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- Marjorie's Vacation - 2/34 -
little curl of Arabella's, and you can keep that to remember her by."
"All right," said Marjorie; "and I'll take a lock of Boffin Bear's hair too. Then I'll have a memento of all the family, because I have pictures of all of you, you know."
With the Maynards to suggest was to act. So the four scrambled out of the swing, and ran to the house.
The Maynard house was a large square affair, with verandas all around. Not pretentious, but homelike and comfortable, and largely given over to the children's use. Though not often in the drawing- room, the four young Maynards frequently monopolized the large living-room, and were allowed free access to the library as well.
Also they had a general playroom and a nursery; and Kingdon had a small den or workroom for his own use, which was oftener than not invaded by the girls.
To the playroom they went, and Kingdon carefully cut small locks from the kitten, the doll, and the bear, and Marjorie neatly tied them with narrow blue ribbons. These mementoes the girls put away, and carefully treasured all through the summer.
Another Maynard custom was a farewell feast at dinner, the night before vacation began. Ordinarily, only the two older children dined with their parents, the other two having their tea in the nursery. But on this occasion, all were allowed at dinner, and the feast was made a special honor for the one who was going away. Gifts were made, as on a birthday, and festival dress was in order.
A little later, then, the four children presented themselves in the library, where their parents awaited them.
Mr. Maynard was a man of merry disposition and rollicking nature, and sometimes joined so heartily in the children's play that he seemed scarcely older than they.
Mrs. Maynard was more sedate, and was a loving mother, though not at all a fussy one. She was glad in many ways to have one of her children spend the summer each year with her mother, but it always saddened her when the time of departure came.
She put her arm around Marjorie, without a word, as the girl came into the room, for it had been three years since the two had been parted, and Mrs. Maynard felt a little sad at the thought of separation.
"Don't look like that, Mother," said Marjorie, "for if you do, I'll begin to feel weepy, and I won't go at all."
"Oh, yes, you will, Miss Midge," cried her father; "you'll go, and you'll stay all summer, and you'll have a perfectly beautiful time. And, then, the first of September I'll come flying up there to get you, and bring you home, and it'll be all over. Now, such a short vacation as that isn't worth worrying about, is it?"
"No," put in Kingdon, "and last year when I went there wasn't any sad good-by."
"That's because you're a boy," said his mother, smiling at him proudly; "tearful good-bys are only for girls and women."
"Yes," said Mr. Maynard, "they enjoy them, you know. Now, _I_ think it is an occasion of rejoicing that Marjorie is to go to Grandma's and have a happy, jolly vacation. We can all write letters to her, and she will write a big budget of a family letter that we can all enjoy together."
"And Mopsy must wite me a little letter, all for my own sef," remarked Rosy Posy, "'cause I like to get letters all to me."
Baby Rosamond was dressed up for the occasion in a very frilly white frock, and being much impressed by the grandeur of staying up to dinner, she had solemnly seated herself in state on a big sofa, holding Boffin Bear in her arms. Her words, therefore, seemed to have more weight than when she was her everyday roly- poly self, tumbling about on the floor, and Marjorie at once promised that she should have some letters all to herself.
When dinner was announced, Mr. Maynard, with Marjorie, led the procession to the diningroom. They were followed by Mrs. Maynard and Rosamond, and after them came Kingdon and Kitty.
Kitty was a golden-haired little girl, quite in contrast to Marjorie, who had tangled masses of dark, curly hair and large, dark eyes. Her cheeks were round and rosy, and her little white teeth could almost always be seen, for merry Marjorie was laughing most of the time. To-night she wore one of her prettiest white dresses, and her dark curls were clustered at the top of her head into a big scarlet bow. The excitement of the occasion made her cheeks red and her eyes bright, and Mrs. Maynard looked at her pretty eldest daughter with a pardonable pride.
"Midge," she said, "there are just about a hundred things I ought to tell you before you go to Grandma's, but if I were to tell you now, you wouldn't remember one of them; so I have written them all down, and you must take the list with you, and read it every morning so that you may remember and obey the instructions."
Midge was one of the numerous nicknames by which Marjorie was called. Her tumbling, curly hair, which was everlastingly escaping from its ribbon, had gained for her the title of Mops or Mopsy. Midge and Midget had clung to her from babyhood, because she was an active and energetic child, and so quick of motion that she seemed to dart like a midge from place to place. She never did anything slowly. Whether it was an errand for her mother or a game of play, Midge always moved rapidly. Her tasks were always done in half the time it took the other children to do theirs; but in consequence of this haste, they were not always done as well or as thoroughly as could be desired.
This, her mother often told her, was her besetting sin, and Marjorie truly tried to correct it when she thought of it; but often she was too busy with the occupation in hand to remember the good instructions she had received.
"I'm glad you did that, Mother," she replied to her mother's remark, "for I really haven't time to study the list now. But I'll promise to read it over every morning at Grandma's, and honest and true, I'll try to be good."
"Of course you will," said her father, heartily; "you'll be the best little girl in the world, except the two you leave here behind you."
"Me's the bestest," calmly remarked Rosamond, who seemed especially satisfied with herself that evening.
"You are," agreed King; "you look good enough to eat, to-night."
Rosamond beamed happily, for she was not unused to flattering observations from the family. And, indeed, she was a delicious- looking morsel of humanity, as she sat in her high chair, and tried her best to "behave like a lady."
The table was decorated with June roses and daisies. The dinner included Marjorie's favorite dishes, and the dessert was strawberries and ice cream, which, Kitty declared, always made a party, anyway.
So with the general air of celebration, and Mr. Maynard's gay chatter and jokes, the little trace of sadness that threatened to appear was kept out of sight, and all through the summer Marjorie had only pleasant memories of her last evening at home.
After the dessert the waitress appeared again with a trayful of parcels, done up in the most fascinating way, in tissue paper and dainty ribbons.
This, too, was always a part of the farewell feast, and Marjorie gave a little sigh of satisfaction, as the well-filled tray was placed before her.
"That's mine! Open mine first!" cried Rosamond, as Marjorie picked up a good-sized bundle.
"Yes, that's Rosy Posy's," said her mother, laughing, "and she picked it out herself, because she thought it would please you. Open it first, Midge."
So Marjorie opened the package, and discovered a little clock, on the top of which was perched a brilliant red bird.
Rosamond clapped her hands in glee. "I knew you'd love it," she cried, "'cause it's a birdie, a yed birdie. And I finded it all mysef in the man's shop. Do you yike it, Mopsy?"
"Indeed I do," cried Marjorie; "it's just what I wanted. I shall keep it on my dressing-table at Grandma's, and then I'll know just when to get up every morning."
"Open mine next," said Kitty; "it's the square flat one, with the blue ribbon."
So Marjorie opened Kitty's present and it was a picture, beautifully framed to hang on the wall at Grandma's. The picture was of birds, two beautiful orioles on a branch. The colors were so bright, and so true to nature, that Marjorie exclaimed in delight:
"Now I shall have orioles there, anyway, whether there are real ones in the trees or not. It is lovely, Kitsie, and I don't see how you ever found such a beautiful bird picture."
Marjorie had always been fond of birds, and lately had begun studying them in earnest. Orioles were among her favorites, and so Kitty's picture was a truly welcome gift. King's present came next, and was a beautiful gold pen with a pearl holder.
"That," he explained, "is so you'll write to us often. For I know, Mops, your old penholder is broken, and it's silver, anyway. This is nicer, because it's no trouble to keep it clean and bright."
"That's so, King, and I'm delighted with this one. I shall write you a letter with it, first of all, and I'll tell you all about the farm."
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