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- Marjorie's Vacation - 4/34 -
waiting for them. She was not a very old lady, that is, she was not of the white-haired, white-capped, and silver-spectacled variety. She was perhaps sixty years old, and seemed quite as energetic and enthusiastic as her daughter, if perhaps not quite so much so as her granddaughter.
Marjorie sprang out of the carriage, and flew like a young whirlwind to her grandmother's arms, which were open to receive her.
"My dear child, how you have grown!"
"I knew you'd say that, Grandma," said Marjorie, laughing merrily, "and, indeed, I have grown since I was here last. Just think, that was three years ago! I'm almost twelve years old now."
"Well, you are a great girl; run in the house, and lay off your things, while I speak to your mother."
Marjorie danced into the house, flung her coat and gloves on the hall rack, and still holding her kitten, went on through to the kitchen, in search of Eliza the cook.
"The saints presarve us!" cried Eliza. "An' is it yersilf, Miss Midget! Why, ye're as big as a tellygraft pole, so ye are!"
"I know I am, Eliza, but you're just the same as ever; and just look at the kitten I have brought! Have you any here now?"
"Cats, is it? Indade we have, then! I'm thinkin' there do be a hundred dozen of thim; they're undher me feet continual! But what kind of a baste is thot ye have there? I niver saw such a woolly one!"
"This is a Persian kitten, Eliza, and her name is Puff. Isn't she pretty?"
"I'll not be sayin' she's purty, till I see how she doos be behavin'. Is she a good little cat, Miss Midget dear?"
"Good! Indeed she is a good kitty. And I wish you'd give her some milk, Eliza, while I run out to see the chickens. Is Carter out there?"
But without waiting for an answer, Marjorie was already flying down through the garden, and soon found Carter, the gardener, at his work.
"Hello, Carter!" she cried. "How are you this summer?"
"Welcome, Miss Midge! I'm glad to see you back," exclaimed the old gardener, who was very fond of the Maynard children.
"And I'm glad to be here, Carter; and I have some seeds to plant; will you help me plant them?"
"That I will. What are they?"
"I don't know; King gave them to me, but he wouldn't tell me what they were."
"Ah, the mischievous boy! Now, how can we tell where to plant them when we don't know if they'll come up lilies of the valley or elephant's ears?"
Marjorie laughed gayly. "It doesn't matter, Carter," she said; "let's stick them in some sunny place, and then, if they seem to be growing too high, we can transplant them."
"It's a wise little head you have, Miss; we'll do just that."
Humoring Marjorie's impatience, the good-natured gardener helped her plant the seeds in a sunny flowerbed, and raked the dirt neatly over them with an experienced touch.
"That looks lovely," said Marjorie, with a satisfied nod of approval; "now let's go and see the chickens."
This proved even more interesting than she had anticipated, for since her last visit an incubator had been purchased, and there were hundreds of little chickens of various sizes, in different compartments, to be looked at and admired.
"Aren't they darlings!" exclaimed Marjorie, as she watched the little yellow balls trying to balance themselves on slender little brown stems that hardly seemed as if they could be meant for legs. "Oh, Carter, I shall spend hours out here every day!"
"Do, Miss Midge; I'll be glad to have you, and the chickens won't mind it a bit."
"Now the horses," Marjorie went on, and off they went to the stables, where Moses had already unharnessed the carriage team, and put them in their stalls. Uncle Steve had a new saddle horse, which came in for a large share of admiration, and the old horse, Betsy, which Grandma Sherwood liked to drive herself, was also to be greeted.
Marjorie loved all animals, but after cats, horses were her favorites.
"Are there any ducks this year, Carter?" she inquired.
"Yes, Miss Midge, there is a duck-pond full of them; and you haven't seen the new boathouse that was built last year for Master Kingdon."
"No, but I want to see it; and oh, Carter, don't you think you could teach me to row?"
"I'm sure of it, Miss Midge; but I hear your grandmother calling you, and I think you'd better leave the boathouse to see to- morrow."
"All right; I think so too, Carter." And Marjorie ran back to the house, her broad-brimmed hat in one hand and her hair ribbon in the other, while her curls were, indeed, in a tangled mop.
ON THE ROOF
"Why, Mopsy Maynard," exclaimed her mother, as Marjorie danced into the house, smiling and dishevelled, "what a looking head! Please go straight to your room, and make yourself tidy before supper time."
"Yes, indeed, Mother, but just listen a minute! Uncle Steve has a new horse, a black one, and there are a hundred million little chickens, in the queerest kind of a thing, but I can't remember its name,--it's something like elevator."
"Incubator, perhaps," suggested her mother.
"Yes, that's it; and oh, Mother, it's so funny! Do come out and see it, won't you?"
"Not to-night, child; and now run up to your room and tie up your hair."
Marjorie danced upstairs, singing as she went, but when she reached the door of the room she was accustomed to use, she stopped her singing and stood in the doorway, stock-still with sheer bewilderment.
For somehow the room had been entirely transformed, and looked like a totally different apartment.
The room was in one of the wings of the house, and was large and square, with windows on two sides. But these had been ordinary windows, and now they were replaced by large, roomy bay windows, with glass doors that reached from floor to ceiling, and opened out on little balconies. In one of these bay windows was a dear little rocking-chair painted white, and a standard work-basket of dainty white and green wicker, completely furnished with sewing materials. In the other bay window was a dear little writing-desk of bird's-eye maple, and a wicker chair in front of it. The desk was open, and Marjorie could see all sorts of pens and pencils and paper in fascinating array.
But these were only a few of the surprises. The whole room had been redecorated, and the walls were papered with a design of yellow daffodils in little bunches tied with pale green ribbon. The woodwork was all painted white, and entirely around the room, at just about the height of Marjorie's chin, ran a broad white shelf. Of course this shelf stopped for the windows and doors, but the room was large, and there was a great deal of space left for the shelf. But it was the things on the shelf that attracted Marjorie's attention. One side of the room was devoted to books, and Marjorie quickly recognized many of her old favorites, and many new ones. On another side of the room the shelf was filled with flowers, some blooming gayly in pots, and some cut blossoms in vases of water. On a third side of the room the shelf held birds, and this sight nearly took Marjorie's breath away. Some were in gilt cages, a canary, a goldfinch, and another bird whose name Marjorie did not know. And some were stuffed birds of brilliant plumage, and mounted in most natural positions on twigs or branches, or perched upon an ivy vine which was trained along the wall. The fourth side was almost empty, and Marjorie knew at once that it was left so in order that she might have a place for such treasured belongings as she had brought with her.
"Well!" she exclaimed, although there was no one there to hear her. "Well, if this isn't the best ever!" She stood in the middle of the room, and turned slowly round and round, taking in by degrees the furnishings and adornment. All of the furniture was new, and the brass bed and dainty dressing-table seemed to Marjorie quite fit for any princess.
"Well!" she exclaimed again, and as she turned around this time she saw the older people watching her from the hall.
"Oh, Grandma Sherwood!" she cried, and running to the old lady, proceeded to hug her in a way that was more affectionate than comfortable.
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