'em. I want some shoes of my OWN!"

"Couldn't your father buy you just one pair?" Sister asked.

"No, he couldn't," Mickey answered desperately. "He doesn't like to
work, and we had to sell Ted Scott's shoes this summer for fifty cents.
When the old man does work it takes all he makes to buy grub. My mother
takes in washing to pay the rent."

Mickey told them this jerkily, as though against his will, and
kind-hearted little Brother thought perhaps they had asked too many
questions.

"Maybe you could earn money yourself," he said presently. "I'm going to
ask Daddy. You just wait, Mickey."

"I wouldn't mind earning SOME money," admitted Mickey cautiously. "But
it takes a LOT for new shoes. And they got to be new."

Brother and Sister hurried home, eager to see Daddy Morrison, and ask
his advice. They found him reading on the porch and waiting for dinner.

"Oh, Daddy!" Sister rushed for him. "Daddy, how can Mickey Gaffney earn
enough money to buy a whole pair of new shoes?"

"A whole pair of shoes?" repeated Daddy, laughing. "Why, Daughter, I
suppose a way can be found, if he must have them. Who is this Mickey
Gaffney?"

Sister told about Mickey, and Brother helped her, and when they had
finished, Daddy Morrison knew all about Mickey and his school troubles.

"Being red-headed and Irish, I don't suppose he will let me GIVE him
the money," he mused. "Let's see, what can a chap that age do? He must
be seven or eight years old--I've seen him hanging around the station,
ready to carry suitcases. I wonder if he couldn't help the boys with
the garden?"

"I'll pay him if he can weed," grinned Jimmie, who had been listening.
"And Ralph was saying last week that he wasn't going to have time to
take his turn at garden work--he wants to go in on an earlier train."

"All right, we'll tell Ralph that Mickey is open for an engagement,"
said Daddy Morrison. "We'll start him in the garden and then perhaps
other odd jobs will turn up."

"Dinner is ready, folks," called Mother Morrison, and they all went
into the dining-room.

"I want Mickey to earn a whole lot of money," declared Sister that
night as they were getting ready for bed. "Pulling weeds is such slow
work. He'll have to pull an awful lot to work an hour."

After Mother had kissed them good-night and put out the light, a big
idea came to Sister.

"I know what we'll do!" she asserted, sitting up in bed. "Listen,
Roddy, Ellis Carr said his father said Miss Putnam worked too hard.
Well, why can't Mickey help her?"

"Maybe he can," murmured Brother sleepily. "Only she wont like him,
'cause he's a boy."



CHAPTER XXI

BROTHER AND SISTER PAY A CALL


Sister's first thought in the morning was Mickey and Miss Putnam. "It's
too bad he is a boy," she admitted, referring to Mickey, "because Miss
Putnam doesn't like children. But if Mickey was grown up he wouldn't
have to have shoes to wear to school, because he wouldn't go to school."

"Sister, your reasoning is all right," Ralph praised her. "Perhaps you
will grow up to be a lawyer like your father and brothers."

"Oh, no," said Sister positively and sweetly. "When I grow up I'm going
to be a farmer."

After breakfast, she helped Brother clear the table and brush the
crumbs, and then she dragged him out to the porch steps to consult with
him.

"We have to go see Miss Putnam," she whispered. "About Mickey, you
know."

Brother looked frightened.

"She won't let us in," he said in alarm. "She thinks we threw tar on
her porch. 'Sides, can't Mickey go see her?"

"No, we want to have it all fixed for him," explained Sister patiently.
"Mickey is scared of her, too, and maybe he wouldn't go. But if she
says yes, he can work for her, he'll go work 'cause he wants the shoes.
Come on, Roddy, I'm not afraid."

"Will you do the talking?" suggested Brother.

Sister promised to "do the talking," and without saying anything to
anyone in the house, the small boy and girl set out for the "terrible"
Miss Putnam's.

In her heart of hearts, Sister was very much afraid of the cross old
lady, and when they turned in at her gate she was almost ready to run
home. But she remembered Mickey and how sadly he needed the new shoes,
so she lifted the brass knocker on the white door and waited as bravely
as she could.

"Land sakes!" gasped Miss Putnam when she came to the door. "What on
earth do you want?"

This wasn't a very gracious welcome, and Sister stuttered a little from
nervousness as she said they wanted to speak to her.

"Come in then," said Miss Putnam shortly. "Mind you wipe your feet, and
don't scratch the rounds of the chairs with your heels."

She led them into a tiny sitting-room and Brother and Sister sat down
on two hard, straight chairs while Miss Putnam took the only rocker.

"Well?" she asked expectantly.

"We've come about Mickey Gaffney," said Sister hurriedly. "He hasn't
any shoes to wear to school and he wants to earn money to buy 'em. He's
going to work for us, some, but school starts in about three weeks and
we're afraid he won't have enough money."

"And couldn't he work for you?" chimed in Brother bravely, determined
not to let his sister have to do all the talking.

"Why, I do need a man to do odd jobs," said Miss Putnam quite mildly.
"Is he very strong?"

You see, she hadn't listened very carefully to Sister, or else she
didn't stop to think--no man wants shoes to wear to school.

"Yes'm, he's pretty strong," Sister assured her earnestly. "He's eight
years old and big for his age."

"Eight years old!" echoed Miss Putnam. "Why, that's a mere BABY! What
can such a child do to earn money?"

"Mickey can run errands and sweep and weed the garden," recited
Brother, gaining confidence since Miss Putnam neither shouted at them
nor chased them from her house. "He can dry dishes, too--he says he
does 'em for his mother."

Miss Putnam thought for a few moments.

"I'm going to need someone to do errands for me this winter when I
can't get around," she said slowly. "And I've about broke my back in
the garden this summer. But boys are noisy, careless creatures--I don't
know as I could stand a boy around me."

"Oh, Mickey is nice," Sister hastened to explain. "He's going to grow
up and support his mother. He won't make any more noise than he can
help."

Miss Putnam smiled grimly.

"I guess that's true," she said. "Well, tell your Mickey to come round
and see me, and if he doesn't charge too much, perhaps we can suit each
other."

Brother and Sister trotted home, well-pleased with the success of their
errand. It was something to have secured the promise of more work for
Mickey.

"There he is now!" exclaimed Brother, spying the flaming red head of
the Gaffney boy ahead of them. "Hey, Mickey!"

Mickey was on his way to the grocery store for soap, he informed them.

"Wait a minute," said Brother. "We want to tell you--Daddy says you can
help Jimmie and Ralph in our garden and they will pay you, by the hour,
Ralph says. And Miss Putnam says you can run errands for her."

"Miss Putnam?" repeated Mickey, surprised. "Miss Putnam wouldn't have a
boy in her yard."

"Yes, she will," declared Sister. "She said so. And you can run errands
after school this winter when she can't get around--she said so, didn't
she, Roddy?"

Brother nodded.

"It would be kind of nice to have a job this winter, wouldn't it?" said
Mickey thoughtfully. "My mother would like that. Well, if you're sure
Miss Putnam won't come out with a broom when she sees me, I'll go."

"No, she won't," Sister assured him. "I don't believe she's so cross
when you know her."

"'Cept about tar," said Brother sorrowfully.

Mickey looked at them, mystified.

"What about tar?" he asked. "Has Miss Putnam any?"



CHAPTER XXII

MICKEY OWNS UP


Brother told Mickey the tar incident in a few words.

"And you can't make her believe Betty and I didn't put it on her
porch," he concluded. "She's just 'termined we did it."

"And she sent the policeman to your house and all," mused Mickey. "Gee!"

His face was rather red and he looked at Brother and Sister queerly. He
opened his mouth as though to say something, then apparently changed
his mind.

"Well, we have to go home," declared Brother. "You'll go see Miss
Putnam, won't you, Mickey?"

"I suppose so," muttered Mickey. "So long!"

"Maybe he doesn't like it," said Sister as they went on toward their
house.

"Oh, yes he does," replied Brother confidently. "He'll go, you see if
he doesn't."

Mickey Gaffney did go see Miss Putnam, and something about him made the
old lady like him right away. She engaged him to do errands for her an
hour in the morning, and again in the afternoon, and she paid him
fifteen cents an hour. If he weeded in the garden that was to be extra.

"Will you have enough for your shoes?" asked Sister anxiously one
morning, when Mickey came to do some weeding in the garden for Jimmie.

"My, yes, and I guess I can buy my little sister a pair," said Mickey
proudly.

"Have you a little sister?" demanded Brother and Sister together. "How
old is she?"

"Five," answered Mickey, getting down on his hands and knees and going
at the weeds in a business-like way. "She'll be five next month."

"Isn't that nice!" commented Sister. "I'm five years old, too."

Mickey avoided her eyes and was apparently too busy to talk much to
them, so by and by Brother and Sister ran off and left him to his
weeding.

If they had stayed, they might have seen Mickey throw down his
weeding-fork suddenly and march out of the garden.

"Don't believe that boy is going to stick to his work," said Molly to
Mother Morrison. "He's gone already."

But Mickey was hurrying along toward Miss Putnam's house and did not
care very much what anyone thought of him. He didn't think kindly of
himself at that moment.

"Why, Mickey!" Miss Putnam looked up at him in amazement as he came
around to the back porch where she was sweeping a rug. "What's the
matter, child, don't you feel well?"

"I feel all right," he said briefly. "Say, Miss Putnam, you know that
tar that was on your porch? I threw it!"

"You--you what?" gasped Miss Putnam. "You threw that hot tar all over
my clean porch and walk? Why, Mickey!"

"Yes'm," muttered Mickey miserably.

"But why?" insisted Miss Putnam. "And Mrs. Graham told me that the
Morrison boy and girl did it."

"Guess she thought she saw 'em--it was most dark," said Mickey. "But it
wasn't Roddy and Betty. I did it, and Nina, my little sister, helped
me."

"But why?" persisted Miss Putnam. "I never should have thought it of
you, Mickey, never."

Strange as it may seem, Miss Putnam really liked Mickey. He was so
willing and so cheerful and so quick that the old lady who had had to
do all the work of her small home so long that she had forgotten how it
felt to have younger hands helping her, began to look forward to
Mickey's coming every day.

And Mickey liked Miss Putnam. He found she was very fair about time and
reasonable about the amount of work she expected him to accomplish. The
fact that he was barefooted did not seem to bother her and she treated
him exactly as though his clothes were whole instead of torn and poorly
patched.

Now when she asked him why he had thrown the tar, it was hard for him
to tell the truth. But he did. When Mickey once made up his mind to do
a thing, he always went through with it.

"It was 'count of the barbwire," Mickey explained in a low voice. "I
didn't know you put it up, and I climbed the fence one night, to scare
you through the window, and I thought you'd run out and chase me. And I
tore my coat on the wire and scratched my face. So after that I was
always looking for a chance to get even."

"When I saw the tar, I came back after supper and made Nina carry it
for me while I slung it--we had a tin bucket. I'm awful sorry, Miss
Putnam; honest I am!"

"But--did you let me send a policeman to the Morrison's house?" asked
Miss Putnam uncertainly.

"I never knew about that till just before I came here to work," said
Mickey earnestly. "And ever since I've felt mean as dirt, not telling.
Nina is just as old as Betty. It wasn't her fault--Nina's, I mean; she
does whatever I tell her to."

"Well, I'll go call on Mrs. Morrison this afternoon," said Miss Putnam
briskly. "And then I'll take down that wire. I don't need it now
anyway, for the children don't bother me since you're here. I guess
they're afraid you'd catch them if you should chase them," she smiled
grimly.

"And I can go right on working?" suggested Mickey anxiously.

"Of course, child. Why not?" said Miss Putnam.

That settled Mickey's last worry. With a hurried "thank you," he dashed
away, out through the yard and up the street. He wanted to find Brother
and Sister and tell them what he had done.

"My goodness, I think you're ever so brave," said Sister when she had
heard his story. "I'd be scared to death to tell Miss Putnam like that."

"Pooh, she's all right," answered Mickey. "I like her. And now I have a
lot of time to make up--most half an hour."

"School begins two weeks from today," announced Brother, watching
Mickey tackle an onion row. "You're sure you're going, Mickey?"

"Of course," said Mickey proudly. "I'll stop for you the first morning
just to prove it."

"And we'll go every day and never be late once, will we?" chimed in
Sister.

But whether they were able to keep this good resolution or not remains
to be seen. If you are interested to know you will have to read the
next book about them, called "BROTHER AND SISTER'S SCHOOL DAYS."



THE END





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