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- Princess Polly's Gay Winter - 1/21 -
PRINCESS POLLY'S GAY WINTER
By AMY BROOKS
AUTHOR OF "Princess Polly," "Princess Polly's Playmates," "Princess Polly at School," "Princess Polly by the Sea," "Princess Polly at Play," etc.
CHAPTER I MERRY TIMES PROMISED II THE SEA NYMPH III GWEN IV WHAT HAPPENED AT SCHOOL V A BREATH OF THE SEA VI A DELIGHTFUL CALL VII AUNT JUDITH'S PARTY VIII GYP'S AMBITION IX A JOLLY TIME X A HOLIDAY PARTY XI UNCLE JOHN MAKES A PROMISE XII AUNT ROSE'S CALL
MERRY TIMES PROMISED
Little Rose Atherton sat on the lower step of the three broad ones that led down from the piazza, and she wondered if there were, in all the world, a lovelier spot than Avondale.
"And we live in the finest part of Avondale," she said, continuing her thoughts aloud. "Tho' wherever Uncle John is, seems better than anywhere else."
She had spent the bright, happy summer at the shore, and surely Uncle John's fine residence, "The Cliffs," had been a delightful summer home.
Then Uncle John had one morning told a bit of wonderful news.
"I've something to tell you, my little girl," he said, drawing Rose to him.
"This is our summer home," he continued, "and a fine summer place it is, but Rose, little girl, we're to spend the coming Winter at Avondale."
It had been very exciting!
Before closing "The Cliffs," those treasures that Uncle John held dearest were carefully packed to be sent to the new home, and then, in the big, luxurious car, they had motored to Avondale.
"Good-bye," Rose had said, as she looked back toward "The Cliffs," and then, after throwing a kiss toward the house, she nestled back in the car, and tried, for the twentieth time, to "guess" how the new home would look.
It had proved to be more grand, more beautiful than she had dreamed. "And so near sweet Princess Polly," she said, "just the next house but one."
She sprang from the low step, and ran down to the sidewalk to see if Princess Polly was yet in sight. "I think it is a little early," she said, "for Polly said she'd come over at nine, and it isn't nine yet."
The dainty Angora came down the walk to meet her, her tail like a great plume, her soft coat as fluffy as thistle down. Proudly she walked as if she knew her beauty.
"Oh, you darling puss!" cried Rose. "You make this new home seem just as if we'd always lived here."
"That's right, Miss Rose," said the housekeeper, as she looked from the window.
"A cat does make a place seem homelike. She's not stared about, nor acted wild as most cats do. She made herself at home, and seemed at home the first day the captain brought her to you. Do you remember, Miss Rose, she sprang from the basket, sat down on the rug, and began to wash her face?"
"I know she did, and that proves that she's a wonderful cat. She couldn't act like a common cat. Could you, dear?"
The cat rubbed lovingly against Rose.
"We're going to choose a name for her to-day, and Princess Polly is coming over to help me. Oh, there she comes now!" Rose ran down the path to meet Polly, the white cat trotting along after her.
"I wanted to bring Sir Mortimer over to get acquainted with her, but he's just dear, in all but one thing. He isn't _always_ polite to other cats, and _sometimes_ he's really horrid, and growls so dreadfully that you'd think he hadn't any manners," said Polly.
"I guess it's just as well," Rose said, "for we'll be pretty busy choosing a name."
Polly had written a list of fine names, and together they read them, the white cat sitting and eagerly watching them for a time, and then playing on the lawn with a ball that was her own especial toy. At last after reading the list of imposing names again and again, they decided that, after all, Beauty best suited the lovely creature.
"To think that you are to live here at Avondale again!" Polly said, when at last the name had been chosen.
"Yes, and to think that there's only one house between yours and mine!" said Rose.
"You'll be happier in this handsome house with your Uncle John, than you ever were when you lived here at Avondale before at the little wee cottage with your Aunt Judith."
"Oh, yes," Rose said quickly, "because _now_ I know that Aunt Judith loves me, but _then_, I thought she didn't. With Uncle John,--why every moment since I've lived at his house, I've known that he loved me."
A moment she sat thinking, then she spoke again.
"When I lived here at Avondale before, I lived _all_ the time at the cottage, but now I'll live here, with dear Uncle John, and go down to see Aunt Judith, oh, sometimes."
Then she turned to look at her playmate.
"Polly, _Dear_ Polly!" she cried. "You look more like a princess than when we first called you 'Princess Polly.' Now, who ever thinks of calling you Polly Sherwood, your real, _truly_ name?"
"Who cares which they call me, so long as they love me?" cried Polly with a merry laugh.
They were in the garden at the rear of the house, but between trees and shrubbery they could see a bit of the avenue.
Something moving attracted their attention.
"Look!" cried Rose. "What's _that_?" Polly did look.
Something like a huge wheel, all spokes and hub, but no tire, was whirling down the avenue.
"It's Gyp!" said Polly.
"What? _That_?" said Rose.
"Yes, that's Gyp, and he's going down the avenue whirling first on his hands, then on his feet," Polly said.
"Oh, I wish he wasn't in this town," cried Rose, "because no one ever can guess what horrid thing he'll do next. And he won't stay over by the woods where he lives. He keeps coming over to this part of Avondale, and I wonder someone doesn't stop him."
"Who could stop Gyp?" Polly asked.
And who, indeed, could stop him? He was one of a family that was more than half Gypsy, and Gyp was, surely, the wildest of the clan.
He _would_ steal, yet so crafty was he that no one ever caught him. He was full of mischief, and nothing delighted him more than the assurance that he had really frightened someone.
As he usually felt very gay when he had done some especially annoying bit of mischief, it was safe to say that he had spent a busy morning somewhere, and now was turning handsprings to give vent to his hilarious feelings.
"Oh, what _do_ you s'pose he's been doing?" Polly asked.
"I don't know," Rose said slowly, "but I remember that he always acted just like that when he'd been _very_ naughty."
"Rob Lindsey said yesterday that somebody ought to watch Gyp, and whenever he seems to feel gay, just look around the neighborhood, and learn what he has been doing," said Rose.
"You'd have to watch him all the time, then," Polly replied, "for he always acts as if he felt full of fun, and mischief."
"Then whoever watched Gyp could do nothing else. He wouldn't have a minute for--oh look!" Rose sprang up on to a low ledge that the gardener had left showing because of its natural beauty. Flowers grew at its base, and the little rock, or ledge, rose just enough to show its crest above the blossoms. Something bright and fair was racing down the
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