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- Marjorie's Vacation - 3/34 -
Mrs. Maynard's gift was in a very small parcel, and when Marjorie opened it she found a dear little pearl ring.
"Oh, goody!" she cried. "I do love rings, and I never had one before! May I wear it always, Mother?"
"Yes," said Mrs. Maynard, smiling. "I don't approve of much jewelry for a little girl not yet twelve years old, but you may wear that."
Marjorie put it on her finger with great satisfaction, and Kitty looked at it lovingly.
"May I have one when I am twelve, Mother?" she asked.
"May I, may I?" chimed in Rosy Posy.
"Yes," said Mr. Maynard; "you girls may each have one just like Marjorie's when you are as old as she is now. That last parcel, Mops, is my present for you. I'm not sure that you can learn to use it, but perhaps you can, and if not I'll take it back and exchange it for something else."
Marjorie eagerly untied the wrappings of her father's gift, and found a little snapshot camera.
"Indeed I can learn to use it," she cried; "I took some pictures once with a camera that belonged to one of the girls at school, and they were all right. Thank you heaps and heaps, father dear; I'll send you pictures of everything on the place; from Grandma herself down to the littlest, weeniest, yellow chicken."
"Next year it will be my turn to go," said Kitty; "I hope I'll get as lovely presents as Mopsy has."
"You will," said Kingdon; "because last year mine were just as good, and so, of course, yours will be."
"I'm sure they will," said Kitty.
THE TRIP TO HASLEMERE
The next morning all was bustle and excitement.
Mr. Maynard stayed at home from business to escort the travellers to the train. The trunks were packed, and everything was in readiness for their departure. Marjorie herself, in a spick-and- span pink gingham dress, a tan-colored travelling cloak, and a broad-brimmed white straw hat, stood in the hall saying good-bye to the other children. She carried Puff in her arm, and the sleepy, indifferent kitten cared little whither she was going.
"Be sure," Kingdon was saying, "to plant the seeds I gave you in a sunny place, for if you don't they won't grow right."
"What are the seeds?" asked Marjorie.
"Never mind that," said her brother; "you just plant them in a warm, sunny bed, in good, rich soil, and then you wait and see what comes up. It's a surprise."
"All right, I'll do that, and I suppose Grandma will give me a lot of seeds besides; we always have gardens, you know."
"Be sure to write to me," said Kitty, "about Molly Moss. She's the one that lives in the next house but one to Grandma's. You've never seen her, but I saw her two years ago, and she's an awfully nice girl. You'll like her, I know."
"And what shall I remember to do for you, Rosy Posy?" asked Marjorie, as she kissed the baby good-bye.
"Don't know," responded the little one; "I've never been to Gamma's. Is they piggy-wigs there?"
"No," said Marjorie, laughing; "no piggy-wigs, but some nice ducks."
"All wite; b'ing me a duck."
"I will, if Grandma will give me one"; and then Marjorie was hurried down the steps by her father, and into the carriage, and away she went, with many a backward look at the three children who stood on the veranda waving good-byes to her.
The railroad trip to Morristown lasted about four hours, and Marjorie greatly enjoyed it. Mr. Maynard had put the two travellers into their chairs in the parlor car, and arranged their belongings for them. Marjorie had brought a book to read and a game to play, but with the novel attractions of the trip and the care of her kitten, she was not likely to have time hang heavily on her hands.
Mrs. Maynard read a magazine for a time, and then they were summoned to luncheon in the diningcar. Marjorie thought this great fun, for what is nicer than to be a hungry little girl of twelve, and to eat all sorts of good things, while flying swiftly along in a railroad train, and gazing out of the window at towns and cities rushing by?
Marjorie sat opposite her mother, and observed with great interest the other passengers about. Across the car was a little girl who seemed to be about her own age, and Marjorie greatly wished that they might become acquainted. Mrs. Maynard said that after luncheon she might go and speak to the little stranger if she chose, and Marjorie gladly did so.
"I wonder if you belong in my car," said Marjorie, by way of opening the conversation.
"I don't know," said the other child; "our seats are in the car just back of this."
"We are two cars back," said Marjorie, "but perhaps your mother will let you come into my car a while. I have my kitten with me."
"Where is it?" asked the other little girl.
"I had to leave it with the porter while we came to luncheon. Oh, she's the loveliest kitten you ever saw, and her name is Puff. What's your name?"
"My name is Stella Martin. What's yours?"
"My real name is Marjorie Maynard. But I'm almost always called Midge or Mops or some name like that. We all have nicknames at home; don't you?"
"No, because you see I haven't any brothers or sisters. Mother always calls me Stella."
"Well, let's go and ask her if you can't come into my car for a while. My mother will look after you, and then you can see the kitten."
After some courteous words of explanation between the two mothers, Stella was allowed to play with Marjorie for the rest of the journey.
Seated together in one of the big Pullman easy chairs, with the kitten cuddled between them, they rapidly made each other's acquaintance, and soon became good friends. They were not at all alike, for Stella Martin was a thin, pale child with a long braid of straight, light hair, and light blue eyes. She was timid, too, and absolutely devoid of Marjorie's impetuosity and daring. But they were both pleased at the discovery that they were to be near neighbors throughout the summer. Stella's home was next-door to Grandma Sherwood's, although, as both country places were so large, the houses were some distance apart.
Next beyond Stella's house, Marjorie remembered, was where Molly Moss lived, and so the outlook seemed to promise plenty of pleasant company.
About three o'clock in the afternoon the train reached Morristown, and springing out on the platform, Marjorie soon spied Grandma Sherwood's carriage there to meet them. Old Moses was still in charge of the horses, as he had been ever since Marjorie could remember, and in a moment she heard a hearty voice cry, "Oh, there you are!" and there was Uncle Steve waiting for them on the platform.
Uncle Steve was a great friend of Marjorie's, and she flew to greet him almost before he had time to welcome her mother. Then in a few moments the luggage was looked after, and they were all in the carriage, rolling away toward Haslemere.
Marjorie chatted away like a magpie, for she had many questions to ask Uncle Steve, and as she was looking out to renew acquaintance with old landmarks along the road, the drive to the house seemed very short, and soon they were turning in at the gate.
Haslemere was not a large, old-fashioned farm, but a fair-sized and well-kept country place. Grandma Sherwood, who had been a widow for many years, lived there with her son Stephen. It was like a farm, because there were chickens and ducks, and cows and horses, and also a large garden where fresh vegetables of all sorts were raised. But there were no grain fields or large pasture lands, or pigs or turkeys, such as belong to larger farms. The drive from the gate up to the house was a long avenue, shaded on both sides by beautiful old trees, and the wide expanse of lawn was kept as carefully mowed as if at a town house. There were flower beds in abundance, and among the trees and shrubbery were rustic seats and arbors, hammocks and swings, and a delightful tent where the children loved to play. Back of the house the land sloped down to the river, which was quite large enough for delightful boating and fishing.
The house was of that old-fashioned type which has two front doors and two halls, with large parlors between them, and wings on either side. A broad veranda ran across the front, and, turning both corners, ran along either side.
As they drove up to the house, Grandma Sherwood was on the piazza
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