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- Marjorie's Vacation - 5/34 -

"Do you like it?" asked Grandma, when she could catch her breath.

"Like it! It's the most beautiful, loveliest, sweetest room in the whole world! I love it! Did you do it all for me, Grandma?"

"Yes, Midget; that is, I fixed up the room, but for the shelf you must thank Uncle Steve. That is his idea entirely, and he superintended its putting up. You're to use it this year, and next year Kitty can have her dolls and toys on it, and then the year after, King can use it for his fishing-tackle and boyish traps. Though I suppose by that time Rosamond will be old enough to take her turn."

"Then I can't come again for four years," exclaimed Marjorie, with an expression of consternation on her face.

"Not unless you come two at a time," said Grandma; "and I doubt if your mother would consent to that."

"No, indeed," said Mrs. Maynard; "it's hard enough to lose one of the flock, without losing two."

"Well, I'll have a good time with it this summer, anyway," said Marjorie; "can't we unpack my trunk now, Mother, so I can put my pearl pen in my desk; and my clock, that Rosy Posy gave me, on the shelf; and hang up my bird picture on the wall?"

"Not just now," said her mother, "for it is nearly supper time, and you must transform yourself from a wild maid of the woods into a decorous little lady."

The transformation was accomplished, and it was not very long before a very neat and tidy Marjorie walked sedately downstairs to the dining-room. Her white dress was immaculate; a big white bow held the dark curls in place, and only the dancing eyes betrayed the fact that it was an effort to behave so demurely.

"Well, Midget," said Uncle Steve, as they were seated at the supper table, "does the old place look the same?"

"No, indeed, Uncle; there are lots of changes, but best of all is my beauty room. I never saw anything so lovely; I just want to stay up there all the time."

"I thought you'd like that shelf. Now you have room for all the thousand and one bits of rubbish that you accumulate through the summer."

"'Tisn't rubbish!" exclaimed Marjorie, indignantly; "it's dear little birds' nests, and queer kinds of rocks, and branches of strange trees and grasses and things."

"Well, I only meant it sounds to me like rubbish," said Uncle Steve, who loved to tease her about her enthusiasms.

But she only smiled good-naturedly, for she well knew that Uncle Steve was the very one who would take her for long walks in the woods, on purpose to gather this very "rubbish."

The next day Marjorie was up bright and early, quite ready for any pleasure that might offer itself.

Her mother went back home that day, and though Marjorie felt a little sad at parting, yet, after all, Grandma Sherwood's house was like a second home, and there was too much novelty and entertainment all about to allow time for feeling sad.

Moreover, Marjorie was of a merry, happy disposition. It was natural to her to make the best of everything, and even had she had reasons for being truly miserable, she would have tried to be happy in spite of them.

So she bade her mother good-by, and sent loving messages to all at home, and promised to write often.

"Remember," said her mother, as a parting injunction, "to read every morning the list I gave you, which includes all my commands for the summer. When I see you again I shall expect you to tell me that you obeyed them all."

"I will try," said Marjorie; "but if it is a long list I may forget some of them sometimes. You know, Mother, I AM forgetful."

"You are, indeed," said Mrs. Maynard, smiling; "but if you'll try I think you'll succeed, at least fairly well. Good-by now, dear; I must be off; and do you go at once to your room and read over the list so as to start the day right."

"I will," said Marjorie, and as soon as she had waved a last good- by, and the carriage had disappeared from view, she ran to her room, and sitting down at her pretty desk, unfolded the list her mother had given her.

To her great surprise, instead of the long list she had expected to find, there were only two items. The first was, "Keep your hands clean, and your hair tidy"; and the other read, "Obey Grandma implicitly."

"Well," thought Marjorie to herself, "I can easily manage those two! And yet," she thought further, with a little sigh, "they're awfully hard ones. My hands just WON'T keep clean, and my hair ribbon is forever coming off! And of course I MEAN to obey Grandma always; but sometimes she's awful strict, and sometimes I forget what she told me."

But with a firm resolve in her heart to do her best, Marjorie went downstairs, and went out to play in the garden.

Some time later she saw a girl of about her own age coming down the path toward her. She was a strange-looking child, with a very white face, snapping black eyes, and straight wiry black hair, braided in two little braids, which stood out straight from her head.

"Are you Marjorie?" she said, in a thin, piping voice. "I'm Molly Moss, and I've come to play with you. I used to know Kitty."

"Yes," said Marjorie, pleasantly, "I'm Marjorie, and I'm Kitty's sister. I'm glad you came. Is that your kitten?"

"Yes," said Molly, as she held up a very small black kitten, which was indeed an insignificant specimen compared to the Persian beauty hanging over Marjorie's arm.

"It's a dear kitten," Molly went on. "Her name is Blackberry. Don't you like her?"

"Yes," said Marjorie, a little doubtfully; "perhaps she can be company for Puff. This is my Puff." Marjorie held up her cat, but the two animals showed very little interest in one another.

"Let's put them to sleep somewhere," said Molly, "and then go and play in the loft."

The kittens were soon deposited in the warm kitchen, and the two girls ran back to the barn for a good play. Marjorie had already begun to like Molly, though she seemed rather queer at first, but after they had climbed the ladder to the warm sweet-smelling hay- loft, they grew better acquainted, and were soon chattering away like old friends.

Molly was not at all like Stella Martin. Far from being timid, she was recklessly daring, and very ingenious in the devising of mischief.

"I'll tell you what, Mopsy," she said, having already adopted Marjorie's nickname, "let's climb out of the window, that skylight window, I mean, onto the roof of the barn, and slide down. It's a lovely long slide."

"We'll slide off!" exclaimed Marjorie, aghast at this proposition.

"Oh, no, we won't; there's a ledge at the edge of the roof, and your heels catch that, and that stops you. You CAN'T go any further."

"How do you get back?"

"Why, scramble back up the roof, you know. Come on, it's lots of fun."

"I don't believe Grandma would like it," said Marjorie, a little doubtfully.

"Oh, pshaw, you're afraid; there's no danger. Come on and try it, anyhow."

Now Marjorie did not like to be called afraid, for she really had very little fear in her disposition. So she said: "Well, I'll go up the ladder and look out, and if it looks dangerous I won't do it."

"Not a bit of danger," declared Molly. "I'll go up first." Agile as a sprite, Molly quickly skipped up the ladder, and opened the trap-door in the barn roof. Sticking her head up through, she soon drew her thin little body up after it and called to Marjorie to follow. Marjorie was a much heavier child, but she sturdily climbed the ladder, and then with some difficulty clambered out on the roof.

"Isn't it gay?" cried Molly, and exhilarated by the lofty height, the novel position, and the excitement of the moment, Marjorie thought it was.

"Now," went on Molly, by way of instruction, "sit down beside me right here at the top. Hang on with your hands until I count three and then let go, and we'll slide straight down the roof."

Marjorie obeyed directions, and sat waiting with a delightful feeling of expectancy.

"One, two, three!" counted Molly, and at the last word the two girls let go their grasp and slid.

Swiftly and lightly the slender little Molly slid to the gutter of the eaves of the roof, caught by her heels, and stopped suddenly, leaning against the slanted roof, comfortably at her ease.

Not so Marjorie. She came swiftly down, and, all unaccustomed to motion of this sort, her feet struck the gutter, her solid little

Marjorie's Vacation - 5/34

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