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Title: Elizabeth Ann's Houseboat
Author: Lawrence, Josephine
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 "Elizabeth Ann's Houseboat" ***

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[Illustration: “Walk right in--I’m a ghost,” he said politely.

  _Elizabeth Ann’s Houseboat_      _Frontispiece_]



  ELIZABETH ANN’S
  HOUSEBOAT

  BY

  JOSEPHINE LAWRENCE

  AUTHOR OF
  “ADVENTURES OF ELIZABETH ANN,” “LINDA
  LANE,” “THE TWO LITTLE FELLOWS,” ETC.

  _ILLUSTRATED BY_

  _JOHN M. FOSTER_

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



  COPYRIGHT, 1929
  BY
  BARSE & CO.

  _Printed in the United States of America_



CONTENTS


 CHAPTER                        PAGE

      I A LETTER                  11

     II ABOUT ELIZABETH ANN       21

    III ALL DECIDED               31

     IV SAILOR TALK               39

      V TAKEN BOYS                50

     VI THE BONNIE SUSIE          61

    VII SCHOOL NEWS               70

   VIII ROGER CALENDAR            79

     IX OFF FOR SCHOOL            88

      X A BUSY MORNING            97

     XI PARTY PLANS              106

    XII SEAMEN’S CHESTS          114

   XIII CATHERINE DAWDLES        125

    XIV AT THE PARTY             134

     XV WITCHES AND ALL          145

    XVI BAD NEWS                 154

   XVII SOMETHING DIFFERENT      162

  XVIII ELIZABETH ANN WAITS      172

    XIX ROGER’S MISTAKE          183

     XX THE FORTUNE-TELLER       194

    XXI ALL STRAIGHTENED OUT     205



ILLUSTRATIONS


  “Walk right in--I’m a ghost,” he said politely
    (page 136)                    _Frontispiece_

                                               PAGE

  “For mercy’s sake, who are you?” she said      51

  He seized the surprised Elizabeth Ann and
    lifted her into the bus                     129

  “It looks as if we were in for more snow,
    doesn’t it?”--and he pointed with his
    broom toward the sky                        177



ELIZABETH ANN’S HOUSEBOAT

CHAPTER I

A LETTER


“I don’t see why we have to hurry,” protested Elizabeth Ann.

She wanted to get out and see what kind of a flower was growing in
the middle of the large field on the right hand side of the road. Lex
had declared that for once he couldn’t stop. Usually Lex did just as
Elizabeth Ann asked him to--Cousin Nellie said that both Lex and Uncle
Doctor always did as Elizabeth Ann asked.

“I promised your Cousin Nellie to come right back with the mail,”
explained the patient Lex for the second time. “When I make a promise,
I keep it.”

“Oh!” said Elizabeth Ann. “I wonder why Cousin Nellie couldn’t wait
for the mail man.”

Lex said he didn’t know, but he had his suspicions.

“I don’t think the mail man knows how to hurry,” said Lex. “Maybe he
gets out and picks all the flowers he sees. He’s late enough most of
the time, to pick a dozen bouquets.”

Elizabeth Ann giggled.

“I don’t think he picks bouquets,” she announced, “but he does read the
magazines, and his horse forgets to go. I think the mail man likes the
stories in magazines.”

Lex, driving Uncle Doctor’s big car as he always drove, carefully, but
fast on an open road, nodded.

“Another week and we won’t care what the mail man does,” he suggested.
“Mind going back to school, Elizabeth Ann?”

It was that small girl’s turn to shake her head.

“I don’t exactly mind going to school,” she explained. “I think I’ll be
glad to see my Aunt Ida, too. And I know I’ll be glad to see Doris. But
there is a great deal to learn, Lex.”

Lex laughed and looked down at the little figure beside him.

“Little Miss Anxious!” he teased. “You know you don’t study all the
time, Elizabeth Ann. Part of the time you play. And when you are
working away at those books with the great deal to learn in them,
suppose you think of me, plugging away. I’ve a great deal to learn
myself.”

Elizabeth Ann smiled a little. She knew when Lex was teasing her.

“I wouldn’t mind if I was learning to be a doctor--like you,” she said.
“You _like_ to study, because you want to hurry up and be a doctor.”

The car had come in sight of the house where Elizabeth Ann, her Uncle
Doctor and Cousin Nellie had been spending the summer.

“When I was your age,” said Lex, driving across the dry and burned
lawn straight toward the long, low windows, “when I was your age, I
suspect I was studying just about the same lessons you’ll have this
winter--arithmetic, and spelling and so forth.”

The car stopped, and Cousin Nellie stepped through one of the
windows--they were really more like doors than windows.

“Did you bring the mail, Lex?” she asked eagerly.

“Yes’m,” answered Lex, handing her the package of letters and papers
and magazines, tied together with a string. “Everything’s there.”

Elizabeth Ann climbed out of the car and went around to the kitchen to
see if Lyn didn’t know a girl who needed cookies. Lyn often knew a girl
who needed cookies to keep her from starving, and strangely enough that
girl was usually Elizabeth Ann.

Though it was the first week in September, it was still very warm.
Elizabeth Ann found Lyn finishing the ironing on the side porch, and
she sat down to talk to her. She had only known Lyn since Uncle Doctor
had come to Cally for the summer, but they were great friends now. Lyn
was a tall, pleasant-faced girl and her real name you’ll never guess so
we’ll have to tell you--it was Patricia Gwendolyn Matilda Barr.

“I’m awfully sorry you’re going home next week,” said Lyn over her
shoulder, as she disappeared into the kitchen.

Elizabeth Ann thought she went to get a hot iron and Lyn did, but she
also brought back a plate of cookies and put it down on the top step
beside Elizabeth Ann.

“M-m-m,” mumbled Elizabeth Ann, taking a delicious bite. “My, you make
good cookies, Lyn. We have to go home, you know. Uncle Doctor has to
cure sick people and I have to go to school. Couldn’t you go and live
with Cousin Nellie?”

“She asked me,” Lyn admitted, beginning to iron one of Elizabeth Ann’s
dresses, “but I can’t go that far away from home. Maybe next year, when
some of my sisters are older and can help my mother, I’ll be able to
go.”

“Don’t you have to go to school?” asked Elizabeth Ann, biting her
cookie all around the edge. She thought they lasted longer that way.

“No-o, I don’t,” Lyn said, “but I suppose I ought to. Your Cousin
Nellie talked to me about school this summer. She says everyone ought
to learn as much as they can.”

“My, yes,” agreed Elizabeth Ann seriously. “There is a great deal
to learn. Maybe you never get through. My Aunt Ida who has a
school--that’s where I went last winter with my cousin Doris--goes to
school herself. She takes lectures during vacation and studies all the
time.”

Lyn had never heard of a school teacher who still studied school books,
and before she could think of anything to say, an old white horse came
rambling up to the steps. This was Elizabeth Ann’s horse, Jaspar, and
she had ridden him all summer.

“He wants sugar!” cried Elizabeth Ann. “Lex got some at the store--it’s
under the car seat--please wait a minute, Jaspar, and I’ll be right
back.”

She dashed away to the front of the house. The car was still standing
where Lex had stopped it, though she didn’t see him there. Elizabeth
Ann didn’t expect to see Lex--she knew that every spare moment he could
get to himself he spent studying the books that were to help him enter
college that fall.

Cousin Nellie was still there, though. She was sitting on the low
front steps, reading her letters.

“Elizabeth Ann, I have a letter from your Aunt Jennie,” said Cousin
Nellie (Elizabeth Ann really had a great many relatives, but she
managed to keep them all straight in her mind).

“How is Antonio?” Elizabeth Ann asked, feeling under the seat of the
car for the package of lump sugar. “How’s Doris?”

Cousin Nellie looked at the letter lying in her lap.

“It’s a very important letter, dearie,” she said, a little seriously.
“Your Aunt Jennie doesn’t mention Antonio--but Doris has been ill for
two weeks.”

“That’s why she didn’t answer my letter!” exclaimed Elizabeth Ann. “I
wrote her a long, long letter and she didn’t send me even a little
letter. Poor Doris! Did she have the measles, Cousin Nellie?”

Cousin Nellie was reading the letter. Her lips moved, but she didn’t
speak aloud. When she reached the end of one page she looked at
Elizabeth Ann.

“When is your Uncle Doctor coming home?” she asked.

Elizabeth Ann blushed suddenly.

“Oh--I forgot to tell you,” she said, looking ashamed. “Cousin Nellie
he told me to be sure and tell you he would come home to lunch to-day.
I forgot all about it.”

Cousin Nellie folded the letter and put it in its envelope.

“Never mind,” she said kindly. “There’s no harm done, Elizabeth Ann.
I’m very glad he will be here for lunch--there is something I must tell
him.”

She went into the house, so Elizabeth Ann couldn’t ask questions. But,
dear me, she _thought_ questions!

“I wonder what Aunt Jennie wrote!” thought Elizabeth Ann’s busy little
brain. “I wonder if Doris is very sick. I wonder if Aunt Jennie wants
Uncle Doctor to come and make Doris well. Uncle Doctor can cure
anybody.”

Elizabeth Ann went around to the back porch. Jaspar was still waiting
for his sugar.

“You spoil that horse,” said Lyn, watching as Elizabeth Ann stood on
the top step and held out her hand, palm up, with a lump of sugar on
it, as Lex had taught her.

“He likes sugar,” Elizabeth Ann declared, while Jaspar’s long nose came
down to her little hand and he took the sugar daintily in his teeth.

“What will he do when you’ve gone home?” demanded Lyn. “Who will give
him sugar then?”

“Mr. Hanson,” Elizabeth Ann answered promptly. “He promised me he
would. He says he will take the best of care of Jaspar, because he
knows I love him.”

Mr. Hanson owned the factory in Cally, and Lyn knew _him_, so he said
he wouldn’t be surprised if Jaspar lived on sugar for the rest of his
life.

Elizabeth Ann opened her mouth to say that no horse could live on
sugar, but instead she cried, “Uncle Doctor!” and dived off the porch
into the arms of a tall, white-haired man, as if it had been weeks
since she had seen him. This was Uncle Doctor, and he and Elizabeth
Ann had had breakfast together that morning; but his little niece was
always perfectly delighted to see him.

“Cousin Nellie has a letter, Uncle Doctor,” said Elizabeth Ann. “Doris
has been sick--maybe they want you to come and cure her. And how did
you get here from town?”

“You put things backward, Elizabeth Ann,” teased Uncle Doctor. “If you
must know, I got a lift from one of the salesmen who brought me as far
as the cross-roads in his car; I walked the rest of the way. Where is
Cousin Nellie and this letter?”

“Here, Cran,” Cousin Nellie said, looking through the kitchen screen.



CHAPTER II

ABOUT ELIZABETH ANN


Uncle Doctor’s eyes began to twinkle in a way that Elizabeth Ann
understood.

“Shall Elizabeth Ann and I come and listen to the letter, Nellie?” he
asked, “or shall Elizabeth Ann be a useful child and help Lyn?”

Elizabeth Ann didn’t want to help Lyn. She wanted to hear the letter.
But she couldn’t help smiling at Uncle Doctor when he smiled at her.

“I’ll have to read it to you, first, Cran,” said kind Cousin Nellie.
“There is something in it I must talk over with you. Come around to
the front of the house and after you have heard the letter, I’ll tell
Elizabeth Ann what Jennie says.”

They went away together and Lyn began to put up the ironing board.

“Time to get lunch,” she announced. “Do you want to help me, Elizabeth
Ann?”

Elizabeth Ann could set the table very nicely, but this noon her mind
was not on her task. She did so wonder what could be in Aunt Jennie’s
letter. Aunt Jennie, when she wrote, usually wrote the kind of a letter
that Cousin Nellie liked to read aloud at the lunch or dinner table.
Aunt Jennie sent messages to everyone--even to Lyn, whom she had never
seen, but had heard of, through Elizabeth Ann and Cousin Nellie.

“I don’t see why Cousin Nellie didn’t read the letter out loud,”
Elizabeth Ann puzzled, carrying in the bread plate.

Lex came up the back steps, his arms filled with books.

“Is it time to eat?” he asked in surprise. “I just brought these books
in to pack them away. I won’t need them again and I hate to leave
everything till the last minute.”

“Tell Miss Nellie lunch is ready,” Lyn called after him as he walked
through the kitchen and on into the rest of the house.

Uncle Doctor and Cousin Nellie came to the dining room at once.
Elizabeth Ann looked at Uncle Doctor closely, for sometimes she could
guess what he was thinking. But not to-day. He pulled back Cousin
Nellie’s chair for her and helped Elizabeth Ann into hers, without
saying a single word. Lex came back and they began to eat, and still no
one mentioned Aunt Jennie’s letter.

Now Elizabeth Ann was a courteous little girl and she knew far more
than some little girls do. Not for worlds would she say “letter,” if
she thought that Cousin Nellie did not wish to talk about it. And
Elizabeth Ann knew that if Cousin Nellie did want to talk of the
letter, she would say something about it--so Miss Elizabeth Ann ate her
luncheon quietly and did not ask questions.

While she is eating her lunch may be a good time to tell you a bit
about her. That is, if you’re not already acquainted. Perhaps you have
read the first book in this series, called “Adventures of Elizabeth
Ann.” Then you know she was a little girl whose parents were traveling
in Japan, and who had been sent to make friends with her relatives who
loved her as soon as they knew her. Elizabeth Ann visited ever so
many aunts in the city, in the country and at the seashore, and she
was lucky enough to find a girl cousin, Doris, almost her own age.
Elizabeth Ann and Doris went to school together and it was during a
vacation from school that Elizabeth Ann went to visit Uncle Doctor who
was her mother’s uncle and her own great-uncle. Cousin Nellie kept
house for Uncle Doctor, whose real name was Doctor Crandall Lewis. And
Elizabeth Ann had such a lovely vacation with Uncle Doctor and helped
him so much that the next summer, when he went South to do some special
work, Uncle Doctor took Elizabeth Ann with him. He took Lex, too, who
was studying to be a doctor, and who ran Uncle Doctor’s car for him,
and of course Cousin Nellie went. And their summer in the country near
the little town of Cally has been told you in the book just before this
one, called “Elizabeth Ann and Uncle Doctor.”

That is why you find them down South now--the summer was over and in a
few days they were going home, Elizabeth Ann to Seabridge, where Doris
Mason and Aunt Jennie and the other Mason cousins lived; Uncle Doctor
and Cousin Nellie and Lyn to the town of Chester where they lived.

But Elizabeth Ann has kept still long enough and it’s time to see what
happens next.

As soon as lunch was finished, Lyn came in to clear the table and Lex
went out to study for another hour. He did most of his studying under
an old apple tree, and sometimes Jaspar came and cropped the grass
around him, just to be sociable, Lex said.

“Come out where it is shady, Elizabeth Ann,” said Uncle Doctor. “I want
to talk to you.”

He and Cousin Nellie and Elizabeth Ann went out doors where there were
some comfortable chairs on the grass near the house. It was shady here
part of the day and Cousin Nellie liked to sit in her easy-chair and
sew.

“Is it about the letter?” asked Elizabeth Ann, perching herself on the
arm of Uncle Doctor’s chair.

“You’ve guessed it exactly,” he answered her. “Your Aunt Jennie has
written a letter to Cousin Nellie--to both of us, rather, because she
wants our advice. And your daddy and mother are so far away she can not
write to them and get an answer in time.”

“Then,” said Elizabeth Ann, beginning to feel excited, “the letter is
about me.”

“Right again,” Uncle Doctor declared. “The letter is about you--about
you and Doris. Poor Doris has been very ill indeed, but she is better
now.”

“But she can’t go back to school,” said Cousin Nellie quietly.

Elizabeth Ann stared, too surprised to speak. Why, she and Doris had
been sent to Aunt Ida’s school because Doris’s mother thought she ought
to go away to school. Doris had an older sister and four brothers and
she was apt to be spoiled with too much attention at home.

“Do I have to go to school all by myself?” gasped Elizabeth Ann.

Uncle Doctor gently pulled her down into his lap.

“Dear me, Doris isn’t the only other girl in school, is she?” he asked
in mock astonishment. “I thought there were dozens of girls there.”

Elizabeth Ann chuckled at that idea.

“Of course there are lots of girls,” she explained. “Only Doris is much
the nicest. We like each other.”

“Cran, I want to tell Elizabeth Ann what is in this letter,” said
Cousin Nellie gently. “How can I tell her if you tease her all the
time? Elizabeth Ann, listen, dear--your Aunt Jennie wants to send Doris
to the country to spend the winter and she wants you to go with her.”

Elizabeth Ann sat up with a jerk, beaming.

“I’ll go,” she announced joyfully. “Where are we going, Cousin Nellie?”

Uncle Doctor and Cousin Nellie looked at each other and laughed.

“My dear child,” said Cousin Nellie, “I haven’t the slightest idea
whether it will be best for you to go. Your Aunt Jennie thinks it would
be fine for Doris to be with you, but she says herself she doesn’t know
whether you ought to leave Aunt Ida’s school.”

“Oh, yes, Cousin Nellie!” Elizabeth Ann pleaded, “It will do me good
not to go to school. I’ve been to school _very_ regularly for years and
years.”

Uncle Doctor’s eyes twinkled at that.

“They have school in the country, you monkey,” he informed Elizabeth
Ann. “Doris’s mother doesn’t expect her to stay out of school; she is
to go to a little country school and so will you, if you are sent to
the country with her. So, Elizabeth Ann, it looks as though you’d be
educated, come what may.”

Elizabeth Ann was silent for a moment.

“Well,” she said presently, “I don’t mind a new school. I like a
change. So does Doris. Perhaps it made her sick to go to the same
school too long.”

“I wish I knew what to do,” Cousin Nellie worried. “I can’t seem to
decide. How do we know what kind of a place the school will be; and
suppose there are heavy snow storms this winter?”

“Elizabeth Ann won’t melt,” said Uncle Doctor cheerfully. “Though she
is sweet enough to be sugar she isn’t--and a snow storm won’t hurt her.
Anyway, you can’t decide, Nellie, till we get to Seabridge and see
what Jennie has to say. I want to look Doris over, too--she may be well
enough to go on as usual to what Elizabeth Ann ungratefully calls ‘the
same school.’”

So that was the way it was left--Cousin Nellie and Uncle Doctor would
decide when they reached Seabridge and talked to Doris’s mother.
Elizabeth Ann, though, kept hoping that she and Doris might go to a new
school. As she told Lyn, it would be more exciting, and perhaps she
could take Antonio, her beautiful white cat with her.

It seemed only a day or two later that the packing was done and all
the good-bys said--Mr. Hawkins and Mr. and Mrs. Hanson and the factory
nurse and Mr. Fitcher, the farmer Elizabeth Ann had made friends with,
and his wife and all the Fitcher children, came to say good-by and tell
how much they would miss Elizabeth Ann. Lyn cried, too, until Cousin
Nellie reminded her that next year she was coming North to pay her a
visit. That made Lyn feel much better.

The trip to Seabridge was long and rather tiresome, for the roads were
dusty in some places and oily in others. Uncle Doctor and Lex took
turns driving and Elizabeth Ann and Muffins rode with Cousin Nellie on
the back seat. They stopped at hotels for two nights and they were all
glad when they came in sight of the beautiful rolling ocean. Elizabeth
Ann spoke for them all when she said, “Going to Cally was fun, because
it was a new road; but coming home was just work because there wasn’t
anything to surprise us.”

The Masons lived in a little brown house close to the beach, and they
were everyone of them at the front door to welcome the travelers.
Elizabeth Ann had to look twice at a little girl with a white face and
two great dark eyes, before she saw that it was Doris.

“Oh my,” thought Elizabeth Ann to herself, kissing her favorite cousin,
“Poor Doris must have been so sick!”



CHAPTER III

ALL DECIDED


Muffins barked wildly at the lovely white cat that came trotting up
to Elizabeth Ann. This was Antonio--better known as Tony--and he was
plainly glad to see his little mistress again. Elizabeth Ann gathered
him in her arms as they went into the house.

It wasn’t a large house and the four guests added to the Mason
family, completely filled the little dining room. There was dear Aunt
Jennie--who had the sweetest smile of any of her aunties, Elizabeth
Ann often thought; and pretty Emmy, the older daughter, and Jerry and
Rodney, the two big cousins; and Ted and Lansing, the two younger boy
cousins. And Doris, of course. But Doris was so strangely quiet that
Elizabeth Ann hardly knew her. Usually Doris made as much noise as her
brothers did.

“Ted about Cally,” commanded Ted, as soon as they were all seated at
the table. “Did you like it? Wasn’t it hot down there? Mother told me
you learned how to ride a horse, Elizabeth Ann.”

Doris didn’t say a word. She sat beside her mother and drank her milk
when she saw Uncle Doctor looking at her, but she didn’t touch her
plate and Elizabeth Ann was surprised to see that she didn’t eat her
dessert either when Emmy brought that in. Elizabeth Ann was never
allowed to have dessert if she didn’t eat her dinner; but here was
Doris, who could have apparently what she wanted, refusing to eat a
chocolate éclair.

“I suppose it’s because she has been sick,” thought Elizabeth Ann.

After dinner, they took a little walk on the beach, but Uncle Doctor
said Elizabeth Ann must go to bed early because she had had a long
journey. Doris had not come with them for the walk and she was already
in bed, Aunt Jennie said, when the others returned from the beach.

“Perhaps she’ll be up early in the morning,” said Elizabeth Ann
sleepily to Cousin Nellie.

But Doris didn’t get up early the next morning. Elizabeth Ann, who
wanted to play in the sand before breakfast, was disappointed when she
ran downstairs to find only Ted and Lansing on the front porch.

“Where’s Doris?” she asked eagerly.

“In bed,” Ted replied. “She stays in bed till after breakfast, since
she’s been sick. Your Uncle Doctor’s gone down to the beach to throw
sticks in the water for Muffins--want to go see him?”

Elizabeth Ann went with the boys and they found Uncle Doctor and
Muffins having a grand time. Jerry and Rodney had already gone into
the city, to their offices, and as soon as Elizabeth Ann and Ted and
Lansing brought Uncle Doctor back to the house, they had breakfast.

“Now I’ll go up and see Doris,” announced Uncle Doctor, when breakfast
was over. “You run out and play, Elizabeth Ann; I want to start for
home before lunch time, if possible.”

Ted and Lansing and Elizabeth Ann went out and sat on the steps.

“Are you going to the country with Doris?” asked Ted.

“Are you going to Chester with Doctor Lewis?” Lansing asked.

“I don’t know,” said Elizabeth Ann frankly. “I don’t know where I’m
going. What is the matter with Doris?”

“She was sick almost two weeks,” Ted declared. “She was sick in bed.
And now the doctor says she ought to go to the country, because when
people live at the seashore all the year round, the country is a
change. I never get any change,” sighed Ted.

Elizabeth Ann looked at him critically.

“You look all right,” she observed. “I don’t believe you need any.”

And Elizabeth Ann was right. If ever a boy looked sturdy and well and
happy, that boy was Ted Mason. He couldn’t even feel sorry for himself
because there was really nothing to feel sorry about.

Elizabeth Ann heard a purring sound behind her back and there was Tony,
her white cat. He climbed into her lap and she stroked him gently.

“If I go to the country, could I take Tony, do you suppose?” she asked.
“I couldn’t take him to Aunt Ida’s school, but perhaps in the country
it will be different.”

Lansing didn’t know. Neither did Ted.

“You’ll have to ask Mother,” they both said.

Cousin Nellie and Aunt Jennie came out on the porch just then and Aunt
Jennie sat down beside Elizabeth Ann, while Cousin Nellie took the
rocking chair.

“How would you like to go and visit Doris’s great uncle, dear?” asked
Aunt Jennie.

Elizabeth Ann blinked. She often got herself tangled up thinking about
her relatives, and here she was being asked to think about Doris’s
relatives.

“Has Doris a great uncle?” she asked cautiously.

“Yes,” nodded Aunt Jennie, “she has. He’s my uncle, just as Doctor
Lewis is your mother’s uncle. His name is Hiram--Uncle Hiram, and he
lives on a lovely farm.”

“Could Tony live on the farm, too?” inquired Elizabeth Ann.

“I think he could,” Aunt Jennie answered. “I don’t see any reason why
Tony couldn’t go with you.”

And then Uncle Doctor came out and joined them and began to talk. In a
very few minutes everything was quite clear to Elizabeth Ann. That was
always the way when Uncle Doctor talked to her--he could explain things
so plainly, and he didn’t mind dozens of questions, and he always
seemed to take it for granted that Elizabeth Ann would be willing and
anxious to do as he wanted her to do.

“Doris must have a quiet, unexciting winter, in the open air,” said
Uncle Doctor, sitting on the porch railing. “From what you tell me,
Jennie, I think Bonnie Susie will be exactly the place for her.”

Elizabeth Ann listened, but did not say anything. “Bonnie Susie” didn’t
sound like a farm, did it?

“It won’t hurt Elizabeth Ann, either,” said Uncle Doctor, smiling at
that small girl, “to have a winter in the country. Tramping through
the snow drifts will give her roses in her cheeks. How are we going to
send them?”

“Uncle Hiram has promised to come after them,” explained Aunt Jennie.
“He’s delighted at the idea of having company this winter. And I’m so
glad you are willing to have Elizabeth Ann go with Doris--she would be
so lonely in a strange house, and at a strange school, without her best
cousin, as she calls Elizabeth Ann.”

So that was settled. Uncle Doctor and Cousin Nellie and Muffins and
Lex drove away an hour later, leaving Elizabeth Ann feeling a little
forlorn, for all she had an aunt and half a dozen cousins left. And
a cat, too, as Doris, who had dressed and came down to sit in the
sunshine, reminded her.

“I think it will be heaps of fun to go to the country,” said Doris with
something of her old enthusiasm. “Wait till you see my Uncle Hiram’s
house, Elizabeth Ann. You never saw a house like it anywhere.”

“Why didn’t I?” Elizabeth Ann demanded. “I’ve seen lots of houses--I
saw queer houses down South.”

“I don’t believe you ever saw a house like my Uncle Hiram’s house,”
persisted Doris. “I never saw it, either, but Mother told me about it.”

Elizabeth Ann was puzzled.

“Is it a queer house, Doris?” she asked wonderingly.

“No-o, I don’t know that it is queer,” said Doris. “It’s--it’s
different--that’s all. You see, it’s built exactly like a boat!”

“But I thought your uncle lived on a farm,” Elizabeth Ann reminded her.

“He does, but he lives in a boat,” replied Doris.



CHAPTER IV

SAILOR TALK


Aunt Jennie sent a telegram to Uncle Hiram that night and two days
later he came. He looked, Elizabeth Ann decided as soon as she saw him,
exactly like the kind of a man who would live in a boat. For one thing,
he was dressed in dark blue clothes with brass buttons and he wore a
cap instead of a hat. Uncle Hiram looked like a sailor.

“He was captain of a ship before he married Aunt Grace,” Doris
explained to Elizabeth Ann.

Uncle Hiram talked like a sailor, too. He came to lunch and said he
had no idea it was “mess time.” And he talked about the wind, and kept
looking at the sky as though it was most important to keep an eye on
the weather.

Everyone liked him. He had curly white hair and a curly white beard
and a deep voice and the nicest smile. He called his car “a clipper”
and said he had had no trouble at all navigating the waters on the way
down to Seabridge. Elizabeth Ann made up her mind that it was going to
be fun to visit someone who talked about ships and the ocean all the
time, even when he was living on the dry land.

Aunt Jennie had packed a trunk for Elizabeth Ann and Doris and this
had been sent on ahead by train to Gardner, which was the town nearest
to Uncle Hiram’s farm. And, since Gardner was some distance from
Seabridge, it was necessary for the two little girls to rise very early
the morning after Uncle Hiram came, so that he could make the trip in
one day.

“School opens day after to-morrow,” said Uncle Hiram in his deep voice.
“Can’t have you absent on the first day, you know. Can’t have the
teacher say those girls who come from the Bonnie Susie, are slow about
learning their lessons.”

“What _is_ the Bonnie Susie?” Elizabeth Ann whispered to Doris. But
Uncle Hiram heard her.

“It’s our house,” he explained. “I named it after my first ship. I
wanted to call it the Bonnie Grace, but my wife wouldn’t hear of it;
said she didn’t want the whole countryside to know there was a house
named after her.”

“I think it is nice to have a house named after you,” said Elizabeth
Ann, wondering how it would sound to have a house, or a boat, named
“The Elizabeth Ann.”

Uncle Hiram was anxious to be off, and Aunt Jennie hurried everyone
through breakfast. Then they all came out to the car to help tuck
Elizabeth Ann and Doris in, and to see that Tony was as comfortable
as possible in his wicker basket. It can not be said that Tony liked
to travel, but Elizabeth Ann hoped he would like his new home when he
eventually reached there.

“Take in the gang plank,” said Uncle Hiram, when his passengers were
finally settled.

That, Elizabeth Ann discovered, meant to close the car door.

“Full steam ahead,” said Uncle Hiram and started the car.

“Good-by, good-by!” cried all the Masons; and Elizabeth Ann and Doris
waved and waved till they could see the little brown house no longer.

Now if Elizabeth Ann had been all alone, or if Doris had been alone,
each little girl might have felt a bit homesick at that moment--riding
away in a strange car with a strange uncle. But two little girls can’t
feel forlorn when they have each other; and besides, as Elizabeth Ann
wrote to Uncle Doctor later, it took a great deal of time to understand
what Uncle Hiram was saying. Because he talked like a sailor, and
neither Elizabeth Ann nor Doris understood sailor talk.

It was a most beautiful September day and the roads were lined with
goldenrod. Elizabeth Ann would have liked Tony to enjoy the scenery but
she didn’t feel that it would be safe to take him from his basket, and
Uncle Hiram said that he agreed with her.

“Cats have to get used to strange ships,” he rumbled in his deep
voice. “Wait till we get Tony to the Bonnie Susie and he’ll feel at
home in a couple of days.”

Elizabeth Ann, watching the gray road roll out like a piece of ribbon
in front of the car, thought often of Uncle Hiram’s house. Doris had
said it was like a boat.

“But of course,” said Elizabeth Ann to herself, “it can’t be a real
boat. I never saw a real boat on the land. And Uncle Hiram lives on a
farm, and you have to live in a house when you live on a farm.”

She was wondering about Uncle Hiram’s house, when his deep voice spoke
to her and she jumped a little.

“Well, mess-mate,” said Uncle Hiram pleasantly, “what do you say to
stopping at the next place where there is something to eat?”

“I think it would be nice to stop,” Elizabeth Ann declared promptly.

“I’m hungry, too,” announced Doris, and it was a pity her mother
couldn’t hear her, for Doris had not been hungry lately.

“Guess we’ll have to coal ship, too,” said Uncle Hiram and Elizabeth
Ann looked at Doris helplessly.

“I mean, we need some gas for the car,” Uncle Hiram added. “I forget
you haven’t signed up with a ship before. But you’ll learn in
time--you’ll learn in time.”

They came to a filling station with a nice, clean-looking restaurant
attached and Uncle Hiram drove in. He helped Elizabeth Ann and Doris
out and then looked at the basket in which Tony was fastened.

“How do we feed the cat?” he asked.

Elizabeth Ann had traveled with Tony before. She knew how to take care
of him.

“If there is a quiet place, I can take him out of the basket,” she
explained. “He likes liver and milk, but he won’t eat if there is much
noise, or many people looking at him.”

“He’s a cat after my own heart,” declared Uncle Hiram. “I can’t enjoy
my food if a crowd has to sit and stare at every mouthful I take. We’ll
see what we can do.”

Well, what Uncle Hiram could do was to take one of the tables in a
row of little alcoves. The table had seats built on two sides of it,
and there were pink and blue curtains that could be drawn across the
doorway, so that the alcove was almost like a separate room. Elizabeth
Ann and Doris sat on one side of the table, and Uncle Hiram sat on the
other, while a little waitress in a pink and white frock and a green
apron brought them hot rolls filled with creamed chicken, and glasses
of milk and, for Tony, a green and white enameled dish with tiny pieces
of liver all cut up ready for him to eat.

“Here’s your lunch, Tony,” Elizabeth Ann whispered, opening the basket
carefully.

Out popped the white head and green eyes of Tony. He looked around the
alcove and apparently approved of it. The dish of liver was on the
floor and Elizabeth Ann put him down beside it and he went to eating
not greedily, but daintily and slowly, as Tony always ate.

“You’ll be eating supper in the Bonnie Susie to-night,” said Uncle
Hiram, looking hard at Doris’s glass of milk.

Doris thought he meant her to drink it (which he did) and she took a
long swallow.

“Is--is the Bonnie Susie a house or a boat?” asked Elizabeth Ann, her
curiosity getting the better of her.

“Wait and see,” Uncle Hiram said with a smile.

“It’s a boat!” declared Doris. “I told you it was a boat, Elizabeth
Ann.”

“Well, you----” began Elizabeth Ann.

She had intended to say, “You never saw it,” and suggest that Doris
might be mistaken.

But instead she glanced down under the table and cried in alarm,
“Where’s Tony? Tony isn’t here!”

Tony wasn’t there--he had disappeared. He had licked his dish as clean
as clean could be and then had vanished.

“I’ll find him--likely as not he is prowling around the restaurant, in
the main room,” said Uncle Hiram. “You two children stay here and I’ll
round up the culprit. We can’t allow mutiny on board this craft.”

Uncle Hiram went out through the curtains and Elizabeth Ann and Doris
waited. He didn’t come back and he didn’t come back.

“I can’t go away and leave him here,” whispered Elizabeth Ann, feeling
as though she would like to cry. “He would be so unhappy if he found
out I’d gone off with Uncle Hiram and left him.”

“Serve him right,” Doris said rather crossly. “Anyway, Uncle Hiram
won’t let you stay here to wait for Tony; if that cat doesn’t come
back, you’ll just have to go and leave him.”

Doris, you see, was a little tired and as people often are, who have
been ill, inclined to be cross. She didn’t want Elizabeth Ann to be
unhappy, but neither did she want to have their journey interrupted by
a search for Elizabeth Ann’s cat.

“I just have to find him,” said Elizabeth Ann. “I’m going to open that
door and see where it goes.”

She pointed to a door in the wall behind them--a closed door. But it
wasn’t a locked door for it opened when Elizabeth Ann turned the knob,
and there was a flight of steps leading down to the cellar.

“You’d better stay right here,” Doris told her, and that was certainly
good advice.

Elizabeth Ann, unfortunately, didn’t always take good advice.

“I’m going down to look for Tony,” she said firmly. “You stay there so
you can tell Uncle Hiram where I’ve gone.”

And down the steps went Miss Elizabeth Ann, into a perfectly strange
cellar.

It wasn’t dark--that is, it wasn’t so very dark. She began to call
softly for Tony as she went down the steps and when she found herself
on the cement floor she thought she saw him moving among the shadows.
But when she walked toward what she thought was the cat, Elizabeth Ann
discovered that it was only a piece of wood someone had dropped as they
carried an armful up for the fire.

“Here, Tony, Tony!” called Elizabeth Ann.

The cellar seemed to have little rooms arranged around it--Elizabeth
Ann wrinkled her nose at the spaces where coal and wood were piled, and
the potatoes and onions and other vegetables heaped in neat piles in
some of the other rooms. But when she came to a place just lined with
shelves, Elizabeth Ann paused. She forgot Tony for a moment, too.

“It looks like the pantry Aunt Hester had in her house,” thought
Elizabeth Ann.

These shelves were filled with glass jars, just as Aunt Hester’s
shelves had been filled. Elizabeth Ann knew what was in the jars--fruit
and jam and jellies--perhaps vegetables, too. She opened the gate made
of slats and went in to have a better look.

“I thought so!” said a sharp voice behind her. “I’m not a bit
surprised. Put out your hand!”

Too surprised to disobey, Elizabeth Ann held out her little right hand.

At once she felt three hard stinging blows across it--blows from a
ruler the owner of the sharp voice held in her hand.

“Now you march right upstairs,” commanded the sharp voice.



CHAPTER V

TAKEN BOYS


Poor Elizabeth Ann, her hand stinging, her eyes filled with tears,
stepped out of the room where the rows of glass jars were stored. As
she walked past the woman who held the ruler, that sharp-voiced person
gasped.

“For mercy’s sake, who are you? I thought you were Esther,” she said.

“I’m Elizabeth Ann Loring,” said Elizabeth Ann. “I came down here to
look for Tony, my cat.”

“Good gracious!” the woman cried--Elizabeth Ann could see her better
now, in the light that came from one of the cellar windows. “I never
saw you before in my life!”

Elizabeth Ann rubbed her smarting hand and winked back the tears.

[Illustration: “For mercy’s sake, who are you?” she said.]

“I was just looking at your pantry,” she said with dignity. “My aunt
has a pantry like that. She puts up jelly every year.”

“I’m sorry,” said the woman, who was tall and thin and wore her hair
twisted back from her eyes in a small, hard knot. “I’m sorry I struck
you with the ruler. I thought you were my niece, Esther, who is always
stealing jam. I told her the next time I found her in the cellar I’d
give her something to remember.”

“I’ll remember it!” Elizabeth Ann declared. “It hurt.”

“I’m sorry,” said the woman again. “And the worst of it is, it won’t do
Esther any good; she’ll be down here the minute my back is turned.”

“I think,” Elizabeth Ann announced in a rather small voice, “I think
I’d better go back. Uncle Hiram will be wondering where I am.”

At this late date Elizabeth Ann had suddenly remembered that Uncle
Hiram had directed her and Doris to stay in the alcove room till he
came back. Perhaps he might not be pleased to find she was wandering
around in the cellar.

“If you have any folks,” said the woman, switching the ruler against
her skirts and peering around the cellar as though she still hoped to
find the jam-stealing Esther, “I should think they’d be looking for
you. Where did you come from?”

Elizabeth Ann explained about Doris and Uncle Hiram and the woman
showed her where the stairs were for Elizabeth Ann was so turned about
that she couldn’t find her way.

“I work in the kitchen,” said the woman. “I’ll go up the other stairs.
I hope you understand it was all a mistake, my slapping you with the
ruler.”

Elizabeth Ann said of course she knew it was a mistake; so she went
up the stairs and found herself in the alcove room. No one was there
except Doris and she was frowning. Oh yes, the wicker basket was on
the seat beside her and it was closed and fastened. That meant, very
likely, that Tony was inside.

“Where _have_ you been?” demanded Doris.

“Did Uncle Hiram find Tony?” Elizabeth Ann asked, instead of answering
the question.

“Of course he did--and he’s in his basket,” said Doris, mixing her
pronouns in a way that would have scandalized Aunt Ida. “He doesn’t
like it a bit, either, because you weren’t here. He’s gone to ask the
man who owns the restaurant if he can go down in the cellar and hunt
for you.”

And just then Uncle Hiram parted the curtains and looked in at the two
girls. He saw Elizabeth Ann and he said to her, exactly as Doris had,
“Where _have_ you been?” Only he added, “I thought I asked you to wait
till I came back.”

“I went to look for Tony,” said Elizabeth Ann. “I thought he might have
gone down cellar to hunt for mice. And a lady thought I was Esther
stealing jam and she told me to put out my hand and she hit me three
times with her ruler.”

Elizabeth Ann held out her hand. Across the pink palm were
angry-looking, red marks.

“Orders are orders on board ship,” said Uncle Hiram. “However, you seem
to have battled a gale and we’ll let it go this once. I found your cat
snooping around the main dining room--guess he wanted more to eat.”

On the way out to the car--Uncle Hiram said they must hurry for
they still had many miles to cover--Elizabeth Ann looked around her
carefully. She thought she might see Esther, and she was rather
interested in Esther. But she didn’t see any other little girl.

“Do you think,” whispered Doris, after they were in their places on
the back seat, and Uncle Hiram was so busy watching the road that he
couldn’t listen to them chattering, “do you think that Uncle Hiram is
cross?”

“Well, I’m not sure,” Elizabeth Ann said. “Of course I ought not to
have gone down in the cellar. Perhaps he isn’t cross when you do as he
asks you to.”

Doris agreed that under those circumstances Uncle Hiram might not be
cross. Then she put her head down on Elizabeth Ann’s shoulder and
went to sleep. And Elizabeth Ann found that her own eyes insisted on
closing, and she went to sleep too.

She woke up a little later to find that the car had stopped. Uncle
Hiram was talking to a man who sat in another car, headed in the
opposite direction.

“You sure you haven’t seen him?” the man was saying as Elizabeth Ann
opened her eyes.

“I told you I hadn’t,” answered Uncle Hiram, and his voice was a deep
growl. “I might have picked him up and given him a lift, if he asked
me, but I wouldn’t lie about it. I haven’t seen any boy on the road
since I started this trip.”

“The varmint is probably hiding around somewhere,” the man said crossly.

Elizabeth Ann leaned as far forward as she could, without waking the
still sleeping Doris.

The man who sat in the other car did not have a pleasant face. He was
thin, and his nose was red, while his eyes were small and looked angry.
He had thrust his head out of the side of his car and was positively
glaring at Uncle Hiram.

“Well, if you do see him, mind you pick him up and telephone me,” said
the man, speaking more crossly still. “I’ll pay for the telephone call.
He’s a bound boy, remember, and I have the right to him.”

Uncle Hiram merely nodded and started his car. Elizabeth Ann waited
till he had passed the other car and then she touched him on the
shoulder.

“Uncle Hiram,” she said in a low voice, as though she was afraid the
other man might overhear, “Uncle Hiram, what is a varmint?”

“Eh, you’re awake then,” Uncle Hiram commented. “I thought you were
having a fine nap. A varmint, my dear, is a low kind of animal--like a
skunk or a weasel. Weasels, you know, steal chickens.”

“Why did the man want one then?” asked Elizabeth Ann.

“One what?” Uncle Hiram said, surprised.

“A varmint,” explained Elizabeth Ann. “He was looking for a varmint. I
woke up when he was saying so.”

“I don’t wonder you woke up,” Uncle Hiram declared. “He had a voice
like a buzz saw, and anyone who heard it would either wake up or have
bad dreams. That man wasn’t looking for a varmint, my dear; that was
just his way of describing a poor taken boy.”

Elizabeth Ann stood up. She always said she could think better standing
up.

“Please, what is a taken boy?” she asked.

Uncle Hiram glanced over his shoulder.

“My, my, what a lot of things you want to know,” said he. “Well,
Elizabeth Ann, a taken boy is usually an orphan. Someone takes him from
the poorhouse and agrees to be responsible for his food and shelter and
clothes. And in return the boy does as much work as he can.”

“Oh!” Elizabeth Ann exclaimed. “Did that man with the red nose take a
boy?”

“I’m afraid he did,” said Uncle Hiram. “I’m sorry for any lad who has
to live with a man like that. It seems this poor boy couldn’t stand it
any longer. He ran away, and the man was searching for him.”

“I hope he doesn’t find him!” Elizabeth Ann declared.

Uncle Hiram didn’t say anything, but Elizabeth Ann was sure he hoped
that the boy would not be found.

“Are we there?” asked a sleepy little voice, and Doris sat up, rubbing
her eyes.

“Almost there!” Uncle Hiram said cheerfully. “Have to go around one
more curve and take the first turn to the right, and then you’ll see
the Bonnie Susie.”

Tony meowed mournfully in his basket. Perhaps he was tired of
automobiling.

“I’ve learned a lot while you were asleep,” Elizabeth Ann informed
Doris, gently rocking the basket to let Tony know she heard him. “I
learned about varmints, and taken boys.”

And she explained about them to Doris, who was interested too.

“There’s the Bonnie Susie!” announced Uncle Hiram suddenly.

Both little girls stood up then, because they were most anxious to see
Uncle Hiram’s house.

“Why,” said Elizabeth Ann, in amazement, “why, it really is a ship!”



CHAPTER VI

THE BONNIE SUSIE


Anyone, seeing the Bonnie Susie for the first time, would have stared.
Elizabeth Ann found out afterward that plenty of people, driving past
the house, stopped and stared, just as she and Doris were doing now.

For there, in the center of a beautiful green lawn, surrounded by
trees, stood a ship. A real ship, if you please, with masts and a deck
and everything just as you see on ships in pictures. To be sure there
were windows and doors cut in the hull of this ship, but they didn’t
make it seem like a house. Nothing could make it seem like a house. It
was a ship. And the name was painted up on what Uncle Hiram told them
was the bow--“B-O-N-N-I-E S-U-S-I-E” in large black letters.

“Isn’t it lovely!” cried Elizabeth Ann, clapping her hands. “I never
lived in a ship before.”

“I told you it was a ship,” Doris insisted, and Elizabeth Ann had to
admit that she had.

The front door opened as they went up the neat gravel path and a tall,
thin woman stood in the doorway. She reminded Elizabeth Ann a little of
the woman who had struck her with the ruler, but she had a pleasanter
face. And her hair, though it was gray, fluffed out around her face
prettily.

“Well, so this is Elizabeth Ann!” said the woman, stooping to kiss the
small girl. “And here’s Doris. I’m Aunt Grace, and I can’t begin to
tell you how glad I am to see you both.”

“How did you know which of us were which?” asked Elizabeth Ann, who was
perfectly famous for asking questions, as her Uncle Doctor could have
testified.

Aunt Grace seemed pleased at the question.

“Why I knew Doris had been ill,” she explained, “and when I saw you
bounding ahead and looking the picture of health I knew you couldn’t be
a little girl who had been sick recently. If you weren’t Doris, you
must be Elizabeth Ann.”

This sounded most reasonable and Elizabeth Ann could understand.

Aunt Grace took them into the house and it was absolutely the nicest
house they had ever been in--both Elizabeth Ann and Doris said so. In
the first place, there were no stairs--there were ladders. Not the
ordinary ladders that you see in barns, to be sure, nor yet the kind of
ladder your mother may stand on when she hangs the curtains. No, the
stairs in Uncle Hiram’s house were firm enough, but they were ladders
for all that--you looked right through the steps as you went up and
down. And the kitchen was called a galley, and there were no beds in
the bedrooms, but bunks, built against the wall. A bunk is like a box
and Elizabeth Ann for once in her life was eager to have bed-time come,
so she could have the experience of sleeping in a bunk.

There was so much to see that neither Elizabeth Ann or Doris thought
especially about supper, though they had been hungry an hour ago.
But as soon as Uncle Hiram came in, after putting the car in the
garage--which was a barn Elizabeth Ann discovered the next day--he
asked Aunt Grace if supper was ready.

“I planned to get here by four bells,” he said.

Elizabeth Ann stared at him and somewhere in the house a clock struck
some hour.

“It’s half-past six,” said Aunt Grace, “and supper is all ready and
waiting.”

Elizabeth Ann looked around, but could see no bells. She had already
asked so many questions--even for her--that she didn’t want to ask
another. And Doris, as usual, said nothing. Even when Doris didn’t
understand things, she wouldn’t ask questions. She knew that if she
waited long enough, Elizabeth Ann would find out about them and explain
them.

“Oh, I forgot Tony!” cried Elizabeth Ann suddenly. “His feelings will
be hurt; I never forgot him before.”

“Tony is in the kitchen,” Uncle Hiram assured her. “I brought him in.
He’s under the stove and as soon as he gets a little better acquainted,
I think he’ll come out.”

While they were eating supper--and a most delicious supper it was, too,
for Aunt Grace was a famous cook--Elizabeth Ann heard the clock strike
again. It sounded like a bell and she remembered what Uncle Hiram had
said--“four bells.”

Elizabeth Ann counted the strokes.

“It must be six o’clock,” she said politely.

“It’s seven o’clock,” said Aunt Grace.

“I just heard it strike six bells,” Uncle Hiram declared, taking out
his great silver watch. “Yes, the clock keeps good time--it’s exactly
seven o’clock.”

“But it struck six,” said the puzzled Elizabeth Ann.

“Now for pity’s sake, don’t tell that child about ship’s time
to-night,” begged Aunt Grace. “I’ve been married to your Uncle Hiram
for fifteen years,” she added, turning to Elizabeth Ann, “and I can’t
make head or tail of his bells. I go by my good Christian clock, and I
say it’s seven o’clock when it is seven o’clock; six bells will never
mean seven o’clock to me.”

Elizabeth Ann, before she went to bed was as completely tangled up
about time as a girl could well be. It seemed, for Uncle Hiram told
her so while Aunt Grace was giving Doris a hot bath and putting her
to bed--rather into her bunk--that on board a ship the half hours are
very important. The ship’s clock strikes for them all. And Uncle Hiram
showed Elizabeth Ann, using his beautiful mahogany clock which was in
what he called “the first cabin” (and that was the parlor) how the time
was told off, starting at midnight.

“One bell is half-past twelve,” explained Uncle Hiram. “Two bells is
one o’clock; three bells is half-past one, and so on, around the clock.
It’s easy enough to understand, once you’re used to it, but your Aunt
Grace never would bother to learn it. She says she went by land time so
long that she can’t learn any new way of telling time.”

“I don’t think it is easy,” Elizabeth Ann said honestly, “and it does
mix me up. But I am going to learn it. Ted and Lansing know lots of
things I don’t, and I am going to learn something to surprise them.”

“Don’t try to learn it all at once,” advised Uncle Hiram kindly. “Take
things easy--you’ll have all winter to learn ship’s time in, and I will
help you. There’s your Aunt Grace calling you now.”

Aunt Grace wanted Elizabeth Ann to take her bath, and after peeping
into the kitchen and seeing that Tony was asleep on a small round
rug quite as though he felt at home there, Elizabeth Ann climbed the
ladder up to the pretty blue and white bathroom and had her bath. Three
minutes after that she was fast asleep, for no matter how exciting it
might be to sleep in a bunk, no little girl who had traveled more than
two hundred miles in one day could hope to keep awake very long after
she had gotten into such a nice soft bed.

It was fortunate that the next day there was no school--perhaps Uncle
Hiram had arranged things purposely so that Elizabeth Ann and Doris
should reach the farm one day before school opened. He must have known
that there would be many things they wanted to see. The farm belonged
to Aunt Grace and she had lived on it all her life, she told the two
little girls, who insisted on drying the dishes for her the next
morning.

“Your Uncle Hiram,” said Aunt Grace, and while of course he was Doris’s
uncle Elizabeth Ann felt as though he might be her uncle “a little
bit” as she said, for Doris was her cousin. “Your Uncle Hiram was on
a sailing vessel for forty years. It’s no wonder he can’t bear to get
away from the sea. But when he retired, he came back to Gardner, where
he lived when he was a boy, and we planned to be married. I’m twenty
years younger than he is and I didn’t want to give up this farm--in
fact I’d promised my mother and father to always live here. Your uncle
would have liked to live nearer the ocean, I think, but he was very
nice about it. He had some money saved and he said he’d build us a
house to live in, if I would let him build the kind of house he liked.
So he built this ship and I had the tenant farmer move in the old farm
house and we’ve been right happy. Plenty of people think we’re crazy to
live in a place that is part ship and part house, but there are some
things I like about it.”

“I think it is lovely,” declared Elizabeth Ann loyally. “I like to go
up and down ladders; and I like to sleep in a bunk.”

“Well, I like the deck, myself,” Aunt Grace explained. “It’s the
best place to dry clothes you ever did see. And in summer we have a
awning stretched over part of it and have chairs out there and it is
fine--there’s always a breeze. Some folks call it the roof, of course,
but your Uncle Hiram likes me to say ‘deck’ and I always do.”

And after the dishes were dried and put away, Aunt Grace took Elizabeth
Ann and Doris up to see the deck. It was scrubbed to a shining
whiteness, and there was a railing all around, just as there would be
on a ship, so that no one could fall off. They could see far over the
fields, and Aunt Grace pointed out the farm house where the tenant
farmer lived and even the chimneys of the house on the next farm.

“Can we see the school from here?” asked Elizabeth Ann, who was just
the least bit anxious over the idea of going to a new school.



CHAPTER VII

SCHOOL NEWS


“See the school?” echoed Aunt Grace. “My dear child, of course you
can’t see the school; why it’s fully three miles from here, on the
other side of that section of woods. You have to walk half a mile to
get the bus.”

Elizabeth Ann hadn’t heard about the bus, and neither had Doris.

“You’re going to a consolidated school,” explained Aunt Grace. “When
I was a little girl they didn’t have them--we went to a little school
house near this farm. There was only one room, and my older sister
taught all the grades. But now they have combined a number of these
small schools into one large one. A bus goes through the country
gathering up the scholars, and in that way one school building can be
made to do the work of six or seven one-room buildings.”

“Why doesn’t the bus come and get us right here?” Doris asked.

That was almost the first question she had asked and Aunt Grace told
her she was glad to hear her voice.

“The bus couldn’t go round to every farm--it would take too long,”
Aunt Grace said. “So the pupils gather in certain places where the
bus driver knows they’ll be, and he picks them up in groups. You and
Elizabeth Ann and the other children who live around here, have to walk
to the nearest cross-roads--your uncle will tell you what time the bus
passes there and what time you have to leave the house. If there’s a
bad storm or it rains too hard, he will take you in the car as far as
the cross-roads; but your Uncle Doctor wrote to tell me that he wanted
both of you to walk whenever it is possible.”

Elizabeth Ann liked to walk and Doris didn’t. But everyone did as Uncle
Doctor directed, always.

“Then we can take our lunch to school, can’t we?” suggested Elizabeth
Ann.

“Why you’ll have to take your lunch,” Aunt Grace replied. “I believe
some of the teachers make hot soup in the winter, but there is no place
where you can buy anything to eat. The consolidated school is right in
the country; there was some talk of building it in Gardner, but they
couldn’t agree on a plot of ground for it. You’ll both be country girls
if you live on a farm all winter, and go to a country school.”

Elizabeth Ann and Doris had always wanted to take their lunches to
school. In Seabridge, Doris came home at noon to lunch, and Elizabeth
Ann had done that, too, wherever she went to school. Even at Aunt Ida’s
school, they had gone to Aunt Ida’s house for lunch--her house was next
door to the school.

“I think it will be more fun to carry our lunches,” said Elizabeth Ann.
“That is, if it won’t be too much trouble for you, Aunt Grace,” she
added.

Elizabeth Ann said “Aunt Grace” because Doris did, and now Aunt Grace
told her a surprising thing.

“I’ll be glad to put up lunches,” she declared. “I always wanted a
little girl or two of my own to work for; and it’s nice to hear you
call me ‘Aunt,’ Elizabeth Ann. You know you are distantly related to
Uncle Hiram.”

“Doris’s Uncle Hiram?” asked Elizabeth Ann.

“Yes,” Aunt Grace smiled a little. “Don’t ask me how it is, but I
believe your father is a sixth or seventh cousin of Hiram’s. You don’t
have to puzzle it out--it’s worse than the ship-time that Hiram is
always trying to get me to learn.”

They went down from the deck presently and Aunt Grace said she thought
Doris should lie down and take a little nap. This gave Elizabeth Ann an
excellent chance to study the mahogany clock, and listen to it strike.
And if ever she had said in her careless little mind that Aunt Grace
was “silly” not to learn ship-time, Elizabeth Ann was soon sorry.

For the more she puzzled over the eight bells, and the two and three
bells, the more confused she became. And when Uncle Hiram came in and
asked her where the first mate was, Elizabeth Ann merely raised her
head and stared at him.

“Who--who is the first mate?” she stammered uncertainly.

“Your Aunt Grace, to be sure,” said Uncle Hiram. “I’m the Captain of
this ship and she’s first mate. She stands the forenoon watch.”

“Is that the watch you carry in your pocket?” Elizabeth Ann asked,
beginning to feel that she didn’t understand anything Uncle Hiram said.

“No, the forenoon watch is from eight o’clock till noon,” said Uncle
Hiram. “That’s the morning hours, you see. At eight bells, or 12 noon,
I come up to the house for dinner.”

Elizabeth Ann blinked.

“How many bells is it now?” she asked, pointing to the clock which said
half-past eleven.

“Why, it’s seven bells,” Uncle Hiram replied promptly.

Then and there Elizabeth Ann decided that she must be like Aunt
Grace--it was so much easier to say “half past eleven” than to count up
to seven bells. Of course it was easier for Uncle Hiram to tell time
that way than by the regular time, for he had done it so long.

“Don’t bother your head about it,” he said now, noticing that Elizabeth
Ann was bewildered. “Perhaps you’ll pick it up as you go along, and if
you don’t, it doesn’t matter. Your Aunt Grace was brought up on a farm
and she can’t learn about the sea; I went to sea when I was a young lad
and I can’t pick up land ways. But we each do our way and get along
splendidly. There’s more than one way of doing a thing and I haven’t
much use for any man who thinks his is the only possible one.”

Elizabeth Ann thought that was very nice. If she learned to tell time
by the bells that would be fine--she could surprise Lansing and Ted.
But if she didn’t learn, Uncle Hiram wouldn’t be annoyed--he thought
that the old way of telling time--by the old way, Elizabeth Ann meant
the way she had been taught--was good, too.

Uncle Hiram had come up to the house before noon because he wanted to
drive to Gardner as soon as dinner was over and, he explained he could
get ready to go before dinner.

“I could ship two passengers,” he announced, a twinkle in his eye.

“That means we can go, Doris!” cried Elizabeth Ann joyfully.

“Does it?” Doris, who had just woke up from her nap, and was still a
bit sleepy, inquired doubtfully.

“Of course you may go,” said Aunt Grace, who had found time to cook
a marvelous dinner--with peach shortcake for dessert--informed them.
“Uncle Hiram just loves to have company with him when he drives to
Gardner.”

Aunt Grace wouldn’t hear of them waiting to help her with the
dishes--she said there were not many, and she was used to doing them
alone--and when Elizabeth Ann and Doris went outdoors to get into the
car, they found Tony sitting on the front doorstep, washing his face as
though he had always lived in the “Bonnie Susie.”

“Isn’t it nice to live in a house like that!” exclaimed Elizabeth Ann
proudly, looking back to wave to Aunt Grace as they drove away.

“Pretty good ship, if I do say it myself,” Uncle Hiram agreed proudly.

And all the way to town he told Elizabeth Ann and Doris stories of what
had happened to him while he was at sea.

“I can feel the way the hammocks used to sway in a storm, even now,”
he said. “I still sleep in a hammock, but your Aunt Grace couldn’t get
used to one; she had to have a bunk.”

Elizabeth Ann and Doris looked at each other. They were glad they had
bunks instead of hammocks--a hammock was all very well to sleep in for
an hour or two on a warm afternoon, but they didn’t care to sleep in
one.

Gardner was a pretty little town, about four miles from the farm. There
was one main store, where almost everything was sold that you could
mention. Uncle Hiram drove directly to this store and he said Elizabeth
Ann and Doris might come in with him while he bought the things he had
come for--knives for cutting corn, and gloves for the men who were to
cut it.

“Hello,” said Uncle Hiram as soon as he went into the store.
“Elizabeth Ann--Doris--here’s one of your neighbors. Catherine, this
is Elizabeth Ann Loring and Doris Mason, my nieces. They’re going to
school to-morrow, and Aunt Grace was saying she hoped you’d stop for
them as you go past the house. Catherine Gould lives near us,” Uncle
Hiram added.

Elizabeth Ann and Doris saw a pretty girl, about their own age, very
beautifully dressed. She didn’t look as though she could have much fun
in her pink silk frock, but it certainly was pretty. And she smiled at
Elizabeth Ann and Doris and was about to say something when suddenly
she frowned and looked so cross Elizabeth Ann was startled.

“Hello, Cathy!” said a boy’s voice, and a lad in faded overalls, with a
large package under his arm, pulled off his cap and smiled as he passed
the three girls.

“Hello, Roger!” Uncle Hiram boomed in his deep voice.

“I’m surprised your uncle speaks to him,” said Catherine, looking
crosser than ever. “Roger Calendar is only a taken boy.”



CHAPTER VIII

ROGER CALENDAR


Elizabeth Ann--the famous little question mark, as Uncle Doctor had
once jokingly called her--thought of several things she wanted to know.
She remembered the taken boy the man had been hunting for when he met
Uncle Hiram the day before. She wondered whether Roger Calendar could
be that boy. She wanted to know if people called him a “varmint.” She
wanted to know----

But Uncle Hiram had overheard Catherine’s remark. And if Elizabeth Ann
and Doris had ever wondered whether he could be really cross, they knew
the answer now. Uncle Hiram was not at all pleased.

“I don’t know what your father would say, Kitty, if he heard you make a
remark like that,” said Uncle Hiram. “Roger Calendar is a fine boy in
every respect. I hope the other pupils in school don’t feel toward him
as you do.”

“Oh, no one pays any attention to him,” Catherine replied. “He keeps
to himself. I guess he doesn’t feel just right among the rest of us. I
don’t think the Bostwicks ought to send him to school, but Mr. Bostwick
told my father he had to; there’s a law that all children have to be
educated.”

“It’s a pity there isn’t a law that says all children have to be taught
kindness and politeness,” said Uncle Hiram. “I hope Elizabeth Ann and
Doris will have too much sense to follow your example.”

Catherine Gould didn’t seem abashed. She merely smiled a little, as
though Uncle Hiram was mistaken about her. Then she told Elizabeth Ann
that she would stop for her and Doris the next morning “in time to
get the bus,” and went out of the store. Elizabeth Ann saw her cross
the street and get into a beautiful dark blue car--a much larger and
handsomer car than Uncle Hiram’s.

“Isn’t she pretty!” said Doris wistfully. “And did you see her dress?
I wanted a new dress, but Mother said I’d better wait till Christmas
time.”

“I don’t like her so much,” Elizabeth Ann declared.

“Catherine is a nice girl,” said Uncle Hiram who had wonderful hearing
and seldom missed a word. “She’s a fine girl, in many ways; but her
father is the wealthiest man in this township, and Catherine is the
only child and I’m afraid she is a little spoiled. No one but a silly,
spoiled girl would talk as she does about Roger Calendar.”

“Is he the taken boy who was lost?” asked Elizabeth Ann quickly.

“Oh, my, no,” Uncle Hiram answered. “That poor boy must live many miles
away from us. I never saw the man before who was searching for him.
Roger Calendar lives with the Bostwicks whose land adjoins ours on one
side. The Goulds live on the other side. Catherine and Roger must go in
to school every morning on the same bus, when school is in session; I
don’t like to think of her being rude to him.”

As it happened, Elizabeth Ann and Doris had a chance to become
acquainted with Roger Calendar on the way home. Uncle Hiram came up
with him about half a mile out of town, and offered him a “lift.”

“You children want to know each other,” said Uncle Hiram, as Roger
climbed into the seat beside him. “Elizabeth Ann and Doris, this is
Roger Calendar who is our neighbor; and Roger, these are my nieces.
They start school to-morrow, and if they’re late for the bus you let me
know. I don’t let anyone on my ship get tardy marks more than once.”

Roger smiled a little shyly at the two girls. He had a friendly face
and nice dark eyes and hair. But his clothes were terribly patched and
Elizabeth Ann didn’t wonder he was ashamed of his shoes. She caught
a glimpse of them, patched with great squares of different colored
leather, before Roger seemed to suddenly remember them, and then he
thrust his feet out of sight, under the seat as far as they would go.

“You’ll be on time all right, if Cathy Gould calls for you,” said
Roger. “Hardly anyone is late, anyway, because if you miss the bus you
never can walk to school in time for the nine o’clock bell. The only
thing to do is to turn around and go home and be marked absent for a
day.”

When they reached the road that led to the Bostwick farm, Roger
insisted he must get out.

“I’ll drive you all the way in,” offered Uncle Hiram. “I have plenty of
time. That package you are carrying is too heavy for a boy your size,
anyway. Better let me take you right up to the barn door, Roger.”

“No, please,” Roger said, getting out of the car so hastily that he
almost tripped. “You’re awfully good, Mr. Kent, but Mr. Bostwick
doesn’t like me to take rides. He wouldn’t like it if he saw you
bringing me home.”

“What did I tell you about calling me Mr. Kent?” said Uncle Hiram in
his crossest voice.

“I forgot--I honestly did,” Roger apologized. “I meant to say ‘Uncle
Hiram.’ Good-by, Uncle Hiram, and thank you a lot for the lift.
Good-by, Elizabeth Ann and Doris--see you in school to-morrow.”

He lifted the heavy package that pulled him over sideways when he
carried it, and almost ran down the road to the Bostwick farm.

“Does everyone call you Uncle Hiram?” asked Elizabeth Ann curiously.

“Just about everybody,” Uncle Hiram assured her, smiling. “Your Aunt
Grace and I long ago made up our minds that we’d have nephews and
nieces by the dozen and we seem to have them.”

Tony was still on the front stoop of the Bonnie Susie when they reached
home. But he consented to follow Elizabeth Ann and Doris out to the
corn field. They wanted to see the corn being cut and Uncle Hiram said
it was high time they saw the farm.

The tenant farmer, whose name was Mr. Lawton, and his two sons were
cutting corn, and Elizabeth Ann and Doris watched them for a while as
they went up and down the long rows. Tony caught a field mouse and was
so pleased with himself that Elizabeth Ann scolded him, and told him he
was vain.

“You run up to the house, and see my wife,” said Mr. Lawton, the first
time he stopped long enough to talk to them, “and she’ll show you what
she has been doing this morning and, likely as not she’ll give you a
sample. Mother likes to give away samples.”

Uncle Hiram wanted to stay in the field and as Elizabeth Ann and Doris
could see the farmhouse from where they stood, there was no reason
why they couldn’t go alone to call on Mrs. Lawton. Elizabeth Ann
thought she would be surprised to see them, but when they rang the
old-fashioned pull bell and a stout, pink-cheeked woman came to the
door, she didn’t look at all surprised to see two little girls on her
door step.

“You’re the two little nieces Mrs. Kent has been expecting, aren’t
you?” she said pleasantly. “I’m Mrs. Lawton, of course. Come right in.
If you don’t mind coming into the kitchen, I can finish putting the
labels on my jelly.”

Mrs. Lawton’s kitchen was most pleasant, though not, Elizabeth Ann
decided, quite as nice as Aunt Grace’s kitchen which Uncle Hiram would
call the galley. But the Lawton kitchen was large, and there was a
great fire in the range and oh, my, how deliciously the room did smell.

“I’ve made forty glasses of grape jelly this morning,” said Mrs. Lawton
proudly. “I’d like you to try some on bread and butter; I always think
jelly tastes better on bread and butter than any other way you can eat
it. And I’ll be writing my labels while you eat.”

She cut two perfectly huge slices from a loaf of fine white home-made
bread, and spread each of them thickly with butter. Then she covered
the butter with sparkling grape jelly, and put the bread on two blue
and white plates.

“See if you don’t like that,” she said.

Elizabeth Ann and Doris thought the jelly was the best they had ever
tasted. And while Mrs. Lawton wrote “Grape Jelly” on a lot of little
red and white labels and pasted them on the glasses she had filled,
Elizabeth Ann told her about the jam and jelly she had seen in the
cellar of the restaurant; also how the strange woman had mistaken her
for Esther, and had punished her with the ruler.

“Well, I think that was a shame,” said Mrs. Lawton, “and I’ll give you
a glass of jelly for yourself, to help you forget that experience. And
here’s a glass for Doris, too.”

When Elizabeth Ann and Doris showed Aunt Grace the jelly, she said
they should have it in their sandwiches for school the next day. That
made both little girls feel as though school time was very near; and
when they went to bed early that night in order to be ready for their
walk in the morning, they said they knew they would stay awake and
think about the new school. They didn’t, of course, but went straight
to sleep like sensible children, and were very much surprised to be
awakened by Aunt Grace the next morning, and told that it was time to
get dressed to go to school.



CHAPTER IX

OFF FOR SCHOOL


Elizabeth Ann and Doris had just finished their breakfast when
Catherine Gould called for them. Catherine wore the prettiest
dress--perhaps a little too “fussy” for school, but a beautiful green
color. She had a fancy lunch box, too, with all sorts of compartments,
for her sandwiches and a bottle to keep her soup hot in.

Aunt Grace had packed a nice lunch for Elizabeth Ann and one just
like it for Doris; she had told them that their dresses were pretty,
too--Elizabeth Ann wore a blue and white gingham dress and Doris had a
pink one.

“I wanted Daddy to take me as far as the cross-roads in his car every
morning,” said Catherine, “but just because he walked to school when
he was a little boy, he thinks I need exercise. I hate walking.”

“I like it,” Elizabeth Ann declared, kissing Aunt Grace good-by.

“Do you like living in that funny place?” asked Catherine, as the three
little girls walked down the lane which led to the road they were to
take.

“Why, it’s the nicest house I ever lived in!” Elizabeth Ann said
enthusiastically. “Doris is crazy about it--aren’t you, Doris? We go
up and down ladders instead of stairs, and we sleep in bunks instead
of beds. And the roof is a deck, and it’s the nicest place to play you
ever saw.”

“Yes it is,” declared Doris, forgetting her shyness. “And Elizabeth Ann
can tell ship-time--she learns everything.”

“Oh, Doris, I only know a little bit about it,” Elizabeth Ann
protested, turning red. “I have to stop and count, and most of the time
I get it all wrong.”

Catherine did not seem to be listening. She was peering down the road.

“Here comes that awful Roger Calendar,” she said crossly. “It will be
just like him to try to walk with us; don’t pay any attention to him
and maybe he’ll let us alone.”

Now Doris might have done as Catherine asked--Doris was apt to do
whatever anyone asked of her. But Elizabeth Ann liked to do her own
thinking, and she remembered what Uncle Hiram had said about Roger.

“I think he is a nice boy,” said Elizabeth Ann, “and I mean to speak to
him. He lives on the farm next to us; Uncle Hiram said so.”

“He only lives with the Bostwicks who own the farm,” said Catherine
scornfully. “Roger is a taken boy--didn’t you hear me tell you that
yesterday? He used to live at the poor farm, until the Bostwicks took
him. He works for them, and the only reason they send him to school is
because the Board of Education makes them.”

Roger was waiting at the Bostwick mailbox as they came up to him. He
did not seem to notice that Catherine looked straight and pretended not
to see him.

“Hello, Catherine,” said Roger. “Good morning, Elizabeth Ann. How are
you, Doris? Are you glad or sorry school has started?”

Roger fell into step beside Elizabeth Ann. He carried a small brown
paper parcel in his hand--his lunch, probably, thought Elizabeth Ann,
who also suspected that there could not be more than a couple of
sandwiches in such a small package. Two sandwiches were not much lunch
for a hungry boy, she thought. Aunt Grace had insisted on making four
apiece for her and Doris.

“I like school,” said Elizabeth Ann, as Doris didn’t answer and
Catherine continued to stare straight ahead. “I’m not sure about this
school, but maybe I’ll like it.”

“If you’re in our class, you’ll like school,” declared Roger. “We have
the finest teacher in the whole school, haven’t we, Cathy?”

Catherine whirled upon him.

“Roger Calendar, if you don’t stop calling me ‘Cathy,’ I’ll do
something awful to you!” she scolded. “I’ve told you twenty times I
hate it.”

“I’m sorry,” apologized Roger. “I keep forgetting. Isn’t Miss Owen a
nice teacher, Catherine?”

Catherine tossed her head.

“You may like her,” she said coldly. “I never could see anything in her
to rave about. Sometimes she gets too cross for words.”

“She’s a fine teacher,” declared Roger. “You’ll like her, Elizabeth
Ann.”

“Here comes Mattie Harrison,” Catherine announced, waving her hand to a
little girl who came running across a plowed field.

Mattie Harrison was quite breathless when she reached them. She was
short and fat and her brown eyes twinkled as Catherine introduced her.
Elizabeth Ann liked her at once because she spoke to Roger and asked
him if he had had a nice summer.

“I guess he worked the same as usual,” said Catherine in what she may
have intended to be a low voice, but which Roger heard, for his face
flushed.

He said nothing, however, and went on talking to Elizabeth Ann and
Doris, while Catherine and Mattie walked ahead.

Elizabeth Ann knew when they were coming to the cross-roads because she
saw a group of children waiting there. She counted a dozen boys and
girls, and all of them knew Catherine and Mattie and Roger, for they
called them by name. Doris was quite overwhelmed at the sight of so
many strangers, and she tried to hide behind Elizabeth Ann, but Mattie
proved to be an expert at helping people to know each other and before
the bus came she had introduced Doris to a little girl almost as shy as
herself, and the two were talking like old friends. This other little
girl’s name was Coralie--Coralie Slade, and Doris liked her.

“Honk! Honk! Honk!” sounded a deep hoarse horn presently.

Down the road came a great gray, lumbering bus. It stopped within three
feet of the waiting children and the grinning young driver looked out
at them.

“Line up,” he commanded. “Who’s the little girl in the blue and white
dress? Did she ride with me last winter?”

“She’s Elizabeth Ann Loring, Dave,” said Roger Calendar. “And this is
her cousin, Doris Mason. They’re going to spend the winter with Uncle
Hiram and go to our school.”

“Let company get in first,” Dave, the driver, directed. “Hop in,
Elizabeth Ann Loring, and Doris Mason.”

Dave evidently had his passengers well trained. None of the children
moved after they had formed themselves into a straight line. They
waited to see what Dave wanted them to do.

Elizabeth Ann and Doris stepped into the bus. It had long seats down
either side and these were about half filled with boys and girls. Some
were older--they afterward learned that these were pupils in the higher
grades.

“Glad to know you,” said Dave from behind his wheel. “Sit down anywhere
you like. Now then, line move up--one at a time and anyone who crowds
goes to the foot of the class.”

One by one the boys and girls filed into the bus and took seats.
Elizabeth Ann, watching, saw at once how wise Dave was to make them
enter one at a time. If they had tried to board the bus in a struggling
crowd, it would mean only confusion and delay. Dave kept an eagle eye
on the entering line and no one dared push his neighbor. Elizabeth Ann
saw that the girls came first--Dave had taught the boys to wait their
turn.

“All right,” said Dave, when the last pupil was safely in. “I hope
you’ll all study your books and improve your time on the way to school.”

This was a joke and everyone laughed at it. Of course there were no
lessons to be studied the first day of school. Instead the boys and
girls talked to each other, and as the bus made a great noise the
children had to shout to make themselves heard. Dave did not seem to
mind the noise---- Roger told Elizabeth Ann that he was used to it,
since he had driven the school bus for three years. But while Dave
didn’t mind noise, he wouldn’t allow anyone to leave his seat and play
in the aisle. It was the rule--Roger told Elizabeth Ann this, too--that
if anyone left his seat Dave would stop the bus at once, and refuse to
go ahead until the boy or girl sat down again.

“We haven’t any too much time and if Dave stops even once or twice,
we may be late,” Roger shouted to Elizabeth Ann. “Once the whole bus
load was late, and we had to stay an hour after school. That made us
miss the bus home and we all had to walk. Dave won’t stand for any
skylarking, and the kids know he means what he says.”

The bus made two more stops, picking up four boys and two girls at
one place, and three girls and three boys at another. Then it was
comfortably filled and Dave drove steadily and at a fair rate of speed
until they came in sight of a large brick building with a fenced in
yard in front of it, and a flag on the flag pole near the gate.

“There’s our school,” said Roger as the bus stopped.



CHAPTER X

A BUSY MORNING


Elizabeth Ann peered through the window--she and Doris were in the back
of the bus and couldn’t hope to get out for several seconds. Elizabeth
Ann saw that the yard fairly swarmed with children, and that they made
a rush for the gate to see who had arrived on the bus.

“I think this school is too big,” whispered Doris, who felt she had
seen enough strange children to last her for a long time.

“Oh, we can play tag and everything,” Elizabeth Ann reminded her
happily, standing up because the girl in front of her was standing up
and that meant it was time to leave the bus.

Elizabeth Ann had no brothers or sisters, and she had never in all her
life had too many children to play with. She thought that school yard
was a fine place and she could just see herself playing tag in it from
one end to the other.

“You have to go in and be registered,” said Catherine Gould.

These were almost the only words she had said since Roger had begun to
talk to Elizabeth Ann. Catherine had talked to Mattie Harrison most of
the time.

“Where do we register?” Elizabeth Ann asked, following Catherine out of
the bus.

Doris came next and pressed close to her cousin. Doris was beginning to
wish she had not come.

“I’ll show you,” offered Catherine, pushing her way through the groups
of laughing, chattering children.

Elizabeth Ann and Doris followed her into the building, down a long
hall, and up a short flight of stairs.

“Miss Owen, here’s Elizabeth Ann and Doris,” said Catherine, as soon as
she opened the door nearest to the stairs.

Miss Owen, the teacher, was talking to another teacher at her desk.
She looked surprised, but when she saw Elizabeth Ann and Doris she came
over to them instantly.

“How do you do?” she said in a lovely voice. “I’m glad you are going
to be in my room this term. Your Uncle Hiram wrote to me about you and
I’ve been expecting you.”

Of course that made even the shy Doris feel at home at once. Then
Miss Owen showed them their desks and the cloakroom and then the
nine o’clock bell rang and it was time to go down stairs where the
auditorium was, and where assembly was held every morning.

This was the largest school Doris had ever attended. It was the largest
Elizabeth Ann had ever gone to, except the school where she had been
a pupil in New York when she visited her Aunt Isabel. This new school
was, as Aunt Grace had explained, really six or seven little country
schools rolled into one--and when all the pupils were gathered together
in the auditorium, they filled all the seats that were arranged in rows
on the first floor, and rose in tiers in the gallery.

And how they could sing! One of the older pupils played the piano for
them and when the students sang the hymn Elizabeth Ann wondered whether
Uncle Hiram, at home in the Bonnie Susie, couldn’t hear them. She sang,
too, and so did Doris. It was impossible to be in that auditorium and
not join in the song. Elizabeth Ann knew right away that she was going
to like the new school.

Afterward she was just as sure. They marched back to their class room
and Miss Owen began to teach them spelling. They had spelling and
reading, and then it was time for recess. They were allowed twenty
minutes for recess, and Miss Owen made every one of them go out and
play in the yard. She said no pupil of hers could sit indoors on such a
fine day.

Elizabeth Ann and Doris were asked to join a game of jack stones with
Mattie Harrison and another little girl who had not been on the bus.
Her name was Flora Gabrie. Catherine Gould walked up and down the yard
with her arm around one of the older girls and seemed to be listening
intently to what she was saying.

“That’s Lenora Miller,” said Mattie, pointing to the older girl.
“Catherine Gould thinks everything Lenora says is just right. I
shouldn’t wonder if Lenora gets herself invited to Catherine’s party.”

“Is she going to give a party?” asked Elizabeth Ann, who could ask
questions and scoop up jack stones at the same time.

“Catherine is always giving parties,” Mattie informed her. “She lives
in a great big house, and her mother lets her do anything she pleases.”

The bell rang for the end of recess just then, and the rest of the
morning Elizabeth Ann was too busy trying to learn to write nicely, to
think much about parties, or girls whose mothers allowed them to do
anything they pleased.

Mattie had explained to Elizabeth Ann and Doris about the lunch hour.
In the winter she said, there was a large, warm, light room in the
basement with tables, where the pupils ate their lunches. But as long
as the weather remained warm and pleasant--as it usually did throughout
September--the children were supposed to eat their lunches outdoors.

“Miss Owen,” Mattie had explained, “is crazy about fresh air.”

At noon, when the bell rang, Elizabeth Ann was starving. She was sure
she had never been so hungry before in her life.

“Come on, we have to hurry, or we don’t get a tree,” said Mattie, who
certainly knew all about school.

Elizabeth Ann grasped her lunch box and caught hold of Doris’s hand.

“Hurry!” she said, and helter skelter across the play ground they ran,
to a row of apple trees that were behind the building.

Boys and girls were climbing into these trees--you know an apple tree
is close to the ground and easy to climb--and though Elizabeth Ann and
Mattie both had to tug and pull Doris, to get her up into the tree,
they all agreed, once they were settled, that it was a lovely place to
eat lunch.

They could look out through the branches, and the way the limbs of the
tree grew sitting in it was as easy as sitting in a comfortable rocking
chair.

“Hello!” called Roger Calendar, leaning out from the tree next to the
one where Elizabeth Ann and Doris and Mattie were perched.

“Hello!” Mattie answered. “Did you see your writing that Miss Owen
pinned up on the board?”

Roger blushed and ducked behind a convenient branch.

“Are you on a diet, Roger?” Catherine Gould called to him. “Are you
afraid you’re getting too fat?”

Catherine sat on the grass, eating her lunch with several of the
grammar grade pupils. Catherine never would climb a tree, Mattie
whispered to Elizabeth Ann. She said that only boys liked to climb
trees.

“Why, I like to climb ’em,” said Elizabeth Ann, meaning the trees. “So
does Doris, though she can’t climb a very high tree. Lots of girls like
to climb trees.”

“Of course they do,” Mattie agreed. “Catherine only says that, because
she doesn’t like to climb trees. And she’s mad because Roger’s writing
was the best in the class this morning, and Miss Owen pinned it on the
board. When Catherine is mad you can always tell--she says some mean
thing.”

“Why--what did she say that was mean?” asked Elizabeth Ann, not
understanding.

“Oh, that about asking Roger if he was dieting to keep from getting too
fat,” Mattie explained. “Poor Roger gets only two sandwiches for his
lunch. He’s almost always hungry. The Bostwicks don’t think he needs
much to eat--my mother says they don’t eat much themselves, and they
forget when a boy is growing he needs plenty to eat. Roger can eat his
lunch in two minutes and it’s mean of Catherine to ask him if he’s
afraid of getting fat. He’s the thinnest boy in school now.”

Yes, Elizabeth Ann could see that kind of thing was unkind for
Catherine to say. You couldn’t excuse her, either, by telling yourself
that she didn’t know about Roger. Catherine lived near Roger and knew
all about him--that he was a “taken boy” and dependent upon the people
for whom he worked for his food and clothing. There was every reason in
the world why Catherine Gould, with a father and mother and a lovely
home should have been kind to Roger who had nothing he could call his
own.

“But she is so pretty, she must be nice,” Elizabeth Ann argued,
tumbling out of the tree to have a game of tag before the bell should
ring. “Catherine is pretty and she has lovely dresses; I don’t believe
she knows when she is being mean to Roger.”



CHAPTER XI

PARTY PLANS


Elizabeth Ann learned more about Catherine Gould as the school term
advanced. Catherine lived nearer to the Bonnie Susie than any other
girl, and she was apt to come over Saturdays, to play with Elizabeth
Ann and Doris. They went to her house, too, and as Mattie had said,
Catherine did live in a large house and there wasn’t much that her
mother wouldn’t let her do.

“I wish my mother would be like Mrs. Gould,” said Doris, one night
at the supper table. “Mrs. Gould only says, ‘Well, all right,’ when
Catherine tells her she doesn’t want to do her homework.”

Uncle Hiram shook his head.

“That is exactly why Catherine doesn’t get along better in school,”
said he. “She only does what she wants to do. Most of the time she
doesn’t want to study her homework. So last June she wasn’t promoted
with the rest of her class.”

“Catherine always talks about her piano lessons,” declared Elizabeth
Ann. “But she doesn’t like to practice. And her mother has to do all
the explaining when the teacher comes, and Catherine doesn’t know her
music lesson.”

“Well, anyway, she has a good time,” Doris said enviously.

Doris was getting to look more like the old Doris that Elizabeth Ann
remembered at Aunt Ida’s school. Her cheeks were a little pinker
each day, she ate more mashed potato for supper, and she hardly ever
grumbled over her breakfast oatmeal any more. To be sure, she didn’t
like walking to the bus--and very often when Mr. Gould stopped at
the Bonnie Susie, with Catherine seated beside him in his car, Doris
thought that Uncle Hiram was “mean,” because he insisted that Elizabeth
Ann and Doris should walk to the bus.

“Orders are orders,” Uncle Hiram was fond of saying, “and your Uncle
Doctor said plainly that you two children are to walk every day it’s
possible. You don’t want to forget how to use your feet, do you, Doris?”

And then Aunt Grace would say, apparently as though she had just
thought of it, “Of course, if you don’t feel strong enough to walk,
Doris, your uncle might be willing for you to ride; but if you don’t
feel well you’ll have to go to bed earlier every night and I couldn’t
think of letting you go to Catherine’s party.”

That always made Doris declare hastily that she didn’t mind walking
at all. Elizabeth Ann, who remembered how Uncle Doctor made his sick
people take walks whether they wanted to or not, was glad that Aunt
Grace was there to remind Doris about the party. For Doris could be
rather stubborn, and she might say she wouldn’t walk to the bus--only
she never in the wide world would say that if she knew she couldn’t go
to Catherine’s party.

For Catherine was planning a wonderful party--the best and largest, so
she said, that she had ever given, and it would be on Hallowe’en, which
is, of course one of the best times in the whole of the year for party
fun.

“I’m going to have prizes for the nicest costumes and everything,”
announced Catherine importantly. “You all have to dress up and wear
masks, so no one will know who you are.”

Catherine saw no reason for keeping her party plans a secret and she
early announced that she meant to invite her entire class to her house,
except Roger Calendar.

“I don’t see any reason why I have to ask him,” said Catherine, “I
don’t like him and anyway he won’t have anything fit to wear.”

But Catherine soon found out that she couldn’t invite the entire class
and leave one out. Miss Owen said that would be a dreadful thing to do
and Catherine’s own daddy, when he heard of the plan, said he would not
let such a thing happen.

“If you plan to invite the entire class, you’ll have to invite every
one of them,” said Mr. Gould to his daughter, firmly. “I won’t have
anyone deliberately slighted; I like Roger Calendar, and the boy gets
little enough fun. Ask him to your party.”

“He won’t have anything to wear,” objected Catherine.

“He can wear what he pleases to a Hallowe’en party,” Mr. Gould said.
“Ask him, anyway.”

Now Catherine’s mother might let her do as she pleased, but her daddy,
although he loved her dearly, could not be coaxed or teased. Catherine
knew she would have to invite Roger, or else not have any party. Rather
than give up the whole plan, she sent him one of the pretty invitations.

“Perhaps he will have sense enough not to come,” she said to Elizabeth
Ann.

And at first it looked as though Roger wouldn’t go to the party.

“No, I’m not going,” he said when Elizabeth Ann spoke to him about it.
“I don’t believe Catherine wants me to come to her party, and besides I
haven’t a costume. Everyone is going to dress up and I’ll look queer.
I suppose I could go as a tramp, but I’m tired of looking like a tramp
every day.”

Elizabeth Ann thought this over. Doris said she was silly to worry
about Roger, and she’d much better spend the time thinking up
something for them to wear. Doris depended on Elizabeth Ann to “think”
her a costume, as she said.

“I want Roger to have a good time,” explained Elizabeth Ann, “and he
can’t have a good time unless he has a costume to wear. I’m going to
ask Uncle Hiram what to do about it.”

By this time Elizabeth Ann and Uncle Hiram were excellent friends.
He had taught her to tell time by the ship’s clock, and though she
couldn’t, as she wrote Uncle Doctor, do it in a hurry, if she went
about it slowly she could count the hours by bells very nicely. Uncle
Hiram was always telling her that she would make a fine little sailor,
and Elizabeth Ann thought that if she hadn’t first planned to be a
doctor like Uncle Doctor and Lex, she might have liked to be a sailor.

“Uncle Hiram,” said Elizabeth Ann one afternoon when she came in,
red-cheeked and breathless from running down the lane--she had raced
Doris home from the bus and had won, as she usually did--“Uncle Hiram,
you know that Catherine Gould is going to give a party Hallowe’en.
That’s only a week off now. It’s going to be a party with prizes and
’freshments and everything. And all the class is invited.”

“Seems to me,” Uncle Hiram answered, his eyes twinkling, “that I heard
something about this party before.”

“I may have told you something about it,” admitted Elizabeth Ann, “but
I didn’t tell you about Roger Calendar. Catherine invited him to come
and he doesn’t want to go, because he hasn’t any costume.”

“What kind of a costume does he want?” Uncle Hiram asked showing the
liveliest interest.

“Oh--I don’t know,” confessed Elizabeth Ann. “Something that isn’t a
tramp costume, I guess. He says he looks like a tramp every day, and he
won’t go to the party dressed to look like one.”

“Don’t blame him,” Uncle Hiram said. “Don’t blame him a bit. I think I
can lend the lad something--suppose you come with me, Elizabeth Ann,
and we’ll overhaul a chest or two and see what we can drag up in our
net.”

“I love to overhaul,” declared the enthusiastic Elizabeth Ann, who
hadn’t the slightest idea what Uncle Hiram meant.



CHAPTER XII

SEAMEN’S CHESTS


But it was usually safe to think that what Uncle Hiram planned would be
pleasant. And when Elizabeth Ann found herself in a small square dark
room, in the hold of the ship, according to Uncle Hiram--and the cellar
as Aunt Grace called it--she began to feel a thrill of excitement.
Doris had gone home with Catherine directly from the bus, and would not
come till supper time.

Uncle Hiram turned on the electric light and Elizabeth Ann saw that
Tony was purring against her legs--he had followed them down. It had
taken Tony a little time to learn to go up and down ladders, but now he
could do it beautifully.

“Oh-h, what are they?” asked Elizabeth Ann, staring.

All around the room were dark, polished boxes. They had lids and locks
and there were little keys in each lock.

“Chests,” said Uncle Hiram, enjoying her surprise. “Seamen’s chests,
my dear. And in one of them, unless I’m greatly mistaken, we’ll find
something that Roger Calendar will be proud to wear to the party.”

Uncle Hiram unlocked the lid of one chest and showed Elizabeth Ann a
neatly typewritten list pasted inside the lid.

“I did that to every chest as I packed it,” he explained. “I can tell
what is in every chest. These things are all trifles I picked up on
my voyages--things your Aunt Grace doesn’t want to keep in the first
cabin. She couldn’t keep them all up there, anyway--isn’t enough room.”

Elizabeth Ann almost forgot about Roger and the party as she turned
over the things in the different chests as Uncle Hiram unlocked one
after the other. There were strings of beads, and marvelously colored
shells and dried star fish and pebbles with flecks of shining gold in
them.

There were yards and yards of beautiful silks from far away countries
and perfumes and spices that filled the air with fragrance as soon
as the chest in which they were kept, was opened. There were bits of
carved wood, and fans made of silk, and other fans made of shell. There
were combs and ear-rings and funny lacquered shoes. There were little
ivory figures--like the ones Elizabeth Ann had seen in Aunt Isabel’s
cabinets when she visited her in New York. In fact there were so many
things tucked away in those chests that Elizabeth Ann felt as though
she might be visiting Santa Claus and looking over all the things
he must have put away. Only these were not toys--Uncle Hiram hadn’t
collected toys, though he did have a couple of odd-looking dolls made
from carved bones.

“Now this is what I had in mind for Roger,” said Uncle Hiram, unlocking
the last chest. “It may be a little large for him, but your Aunt Grace
can take a tuck or two in it. She’s handy with her needle. How do you
think Roger would like this?”

He drew out something made of dark blue silk and held it up for
Elizabeth Ann to see. There were long trousers and a jacket almost
solidly embroidered in vivid colors--red and blue and silver and gold
and green. As Elizabeth Ann looked at it, she saw that there were gold
dragons cunningly placed in the embroidery. A little silk skull cap
went with the costume and embroidered silk slippers.

“No one around here has ever seen this,” said Uncle Hiram. “I think it
will disguise Roger pretty thoroughly. I believe we have some masks
around the house--your Aunt Grace will remember where they are--just
large enough to cover your eyes. Roger might as well have one of those.”

Aunt Grace, when she saw the costume, said it would be very easy to
alter it to fit Roger. And he stopped in for a few minutes the next
Saturday morning--he didn’t dare stay long, for he was supposed to do
most of his farm work on Saturday when there was no school--and Aunt
Grace made him put on the costume while she went all over it and marked
it with pins where she was to make it smaller or shorter.

“Suppose something happens to it?” Roger kept asking nervously. “I
never wore silk clothes--they must be expensive. Suppose somebody
spills something on me?”

“Let ’em spill,” said Uncle Hiram calmly. “I’ve had that Chinese
costume for twenty years or so and it’s never done anybody a bit of
good; it’s high time it began to earn a little interest. You wear it
Roger, and if you tear it or sit down on an apple pie, I won’t say a
word.”

Aunt Grace hunted through her things and found three little
masks--“dominoes,” she called them. These went across the eyes and
Elizabeth Ann didn’t think they were much help. She was sure that
anyone would know her if she didn’t cover up more of her face than
that. But when she looked at herself in the glass with her domino on,
she was forced to admit that she didn’t look at all like Elizabeth Ann
Loring.

“Why I might be Doris,” said the astonished Elizabeth Ann. “And Doris
looks as much like me as she looks like herself. Perhaps dominoes are
good masks, after all.”

Of course Elizabeth Ann was interested in her own costume. Now that she
knew Roger was provided with something to wear, Elizabeth Ann could
plan for herself and Doris. And she decided that they would go to
Catherine’s party dressed as two little black cats.

“It’s easy,” said Elizabeth Ann when Doris said she didn’t see what
they could wear that would make them look like black cats. “Aunt Grace
will make us the suits out of that old black coat she has--she said the
other day she meant to cut it up for carpet rags. And we’ll wear white
gloves and our white canvas shoes and that will make us look as though
we had white paws.”

The old black cloth coat proved to be even better for cat costumes than
Elizabeth Ann had suspected. For it was a material called zibelene and
was covered with short fine hairs. You can see how cloth like that
would make excellent cat fur for little girls to wear to a party.

Aunt Grace cut the costumes very much like the sleeping garments some
children wear in winter--with long sleeves and legs that came down
to the ankles. She made caps, too, with little perky ears that stood
up. Elizabeth Ann and Doris had brought their white canvas shoes with
them, but getting gloves was a more serious matter. Finally Uncle Hiram
drove to town and bought them each a pair of the white canvas gloves
that farmers use for much of their work. These of course were miles
too large for the little girls, but clever Aunt Grace--who could do
practically anything with a sewing machine or her needle--ripped the
gloves apart, cut them to fit, and sewed them up again.

It did seem as though Hallowe’en would never come. The children at
school talked so much about the party that Miss Owen said she was
afraid they wouldn’t have anything to say to each other when they met
at Catherine’s house. And Miss Owen said, too, that it would be better
if they paid a little more attention to their lessons, and that she
certainly could not excuse boys and girls who didn’t make any attempt
to do their homework.

Catherine was one of these. She said she was so busy getting ready for
the party that she had no time to study at home.

“You don’t get ready for a party at night,” Mattie Harrison told her.
“You could study your homework after supper. Anyway, I don’t believe
you do a thing about the party--your mother always does every single
thing for you.”

But Catherine went right on, letting her homework go, and Miss Owen
kept her in after school, and never paid any attention when she cried.

“Orders are orders,” Uncle Hiram always said when Elizabeth Ann told
him about Catherine, who used to sit at her desk with the tears rolling
down her face while the rest of the class marched out of the school at
the end of the afternoon session.

If Catherine were kept in too late she missed the bus--which left half
an hour after school closed on clear days and fifteen minutes after on
stormy days. Miss Owen didn’t like to have anyone miss the bus, and
if she could possibly dismiss her pupils she did it in time to let
them make connections. It was a rule that all the children who had to
wait for the bus must play in the school yard, and one of the teachers
always stayed till the bus came. This was because some boys and girls
were absent-minded and would have allowed the bus to go without them if
a teacher had not been on hand to remind them to stop playing.

“I think,” said Uncle Hiram when he heard that Catherine had had to
stay in for the third afternoon in one week, “I think Miss Owen will be
glad when this party is over.”

Dave, the driver of the bus, had heard about the party, too. Catherine
talked of nothing else. And once, when she missed the bus in the
morning and had had to go home, because there wasn’t time to walk all
the distance to school, she said that Dave was ahead of his time and
that she meant to ask her father to complain to the School Board.

Elizabeth Ann told Doris that she thought perhaps it was better not
to have your mother let you do just as you pleased--for Catherine
apparently expected everyone else to let her do as she pleased. And it
wasn’t always convenient.

One morning, a few days before Hallowe’en, Elizabeth Ann and Doris were
hurrying to make the bus. They were a little late for they had waited
for Catherine as long as they dared. Finally Aunt Grace had telephoned
Catherine’s mother who said that Catherine was just eating her
breakfast. She said that Elizabeth Ann and Doris should go on and that
Catherine’s daddy would take her in the car as far as the cross-roads.

It was a cold morning--all the lovely fall weather had gone and the sky
was gray, while a keen wind blew over the fields--and Elizabeth Ann and
Doris were glad to walk fast.

“I don’t believe we’ll make the bus,” panted Doris, turning around so
that the wind wouldn’t blow in her face.

“Yes we will--come on--don’t stop--hurry!” commanded Elizabeth Ann.

“Oh--here comes Catherine!” Doris cried in some dismay. “She’s waving
to us--she wants us to wait for her, Elizabeth Ann.”

Elizabeth Ann glanced over her shoulder. Far down the road was
Catherine, not walking fast, not running, but moving along at an
ordinary pace. She was waving her hand and calling to them.

“Hurry!” shouted Elizabeth Ann. “It’s late--hurry, Catherine, or you’ll
miss the bus.”

That provoking Catherine _wouldn’t_ hurry. She continued to walk as she
always did, and she continued to call to Elizabeth Ann and Doris to
stop and wait for her.

“We might as well stop,” said Elizabeth Ann with a sigh. “She slows us
up making us turn round like this.”

They waited till Catherine caught up with them, though it was cold
standing still. Catherine didn’t seem to think she had walked slowly at
all.

“Daddy was cross and wouldn’t bring me in the car,” she explained. “He
said if I got up when Mother first called me I would have had plenty of
time to walk. I wanted to stay home to-day, but he wouldn’t let me do
that, either.”

“I hear the bus!” cried Elizabeth Ann suddenly. “We’re late we’ll have
to run.”



CHAPTER XIII

CATHERINE DAWDLES


The chug-chug of the bus sounded on the main road. Dave was blowing his
horn, too, as he always did, to warn any stragglers.

“Hurry!” urged Elizabeth Ann, taking hold of Doris’s hand to make her
run. “Hurry, Catherine--you’ll be late.”

Elizabeth Ann and Doris ran as fast as they could, but Catherine simply
walked as usual. Once Elizabeth Ann looked over her shoulder and called
to her to run, but Catherine didn’t even answer.

“Almost missed it,” said Dave, when Elizabeth Ann reached the low, wide
step, scarlet-faced and breathless and dragging a breathless Doris
after her.

All the other children were inside and that showed Elizabeth Ann how
nearly she had missed the bus. Usually she and Doris were on hand to
stand in line and march in with the others.

“Hurry up,” Dave commanded. “Hop in.”

Doris obediently “hopped,” but Elizabeth Ann hung back.

“Catherine Gould is coming--I have to wait for her,” she said, looking
pleadingly at Dave.

“Well, where is she?” he demanded impatiently.

Elizabeth Ann looked. Catherine wasn’t in sight yet. The road dipped
behind a hill and you couldn’t see anyone coming up till he or she had
almost reached the top. It was plain that Catherine didn’t intend to
hurry.

“Get in,” said Dave curtly. “I can’t wait for Catherine--she never is
willing to hurry.”

But he sounded his horn twice to let Catherine know he was there.

“Get in, Elizabeth Ann,” said Dave again. “I can’t wait any longer.”

Elizabeth Ann shook her head.

“I have to wait for Catherine,” she declared. “You go on without me.”

“Oh, Elizabeth Ann, you’ll be late for school,” cried Doris from her
seat in the bus. “You know Miss Owen hates to have a tardy mark against
the class.”

Tears came into Elizabeth Ann’s eyes, but she looked steadily at Dave.

“I can’t go and leave her,” she said.

For answer Dave suddenly stood up. He slid out from behind the wheel
and stooped down, seized the surprised Elizabeth Ann and lifted her
into the bus. He put her down on the long seat and closed the door with
a snap.

Then he started the bus.

“Wait!” screamed Catherine, just reaching the road. “Wait for me! Hey,
Dave, you wait for me!”

Dave glanced at Elizabeth Ann. He stopped the bus. And that troublesome
Catherine stopped running and began to walk as slowly as she could.

“Don’t wait for her, Dave,” said some of the boys. “She’s always acting
like that. Serve her right to go on and leave her.”

To everyone’s surprise, Dave backed the bus. He let it run backward so
fast that he reached the dawdling Catherine before she realized it.
Neither was she prepared to have Dave jump out lift her up and tumble
her into the bus with scant ceremony.

Then he closed the door again and began to drive with such a grim face
that none of the children thought it best to speak to him. Elizabeth
Ann didn’t feel very happy, but she was glad none of them would be
late--at the rate Dave was driving they’d probably get to school a
little earlier than usual.

Catherine sat and frowned out of the window all the way. She acted,
thought Elizabeth Ann, as though someone had made her almost late
instead of being the one who had nearly made the entire bus load late
for school. Elizabeth Ann shuddered to think what Miss Owen would say
if an entire bus load of children walked into school late. Of course
they were not all in her room, but many of them were.

When they reached the school yard, Dave stopped the bus, but he did not
open the door.

[Illustration: He seized the surprised Elizabeth Ann and lifted her
into the bus.]

“I just want to tell you,” he said quietly, “that the next time anyone
stages a performance like that this morning, I shall report him or her
to the principal. And I’ll leave him behind, too--you’re all old enough
to behave yourselves and if you’re not willing to make the bus and get
to school on time, why that’s your affair, not mine.”

He swung the heavy iron lever that opened the door and the children
began to file out quietly. Elizabeth Ann stayed in her seat until the
last one was out and then she came up to Dave.

“I had to wait for Catherine,” she said earnestly. “She’s my friend.”

“Well--all right,” returned Dave. “I suppose you thought you had to
wait for her; but the trouble with Catherine Gould is that too many
people wait for her--give in to her, I mean. She’d be late for school
every morning, and not care if the whole school would be late, too.”

Elizabeth Ann sincerely hoped that Catherine would try harder to
get to school on time. Because she was so often later going home
afternoons--on account of that homework that she just wouldn’t do--and
if she had to walk to school mornings, dear me, she would be in a sad
way.

Doris told Uncle Hiram about the bus incident, and Elizabeth Ann
was sorry she had not asked her to keep still about it. Uncle Hiram
declared that Elizabeth Ann and Doris should not wait past the usual
time another morning for Catherine.

“She must get here in time to walk with you to the bus, or you must
start without her,” said Uncle Hiram firmly. “Catherine is entirely too
selfish and she gets more spoiled every week.”

And the very next morning Catherine missed the bus again--Elizabeth Ann
and Doris didn’t even see her, but she wasn’t at the cross-roads with
them and Roger Calendar and the others when Dave drove up. He honked
his horn as usual, but no Catherine appeared, so he drove on to school.

It was ten o’clock when Catherine appeared, to the surprise of
everyone, including Miss Owen who had marked her absent. At recess
Catherine, whose eyes were red from crying, told Elizabeth Ann that she
had missed the bus and had turned around and gone home.

“I’d rather be absent than tardy,” she sniffed, “but my father saw me
coming back and he said I’d have to go to school. He wouldn’t drive me,
either--I had to walk all the way. I wouldn’t have come, only he said
if I didn’t I couldn’t have the party. After I’d told everybody about
the party, I just couldn’t give it up.”

When Doris heard that, she said she was glad. If there was one thing
Doris wanted to go to it was that Hallowe’en party. Elizabeth Ann
looked forward to it, too, but she was more interested to learn what
the others said when they saw Roger Calendar in his embroidered silk
costume, than anything else.

Catherine kept telling them something new about the party every day,
and the afternoon before it was actually to take place she confided
that it was to be held in her daddy’s big barn.

“We’ve moved the piano out there and everything,” said Catherine
proudly. “We’re going to have a lovely time. Do come early.”



CHAPTER XIV

AT THE PARTY


Elizabeth Ann discovered that there was a pleasant custom in Gardner
and the farms nearby, of asking the fathers and mothers to come to the
parties too. So Uncle Hiram and Aunt Grace were going with Elizabeth
Ann and Doris; and they would visit with Mr. and Mrs. Gould in the
big farmhouse while the boys and girls had their party in the barn.
Catherine had a young aunt--Aunt Nan she called her--who knew how to
make everyone have a good time and she would be on hand to see that no
guest was neglected, or left out of any of the games.

The party was to start at seven o’clock--“six bells,” as Elizabeth
Ann proudly told Doris. This was so that no one need be up very late.
Aunt Grace had supper early Hallowe’en night and then Elizabeth Ann
and Doris dressed in their cat costumes, put on their domino masks,
and climbed giggling into the car. They had to wear coats over their
costumes for it was a chilly night.

They saw the lights burning in the Gould barn long before they reached
it--in fact they could see the lights as soon as they made the first
turn in the road. It was a longer drive or walk by way of the road to
the Gould farm, than across fields, but of course when you are going to
a party, you go by way of the regular road.

“We have to get out of the car before we get to the barn, Uncle Hiram,”
explained Elizabeth Ann, as the car turned into the road that led
directly to the Gould barn. “If they see us get out, they’ll know who
we are.”

So Uncle Hiram stopped the car and shut off the lights about ten feet
from the barn.

Elizabeth Ann and Doris took off their coats, jumped out, and ran up to
the barn door.

“Oh-h!” cried Doris, shrinking back of Elizabeth Ann.

A tall white figure stood at the barn door and he bowed to them.

“Walk right in--I’m a ghost,” he said politely. “I’m very glad to see
you, I’m sure.”

Elizabeth Ann giggled in delight. She thought for a ghost he had very
nice manners.

“I’m a cat,” she said. “So’s----” but Doris pinched her just in time
to prevent her from saying, “So’s Doris,” which, of course, would have
given them both away.

They went into the barn, past the ghost, and found themselves on the
large main floor.

“Isn’t it lovely!” said Elizabeth Ann.

There were great shocks of corn stalks standing about, and everywhere
pumpkins carved into lanterns. In every pumpkin there was a lighted
electric bulb--Mr. Gould was a careful farmer, and he wouldn’t have any
candles in his barn. There were no chairs, but heaps of sofa cushions,
covered with gingham covers so that no one need be afraid to use
them--the covers would wash. There was the piano in one corner, just as
Catherine had promised, too.

“Where’s Catherine?” asked Elizabeth Ann, staring around her.

There were pirates and sailors and gypsy girls and American Indians and
fairy princesses flitting about. Elizabeth Ann thought she recognized
several of the girls in her class, but she couldn’t be sure, because
they wore masks. There were Generals in uniforms with hundreds of brass
buttons winking in the light. And there were farmers, in wide straw
hats and brand new ones too, though, thought Elizabeth Ann, straw hats
were funny in October.

“I think that’s Catherine,” whispered Doris, pointing to a fairy
princess who stood talking to Aunt Nan--the only guest who did not wear
a mask.

As soon as she saw the fairy princess, Elizabeth Ann felt that Doris
was right. The princess was about as tall as Catherine was, but it was
her dress that made Elizabeth Ann so sure. No one but Catherine Gould
would have a dress like that to wear to a party.

The dress was some soft white stuff and it was completely covered
with little silver spangles. Every time the girl who wore it moved
a step, the spangles shone and glittered. There was a silver crown
to go with the dress, and a long scepter too. Oh, that was Catherine
Gould--Elizabeth Ann had no doubt of it.

“We want to march!” called Aunt Nan, when everyone had come up and
spoken to her--as they weren’t expected to find the real hostess till
the time to unmask came.

By the time Elizabeth Ann and Doris had reached Aunt Nan and had shaken
hands with her, the fairy princess had disappeared. Now Elizabeth Ann
looked around expectantly, for of course Catherine could play the
piano. She talked about her music lessons all the time.

“Is there anyone here who will play for us?” asked Aunt Nan, looking
hard at a little clown in a red and yellow suit.

The clown backed away hastily.

“I can’t play,” he--or she--mumbled shyly.

Then a voice, over by the door, said quietly, “I’ll play a march, if
you like.”

Elizabeth Ann was so surprised she clutched Doris by the arm and
pinched her, though she didn’t mean to at all. There, just coming
in the door, was Roger Calendar in his embroidered blue silk Chinese
costume.

Roger was masked and apparently no one knew him, but of course
Elizabeth Ann recognized the suit. Doris didn’t know anything about
it, so she continued to stare placidly. Doris had not been home the
afternoon Uncle Hiram showed Elizabeth Ann the chests and she had been
outdoors, playing, when Roger stopped in to have Aunt Grace fit the
suit to him. Uncle Hiram had suggested that no one tell Doris, because
she sometimes revealed secrets when she was excited. So Elizabeth Ann
was confident she was the only one at the party who knew who the guest
in the blue silk suit really was.

But Roger couldn’t play the piano--Elizabeth Ann was sure he couldn’t
do that. Why, the Bostwicks, with whom he lived didn’t have a piano.
She had heard Mrs. Bostwick tell Aunt Grace that the reason they bought
a radio was because she liked a little music in the house.

Yet there was Roger, walking toward the piano. While Elizabeth Ann
watched him--and for that matter everyone watched him--he sat down on
the piano bench. He began to play--the liveliest of marches rippled
from under his fingers, and feet began to go tap-tap-tap, all over the
barn.

Elizabeth Ann was sure Catherine was the fairy princess when she
saw how that girl rushed to take her place at the head of the line.
Catherine would want to lead the march--in school she always wanted to
lead, and she was always disappointed when Miss Owen declared all the
pupils must take turns.

Aunt Nan paired off the children, and Elizabeth Ann found she was to
march with the ghost. All she could see of him, except the sheet around
his body and the pillow case around his head, were two merry eyes that
twinkled at her through slits cut in the pillow case.

“Bet you don’t know who I am,” said the ghost, his foot keeping time to
that enchanting music.

“No,” said Elizabeth Ann, “I don’t know you. Do you know me?”

“Sure, you’re Mattie Harrison,” the ghost assured her. “I’d know you
anywhere; but don’t be afraid--I won’t tell.”

Elizabeth Ann laughed. She thought it was fine to be told she was
Mattie Harrison and if the ghost wanted to keep it a secret that would
be still more fun.

The march started. Round and round the barn the children went, and
the third time Elizabeth Ann noticed that the doorway of the barn was
crowded--the grown-ups stood there, watching. They had wanted to see
the costumes, and had come out in the frosty air to watch the pretty
march.

“Now we’re going to have a Virginia Reel,” announced Aunt Nan, “because
that is easy to dance, and everyone can do it; I want you to take a
good look at every couple’s costume as they go down the line. Afterward
I’ll ask you to vote for the prettiest costume worn by a girl, the best
costume worn by a boy, and the funniest costume worn by either a girl
or boy. Remember to look at everybody’s costume.”

Roger still sat at the piano. At a nod from Aunt Nan he began to
play again. Dear me, he _couldn’t_ be Roger, thought the bewildered
Elizabeth Ann. Yet he was wearing the costume Uncle Hiram had loaned
Roger. No one else could possibly come to the party wearing that blue
silk suit.

Still thinking and puzzling about it, Elizabeth Ann danced down the
line with her ghost. Everyone laughed and clapped when the white ghost
and the black cat danced together and the ghost whispered to Elizabeth
Ann, “Gee, Mattie, you dance better than you did,” and that, of course,
made the cat break into a giggle.

“Now I’ll play a few minutes, while the Chinese Mandarin comes and
dances,” announced Aunt Nan.

She took her place at the piano and Roger came toward the others.

“My, hasn’t he a beautiful costume!” Elizabeth Ann heard the fairy
princess whisper.

The gold dragons gleamed and the red and green of the embroidery shone
under the shadowy lights streaming down from the pumpkins. Elizabeth
Ann was a little surprised herself to see how handsome Roger’s costume
looked.

He made the fairy princess a little bow and she gave him her hand and
they tripped down the line and back while the others looked at them.
Beyond a doubt they wore the handsomest costumes, and Elizabeth Ann’s
heart began to thump a little with excitement. Suppose Roger Calendar
should win the first prize?

“Now, before we have the games, we’ll award the prizes, and then we’ll
unmask,” said Aunt Nan, turning around on the piano bench.

“Who wins the first prize for the girl’s prettiest costume?” she asked,
reaching under the piano bench and bringing out three boxes tied with
orange ribbon and wrapped in black paper.

“The fairy princess!” shouted the boys and girls as with one voice.

“Oh, dear!” Aunt Nan sighed. “I hate to have Catherine win her
own prize. We’ll have to see what can be done about that. Unmask,
Catherine.”

Catherine took off her mask and shook back her hair. Her face was
flushed with triumph and excitement as they clapped for her.

“And which boy wins first prize for the handsomest costume?” asked Aunt
Nan, holding up a box.

My goodness, they almost shouted the answer.

“Chinese Mandarin!” they cried, “Chinese Mandarin!” and Elizabeth Ann
noticed that Catherine was shouting as loudly as the rest.

“Unmask, Mandarin,” commanded Aunt Nan, smiling. “You get the prize.”

Roger put up his hand and took the mask away from his eyes.

There was a moment’s silence and then Catherine’s voice rose loud and
shrill.

“Why it’s only Roger Calendar!” she said. “I don’t think that’s fair!”



CHAPTER XV

WITCHES AND ALL


A murmur went over the barn, but it wasn’t a murmur of objection; it
sounded more like admiration.

“That’s a fine costume!” said the ghost in Elizabeth Ann’s ear. “I’m
glad he gets the prize. Roger Calendar is a mighty nice fellow.”

But Catherine was talking in a low tone to her aunt and her face was an
angry red. Elizabeth Ann couldn’t hear what was said, but Doris, who
was much nearer, could and she told her after they were in bed that
night.

“Catherine’s Aunt Nan told her that if she made a scene before the
others at the party, she would make her go in the house and stay
there,” reported Doris. “She said that Roger had won the prize fairly,
and that he was Catherine’s guest and she had to be polite to him. And
she told her that if she didn’t take the prize to him and congratulate
him on winning it, she would have to go in the house, anyway.”

So a few minutes later, the boys and girls saw Catherine, her face
still red, walking up to Roger and hold out the box he had won.

“I congratulate you on winning first prize,” said Catherine jerkily,
“and I hope you like your prize.”

Roger did not offer to take the box.

“Are you willing for me to have it?” he asked in a low voice.

Catherine nodded and Aunt Nan spoke up briskly.

“Take it, Roger,” she directed. “We haven’t voted for the funniest
costume yet--children, who wins the prize for the funniest costume,
girl or boy?”

Then Elizabeth Ann was surprised again. For all the children
shouted--and the ghost most loudly of all--“Give it to the two black
cats!”

Aunt Nan laughed and asked the two black cats to please come forward.

“You’ll have to share your prize,” she said, “We didn’t expect to have
two winners.”

Doris was too shy to stir, so Elizabeth Ann had to go forward. She
made a funny little curtsey as she took the box and everyone clapped
for her. And the minute she took her place in the line, the ghost
whispered--“Take off your mask--you’re not Mattie Harrison. I never saw
Mattie make a curtsey.”

“Yes, take off your masks--all of you now,” said Aunt Nan. “We’re going
to play games.”

Elizabeth Ann had to laugh when the ghost saw her face. He stared--he
was Jim Bennett, one of the boys in her class.

“And I was so sure you were Mattie Harrison!” he ejaculated. “You’re
about as tall as she is--there’s Mattie over there; she came as a gypsy
girl.”

Elizabeth Ann opened the prize--it was a beautiful box of candy and
she and Doris agreed that there couldn’t be a nicer box for two prize
winners to share.

Roger had won a writing set--pen and pencil that matched. They were
black and gold, and Roger--who had never had anything as nice in his
life--was so pleased Elizabeth Ann thought surely Catherine would be
glad he had won them.

But Catherine continued to be cross. She was so cross that her Aunt Nan
was afraid she would spoil the party, and so allowed her to keep the
prize she had won--a pen and pencil set, too--but for a girl. Aunt Nan
said no hostess should win the prize at her own party, but Catherine
was quite capable of sitting down and crying if she didn’t get her way,
and that, of course, would be worse than letting her have the prize. If
you can think of anything worse than a hostess crying at her own party,
why we can not.

They played all the good old Hallowe’en games--ducking for apples, and
trying to find the ring in a plate of flour and sailing walnut shell
boats in the tub of water to see which sank and which stayed up. They
threw apple peelings over their shoulders to see what initials were
formed and they walked backwards with mirrors to see what they could
see--and it must be admitted that most of them didn’t see anything at
all.

Then, just as Mattie Harrison suggested they might have another
Virginia Reel--she said she wanted to hear Roger Calendar play
again--there was a noise and clatter at the barn door that drew their
attention to something just coming in.

“A witch!” shrieked the children. “It’s a witch.”

Goodness, it was a witch. She came in on her broomstick, her long wisps
of white hair floating out from under her tall black hat. There was a
light on the end of her broomstick and one of the boys whispered he
supposed that was in case the traffic was heavy in the sky as she rode
along.

“That’s exactly what I use that light for, young man,” croaked the
witch, who certainly sounded as though she needed a cough drop. “On
Hallowe’en, the sky is so full of witches it’s all we can do to find
our way around without a collision. What are you doing here? Having a
party?”

The children nodded. They weren’t quite sure how to talk to a witch,
and it seemed safer just to nod their heads.

“A party, eh?” said the witch. “Well--well. How would you like to come
to my cave? I’ll have a party for you there, if you’ll come.”

“We don’t know where you live,” said Elizabeth Ann, as no one answered.

“Oh, I can tell you how to get to my cave,” the witch croaked.

“Shall we go?” whispered Elizabeth Ann to Catherine.

“Might as well,” Catherine said, who was evidently as surprised to see
a witch at her party as the other children were.

“I can’t go with you, because I ride through the sky, and will get
there ahead of you,” said the witch. “But you take these little rolls
of silk I give you--one roll for each boy and girl--and follow them.
You’ll find my cave without a bit of trouble.”

She brushed aside a few corn stalks and there, in a little mound lay a
heap of what looked like bobbins of silk. They were each a different
color.

“Stand in two lines,” said the witch, picking up the bobbins, “girls in
one line, boys in the other. That’s right.”

Roger Calendar slipped into place beside Elizabeth Ann.

“Let me wind the silk for you,” he said in a low voice. “It’s something
like the old game of spider web, I think. If you look along the floor
you can see threads going in different directions.”

Elizabeth Ann looked, while the witch was passing down the line,
handing each boy a bobbin.

“Yes,” whispered Elizabeth Ann. “I see the threads. Isn’t this fun!”

“Now then, each of you count eleven as loudly as you can,” said the
witch, picking up her broomstick. “When you have counted to eleven,
start to wind your silk. I’ll be waiting for you in my cave.”

With a wave of her hand, she clattered out.

“One-two-three-four----” the counting began in the barn.

As they reached the number “ELEVEN!” the boys began to wind the silk.

“All right, we’re ready,” said Roger to Elizabeth Ann. “I thought this
was a spider web. See, we’re going under the wagon.”

Elizabeth Ann glanced back to see whether Doris was happy. She saw that
Jim Bennett was her partner. Jim would talk so much that Doris wouldn’t
have to say many words, and that would make her happy. Doris liked to
talk to Elizabeth Ann, but she didn’t have much to say when she was at
a party.

The silk cord Roger was winding led him and Elizabeth Ann under
the heavy farm wagon, standing in one corner of the barn. It led
them through an empty box stall. It took them across the barn yard
and around a tree--a beautiful silver moon was shining in the sky
and Elizabeth Ann found herself wishing that she could ride a
broomstick--just once--across the sky and see how the moon looks when
one is near it.

On all sides of them they heard laughing and talking, for the cords
were wound in and out, and some of them crossed. At about the same time
everyone reached the farmhouse door--the kitchen door Elizabeth Ann
knew it was, because she had often been in the Gould kitchen.

But when the kitchen door opened for them--someone must have seen them
coming--lo and behold the kitchen was a cave. It looked just like a
cave, and there was a great iron pot over the fire in the fire place
and the witch sat there, waiting for them.

The fathers and mothers and aunts and uncles were there, too, and
everyone sat down at a long table and drank the hot cocoa the witch had
ready for them and ate brown bread sandwiches and sugary doughnuts.
There was a toy pumpkin filled with salted peanuts for each guest
and after they had finished eating Uncle Hiram said it was high time
mortals went to bed so the bats and the owls and the black cats could
have their parties.

“We’ll take you home, Roger,” Elizabeth Ann heard him say, and when she
climbed sleepily into the car a few minutes later, Roger was on the
front seat with Uncle Hiram.

“I’m glad to-morrow is Saturday,” murmured Elizabeth Ann. “We won’t
have to get up in time to go to school.”



CHAPTER XVI

BAD NEWS


“Well, who was the witch then?” said Doris.

She and Elizabeth Ann were talking over the party. It was the next
morning and they had slept till ten o’clock. They had just had
breakfast and were sitting in the sun on the steps, with Tony between
them. It was so cold now--the first of November--that they needed their
hats and coats on, even to sit in the sun.

Doris had been insisting that Mrs. Gould was the witch. When Elizabeth
Ann pointed out to her that Catherine’s mother had sat at the table
near Doris, at the same time the witch was passing the cocoa, Doris had
to admit that Mrs. Gould could not have been the witch.

“Who was the witch, then?” asked Doris.

“I think Aunt Nan was the witch,” Elizabeth Ann said, “I noticed when
we stopped trying to bite the apples on a string she wasn’t in the
barn. I think she went to the house and put on her witch’s costume and
came back. And when we were in the kitchen, I looked all around and she
wasn’t there--unless she was the witch.”

Doris nodded slowly.

“Yes, Aunt Nan must have been the witch,” she agreed. “But Elizabeth
Ann, where is the prize we won?”

“I forgot it,” confessed Elizabeth Ann. “I must have left it in the
barn. I guess Catherine will bring it over to-day.”

“You’d better go and get it,” Doris advised. “Catherine will eat all
that candy up, and not say anything about it.”

“Why, Doris Mason, what a thing to say!” cried Elizabeth Ann, much
shocked. “Catherine won’t eat the candy we won as a prize.”

“Yes, she will,” said Doris obstinately. “She’s a mean girl, and I
don’t like her. If you won’t go, I’ll go and ask for our prize. I’ll
ask her mother.”

Elizabeth Ann gazed at her cousin in some exasperation. Ordinarily
Doris wouldn’t open her mouth to talk to Mrs. Gould, and here she was
planning to ask her for the prize box of candy.

“You can’t do things like that,” Elizabeth Ann scolded. “You have to be
polite. In the first place, for all you know, Catherine will bring the
candy over to-day; if she doesn’t, she may bring it to school Monday.
And if she never brings it,” finished Elizabeth Ann impressively, “you
can’t talk about it to her.”

“Catherine isn’t polite,” said Doris calmly. “She didn’t want to give
Roger the prize he won; and she’ll eat up our prize if you don’t do
anything to stop her.”

“She’ll have to eat it then,” Elizabeth Ann replied. “Couldn’t Roger
play the piano beautifully? He told me he plays by ear.”

“What’s by ear?” asked Doris, looking as though she rather suspected
Elizabeth Ann might be teasing her.

“He hears people play, and he can play what they do,” Elizabeth Ann
explained. “He can’t read music--not the way Catherine can, when she
practices her music lesson.”

Aunt Grace came to the door and opened it.

“Catherine just telephoned,” she said. “She is coming over to see you;
if you get too cold outdoors, you must bring her in. There is a nice
fire in the fireplace in the parlor.”

“What did I tell you?” said Elizabeth Ann, when Aunt Grace had closed
the door. “Catherine is coming to bring us our candy.”

Doris refused to be convinced and when fifteen minutes later Catherine,
empty-handed came up the path, Doris looked at Elizabeth Ann with a
I-told-you-so expression that was really very funny.

“Hello,” said Catherine. “It’s cold to-day, isn’t it?”

Elizabeth Ann sighed. She wasn’t cold and she liked to stay outdoors.
Doris usually wanted to go in after a few minutes and now here was
Catherine who liked to stay indoors, too.

“There’s a fire in the first cabin,” said Elizabeth Ann. “We can go in
there, if you’d rather.”

“I wish you wouldn’t talk that silly way,” Catherine said pettishly.
“When you mean the parlor, say so. Let’s go in--I’m freezing.”

Elizabeth Ann saw that she was cross. Some people are cross the day
after a party, and Catherine was evidently one of those who do not feel
happy the next day.

They went into the house and sat down on the white rug before the
logs blazing so merrily in the fireplace. Doris didn’t say a word and
Elizabeth Ann was rather glad she didn’t. She was so afraid that if
Doris did say anything, it would be to mention the chocolates.

“I know I never should have asked that dreadful Roger Calendar to my
party,” said Catherine unexpectedly. “Now I hope you’re satisfied,
Elizabeth Ann; you and Miss Owen. You’re the ones who thought I ought
to ask him.”

“I do think you ought to have asked him,” Elizabeth Ann declared
staunchly. “You couldn’t ask the whole class and leave him out. Miss
Owen said so.”

“Well, he’s made plenty of trouble,” said Catherine disagreeably. “He
left the door of the corncrib open last night and one of my father’s
best cows got in and ate too much corn and died. It was a very valuable
cow.”

Elizabeth Ann looked horrified.

“But how do you know it was Roger who left the corncrib door open?” she
asked. “There were other boys at the party.”

“Roger came over and helped Aunt Nan fix the strings from the barn to
the kitchen,” explained Catherine. “Aunt Nan told us this morning when
Daddy found the cow on the barn floor. He opened the corncrib door to
see how to run one of the strings under it and I suppose he forgot to
close it.”

“I don’t believe he forgot to close it,” Elizabeth Ann said.

“Oh, if you want to be silly, I can’t help it,” declared Catherine.
“My father thinks he left it open and so does Aunt Nan. So does Mr.
Bostwick.”

Doris looked up and Elizabeth Ann’s eyes widened.

“Did your father tell Mr. Bostwick?” she demanded.

“Of course he told Mr. Bostwick,” said Catherine. “Lydia was one of
our most valuable cows. Roger hasn’t any money to pay for her, but Mr.
Bostwick is going to make him work for my father every Saturday till
the cow is paid for. My father says that carelessness is a bad habit,
and he thinks Roger ought to be cured of it. Paying for the cow will
help him remember.”

“But I don’t believe Roger had anything to do with it,” Elizabeth Ann
insisted.

“Why do you keep saying that?” asked Catherine. “I’m telling you that
he left the corncrib door open.”

Elizabeth Ann stood up.

“Did Roger say he left the door open?” she inquired pointedly.

“No, of course he won’t admit he did,” said Catherine. “He says he
closed the door, but that is silly. He’s only trying to get out of
being blamed for killing our cow.”

“If Roger says he closed the door, he did close the door,” Elizabeth
Ann insisted, her face flushing.

“Would you rather take his word than mine?” asked Catherine. “Roger
Calendar is a perfect nobody, a boy from the poor farm.”

“I don’t care, he tells the truth,” Elizabeth Ann flung out and from
behind her Doris piped up, “He wouldn’t eat candy that didn’t belong to
him--where’s the candy we won at your party, Catherine Gould?”

And just at this moment Uncle Hiram stepped into the room and he looked
as though he had heard every word.



CHAPTER XVII

SOMETHING DIFFERENT


“I’m afraid,” said Uncle Hiram significantly, “that someone has been
forgetting quarter-deck manners.”

Elizabeth Ann blushed and Doris looked ashamed. They had forgotten how
their words must sound.

“Did I hear a niece of mine talking about candy?” asked Uncle Hiram,
looking straight at Doris.

“It was the prize we won,” Doris mumbled. “We left it at Catherine’s
house.”

“You left it in the barn,” said Catherine. “I didn’t think you liked it
and I ate some of it. There may be a few pieces left and I’ll send them
over to you.”

“Uncle Hiram,” broke in Elizabeth Ann, too worried about Roger and the
corncrib to listen to Doris talk about that silly candy--“Uncle Hiram,
Catherine says that Roger left the corncrib door open and one of her
father’s cows ate corn and died. And Roger says he didn’t leave the
door open.”

“Elizabeth Ann thinks I don’t tell the truth, but she is sure Roger
does,” Catherine said.

Uncle Hiram looked at both little girls and the frowns smoothed out of
their faces.

“That’s better,” he said. “Why, Elizabeth Ann, I’ve heard all about
the cow from Mr. Gould and from Mr. Bostwick. They seem to think that
Roger has been careless and he’ll have to learn that carelessness costs
money. I’m sorry this thing happened--not only did the poor animal
suffer, but Roger loses what little free time he has.”

Elizabeth Ann wanted to say that she didn’t think Mr. Gould ought to
ask Roger to pay for the cow, but she wasn’t sure Uncle Hiram would
like her to say that. So she kept silent.

“Perhaps Roger Calendar will have more sense after this,” said
Catherine. “Anyway, I’ll never ask him to another party. I have to go
now. My mother told me not to stay too long.”

After she had gone Elizabeth Ann cried. She felt so badly about poor
Roger, and she was sorry for Lydia, the dead cow, too. And Doris cried
because Catherine had eaten the candy.

“I’m sorry Roger was careless, Elizabeth Ann,” said Uncle Hiram, “but
if he was the only thing for him to do is to try to make up for it.
He may think he closed that corncrib door, but both Mr. Gould and Mr.
Bostwick seem to think he was forgetful; they’re older men and we’ll
have to accept their decision.”

Usually Elizabeth Ann and Doris saw Roger on Saturdays--he had a couple
of hours to himself in the afternoon, and he liked to come over and
talk to them. He was teaching Tony to box, and the white cat liked him.
But this Saturday they did not see Roger at all, and it was clear that
he had already started to work for Mr. Gould.

When he saw Elizabeth Ann in school the next Monday, Roger told her
what had happened and that he expected to be working on the Gould farm
Saturdays, “forever and ever.”

“I know you didn’t leave the door open, Roger,” said Elizabeth Ann.

“I know you didn’t leave it open, either, Roger,” Doris added.
“Catherine ate up all our candy, so I don’t believe a word she says.”

“Uncle Hiram scolded you for saying that last night and you told him
you wouldn’t say it again,” Elizabeth Ann told her severely. “I don’t
believe Catherine tells fibs; she thinks you left the door open, Roger,
and you _know_ you didn’t. Some day you can prove it to her father that
you didn’t.”

Roger didn’t see how he was ever going to prove it, but he said it made
him feel better to know that Elizabeth Ann and Doris were sure he had
not been careless. And when they went into school, there was a notice
on the bulletin board that made them forget about cows and corncribs
and Hallowe’en parties.

“The school is going to have a fair,” said Elizabeth Ann at the supper
table that night. “It was on the bulletin board this morning and Miss
Owen explained it to us. Each class has a booth and we make lots of
money, and buy Christmas presents for poor people.”

“But we have to go around and ask people for things,” Doris said in
such a discouraged voice that everyone laughed.

“Never mind, Doris, I’ll go around with you,” promised Uncle Hiram.
“What do we ask for?”

“Oh, everything,” Doris explained. “Cakes and pies and fancy work to
sell. It’s a great deal of work, Miss Owen says, and she thinks it will
be good for us. We have to trim our own booths, and the fair lasts a
whole afternoon. We have it in the basement of the school.”

The next day Miss Owen held a meeting after school and explained more
fully what her class was expected to do to make the fair a success. She
had slips of paper and they were numbered in pairs. Each child drew a
slip and found something written on it. The child who drew the slip
with the same number was his partner and was supposed to work with him.

Elizabeth Ann drew a slip numbered 6. On it was written the word
“cakes.” Catherine Gould drew a slip numbered 6, too, and that meant
she and Elizabeth Ann were to ask people to bake cakes to sell at the
fair.

Roger Calendar had a slip numbered 10 and Flora Gabrie drew the other
slip marked 10. They were to get packages for the grab bag table.

“Any little things that can be wrapped in small parcels, and which can
be sold for five and ten cents,” Miss Owen explained.

Then she told them, after they all had their slips, that they ought to
do a little work for the fair each day.

“Otherwise, you will leave too much till the last minute,” said Miss
Owen. “We mustn’t get excited at the last minute, because we’ll have to
go to school as usual up to the day the fair is held.”

Doris’s slip had “dolls” written on it, and she was supposed to ask
people to donate dolls for the fair.

“Paper dolls or china dolls--it doesn’t matter,” Miss Owen told her.
“If anyone wants to lend us dolls, we’ll borrow them and send them
back after the fair is over. They’ll help decorate the doll booth.”

“Better not lend Roger Calendar a doll,” said Catherine Gould in a low
voice. “He’s likely to forget it, and leave it out in the rain or snow
or something.”

Elizabeth Ann held her tongue. She had promised Uncle Hiram not to
quarrel with Catherine about the cow episode. But, thought Elizabeth
Ann, if Catherine meant to bring it up every chance she found, it would
be very difficult not to answer her crossly.

And within the next week Elizabeth Ann discovered that it was not only
difficult to keep from quarreling with Catherine, but it was almost
impossible to work with her. It had been expressly explained that the
children were to work in pairs, but Catherine wouldn’t let Elizabeth
Ann know when she was going to people’s houses to ask for cakes. Of
course she knew everyone in town and everyone who lived on the farms,
for Catherine had lived in one place all her life. She said nothing to
her father and mother about the plan for Elizabeth Ann to go with her,
and first she went to everyone she knew in Gardner and then she coaxed
her father to take her in his car to her friends who lived on various
farms and before Elizabeth Ann knew anything about it, Catherine
announced that she had twenty-four cakes “promised.”

“I guess no one will do any better than that!” she said triumphantly
and handed in the list of names to Miss Owen.

“But Elizabeth Ann was supposed to go with you,” the teacher protested.
“She can’t get any cakes, now. She doesn’t know any people to ask and
if she did she couldn’t go round alone and ask them.”

“She can ask her Aunt Grace,” said Catherine stubbornly.

Elizabeth Ann, of course, meant to ask Aunt Grace to bake a cake for
the fair. But that would be only one, and Catherine had twenty-four
cakes written down on her list, also the kinds, such as “caramel” and
“chocolate” and “cup cake.”

“If I were you,” Doris announced indignantly, after she had heard what
had happened, “I wouldn’t have anything to do with the silly old fair.
Or else ask Miss Owen if you can help me get some dolls. The girl who
is my partner is afraid to ask people, and so am I.”

At first Elizabeth Ann thought she would do that. But Uncle Hiram and
Miss Owen said no, when she asked them. They said that it was “high
time” that Doris learned how to ask people for the things she wanted.

“She can’t have you to help her all her life,” said Uncle Hiram to
Elizabeth Ann.

“I’d rather Doris and Helen Anderson did their own struggling,” Miss
Owen declared, smiling at Elizabeth Ann. “They’ll have to learn to ask
for things sooner or later and now is an excellent time to begin.”

“I have a plan,” said Elizabeth Ann a morning or two later. “I know
what I’d like to do for the fair. It’s a secret, Doris, but I’ll have
to tell Miss Owen, and if you promise not to tell anyone, I’ll let you
listen, too.”

Doris promised quickly and she and Elizabeth Ann went up to their
class room to find Miss Owen. The teacher listened while Elizabeth Ann
explained her plan. There was no one else in the room for it still
lacked twenty minutes of nine and Miss Owen liked her class to stay out
and play till the warning bell sounded.

“Why, I think that will be a success, Elizabeth Ann,” said Miss Owen,
when she had heard what Elizabeth Ann wanted to do. “We’ll keep it a
secret, and surprise everyone.”



CHAPTER XVIII

ELIZABETH ANN WAITS


Now secrets are not the easiest thing in the world to keep, and it
is quite possible that either Elizabeth Ann or Doris might have told
someone the great plan, or a little about it, if something had not
happened that, for a time, gave them something else to think about.

It snowed!

Great beautiful feathery flakes of snow began to drift slowly down one
afternoon as the children went home from school and which came faster
and faster until by supper time, the ground was white.

“If there is anything I love,” said Elizabeth Ann enthusiastically, “it
is a big snow storm. I hope it snows all night.”

Doris didn’t like snow much, but she admitted it would be fun to go
coasting.

“How can we go to school if it snows?” she asked, just as they were
going to bed that night.

“Oh, Dave and the bus will get you there,” Aunt Grace assured her.
“That heavy bus can break through even deep drifts. And Uncle Hiram
will take you as far as the cross-roads, if the snow is too heavy for
you to walk there.”

Elizabeth Ann rather hoped the snow would be up to the roof of the
Bonnie Susie in the morning, but when she woke she found it had stopped
snowing sometime during the night. Still, there was six inches or more
on the ground, and every fence and tree was topped with a feathery
trimming of white.

“Your Uncle Hiram is up sweeping the roof--I mean the deck,” said Aunt
Grace, who tried hard to learn “sailor talk” as she called it, and
never quite succeeded.

Elizabeth Ann and Doris put on their coats and hats and ran up the
ladder to the “top deck.” There was Uncle Hiram making the snow fly
with a broom.

“Hello,” he said when he saw them. “Looks as if we were in for more
snow, doesn’t it?”--and he pointed with his broom toward the sky which
was heavy and gray.

“It comes down right on top of the trees,” said Elizabeth Ann, staring
at the sky which did seem nearer the earth than usual.

“Think you can walk out to the bus this morning, if we get pancakes
for breakfast?” Uncle Hiram suggested, knocking his broom against the
railing to free it from snow. “Let’s go down and see if the first mate
will cook us hot cakes.”

The first mate had the batter already mixed, and if you know how good
pancakes with butter and maple syrup taste on a snowy, cold morning,
then you know how good they tasted to Elizabeth Ann and Doris. Uncle
Hiram said he had been a little worried about them when he first saw
the snow, but any two girls who could eat nine pancakes apiece, could
certainly stand a little walk through snow. And Elizabeth Ann and Doris
set out a few minutes later to find there was no wind, and that it felt
almost warm.

“It isn’t as cold as it was yesterday and I don’t believe it will snow
any more,” said Doris, watching her rubber boots (which were the pride
of her heart) leave little criss-cross marks on the white snow.

“Miss Owen said yesterday it was too cold to snow,” Elizabeth Ann
replied. “And it didn’t snow till afternoon and then it had turned
warmer.”

Doris said it couldn’t be too cold to snow, and they were so busy
arguing this question that they came to the cross-roads before they
realized it.

Roger Calendar was there--since the cow Lydia had died, Elizabeth Ann
and Doris didn’t see much of Roger except in school. He worked all day
Saturday at the Gould farm and Mr. Bostwick said that if he had to lose
so much of the time that belonged to him, of course he would expect
Roger to try to make it up by working a little longer before and after
school.

“Where’s Catherine?” asked Roger, looking down the road as though he
expected to see her running over the snow.

“We didn’t see anything of her,” Elizabeth Ann replied. “Maybe she is
not coming.”

Other boys and girls came straggling up, their cheeks red and glowing,
their eyes bright, because they had had to climb fences and go around
fields to get through to the road, and the exercise made them feel
comfortable and warm.

“Here comes the bus!” shouted the boys, as the chug-chug they all knew
so well sounded from around a curve in the road.

“That must be Catherine!” Elizabeth Ann cried, pointing to a little dot
that was moving across the snow.

Doris looked at her cousin anxiously.

“You can’t wait for her, Elizabeth Ann,” she urged. “You mustn’t; she’s
late now. Dave won’t wait, and he’ll be mad if you do. You know what
he said--the next time anybody made a fuss he’d report them to the
principal.”

“Come on, Elizabeth Ann,” said Roger. “Catherine will turn around and
go home, anyway; she couldn’t make the bus, even if she ran her feet
off. She’s too late now.”

[Illustration: “It looks as if we were in for more snow, doesn’t
it?”--and he pointed with his broom toward the sky.]

“Honk! Honk!” sounded the bus horn and there was Dave, swinging open
the wide door as he stopped.

“You go ahead, Doris,” said Elizabeth Ann hastily. “I have to wait for
Catherine. We can walk. It’s mean to leave her here all alone.”

And without looking at Dave--because she was afraid he might say she
must get into the bus, or even jump out and lift her in as he had done
before--Elizabeth Ann turned and began to walk quickly down the road
she had just come over.

She didn’t dare glance back, not even when the bus horn shrieked at
her. That was Dave, of course, and very likely he was furious. Well,
sighed Elizabeth Ann to herself, she didn’t want to be late for school,
and the only reason that made her do this was because she could
not--she simply could not--go away and leave that little black dot
walking over the snow alone.

Presently she heard steps behind her and someone caught up with her.
Elizabeth Ann turned in astonishment and saw that Roger Calendar was
walking beside her.

“Why--why--you’ll miss the bus,” said Elizabeth Ann.

“I have missed it,” Roger replied. “You didn’t think I would get on
it and leave you to walk all the way to town with a cross-patch like
Catherine, did you?”

“She isn’t a cross-patch,” Elizabeth Ann protested, but not very firmly.

“Of course she is,” said Roger. “She’ll be as cross as two sticks
because she has missed the bus. She’ll probably blame you for her bad
luck. And she may not go to school at all and then you’ll be sorry you
ever waited for her.”

Elizabeth Ann said nothing.

“Catherine Gould wouldn’t wait for you, and don’t you ever expect it of
her,” said Roger, who didn’t feel any too cheerful about the tardy mark
he knew would be placed against his name.

“Why Roger Calendar, yes she would, too!” Elizabeth Ann retorted. “I
guess Catherine would wait for me, if she saw me coming and she knew
the bus wouldn’t wait. Of course she would.”

Roger thought it wiser not to argue that question.

“Dave was as mad as mad could be,” he said significantly. “He said his
patience was--was exhausted.”

They met Catherine at that moment and Elizabeth Ann had no time to
think about Dave.

“Hello, where are you going?” asked Catherine, looking at Elizabeth Ann
and Roger in evident surprise.

“We’re waiting for you,” Elizabeth Ann explained. “We saw you coming
and we didn’t want to go on without you.”

Catherine stopped short in the snow.

“Has the bus gone?” she demanded. “Didn’t Dave wait for me?”

Roger kept still, so Elizabeth Ann had to explain again.

“He wouldn’t wait--that would make everyone late,” she said. “We’ll
have to walk all the way and we’d better hurry.”

“I hate walking,” exclaimed Catherine petulantly, “and I hate to be
late--Miss Owen makes such a silly fuss.”

She stood kicking a lump of snow with one foot while Elizabeth Ann
stared at her anxiously and Roger looked at Elizabeth Ann with an
I-told-you-so expression on his face.

But Catherine, had they known it, didn’t dare go home. Her daddy had
refused to drive her to the bus again, because she wouldn’t get up when
she was called to breakfast; Catherine knew that if she went home, she
would only be sent to school again.

“All right, come on,” she said suddenly and began to walk so fast that
Elizabeth Ann could scarcely keep up with her. Roger, being a boy,
of course could walk faster than Catherine, but he kept step with
Elizabeth Ann.



CHAPTER XIX

ROGER’S MISTAKE


Elizabeth Ann, running to keep up with Catherine, felt almost cheerful.
No matter if they were late--Catherine was going to school. She wasn’t
going to turn around and go home, as Roger has said she would.

“I think Roger would like her, if only Catherine would be nicer to
him,” thought Elizabeth Ann, her cheeks bright red from running against
the wind. “Oh, dear, I’m out of breath--and it’s snowing again!”

Sure enough, the white flakes were whirling around them and the gray
sky seemed to be pressing in upon them.

“I hate snow,” said Catherine, who could not be said to look forward to
the winter. “I like the summer but I hate winter.”

She was out of breath, too, now and had to walk more slowly. When they
gained the main road, they amused themselves by walking in the broad
treads, like ribbon bands, that the bus wheels had left marked on the
snow.

“Perhaps we’ll get a lift,” said Roger, when they had walked perhaps
half a mile.

“No we won’t,” contradicted Catherine. “Everyone has gone to the
creamery. Any wagons or cars that pass us will be going toward home.”

Elizabeth Ann had to admit that she was right. Within the next ten
minutes four wagons passed them, but they were all headed in the wrong
direction. The empty milk cans, rattling in the back of the wagons
showed that their drivers had been to the creamery in Gardner and were
now going home.

Catherine stopped without warning when they came to a mail box fastened
to a stump of a pine tree.

“My second cousin lives here,” she announced. “I’m going to see her.
I can stay at her house till afternoon and then go home. I don’t feel
well and I don’t think I ought to walk all that distance to school.”

“What will your mother say?” asked Elizabeth Ann, quite horrified.

“Oh, my mother won’t care. When I tell her I stayed with Cousin Betty,
Mother will write me an absence excuse,” Catherine declared. “Don’t you
want to come, too? We can play in the big barn.”

“No, I couldn’t,” said Elizabeth Ann hastily. “Uncle Hiram wouldn’t
like it. Would he, Roger?”

“Of course he wouldn’t--for pity’s sake do hurry, Elizabeth Ann,” Roger
urged her.

“Ain’t we late enough now, without arguing about staying to play in
anybody’s barn?”

“I didn’t ask you, Roger Calendar,” called Catherine, as Elizabeth Ann
hastened after Roger who was already moving down the road. “I wouldn’t
ask you to play in my cousin’s barn; you might leave _her_ corncrib
door open.”

Elizabeth glanced timidly at Roger as they hurried along.

“You’re not mad, Roger, are you?” she ventured presently.

“I haven’t time to be mad,” said Roger. “I told you Catherine wouldn’t
go to school; that’s why Dave and all of us hate to see you making a
monkey of yourself for a girl like that. We’re going to be good and
late for school.”

Elizabeth Ann was hurrying now to keep up with him.

“I’m sorry you waited,” she panted. “You didn’t have to wait, Roger.
And Catherine is mean to say things to you the way she does.”

“I’m used to that,” said Roger. “Say, Elizabeth Ann, perhaps I can find
a short cut; wouldn’t it be fun if we should get to school on time,
after all?”

Elizabeth Ann beamed at the idea. She did so hate to be late, and she
didn’t want all the pupils to stare at her when she and Roger came in,
and wonder where Catherine was. If they could get to school at the
usual time, it would be the other boys and girls who would be surprised.

“I’m not exactly sure, but I think there is a road that goes across
behind a piece of woods,” said Roger. “If it’s the one I think it is,
it will bring us out on one side of the school building. The only
trouble is, I don’t think any teams go through it in winter and it may
be drifted.”

“It hasn’t snowed much yet,” Elizabeth Ann declared cheerfully. “And I
think it’s going to stop now.”

She squinted at the sky, as she had seen Uncle Hiram do, and the wet
white flakes fell into her eyes and down the collar of her coat. It was
snowing steadily and there were no signs whatever that it meant to stop
any time soon.

“Well, we can try the short road, at least,” said Roger. “We turn off
here. Are you warm enough, Elizabeth Ann?”

“Oh, my, yes,” that small girl assured him. “Only don’t walk quite so
fast, please Roger; my knees won’t stretch only just so far.”

“I’ll walk the way you want to,” promised Roger. “I forgot you can’t
walk as fast as a boy. Want me to carry your lunch?”

Roger had forgotten all about the two small books and the lunch box
Elizabeth Ann carried, till this moment. He wasn’t very used to girls,
anyway, and he was rather apt to let them wait on themselves. Now,
however, he took Elizabeth Ann’s things and that left her hands free.
She could put them into the two big flannel-lined pockets of her coat
and let them both get warm at once.

The road down which Roger had turned apparently was not used at all in
the winter. Not a single track marked the whiteness of the snow that
covered it. The underbrush of the woods which bordered it on either
side showed gleaming red berries here and there and Elizabeth Ann saw a
few birds picking at the berries, but they did not seem to think they
were very good.

“Perhaps they’re sour,” said Elizabeth Ann aloud.

She was walking behind Roger, stepping into the footprints his rubber
boots left. And she noticed that the heel of one of his boots seemed to
be leaking.

“Roger, did you know your boot leaks?” she asked, before she stopped to
think.

Roger nodded, without turning.

“They’re old,” he said. “I may get a new pair for Christmas. But the
Bostwicks are so cross about the cow, I may not get anything for
Christmas this year.”

“I don’t think you left the corncrib door open,” said Elizabeth Ann for
the fiftieth time.

“I’d tell you if I had really left it open,” Roger answered. “I know I
didn’t. But there’s no way to prove it.”

He tramped on moodily, and Elizabeth Ann, who found it hard going
through the soft sticky snow, began to feel tired. She didn’t want to
bother Roger, but at last she thought she must ask a question.

“What time do you suppose it is, Roger?” she asked. “Is it much further
to the piece of woods you remember?”

Roger stopped and looked at her anxiously.

“Bet you’re getting tired,” he said. “I’ll tell you what, Elizabeth
Ann; we’ll sit down on this log and eat our lunches. That will give
us a little rest. We’re late now--I’m sure of it--and fifteen minutes
won’t make any difference.”

He brushed the snow off a large log at the side of the road and
Elizabeth Ann sat down. She was warm enough, but she was very tired.
She opened her lunch box and held it out to Roger.

“No thanks,” he said gruffly, “I have my own.”

He took two apples out of the paper bag he had carried in his pocket.

“You have to eat some of mine,” Elizabeth Ann insisted. “Aunt Grace
always puts up some for me to pass to the other girls. She gives Doris
extra sandwiches, too. These are minced chicken, Roger.”

“Will you eat one of my apples then?” demanded Roger, looking at the
sandwiches hungrily.

Elizabeth Ann promised and they began to eat as though breakfast had
been “the day before,” Roger said. But the long walk had made them
hungry, and when the sandwiches and stuffed eggs, and even Roger’s
apples had disappeared, they both felt much better.

“If it would stop snowing, we could go faster,” said Roger, as they
started to walk again. “It can’t be much further, Elizabeth Ann.”

But it was. They walked another two miles and then Roger was forced to
admit that he did not know where they were.

“I said you made a monkey out of yourself, waiting for Catherine,” he
declared ruefully, “but I’m a worse monkey; here we are, goodness only
knows how many miles from school--and it must be noon. I haven’t a
watch, but it feels like noon to me.”

Elizabeth Ann could have cried, but she didn’t. She was so tired and
worried and it began to look as though they wouldn’t get to school that
day at all. But Roger was sorry enough, without seeing her cry, she
thought, so she just winked her eyes a little and then said bravely:

“What’ll we do next, Roger?”

“We’ll have to go back,” said Roger slowly. “All the way back to the
main road; because I’m afraid to go any further over this road. I don’t
know where it leads--and it may go on for miles and miles, without
passing a house.”

They turned around and went back. It seemed three times as long a
journey as when they had first walked it, but the wind was no longer
in their faces and that was better. But when they reached the main
road, Elizabeth Ann was sure she couldn’t walk another step.

“I’m awfully sorry, Elizabeth Ann,” said Roger, looking at her
anxiously. “Don’t sit down in the snow--you can’t rest now; it’s only
a little further to school. You can’t sit down in wet snow, Elizabeth
Ann.”

But Elizabeth Ann didn’t care where she sat. Not only was she tired,
but she was sleepy. She stumbled when she walked, and she didn’t see
any reason why Roger should expect to keep her walking and walking,
when she was so tired.

“You go on without me,” she told him, “I’ll come after a while.”

But Roger had heard an automobile and he looked hopefully down the road.

“Here comes a car!” he cried. “I’ll ask them to take us to school.
Don’t you dare sit down in the wet cold snow, Elizabeth Ann Loring!”

Roger was so eager to get someone to take Elizabeth Ann to school,
before she went to sleep where she was, that he paid no attention to
the car. It is doubtful whether he would have recognized it, anyway,
for it was well covered with snow. But Elizabeth Ann, sleepy as she
was, recognized whose voice it was that answered Roger’s eager shout
and she knew both the men whose heads were thrust out of the car
windows when it stopped.

“Uncle Hiram and Mr. Gould!” said Elizabeth Ann, forgetting how tired
she was because of being so much surprised.



CHAPTER XX

THE FORTUNE-TELLER


Now Roger didn’t like Catherine Gould, but, as he told Elizabeth Ann
afterward, that didn’t mean he wanted to tell tales about her. So
when Uncle Hiram began to ask questions, Roger told everything that
had happened to Elizabeth Ann and himself, but he said nothing about
Catherine.

“I don’t see how Elizabeth Ann could miss the bus,” said Uncle Hiram.
“Why didn’t Doris miss it, too?”

Elizabeth Ann blushed and Roger looked confused.

“Well, I’m afraid you’ll have to go to school and be marked tardy,
Elizabeth Ann,” said Uncle Hiram. “I believe in finishing what you
start out to do; and you started for school in good time this morning.”

“I’ll drive you to school,” Mr. Gould offered.

“No--I mean no thank you, we can walk,” said Elizabeth Ann quickly.

She was afraid that if the principal or Miss Owen saw the car, they
might come out to ask Mr. Gould about Catherine.

“Did Catherine make the bus this morning?” asked Mr. Gould suddenly.

Well, neither Elizabeth Ann nor Roger could answer that question
without telling the whole story. Mr. Gould saw that something was
wrong, and he began to ask so many questions that soon he and Uncle
Hiram knew exactly what had happened. Elizabeth Ann cried, partly
because she was tired and partly because she was afraid Catherine would
blame her, and partly because she didn’t want Catherine to be scolded.
But of course, she had to answer Mr. Gould’s questions and he went
after Catherine and brought her to school--though it was then almost
three o’clock and school was out at half past three. But first he took
Elizabeth Ann and Roger to school, and though Miss Owen hated to do it,
she had to mark them tardy. Elizabeth Ann was so tired and sleepy she
couldn’t sit up at her desk, so Uncle Hiram took her home where she
went to bed and slept till eight o’clock that night when she woke up
and had bread and milk, then went to sleep again. But Roger stayed the
rest of the day in school and rode home with Dave in the afternoon bus
and told him about Elizabeth Ann.

Uncle Hiram explained to Elizabeth Ann before she went to school the
next morning, that now, as long as she knew Catherine wouldn’t hurry
and didn’t care how many friends she made late for school, that she was
not to wait for her again.

“She must learn her own lessons,” said Uncle Hiram. “Perhaps if she
finds no one will wait for her, she’ll teach herself to be on time. You
can help people just so much, Elizabeth Ann; after that they must help
themselves.”

Catherine did make the bus for the next few mornings. She may have been
eager to talk over the fair plans with the others in school, since it
was almost time for the great affair. Catherine had to remind her
friends to bake their cakes, too, and she knew that if she didn’t make
a good record in school her daddy would not take her around to collect
the various cakes. Whatever her reasons, Catherine was as prompt as the
most punctual scholar all the rest of the week.

“What are you going to do, Elizabeth Ann?” asked Roger, who had
collected everything he could for the grab bag; Uncle Hiram had given
him a basket filled with small things and that had delighted Roger
beyond words.

Miss Owen had been pleased, too. There were shells in the basket and
small curios, and little foreign coins and packets of postage stamps
from strange countries. They all made lovely grab bag prizes.

But Elizabeth Ann wouldn’t tell even Roger what she was going to do
at the fair. Miss Owen knew, and Doris knew, but no one else did. Of
course Uncle Hiram and Aunt Grace knew--they didn’t count, Elizabeth
Ann explained, because grown-ups had to know your secrets so they could
help you with your costumes.

“Costumes?” repeated Roger. “Are you going to wear a costume--like the
one you wore Hallowe’en at Catherine’s party, Elizabeth Ann?”

“Sh! Don’t tell anyone I’m going to wear a costume,” Elizabeth Ann
said. “I told you it’s a secret--and I’m not going to be a black cat!”
and that was all Roger could coax from her.

The fair opened in the afternoon at two o’clock, so there was, of
course, no school that afternoon. The long light basement looked very
fine when the first visitors came down the stairs--there were rows of
booths on each side of the hall, and each booth was in charge of a
class room. All the pupils were supposed to take turns helping, so that
each child would have some time to go around and see the other booths.

The teachers were on hand to make change and wrap parcels and answer
questions, but the boys and girls were supposed to do most of the
selling. And every one of them had customers, because if no one else
came to buy, a mother or a daddy or an uncle or aunt would be sure to
step up smilingly and say, “How much is that? I believe I’ll take it.”

At one end of the room was a tent, and five minutes after the fair
had opened, the news was all over the basement that there was a
fortune-teller in the tent.

“She’s tall and dark,” reported one of the teachers, “and she sits on
a throne--I wonder who built the throne? They must have worked on it
nights when no one was in the building.”

“The fortune-teller has an assistant,” Flora Gabrie told Roger
Calendar. “I peeked in the tent. I’m sure I never saw her before. I
never saw the fortune-teller, either. They must be from out of town.”

It cost ten cents to have one’s fortune told and it seemed as though
everyone was anxious to find out what was “going to happen” as Flora
Gabrie said with a little shiver. Flora said she didn’t believe that
anyone could tell what was going to happen, but just the same she took
ten cents of the money she had saved for Christmas, and gave it to the
gypsy princess.

Whatever the princess--who was tall and dark, and who might or might
not have been pretty, for she was so wrapped up in veils that no one
could see her face--told the people who came into her tent, it made
them happy. Most of them laughed and laughed and just to hear them
laughing in the tent made those outside who were waiting their turns,
the more anxious to go in. All afternoon there was a line of people
going and coming from the fortune-teller’s tent.

“I’m going, too,” Catherine Gould suddenly decided.

She had been spending all her money at the grab-bag table, for she
liked the shells and stamps that Uncle Hiram had given Roger. She was
rather greedy about them and might have opened some of the packages
before she bought them, if Miss Owen had not kept an eye on her. But
Catherine still had ten cents left and she meant to spend this to have
her fortune told.

She had to stand in line for several minutes and then her turn came.
The attendant, who was short, and wrapped in veils, too, opened the
flap of the tent and led Catherine inside.

“Kneel,” said this attendant and Catherine knelt down before the gypsy
princess who sat on a throne of pillows, most gorgeous to behold in her
red and green frock.

“Oh-h!” cried the fortune-teller, as soon as she saw Catherine. “I see
a door.”

Then Catherine saw that in her hand the gypsy held a little silver ball.

“What kind of a door is it?” whispered Catherine fearfully.

“It’s a queer, barn door,” the gypsy answered. “Can’t you see it?”--and
she held the silver ball down close to Catherine’s eyes.

“It must be the corncrib door,” said Catherine, staring into the silver
ball.

It was the gypsy’s turn to stare. She didn’t say anything but Catherine
could feel her staring through her veil.

“I had a party Hallowe’en night, at my house,” went on Catherine.
“And two girls won a box of candy for a prize. They didn’t eat it and
I thought perhaps they wouldn’t want it, and I might as well have
it myself. I didn’t know where else to hide it, to keep the other
children from eating it, so I put it in the corncrib. I knew the mice
or rats couldn’t get it there and I could take it out in the morning.”

The gypsy princess leaned down from her throne.

“Go on,” she commanded, while the attendant looked as though she might
be glued to the floor.

“Why I--er--I guess I didn’t fasten the door,” said Catherine
uncomfortably. “One of our cows got in during the night and ate so much
corn she died. But I never said Roger Calendar left the door open--when
my father asked me if any of the boys had been to the corncrib, I said
Roger had. He _had_ been there--that was the truth. He helped my aunt
fix the strings for one of the party games.”

The gypsy drew a long breath.

“That’s why I couldn’t tell your fortune,” she announced. “You can’t
have any fortune, unless you tell what really happened. Tell your
father.”

“Oh, I couldn’t!” said Catherine hastily. “He’d be so cross. I can’t
bear to have people cross with me. Besides, I’m not sure I did leave
the door open. Perhaps Roger went to the corncrib after I did.”

The gypsy leaned down again and pressed something into Catherine’s hand.

“There’s your dime,” she said softly. “I haven’t told your fortune. I
can’t find any for you.”

“Well, all right, I’ll go buy another grab bag,” Catherine retorted, a
little angrily. “You won’t tell what I’ve told you, will you. I guess
you won’t, because you don’t know anyone to tell. And no one would
believe what a strange gypsy says, if I say it isn’t true, anyway.”

Other people were eager to have their fortunes told and as soon as
Catherine went out, her dime clutched tightly in her hand, another took
her place. And by five o’clock, when the fair was practically over, and
Miss Owen said the gypsy must come and have some ice cream, there was
almost fifty dollars in the money box in the tent. That didn’t mean
five hundred people had had their fortunes told--dear no. Many folk
left extra money because they knew it was going to be used for poor
boys and girls, to give them a happy Christmas.

“I’m sure you’re all interested in our gypsy princess,” said Miss
Owen, when the fortune-teller came out of her tent, “and I think I’ll
have to introduce you--to Miss Elizabeth Ann Loring and her assistant,
Doris Mason; this was entirely Elizabeth Ann’s idea and I think she has
managed it very cleverly.”



CHAPTER XXI

ALL STRAIGHTENED OUT


Elizabeth Ann blushed and the people who had come to the fair clapped.
Doris forgot to be shy and beamed.

“Nobody ever guessed it was you, Elizabeth Ann,” she kept saying.

Uncle Hiram took them both over to the ice cream booth and there was
still some ice cream left, vanilla and chocolate. Before they had quite
finished their plates, Aunt Grace called to Uncle Hiram to come where
she was and look at something, and that left Elizabeth Ann and Doris
alone. The children in charge of the ice cream booth had gone to buy
something at one of the tables--for the fair was almost over--and the
teacher who had given the two little girls their ice cream had taken
her money box over to have the money counted where all the money boxes
were.

“P-st!” whispered someone right in Elizabeth Ann’s ear.

Of course she jumped, for it startled her.

“Here I am--back of these pillows,” said a voice and Catherine Gould
put her head out between two black satin pillows that had been left on
a piano bench.

“I think you were awfully mean to fool people, Elizabeth Ann,” said
Catherine reproachfully. “Of course if I had known who you were, I
wouldn’t have asked you to tell my fortune.”

“It was just for fun,” Elizabeth Ann answered, taking the last spoonful
of her chocolate ice cream and looking at her empty plate wistfully.

“Well, don’t you ever tell what I told you about the corncrib door, or
I’ll never forgive you,” said Catherine.

“Why I wouldn’t tell--I don’t carry tales,” Elizabeth Ann declared
indignantly, “but aren’t you going to tell Mr. Bostwick--or your
father?”

“Why should I?” asked Catherine, though her face turned red. “I’m not
sure I left it unfastened. I can’t be perfectly sure some of the boys
didn’t go to the corncrib after I left the candy there.”

Doris almost choked on her last bit of ice cream in her hurry to tell
Catherine what she thought of her.

“Why Catherine Gould, you’re telling a lie,” she cried. “I mean you
will be telling a lie, if you don’t explain to your father about the
corncrib door. He thinks Roger left it open, and Roger has to work for
him every Saturday.”

“I am not telling a lie, and don’t you say such things, Doris Mason!”
stormed Catherine. “Maybe I didn’t leave the door open. Anyway, it
won’t hurt Roger Calendar to work Saturdays--my father says idleness is
bad for anyone. And Roger _is_ careless--one day last summer he left
the pasture bars down and Mr. Bostwick’s cows got in the garden and ate
almost the entire first crop of peas.”

Someone struck a chord on the piano just then--that was to attract the
attention of everyone in the room. Elizabeth Ann peeked around a tall
man and saw that it was Roger who sat at the school piano.

“We’re going to auction the cakes that are left,” announced Mr. Fundy
the principal. “We have six fine cakes left and they won’t keep till
our next fair, so we’ll sell them to the highest bidder.”

Roger played softly while the cakes were being auctioned off and
they were soon sold. Aunt Grace bought a banana layer cake, much to
the pleasure of Elizabeth Ann and Doris, who liked banana cake. And
when the last cake had been sold and the money added to that already
counted, Mr. Fundy had another announcement to make.

“I’m glad to be able to tell you,” he said, “that everything in all the
booths has been sold; and we have cleared for our Christmas fund for
poor and sick children, exactly $160. I call that pretty fine for a
country school like ours.”

All the people clapped and Roger broke into a rollicking march on the
piano. With $160, Miss Owen explained to Elizabeth Ann who stood near
her, they could buy more than they had planned, and not a child would
have to be left off the list.

Then, of course, it was time to go home, and Elizabeth Ann and Doris
couldn’t talk about Catherine in the car for not only would Uncle Hiram
and Aunt Grace hear them, but Roger, who was going to have supper
at their house before he went to the Bostwick farm. Uncle Hiram had
arranged that with Mr. Bostwick, and it was a real treat for Roger who
seldom visited anywhere.

“Don’t you wish you had a piano of your own?” Doris asked him, when
they were almost home.

“Yes, I’d like one,” said Roger, “but the only way I’ll ever get it
will be to earn the money; and if people keep on saying I leave doors
open and kill cows, it will take me all my life to pay them. I never
will get any money saved for a piano.”

“Avast there,” Uncle Hiram mumbled over his shoulder. “The wind can
blow in the east only so long; your east wind is about blown out and
you ought to be looking for clear weather.”

“I hope you’ll get a nice west wind soon, Roger,” said gentle Aunt
Grace. “I’m having waffles for supper--maybe they will help.”

They couldn’t help laughing a little at the idea of waffles being a
west wind, but Roger told Aunt Grace that hot waffles were as good as a
spell of clear weather to him; a west wind, he explained to Elizabeth
Ann, always brought clear weather.

Elizabeth Ann looked at Doris and Doris looked at Elizabeth Ann. But
they couldn’t make up their minds what they ought to do.

Roger had his golden brown waffles and went home, whistling cheerily as
though he had forgotten such unpleasant things as corncrib doors, and
perhaps he had. Aunt Grace went out into the kitchen--excuse us, the
galley--to set her bread. And Elizabeth Ann and Doris sat on the floor
of their bedroom and talked about Catherine Gould until Uncle Hiram
called to them that it was high time sailors their age were fast asleep.

In the morning, on the way to school, Elizabeth Ann and Doris were
still talking about Catherine.

“I don’t want Roger to have to work Saturdays for Mr. Gould,” said
Elizabeth Ann. “It isn’t fair; he used to have two hours to himself
every Saturday and he could go over to Mrs. Weber’s and play on her
piano, he told me. Now he can’t do anything because Mr. Bostwick says
he must help him every minute to make up for the time he has to give
Catherine’s father.”

“But you can’t make Catherine tell her father,” Doris pointed out. “And
you don’t want to tell him yourself--you told her you wouldn’t.”

Elizabeth Ann shook her head so that her red tam almost fell off.

“No, of course I wouldn’t tell,” she declared. “But I am going to think
and think and by and by I’ll find a way.”

Doris had great respect for Elizabeth Ann’s thinking powers and she
watched her anxiously the rest of the day. Catherine was absent from
school, so when they left the bus at the cross-roads in the later
afternoon, only Roger was with them. He turned off at the lane leading
to the Bostwick farm, and as soon as they were alone, Elizabeth Ann
turned eagerly to Doris.

“I know what to do!” she exclaimed. “I’ve thought it all out--first
we ask Uncle Hiram to promise that he will tell Mr. Gould about
Catherine--how she hid the candy and forgot to fasten the door and then
let him think Roger did it. But before Uncle Hiram tells Mr. Gould, he
must make him promise that he won’t scold Catherine.”

“She ought to be scolded,” said Doris sternly. She didn’t like to be
scolded herself, mind you, but she didn’t mind seeing other people get
their “comeuppance,” as Aunt Grace called it.

“Well, perhaps,” Elizabeth Ann admitted, “but we can’t help that. If
Catherine thinks she is going to be scolded, she will never tell.
And if we can promise her no one will say a word, she won’t mind
telling. We want Roger to stop working for Mr. Gould--never mind about
Catherine.”

“Yes, but how can you tell Uncle Hiram when you said you wouldn’t?”
asked the practical Doris.

“I’m going to see Catherine now and ask her to let me tell,” Elizabeth
Ann explained. “You go on to the house and tell Aunt Grace where I am;
I’ll come as soon as I see Catherine.”

Doris went on, grumbling that the plan wouldn’t work. But the
surprising thing about it was that it did, it worked out exactly as
Elizabeth Ann planned. Catherine said if her daddy wouldn’t scold or
punish her, she didn’t mind having Uncle Hiram tell what had happened.
And Uncle Hiram, though at first he said he wouldn’t ask Mr. Gould
to make any silly promises, finally consented. He told him the story
Elizabeth Ann had told him--about the corncrib door and the candy, and
Catherine’s fear that led her to shift the blame to Roger.

Mr. Gould was sorry about Roger and went at once to see Mr. Bostwick to
tell him a mistake had been made, and that Roger wasn’t careless after
all. And of course Roger no longer had to work all day Saturday at the
Gould farm. But Mr. Gould was even sorrier about his own little girl,
and he said that no matter what happened another time, if Catherine
would come to him and tell him he wouldn’t scold but would help her to
set the mistake right. And Catherine promised to tell him after this.

Of course it was almost Christmas by this time--less than two weeks to
Christmas Eve. But we haven’t enough pages to tell you about Christmas
in the Bonnie Susie, so that will have to wait till another book. Only
you may be sure Elizabeth Ann and Doris had a wonderful time, for the
country is the place for little girls to enjoy Christmas.


THE END



Elizabeth Ann Series

By JOSEPHINE LAWRENCE

_For Girls from 7 to 12_

[Illustration: _The_ Adventures _of_ ELIZABETH ANN]

Elizabeth Ann is a little girl whom we first meet on a big train,
travelling all alone. Her father and mother have sailed for Japan,
and she is sent back East to visit at first one relative’s home, and
then another. Of course, she meets many new friends, some of whom
she is quite happy with, while others--but you must read the stories
for yourself. Every other girl who reads the first of these charming
books will want all the rest; for Elizabeth Ann is certainly worth the
cultivating.

  THE ADVENTURES OF ELIZABETH ANN.

  ELIZABETH ANN AT MAPLE SPRING.

  ELIZABETH ANN’S SIX COUSINS.

  ELIZABETH ANN and DORIS.

  ELIZABETH ANN’S BORROWED GRANDMA.

  ELIZABETH ANN’S SPRING VACATION.

  ELIZABETH ANN and UNCLE DOCTOR.

  ELIZABETH ANN’S HOUSEBOAT.

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



LINDA LANE SERIES

By Josephine Lawrence

For Girls from 12 to 15

  CLOTH    LARGE 12 MO.    ILLUSTRATED

[Illustration: LINDA LANE HELPS OUT]

“The trouble with Linda Lane,” said Mrs. Quincy, “was that she
‘couldn’t get along with folks.’” As everyone knows, a girl needs
friends to love her and believe in her. It isn’t to be wondered at that
Linda wasn’t happy. Then little Miss Gilly came to the rooms of the
Society, the only home Linda knew, and took the girl home with her. A
new life begins for Linda, and she finds, to her surprise and delight,
how to get along with people, how to make friends, and slowly and
surely how to be happy.

Linda admires independence above all other traits of character. She has
plenty of that quality herself and she is the kind of girl who not only
cheerfully fights her own battles, but those of the weaker who cannot
defend themselves. She is “bossy,” lovable, impatient and loyal, a born
manager, whose plans invariably work out to satisfactory conclusions,
and Linda has a definite plan which gradually unfolds in these books
written about her--the sort of plan only a girl without a home and
parents of her own could think of and carry to completion. Linda Lane
knows what she wants and she is willing to work and trust to her own
efforts to make her wishes come true.

  1. LINDA LANE.
  2. LINDA LANE HELPS OUT.
  3. LINDA LANE’S PLAN.
  4. LINDA LANE EXPERIMENTS.
  5. LINDA LANE’S PROBLEMS.
  6. LINDA LANE’S BIG SISTER.

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



CHARMING STORIES FOR GIRLS

The Corner House Girls Series

By GRACE BROOKS HILL

[Illustration: _The_ CORNER HOUSE GIRLS]

Four girls from eight to fourteen years of age receive word that a
rich bachelor uncle has died, leaving them the old Corner House he
occupied. They move into it and then the fun begins. What they find
and do will provoke many a hearty laugh. Later, they enter school and
make many friends. One of these invites the girls to spend a few weeks
at a bungalow owned by her parents, and the adventures they meet with
make very interesting reading. Clean, wholesome stories of humor and
adventure, sure to appeal to all young girls.

   1 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS.
   2 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS AT SCHOOL.
   3 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS UNDER CANVAS.
   4 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS IN A PLAY.
   5 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS’ ODD FIND.
   6 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS ON A TOUR.
   7 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS GROWING UP.
   8 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS SNOWBOUND.
   9 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS ON A HOUSEBOAT.
  10 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS AMONG THE GYPSIES.
  11 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS ON PALM ISLAND.
  12 THE CORNER HOUSE GIRLS SOLVE A MYSTERY.
  13 THE CORNER HOUSE GIRLS FACING THE WORLD.

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



CHICKEN LITTLE JANE SERIES

_By_ LILY MUNSELL RITCHIE

[Illustration: CHICKEN LITTLE JANE COMES TO TOWN]

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

  Adventures of Chicken Little Jane
  Chicken Little Jane on the “Big John”
  Chicken Little Jane Comes to Town
  Chicken Little Jane in the Rockies

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



HAT MAY

_AN ENCHANTED PRINCESS_

_By_ LUCY THURSTON ABBOTT

_For girls from 8 to 14_

NET $1.00

[Illustration: HAT MAY]

This charming story is concerned with the fortunes of a little girl
whom a whim of Fate has placed in charge of a woman and her lame
husband living on the New England coast--the Winkiepaw pair--and
the woman, whom Hat May always looks upon as a cruel ogress of her
imaginary fairy world, treats her very badly indeed.

The story covering Hat May’s doings is everything that a book for girls
between the ages of eight and fourteen should be. The characters are
skillfully drawn and true to nature; also while there is considerable
pathos connected with the ill-treatment of Hat May; so too there is
discovered in the telling an abundance of childish and delightful humor.

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



~The Rusty-Cats~

_A story of Hat May and her friends._

BY LUCY THURSTON ABBOTT

_Author of “Hat May.”_

(For Girls from 8 to 14)

Summer has come again to Carey Hill bringing with it the “rusticators,”
or, as the Carey children are called, the “rusty-cats.” With them
comes happiness to Hat May the little enchanted princess, and hope
of recovery to her little crippled friend, Hank. The mystic rites of
The Seven Bloody Bones baffle prying Mrs. Winkiepaw who is forced
to grant more freedom to her slave, Hat May. The success of Ariel’s
wonderful play, written especially for the Seven, buys a wheel-chair
for Hank, and then when the summer is over, and life with the ogress
becomes too hard to bear, Phin cleverly rescues Hat May and defeats
the ill-tempered ogress. Can anyone guess the beautiful word which
disenchants Hat May and takes her from her dreary and sordid existence
to one of beauty and happiness?

  _Price Net $1.00_

  Publishers
  BARSE & CO.
  NEW YORK, N. Y.    NEWARK, N. J.



Transcriber’s Note:

Changes to the original publication have been made as follows:

  Page 16
    where Lyn had stopped it _changed to_
    where Lex had stopped it

  Page 27
    Oh, yes, Aunt Nellie _changed to_
    Oh, yes, Cousin Nellie

  Page 28
    it looks as thought _changed to_
    it looks as though

  Page 47
    to go and leave him. _changed to_
    to go and leave him.”

  Page 63
    bunk is like a a box _changed to_
    bunk is like a box

  Page 73
    Aunt Grace, smiled a little _changed to_
    Aunt Grace smiled a little

    not to learn ship time _changed to_
    not to learn ship-time

    and its nice to hear you _changed to_
    and it’s nice to hear you

  Page 93
    “Whose the little girl _changed to_
    “Who’s the little girl

  Page 98
    Where do we register” _changed to_
    Where do we register?”

  Page 100
    sang, too and so did Doris _changed to_
    sang, too, and so did Doris

  Page 119
    material called zibilene _changed to_
    material called zibelene

  Page 159
    he forgot to close it.’ _changed to_
    he forgot to close it.”

  Page 168
    had been expressibly explained _changed to_
    had been expressly explained

  Page 190
    “It can’t be much further, Elizabeth Ann. _changed to_
    “It can’t be much further, Elizabeth Ann.”

  Page 198
    And everyone of them had _changed to_
    And every one of them had

  Page 200
    packages before she brought them _changed to_
    packages before she bought them

  Page 213
    that it did it worked out _changed to_
    that it did, it worked out

  Linda Lane Series
    a girl needs friends to lover her _changed to_
    a girl needs friends to love her





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