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Title: Summer Days
Author: Baker, George M. (George Melville)
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 "Summer Days" ***

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[Illustration]



                                SUMMER
                                 DAYS.

                            _ILLUSTRATED._

                               NEW YORK:
                         DODD, MEAD & COMPANY,
                              PUBLISHERS.


               Copyright, 1880, by DODD, MEAD & COMPANY.



                             SUMMER DAYS.


It was the fifteenth day of June, and the last day of school. Alice Grey
had just said her last good-byes to the other girls, and was starting on
her homeward way when she heard a voice behind her.

“Alice, Alice, wait a minute.”

Alice turned around and saw Susy Lee running towards her.

“Let’s go on together,” said Susy, overtaking her friend. “There is no
use in walking alone when one can have company.”

“No, indeed,” said Alice, laughing, “particularly when the company has a
good big sun umbrella, and the one has none. Here, let me take your arm,
and creep under your shade, that’s a love.”

“Isn’t it hot?” exclaimed Susy, when they were both comfortably settled
under the shade of the umbrella. “See, there isn’t a breath of wind.”

“Hot isn’t the word for it,” said Alice; “why, it is simply scorching. I
am so glad we are through with school, for it is really dreadful to
study in this weather. I am crazy to get off to the country, aren’t
you?”

“Yes, indeed, I am,” said Susy. “I just _love_ the country; don’t you?
When I get on my blue flannel sailor suit and my big shade hat, and know
that I can get just as mussy as I please, I am too happy for anything.
Where are you going this summer?”

“Oh, we are going to Sandy Shore; we go there every summer. Papa has a
cottage there.”

“Sandy Shore!” exclaimed Susy. “Why, how perfectly delightful. I am
going there, too. Papa has rented a house for the summer, and we are to
start off in about a week.”

The children were of course overjoyed to find that they were to be
companions for the summer, and had a great deal to talk about. And so
busy were they that Alice’s house was in sight long before the important
event had been thoroughly discussed.

When they reached Mr. Grey’s it was nearly time for luncheon, however,
so Alice and Susy

[Illustration]

kissed each other good-bye, and separated, each to confide to her mother
the pleasant prospects for the summer.

Alice found the house in rather a confused state. Trunks were in every
room; carpets were being taken up; and everything denoted that a change
of some sort was about to take place.

Alice flew up the stairs, and, rushing into her mamma’s room, she found
her father and mother talking together very earnestly about something.

“Why, mamma,” she exclaimed, “what is the matter? Are we going to the
country earlier than usual?”

“Yes, Alice,” said Mrs. Grey, “we are going to the country day after
to-morrow. Now that your school is ended there is no need of our staying
longer in town, and I am impatient enough to get away from this heat. I
don’t suppose you are sorry, are you?” she added, laughing.

“Not very,” said Alice. “I am nearly roasted with this heat, and, mamma,
just think, isn’t it too lovely? Susy Lee is going to Sandy Shore for
the summer. Her papa has rented a cottage there.”

“Why, that must be the cottage next to us. I heard Mr. Morton had rented
it but I did not know to whom. I am so glad. How delightful it will be
for you.”

“But now you must run, my dear, for I am so busy that if I stop to talk
to you I shall never finish what I have to do. I wish you would go up in
the nursery, and see if the children are all right. Maria is so busy
helping me that she has no time to look after them.”

Alice went up stairs, resolving that she would take care of the children
all the afternoon. “I cannot pack the trunks,” she said,

[Illustration]

“but I can help by giving the others time to do it.”

She found beside her little sister Janet and brother Harry, Pauline and
Charley Roberts there. The children had found a box of paints, and had
been amusing themselves by making pictures of each other. They were in a
great state of merriment over their last performance when Alice opened
the door and walked in.

“Why don’t you paint something really nice?” said she. “I have some
pictures in my room, and you can draw any one which you will select.
Now, wait a minute till I bring you some.”

So Alice went to her room, and soon returned with some pictures. The
children gathered around, and, after some hesitation, they selected a
picture of a man skating.

“Let’s choose this,” said Charley Roberts; “It is such a hot day that a
winter scene is refreshing. Doesn’t it feel delightful to breathe that
cold air, and to see all that ice and snow?”

[Illustration]

Alice laughed at this flight of imagination, and seating herself upon
the floor she began to look over her sketch-book, while the children
amused themselves by drawing.

The hours flew quickly past, and Alice took such good care of the
children that her mamma was able to get everything ready for their
departure in time. The eventful day arrived, and at six o’clock the
children were up. The train left so early that it was necessary to make
a very early start.

Breakfast was hurriedly eaten, and then the small bags and parcels which
had not been already sent were gathered together, and out went the happy
party to the carriage which was waiting for them at the door.

Oh, how delightful it was to be leaving the hot city with all its noise
and dust, and how sorry Alice felt for all the people she met who were
obliged to remain behind. Although the morning was cool, the day which
followed was sure to be warm and uncomfortable.

The ride in the cars was long and dusty, to be sure, but who cared for
that when there was

[Illustration]

something so delightful to look forward to at the end?

And it did not seem so very long after all, for there was so much to
talk about, and there were so many plans to make for the summer, that
before they knew it the conductor called out “Sandy Shore,” and they
were at their summer home.

There was the old stage waiting at the station. In a few minutes all
were comfortably seated, and off they went.

Oh, what rejoicings there were to be at home again, for the children
always persisted in calling their country place home, and their house in
the city as a sort of place where they must work and improve as much as
possible.

The children ran about from room to room to see if there were any
changes, but first of all they had to pay a visit to the stable, where
they found Wrinkles, the old mastiff, basking in the sun, little
dreaming that his friends were so near. When he heard their voices and
saw them before him, his joy knew no bounds. He jumped up, and nearly
overturned them in his joy at seeing them again.

Then, when he was convinced of their presence, he would not let them out
of his sight, but followed them about everywhere. Everything had to be
inspected; every room in the house had to be gone into; every corner of
the stable must be looked at; and the dear old hay loft, where so many
happy hours had been passed, could certainly not be neglected. And what
should they find up there but Mistress Tab, with five of the prettiest
kittens you ever saw. And what did they all do but march down stairs
after the children, and walk into the house to show themselves to Mrs.
Grey.

Then the boats had to be examined to see whether they leaked after the
long winter

[Illustration]

drying. They were discovered to be in good condition, and while Wrinkles
ran along the banks the children roved about, having such a delightful
time that they could scarcely believe it could be so late when supper
was announced.

The days went on happily till the time arrived when Susy Lee was
expected. Then of course Alice was doubly happy. Although she was not
one of those silly girls who cannot find pleasure in the society of her
younger brothers and sisters, she was of course delighted to have a girl
of her own age to play with. So on the day that Susy came she was, of
course, quite excited. She and Janet and Harry went about collecting
flowers, so that the house might look bright and pleasant when the
family should arrive.

So Susy came, and then began the good times in earnest. The children
took long walks in the woods and lanes, with Wrinkles for a guide and
protector, and many were the curiosities they brought back from their
rambles.

One day as they were walking along over a road which they had never
taken before, Susy suddenly exclaimed:

“See, there is a little house. I am so glad, for I am dreadfully
thirsty. I didn’t say anything about it before, for it was of no use
when there was no water near by, but now I can get a drink. Come.”

So the children ran on till they came to the hut, and knocking at the
back door they waited quietly for it to be opened.

But no answer came to their rapping, so Susy lifted the latch and peeped
cautiously in. She started back in a minute, however, exclaiming:

“Alice, there is a little girl in there sitting on the floor and crying
like everything. What shall I do? Would you go in or would you go
away?”

Alice hesitated a minute, and then she said, softly:

[Illustration]

“Let us go in by all means. The poor child may be in trouble, and, if
so, we may be able to help her.”

So the children opened the door, and Alice walked quietly towards the
girl. At first she was so absorbed by her grief that she did not hear
any footsteps, but suddenly, being conscious that some one else was in
the room, she started to her feet, and, drying her eyes upon the corner
of her apron, she exclaimed:

“Oh! I beg your pardon, miss; I did not hear any one. Can I do anything
for you?”

“We came in search of a drink of water,” said Alice, “and seeing you in
trouble we came in, hoping we should be able to do something to help
you.”

“How kind you are,” said Sarah, for that was her name. “Indeed I am in
sore need of help, but I do not see how I can get it.”

“What is it that troubles you,” said Susy.

“Why, you see,” said Sarah, “mother and I live here by ourselves since
father died, which is going on five years now. Well, what with his long
sickness and being out of work, we got into debt. After he died mother
and I, we worked awful hard. We paid up a little each year until we got
even again. But it wore poor mother out, for she did the bulk of
everything, and now she has an awful cough, and is so bad she has to
stay in bed nearly all day. All our money is gone now, and I can’t get
food for her, and how can she get strong again without it? I could earn
something if I could get out, but I can’t leave her; and my clothes are
so ragged that I can’t bear to be seen. I thought I would cook a couple
of potatoes, but I just took out the basket and found that there were
only these bad ones left. I never lost my courage before,” she added,
“for when we could work together we were bright and cheerful, but it is
clean gone now.” And though the poor child tried to smile she failed,
and, bursting into tears, she cried as if her heart would break.

“Sarah,” called a feeble voice from a little room near by, “Sarah, whom
are you talking to?”

“Yes, mother,” said Sarah; “I’ll come in in one minute.”

So she took down a tumbler from a shelf, and after giving Alice and Susy
some water she went into her mother’s room.

While she was gone Alice and Susy looked at each other for a few minutes
in silence, then Alice spoke.

“Susy,” she said, “we must do something at once; it is too dreadful to
think of.”

When Sarah came back Susy said to her:

“Cannot the neighbors do anything for you?”

“We have not any near neighbors,” said Sarah; “and besides they do not
know anything about us. Mother and I only moved here a little while
ago, and we don’t like people to know of our troubles.”

“Well,” said Alice, “there is one thing very certain, you must go home
with me and get a basket of provisions. After you have had something to
eat we can decide what to do.”

“Oh, thank you so much,” said Sarah, gratefully; “but--but--”

“But what?”

“I don’t see how I can leave mother alone. She has to be looked after
all the time, and yet, oh, I should be so glad to see her eat a good
meal.”

“I will stay with your mother,” said Susy, “and will take good care of
her, too; so run along.”

Sarah put on her hat, and, walking along by Alice’s side, she told her
about her past life. Her father had been a ship-carpenter. While health
and strength lasted he had plenty to do, but when troubles came people
became tired of helping them. Money was borrowed, and bills had to be
run up, and at last came his death and the expenses consequent upon it.

Since then they had been trying in every way to pay their debts, and had
gone on very well. Their house was larger than they needed, and they had
at last resolved to move to an adjoining village, and into a smaller
house. They knew that at Sandy Shore there were many families spending
the summer, and Mrs. Thompson hoped to get washing or sewing.

But her strength would not hold out forever, and the poor overworked
woman broke down at last.

Alice and Sarah walked quickly on, taking the road close to the beach
because it was not only shorter but pleasanter. The clouds were
gathering apparently for a storm, and the birds flew back and forth as
if uncertain whether to seek shelter or to stay out and face the
tempest.

[Illustration]

Mr. Grey’s cottage was soon reached, and leaving Sarah in the kitchen,
with instructions to the cook to give her a good meal, Alice flew into
the house to find her mother.

Of course Mrs. Grey was shocked to hear such a dreadful story, and at
once ordered a good basketful of provisions to be prepared for Sarah to
take home.

“Mamma,” said Alice, “I was thinking that Susy and I might raise some
money to take care of Sarah and her mother. Don’t you think we ought
first to call in a doctor to see Mrs. Thompson?”

“By all means,” said Mrs. Grey. “If she is not so ill but that good care
and proper food may restore her to health, there will be great
encouragement to provide what we can for her. If, on the other hand, she
is not likely to recover, some provision ought to be made for Sarah, and
the mother must be made comfortable while she lives.”

“If we only had more time,” said Alice, “we might get up a fair.”

“Why not furnish lemonade and cake,” said Mrs. Grey, “then invite all
our friends in the place to come over. We can provide amusements for
them. You have a good many out-of-door games, tennis, croquet, archery;
get them all out and let everybody use them, but have it understood that
each person must spend something in lemonade and cake. You might have a
series of afternoons like that, and in that way you could aid a great
deal, I am sure.”

“Oh, mamma,” exclaimed Alice, “that is just the thing. I must fly back
and tell Susy.”

“Very well,” said Mrs. Grey. “You had better stop at Dr. Pool’s and ask
him to go over and see the poor woman. And tell him I should be very
glad if he could come here soon afterwards, and let me know what he
thinks of her case.”

So Alice, after sending Sarah off with a

[Illustration]

message to Susy, to come to her house as soon as possible, “as she had
something _very_ particular to say,” ran in the opposite direction to
Dr. Pool’s house.

Dr. Pool lived in a very pretty house not far from Mr. Grey’s, although
it was quite a distance back from the ocean. There were some beautiful
old trees growing near the house, and behind it there was a small pond
of freshwater. As Alice drew near the house she saw Patrick just driving
the doctor’s horses down for a drink.

“Good!” exclaimed Alice. “There are the horses, that means that Dr. Pool
is at home.”

So Alice ran to the door, and rang the bell. It was answered by Nettie
Pool, the doctor’s oldest daughter.

Netty was a lovely girl, and was a great favorite with every one. When
Alice saw her she said:

“Oh, Netty, I have something very particular to tell you, but first I
must attend to business.”

“That sounds very solemn,” said Netty, laughing; “but do come inside
while you tell me what that wonderful business is.”

“My business is with your father,” said Alice; “is he at home?”

Netty said he was in his office, so Alice went in and delivered the
message from her mother. She told him exactly where the woman lived, and
about all the trouble they had had.

“I am going over in that direction,” said the doctor, “in about two
hours, and I will then call and see her, and let your mother know her
condition.”

“That is beautiful,” said Alice. “Now I can go back and talk to Netty.”

The children had a long talk over their plans,

[Illustration]

and Netty said she should be delighted to help them in it, and to have
one of the lemonade tables.

“You might come back and take tea with me,” said Alice, “and we can talk
it over. Why, there is Susy now; how nice that is! Let’s hurry on, and
overtake her.”

So Susy was soon with them, and they had an opportunity to talk the
whole affair over as they walked slowly home.

There was a great deal to be done in preparation for this “lemonade
fête,” as the children called it, and for several days the three girls
were very busy. There were invitations to be written, a big tent to be
put up, the games, which had not been used since last summer, to be
looked over, besides countless little things which always arise to be
done at such a time.

But at last the eventful day arrived, and everything was ready. The
three girls stood under the tent in breathless excitement waiting: for
their expected guests.

“Oh, I wonder if any one will come,” said Alice, “and I wonder how much
we shall make! I do think everything looks lovely.”

“I hope every one else will think so, and will leave their money behind
in proportion to their admiration,” said Susy.

“Surely some one ought to be coming by this time,” said Netty.

“There, there, look! I see those two little Brice children coming
along,” said Alice. “I suppose they will want some cake. Come on, my
young friends; come and get some lemonade. No matter if you do cry all
night with colic, it will be tears shed in a good cause.”

“Oh, Alice, how silly you are,” said Susy, laughing. “I suppose Mrs.
Brice is just behind, and has stopped to talk to some one at the gate.
She will take good care that no colic follows this festive scene.”

[Illustration]

“Yes, you are right,” said Netty. “See! there comes a crowd of ladies
and gentlemen. Oh, dear, my heart is thumping so; I do wish it would
stop.”

But although the three girls were having their fun all by themselves,
they looked very demure to the people who came to take lemonade at their
tables. They stood quietly waiting, with their fresh muslin dress,
dainty white aprons with pink ribbon bows on the pockets. Soon people
began to come in crowds, and there was amusement for every one. Those
who liked archery found bows and arrows waiting for them; those who
liked croquet had only to pick out their mallets and begin a game. The
tennis balls flew back and forth, and even the older ladies found
comfortable chairs in the shade of tents or arbors where they could chat
away the afternoon. As for the little people who came there was no end
to their fun. They played “oats, peas, beans,” and tag and every sort of
delightful game.

But the best of all was to see the cake and lemonade disappear. Again
and again the plates were filled with cake, and the pitchers with
lemonade, only to be emptied and refilled.

[Illustration]

When the pleasant party was about to break up, Dr. Pool stood up and
asked the people to give him their attention for a few minutes.

So every one listened, and he told them the story of poor Mrs. Thompson
and her brave struggle with poverty. “My little friends tell me,” said
he, “that they have made ten dollars this afternoon.

“My kind little friends, Alice and Susy and Netty, have confided to me
that they would like very much to take upon themselves the support of
this family. You see, if we can just keep her mind easy and give her
good food for a few weeks, she will get up and be as strong as ever, I
think. But she is in a bad way now, and unless care is taken of her at
the present time it will be too late.

“It has been suggested that we should have one of these delightful
lemonade parties every Saturday for a few weeks, and so raise money
enough to keep Mrs. Thompson until she is able to support herself.”

But suddenly a scream was heard, and every one ran in the direction of
the sound, and what do you think they saw?

Mrs. Martin had come in the afternoon, but being obliged to go home
early, she had left her two little girls, promising to send the nurse
for them. The children consequently played around, enjoying themselves
immensely, until looking up suddenly they saw their nurse approaching.

“There’s Elise,” whispered Nannie. “Oh, I don’t want to go home.”

“We’se better hide,” said Freddy.

“I don’t see any place to hide,” said Nannie.

“Let’s dit up on dis fence,” said Freddy, “and turn our backs, and she
will never see us.”

So the children climbed up, and sat very still with their backs turned
towards Elise.

Of course they were discovered, and the scream of disappointment
followed. They insisted that it was too early to go, and that they
wanted to stay. But at last they were coaxed into going pleasantly, and
then one after another of the party said good-bye, and the lawn was soon
cleared of guests.

[Illustration]

The next day Mrs. Grey went with the children to the village, and
selected such provisions as she thought most suitable for Mrs.
Thompson’s use. She also selected some calico for dresses for Sarah.

Mrs. Grey took the bundles, and getting back into the carriage they
proceeded on their way to Mrs. Thompson’s cottage.

Their knock was answered by Sarah, who opened the door with a bright
smile upon her face.

“Oh, ma’am,” she exclaimed, as she saw Mrs. Grey, “you don’t know how
much better mother has been since you sent her the beef tea, and other
things. Why she could speak quite loud this morning. Only,” she added,
“she says she ought to get up and work now that she feels so much
better. But I’m sure she ought not, for the doctor said most particular
as how she was to stay in bed.”

“She mustn’t think of getting up,” said Mrs. Grey. “I will go in and see
her.”

While Mrs. Grey was in the sick room the

[Illustration]

children opened the bundle, and showed Sarah the dresses. She was
greatly delighted, you may be sure. They then helped her to carry the
groceries into the kitchen and to select the best places in which to
keep them.

But Sarah said she would not put them away until she had washed off the
shelves, and swept out the closet again.

So the three children, went out in the yard, and sat on the fence to
wait until their mother should be ready to return. They were very much
interested in watching some boats which were blown about on the water,
and in talking about the fair.

While Susy and Alice were telling Sarah of their plans for her mother,
they suddenly saw in a field some distance from where they were sitting
a little girl playing with a lamb.

“Why, who is that child?” said Susy. “She cannot live near here, for
there is no house for a great distance.”

[Illustration]

“I am sure I do not know. I have never seen her before,” said Sarah.

“She has no hat on, and she looks dreadfully distressed about
something.”

“I think we had better go and see what she is doing,” said Sarah;
“perhaps she has lost her way.”

So the children jumped down from the fence, and, running for a little
distance, they came to the field where the child was standing.

As soon as she saw our little friends she began to run towards them as
fast as she could go, crying:

“Oh, please, please, show me the way home. I want my mamma.”

Alice went up to the child, and, putting her arms around her, she kissed
the child gently, saying:

“Do not cry, dear. We will take you home, only tell us where you live.
How did you get here? Have you lost your way?”

“Oh,” said the little girl, “I lost my lamb--he wandered away--so I
thought I would go and find him. I hunted and hunted for him, and at
last I found him in a big, big field. I was so glad to see him that I
sat down and played with him. See! I made this chain of daisies; isn’t
it pretty?

“Well, after we had played for a while we started to go home, but we
didn’t find the place. Somehow, we kept getting into more fields and
more fields, and then I got oh, so tired, and I called mamma but she
didn’t hear me.”

“Well, never mind now,” said Alice; “we will take you home in our
carriage, and you shall soon see your mamma. What is your name?”

“My name is Linda Forest,” said the little girl, “but I can’t tell you
where I live, for I don’t know the way. It is a big, big house with big,
big trees all around it. It isn’t our city house, but our new house in
the country.”

“Well,” said Alice, “we will find out where it is when mamma comes out.
There she is now,” she added. “Come take my hand and we will go and
tell mamma.”

“Snowball must go, too,” said Linda, holding back a little; “I mustn’t
leave him behind.”

Mrs. Grey came out of the door just then, so the children went to meet
her.

“Who is this little girl?”

Alice told her mother of Linda’s wanderings, and to her surprise her
mother exclaimed:

“Why, of course I know where the child lives; don’t you, Alice? Mr.
Forest has just bought the old Minor place; they only moved in last
week. Why, yes, you poor little thing, you shall be with your mamma in a
little while; but how in the world did those little bits of feet carry
you so far from home?”

Mrs. Grey then got into the carriage, and then the children climbed in.

They saw a great many interesting things on their way home, but I can
only tell you of one

[Illustration]

of them. They were driving along chatting merrily about all sorts of
things, when suddenly, as they followed the turn in the road, what
should appear before them but an encampment.

“Why, mamma, there’s a man lying flat down on the grass,” said Alice;
“it looks like--why, mamma, mamma, it is Uncle Dick.”

Alice stood up on her seat and called “Uncle Dick.”

Uncle Dick, for it was really he, walked rapidly towards the carriage,
and in a few minutes they were all asking and answering questions.

Uncle Dick told them he was on a walking trip, and that they were
stopping here for a day or two to rest.

“I was going up to call on you this afternoon,” said he.

“You must come up to tea instead,” said Mrs. Grey.

They had to go a good deal out of their way to reach Linda’s house, but,
as Alice said, it was all the better, for they would have a pleasant
drive.

At length they reached the house. It was a delightful place surrounded
by tall trees. Alice thought the only fault she could find with it was
that it was too far from the ocean. A young girl, the gardener’s
daughter, was picking a basketful of flowers as she walked under the
trees.

When they drove in at the gate they saw that some great excitement had
taken possession of everybody. The maids were running back and forth,
and the house doors were all open.

As they drew nearer, Mrs. Grey began to guess what was the cause of all
this trouble.

“They are looking for Linda,” said Mrs. Grey. “Yes; I hear them calling
‘Linda Linda!’”

[Illustration]

So James hurried the horses on, and as soon as they came in sight of the
maids Mrs. Grey held Linda up so that she might be seen.

You may imagine how surprised they were to see the child seated in a
stranger’s carriage, and driving comfortably home.

But they were glad enough to see the little girl back again, you may be
sure, for they had been in a terrible fright about her. Mrs. Grey said
she was going to call upon Mrs. Forest very soon, but that she would not
stop now; so bidding Linda good-bye, and telling her she must come over
soon, and play with the children, she drove away.

Uncle Dick came that night to tea, and you may be sure Alice was
delighted to see him. She had enough to talk about, for it seemed to her
that a great deal had happened since she saw him last.

At eight o’clock Alice bade the family good night, and went up to bed.

It seemed to her that she had been in bed for not more than half an hour
when, upon opening her eyes, she saw that the sun was beginning to come
into her room. “Oh, dear; I suppose I ought to get up,” she said.

So Alice sat up in bed, and took her pillow in her hands. As she did so
she heard something rattle, and, upon looking closely to see what it
could be, she espied a letter directed to “Miss Alice Grey.”

“What in the world can that be,” said Alice, looking at it attentively.
“I will open it, and see what is inside.”

So she broke the seal and took out a letter which was folded carefully
within. This she opened and imagine her astonishment, when out rolled a
ten-dollar bill.

All sleepiness left her eyes as she began to read her letter.

       *       *       *       *       *

“DEAR ALICE: I shall not see you again probably, for some time, as we
start off again to-morrow morning; but although neither Mr. Cushman nor
I can be at the fair on Saturday, we wish to make a contribution to this
good cause. Will you please accept ten dollars for us, and buy whatever
you think is best for your protégée? So good-bye, my dear little girl.
With our best wishes for your success, I remain your affectionate

                                                   DICK.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Alice could not sleep any more that morning. Instead of dreading to get
up she now only longed for the time when she could dress herself, and
run over to tell Susy the delightful news.

So she lay in bed waiting for the clock to strike six. “I will get up
then, certainly,” she said; “but I wish it would be seven. I hate to be
up so long before breakfast.”

[Illustration]

Just then two little birds lighted on a tree just outside of her window,
and began their morning song. They seemed to have a great deal to say to
each other, and Alice thought they were probably settling upon a good
place for a nest. Alice was right. They were deciding this most
important question.

Poor little birds, they have a hard time of it! Between bad boys and
cats they have to battle for their lives. We can excuse cats, for they
know no better, and they eat two or three mouthfuls of bird as
innocently as we would pick and eat two or three strawberries.

Well, these little birds were in a safe enough place, for the boys who
came to visit Alice were little gentlemen; and as Alice lay there
listening to them her thoughts began to wander. She thought she was a
bird and that Susy was another, and that they were both standing on the
chimney of Mrs. Thompson’s house. She was showing Uncle Dick’s money to
Susy, holding it in her beak, when suddenly, a big black cat came
creeping stealthily up the chimney and made a spring toward her
ten-dollar bill. She woke with a scream, and found that morning had
fairly come.

She sprang out of her bed, and was soon dressed. When she went down to
the parlor, she found her mamma writing a letter.

“Oh, mamma,” she exclaimed, “did you see what Uncle Dick left for me?”

“Yes,” said Mrs. Grey; “was he not kind? He put it under your pillow
himself.”

“He is just the best uncle that ever lived,” said Alice, “and I am going
to write and tell him so; but, oh, dear me, I forgot, I don’t know where
he is.”

The summer passed away at last. Alice and Susy kept up their fair until
Mrs. Thompson grew perfectly well. In fact she said she had

[Illustration]

never been so well in her life as she was when she began to walk about
again.

The question arose how they should get back, should they take the cars
or the boat.

The children were decidedly in favor of the boat, and at last it was
decided that they should go in that way.

So one afternoon the trunks were all put on board of a big wagon, and
off the Grey family went.

The children had great fun on the boat, and thought it much better than
the cars.

The next day they reached New York, and soon the winter came with all
its duties. It brought its pleasures, too, but it was a long time before
the children ceased to talk about the pleasant summer days which had
passed.

[Illustration]



                                 DOWN
                                BY THE
                                 SEA.

                            _ILLUSTRATED._

                               NEW YORK:
                         DODD, MEAD & COMPANY,
                              PUBLISHERS.


               Copyright, 1880, by DODD, MEAD & COMPANY.

                        PRESS OF RICHARD HANDY.



                           DOWN BY THE SEA.


Hal Brooks and his sister Dolly lived in town. But this was only in the
winter. As soon as the first of June came every year there was a great
packing of trunks, for all the family were off to the seaside. Mr.
Brooks had a house in the country as well as in town. The country house
was built away out on a point of land that ran far into the ocean. On
one side of this point were the quiet waters of the bay that lay in
front of an old sea-port town, but on the other were the wild waves of
the ocean.

[Illustration]

The beach that faced the ocean was a fine one. In some places there was
a long stretch of sand, and here in the summer time people came down
from the town to bathe in the surf on pleasant days. But as you walked
along

[Illustration]

this beach, presently you would come to a great rocky point, where the
air was full of foam as the heavy swell from the sea dashed against it.

There were little sheltered nooks among these rocks, though, and here
Dolly loved to sit in the bright Summer days, and watch the seagulls or
the boats that swept by.

But we must go back to Hal and Dolly, who are now in town.

It is the first day of June, and the sun is shining brightly. In front
of Mr. Brooks’ door is a great van, which two sturdy porters are fast
filling with trunks, for to-day they are all off for Oldport. Hal stands
on the steps watching the trunks as they are brought down, one after
another, with great satisfaction, but he is soon summoned to breakfast.
The carriage is to be at the door in half an hour to take them to the
station; for Oldport is a long day’s ride on the railway from the town
where they live.

There is not much to tell of that day’s ride in the cars. For hour after
hour their way led through green fields, where the cattle were browsing
so lazily that they hardly lifted their eyes to look at the train as it
rushed by. But toward afternoon they began to get now and then peeps of
the sea, and once, through the marine glass that his father had, Hal
could plainly make out two sailors furling the jib of a vessel some two
miles at sea.

They were both pretty tired and dusty, and the basket that had held
their lunches was very empty, when just at dusk they heard the brakeman
shout “Oldport,” and the train came to a stop at the well-remembered
platform.

Mr. Brooks did not go to the great hotel on the hill, but to a little
old inn close by the water’s edge. The inn keeper knew that they were
coming, and their rooms were all ready for them and supper was just
being put on

[Illustration]

the table as they drove up to the door. Mr. Brooks always went to this
inn because the trip from Oldport to their home was made by boat, and
this house was close to the pier. They could drive around, but it was a
long, long way, while by the boat it was but a couple of miles. So old
Andrew always met them bright and early the next morning after their
reaching Oldport, with the big sail-boat, into which trunks, people and
all were stowed away, and so home was reached.

The children were both too tired to eat much supper, and as soon as it
was over went right to their rooms. Hal stood at the window a minute
looking out across the bay to see if he could make out their own house.
Yes, away out on the point, he saw it shining white in the moonlight,
and here right below him in the harbor was a ship just setting out for
sea. At any other time he would have

[Illustration]

been much interested in watching her and the men in the boat that were
rowing back to shore, but to-night he was much too sleepy, so he left
the window and in ten minutes he and Dolly both were fast asleep snugly
tucked up in bed.

It was a bright morning when he opened his eyes. He lay still for a
moment, hardly wide enough awake to know where he was. Then he heard the
splash of the little waves on the beach and that roused him instantly.
Not a sound came from the next room, where his papa and mamma and Dolly
slept. He crawled quietly out of bed so as not to wake them, and stole
to the window.

A little way along the beach, perhaps half a mile from him, he saw a boy
and girl running. A fishing boat was sailing by on its way out to sea,
and a man in it was waving his hand to them. Hal made up his mind that
he must be

[Illustration]

the children’s father. But he looked at the boat and children only a
minute, for coming across the bay was a sail that he knew at a glance to
be that of their own boat, the Speedwell.

[Illustration]

He ran to the chair where his clothes were, and began to dress himself
with the greatest haste. Then leaving a few buttons to fasten as he went
along, he stole out of the room on tip-toe, and running down the pier,
reached it just in time to seize the painter that old Andrew threw him.
And in another moment he was aboard; and the first thing that his father
saw when he looked out of the window was Hal sitting on the Speedwell,
and swinging his hat above him for joy.

While they were eating breakfast Andrew and another man carried down the
trunks and stowed them away, and by nine o’clock all the luggage was on
board. Meanwhile the children were impatient to be off. But much as they
longed to be at their summer home they would never have left Oldport
without first seeing Thalassa. Thalassa was the adopted daughter of the
innkeeper, and was always called Lassie. The children were very much
interested in her, for she had a strange history. It was this:

[Illustration]

One night, about thirteen years before, there was a great storm. All at
once came word that a ship was on the bar. The people crowded to the
beach to watch, and to see if they could help those on board. But it
was of no use. Of all that ship’s company only one came ashore alive,
and that was a baby girl. How she lived in that wild sea no one could
tell. The innkeeper who saw her floating just outside the surf, made
fast a line around his waist, and at the risk of his life swam out and
brought her in. And ever since that day when he rescued her half drowned
from the sea, and declared that the friendless little baby should be as
his own child, Lassie, his little mermaid as he called her, had been
very dear to him. As for Lassie, she loved her adopted father better
than all the world beside.

The children had often asked their mother to tell them over and over
Lassie’s story, and their hearts had thrilled again and again as they
heard of the great ship that in the morning had swept through the water
with all sails set, like a thing of life, only to be a shattered wreck
at

[Illustration]

night, and of the little wave-tossed baby. And so they never came to
Oldport without stopping to see Lassie.

[Illustration]

They found her this morning in the kitchen. She was walking up and down
the floor

[Illustration]

carrying in her arms little Betty, who could never be persuaded to take
her nap unless Lassie sang to her. Lassie’s voice was very sweet and
Betty dropped off just as the children came in.

“Well, Lassie,” said Hal, beginning as he always did at the same
question, “have you had any tidings yet from your family?”

“No,” said Lassie, “and I hope I never shall. I love my home here too
well to want to have any one come and take me away.”

“But suppose your real father turned out to be the king of England,”
said Hal. “It would be much finer to be the Princess Thalassa than just
Old David’s Lassie.”

“I wouldn’t go with him a step if he were the King of England,” said
Lassie, “no, not even if he were the Khan of Tartary.”

Hal had not much to say to this, as he did not even know who the Khan of
Tartary was, so after a little he said good-by. “Perhaps he may turn up
yet,” he called out as he moved along. “Any way, I’ll come and see you
next time I am in Oldport and hear if he has.”

[Illustration]

The harbor was quite a busy scene as they sailed across it. Here was a
great ship just home from some foreign land. Away up aloft,

[Illustration]

so high above the water that it made Dolly dizzy to look, out on the
yards sun-burned sailors were furling the sails, happy, no doubt, to be
home again. Here and there heavy sloops, coasters Hal thought them, were
making their way slowly on.

Old Andrew, as he sat at tiller of their boat, cast his eyes up at the
sailors on the large ship and sighed.

“Does it make you feel like going to sea again, Andrew?” asked Mr.
Brooks.

“Aye, aye, sir,” said the old man. “It’s ten years now since I left the
sea, but every now and then the old longing comes back.”

“Why, Andrew,” exclaimed Hal and Dolly both at once, “we never knew that
you had been a real sailor! Tell us all about it, away back from the
very beginning.”

“The very beginning was pretty bad,” said the old man, “for I ran away
from home when

[Illustration]

I was a boy. I had sometimes been to the little seaport near where I
lived, and had watched the ships and had longed to be a sailor.

“But my father would not hear of it. He wanted me to stay at home and be
a farmer like himself. I tried to like farming, but I could not, and so
one day I sat down on a log and thought it all out, and that night I ran
away and shipped as a cabin boy.”

“How splendid!” said Hal.

“It doesn’t look very splendid to me,” said old Andrew. “If I had stayed
at home I might have had a farm of my own now, instead of having to hire
out like any other common man. And I would never have had the thought of
how I broke my mother’s heart, to trouble me all these fifty years.”

Hal began to think that perhaps it was not such a spirited thing to run
away as he had thought. At all events he said to himself, as he squeezed
his mamma’s hand, he would never

[Illustration]

do anything to break his mamma’s heart, no never, never.

Andrew did not have time to tell any more of his experience then, for
just at that moment the boat came alongside of their pier. In a minute
more it was fast and they were ashore and at their own summer home
again.

Tom and Dolly were wild with joy. They rushed about the house, into all
the rooms and out again. Then they went to the tool-house, and finding
here the sand-shovels that they had left behind the summer before, they
seized them and rushed off to the beach, where they were soon hard at
work building a sand castle that the next wave would surely knock down.
They found this such fun that long before they had dreamed of its being
dinner time, they were called to come in and make ready for the
noon-tide meal. And such hungry little people as they were! They passed
their plates twice for everything, and papa said that if they kept on
at that rate they would eat him out of house and home.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

In the afternoon they planned to walk along the beach at low tide to the
point of rocks that I told you of, and visit a cave that they had found
the year before, where they had often been. But this they could not do,
for when they rose from the table and went out on the piazza they saw
that a storm was brewing. Great heavy black clouds were piled up in the
west, and a stormy wind was beginning to blow. The fishing boats in the
open sea were making all speed to get into the quiet waters of the bay
before the squall burst upon them.

[Illustration]

Mr. Brooks brought out his glass, and through it the children could make
out quite

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

plainly the figures of the men in the flying boats. The clouds were
rising so fast that the sun was soon hidden. Far out at sea, where the
sun was still shining, a great ocean steamer was ploughing its way along
as if squalls and storms were something that it had no concern with;
but inside the harbor, all the little boats were making great haste to
get to their piers before the storm broke. But few of them succeeded,
though, for while the children watched down came the rain in a blinding
flood that shut out everything from their view, and they were glad to
escape from it into the house.

At first they were inclined to feel very much aggrieved that they could
not get their walk and had to stay indoors, and Hal was a little bit
cross, I am afraid. But mamma said that she was very glad of the rain,
for it gave her time to see to the unpacking of the trunks, and she said
that if they would be very good they might both help her. At this all
Hal’s crossness disappeared, for there was nothing they both liked to do
more than to help mamma. They emptied trunk after trunk, bringing
armfuls of clothing to her to put away in drawers, and so

[Illustration]

much engaged were they that they did not notice that the clouds had
broken away, until a broad gleam of sunshine came boldly in at the
western windows and lay in a yellow band across the floor. Yes, the
shower was over, and the clouds were fast disappearing. That night the
moon came as brightly in Dolly’s window as it had ever done, for not
even a baby cloud was there to dim its splendor.

[Illustration]

The long June days went by one after another and soon July was at hand.
July was fast going where June had gone before it. Many a day had Hal
and Dolly spent on the sands, sometimes alone sometimes with papa and
mamma, watching the great waves come rolling in and break into great
clouds of foam.

The beach was not now as quiet and deserted as it had been when they
first came, for now people were flocking down from the heated towns to
gain health and strength from the cool sea air. The farmers’ houses all
along back of the beach were full of them, and Hal and Dolly in their
walks often met parties climbing over the rocks, or wading out into the
shallow water to gather shells or seaweed that the tide had washed in.

They were not always pleasant people, but one day they came suddenly
upon two children not far from their own age.

They were a boy and girl. The girl was younger than Dolly and looked
very thin and pale. Her face brightened up so when she saw Dolly that
she went up and spoke to her, and

[Illustration]

gave her a whole apronful of bright shells that she had picked up.

The little girl was very much pleased with the shells, and soon all four
were talking busily. The boy told them that his name was Will Thornton,
and that his sister’s name was Ellen. Ellen had been very ill, Will
said, and that was the reason that her cheeks were so pale; but now she
was going to get well at once. His papa had taken a house high up on a
cliff that rose above the ocean. It was more than two miles away from
where they now where, and Will told Hal that they had been left on the
beach by their papa and mamma, who had gone to make a call and would
soon come back for them in a carriage and take them home. Hal and Dolly
liked their new friends very much, and were very sorry that they lived
so far away; but Will said that he would ask his papa sometime when they
were out driving

[Illustration]

to leave them at their house, so that they could spend the whole morning
together.

And playing on the sands was not the only way Hal and Dolly had of
passing their days; sometimes their papa took them in the Speedwell
across the bay to Oldport. When he had business to transact he would
leave them in charge of old Andrew, but when he was not very busy he
would take them with him. They never failed to stop and see Lassie, and
Hal was always much disappointed that no news from her family had come.
Hal enjoyed these trips to Oldport more than anything else. It was such
fun to see the sailors on the ships that lay idly at the piers.
Sometimes they would be lying on a coil of rope spinning yarns, and Hal
wished that he could go and listen, for he was sure that he should enjoy
their stories.

Sometimes a man-of-war lay in the harbor, and Hal was wildly envious of
the midshipmen

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

whom he saw away up in the rigging, looking as much at home in that
lofty situation as if they had been born there. When he grew old enough
he meant to be a sailor; that was, at least, if mamma would let him. For
he had

[Illustration]

made up his mind that he could not go unless she said yes. He would
never break his mamma’s heart, as old Andrew had done, of that he was
determined, sailor or no sailor.

And if there were no man-of-war in port and he grew tired of watching
the men at work on the wharves, why there were the fishing boats drawn
up on the beach for him to look at.

There they lay, with their sails idly flapping about the mast and with
no one aboard. The men had been in too much haste to get their fish
promptly to market to take down the sails, and, besides, they knew that
no harm could come to their boats in that sheltered spot. Hal would
wonder what kind of fish they had caught, how many, and how much money
they got for them, and what they did with their money; and in fact, when
he began wondering he never knew exactly where to stop.

[Illustration]

One rainy day, when there was no going to the beach, Hal and Dolly found
their way out to the tool-house. Old Andrew was there putting a great
patch on a corner of the Speedwell’s sail where it had been torn. The
little people sat beside him and begged for a story. “Did you never get
shipwrecked?” asked Hal.

“Yes,” said Andrew. “I was wrecked, and a close shave I had of it for my
life.”

“Oh do tell us all about it,” cried they both.

So old Andrew began his story. “I shipped in the Raven,” he said. “She
was bound for Norway. A fine vessel she was and a fast one, and I looked
forward to a pleasant voyage, for it was in the summer. And when I got
to Norway I meant to go ashore a bit and see the land. But I never saw
it, for the first night out it came on to blow, and such a gale! When
daylight broke all our sails were gone, and the ship was drifting on a
rocky shore. Do our

[Illustration]

best there was no way to help matters. By and by she struck on a ledge.
Snap went her mast and there she was a helpless wreck. The wild waves
came leaping over her, battering at her with all their might, and
sweeping us off into the raging sea. Many was the strong man that
perished that day.”

“And were you drowned?” asked Dolly very much interested.

“Hardly,” laughed Andrew; “or I should not have been here.”

“Of course not,” said Dolly. “How stupid I was! you must have got safely
ashore; tell us how you did it.”

“Well,” said Andrew, “I was swept off with the others, and at first I
thought it was all up with me, and that I should never breathe again,
for I was buried deep by the furious waves; but at last I came to the
top; and there close by me was a spar, dashing about. I seized and clung
to it, and the wind drove us slowly shore-ward.

“There were a crowd of men on the beach and they soon spied me. The surf
was very heavy, so that no boat could be launched, but

[Illustration]

two or three men stood ready with ropes tied around them, asnd when I
came near they dashed in and seized me, and we were dragged out by the
rope.”

[Illustration]

“Dear me!” said Hal; “that sounds pretty dreadful, I don’t much think I
will be a sailor after all.”

Andrew smiled. “It is not a pleasant life at all; at least I never found
it so.”

By and by the days began to grow shorter, and papa and mamma began to
throw out hints about school. Hal and Dolly tried very hard not to hear
them. It was so pleasant those bright September days that they wished
they would never come to an end. All the summer visitors had gone and it
seemed to the children as if the beach belonged to them.

But the end came at last. Again the trunks were piled into the Speedwell
and the bay was crossed. Again the night was spent in the old inn, and
when the morning came the train whirled them away once more, and their
pleasant summer was at an end.


Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

=> {pg}

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