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- Two Little Women on a Holiday - 3/37 -


"And another thing. I asked Mr. Forbes a few questions while you were talking to Bernice, and it seems this other girl, the niece, Alicia, is attending a very fashionable girls' boarding school."

"Well, what of that? You speak as if she were attending a lunatic asylum!"

"No; but can't you see if Dolly goes to stay a week with wealthy Bernice Forbes and this fashionable Alicia, she'll get her head full of all sorts of notions that don't belong there?"

"No, I won't, mother," murmured Dolly, who, again on her mother's arm chair, was looking earnestly into the maternal blue eyes, so like her own. And very lovingly Mrs. Fayre returned the gaze, for she adored her little daughter and was actuated only by the best motives in making her decisions.

"And, here's another thing," said Dolly, "Dot won't go, if I don't. It seems too bad to spoil HER fun."

"Oh, yes, she will," said Mrs. Fayre, smiling. "She would be foolish to give up her pleasure just because you can't share it."

"Foolish or not, she won't go," repeated Dolly. "I know my Dot, and when she says she won't do a thing, she just simply doesn't do it!"

"I'd be sorry to be the means of keeping Dotty at home," and Mrs. Fayre sighed deeply.

CHAPTER II

A FAVOURABLE DECISION

All through dinner time, Mrs. Fayre was somewhat silent, her eyes resting on Dolly with a wistful, uncertain expression. She wanted to give the child the pleasure she craved, but she had hard work to bring herself to the point of overcoming her own objections.

At last, however, when the meal was nearly over, she smiled at her little daughter, and said, "All right, Dolly, you may go."

"Oh, mother!" Dolly cried, overwhelmed with sudden delight. "Really? Oh, I am so glad! Are you sure you're willing?"

"I've persuaded myself to be willing, against my will," returned Mrs. Fayre, whimsically. "I confess I just hate to have you go, but I can't bear to deprive you of the pleasure trip. And, as you say, it would also keep Dotty at home, and so, altogether, I think I shall have to give in."

"Oh, you angel mother! You blessed lady! How good you are!" And Dolly flew around the table and gave her mother a hug that nearly suffocated her.

"There, there, Dollygirl," said her father, "go back and finish your pudding while we talk this over a bit. Are you sure, Edith, you are willing? I don't want you to feel miserable and anxious all the week Dolly is cut loose from your apron string."

"No, Will; it's all right. If you and the Roses and Trudy, here, all agree it's best for Dolly to go, it seems foolish for me to object. And it may be for her good, after all."

"That's what I say, mother," put in Trudy. "Doll isn't a child, exactly. She's fifteen and a half, and it will be a fine experience for her to see a little bit of the great world. And she couldn't do it under better conditions than at Mr. Forbes' brother's. The Forbes' are a fine family, and you know, perfectly well, there'll be nothing there that isn't just exactly right."

"It isn't that, Trudy. But,--oh, I don't know; I daresay I'm a foolish mother bird, afraid of her littlest fledgling."

"You're a lovely mother-bird!" cried Dolly, "and not foolish a bit! but, oh, do decide positively, for I can't wait another minute to tell Dot, if I'm going."

"Very well," said Mrs. Fayre, "run along and tell Dotty, and Bernice, too."

Dolly made a jump and two hops for the telephone, and soon the wires must have bent under the weight of joyous exclamations.

"Oh, Dolly, isn't it fine!"

"Oh, Dotty, it's splendid! I can hardly believe it!"

"Have you told Bernice?"

"Not yet. Had to tell you first. When do we go?"

"Next Tuesday, I think. Now, you tell Bernie, so she can write to her uncle that we accept."

And then there was another jubilation over the telephone.

"Fine!" cried Bernice, as she heard the news. "Lovely! I'd so much rather have you two girls than any others. I'll write Uncle Jeff to- night that I'll bring you. And I'll come over to-morrow, and we'll decide what clothes to take, and all that."

Mrs. Fayre sighed, as Dolly reported this conversation.

"You girls can't do a bit of serious study all the rest of the time before you go," she said. "Now, Dolly, I'll have to ask you to do your lessons every day, before you plan or talk over the trip at all."

"Yes, mother, I will," and Dolly started at once for her schoolbooks.

It was hard work to put her mind on her studies, with the wonderful possibilities that lay ahead of her. But she was exceedingly conscientious, was Dolly Fayre, and she resolutely put the subject of the New York visit out of her mind, and did her algebra examples with diligence.

Not so, Dotty Rose. After Dolly's telephone message, she flung her schoolbooks aside, with a shout of joy, and declared she couldn't study that night.

"I don't wonder," laughed her father. "Why, Dot, you're going on a veritable Fairy-tale visit. You are quite justified in being excited over it."

"I thought you and Dolly didn't like Bernice Forbes very much," said Mrs. Rose.

"We didn't use to, mother. But lately, she's been a whole lot nicer. You know Doll made her sort of popular, and after that, she helped along, herself, by being ever so much more pleasant and chummy with us all. She used to be stuck up and disagreeable; ostentatious about being rich, and all that. But nowadays, she's more simple, and more agreeable every way."

"That's nice," observed Mr. Rose. "Forbes is not a popular man, nor a very good citizen; I mean he isn't public-spirited or generous. But he's a fine business man and a man of sound judgment and integrity. I'm glad you're chums with his daughter, Dotty. And you ought to have a perfectly gorgeous time on the New York visit."

"Oh, we will, Daddy; I'm sure of that. What about clothes, Mumsie?"

"I'll have to see about that. You'll need a few new frocks, I suppose, but we can get them ready made, or get Miss Felton to come for a few days. There's nearly a week before you start."

"I want some nice things," declared Dotty. You know Bernice has wonderful clothes, and I suppose her cousin has, too."

"Maybe your wardrobe can't be as fine as a rich man's daughter," said her father smiling at her, "but I hope mother will fix you up so you won't feel ashamed of your clothes."

"I think they'll be all right," and Mrs. Rose nodded her head. "I'll see Mrs. Fayre to-morrow, and we'll find out what Bernice is going to take with her. You children can't need elaborate things, but they must be right."

The Rose family spent the entire evening talking over the coming trip, and when Dotty went to bed she set an alarm clock, that she might rise early in the morning to do her lessons for the day before breakfast. She did them, too, and came to the table, smiling in triumph.

"Did all my examples and learned my history perfectly," she exulted. "So you see, mother, my trip won't interfere with my education!"

"Oh, you can make up your lessons," said her father, carelessly. "I wouldn't give much for a girl who couldn't do a few extra tasks to make up for a grand outing such as you're to have."

"I either!" agreed Dotty. "But the Fayres are worried to death for fear Doll will miss a lesson somewhere."

"Dolly learns more slowly than you," remarked her mother. "You have a gift for grasping facts quickly, and a good memory to retain them."

"You ought to be grateful for that," said Mr. Rose.

"I am," returned Dotty. "When I see Dolly grubbing over her history, I can't understand how she can be so long over it."

"But she's better in mathematics than you are."

"Yes, she is. She helps me a lot with the old puzzlers. She thinks we'll study in New York. But somehow, I don't believe we will."

"Of course, you won't," laughed Mr. Rose. "Why, you'd be foolish to do that. A fine opportunity has come to you girls, and I advise you to make the most of it. See all the sights you can; go to all the pleasant places you can; and have all the fun you can cram into your days. Then go to sleep and rest up for the next day."

"Good, sound advice, Dads," said Dotty; "you're a gentleman and a scholar to look at it like that! But I don't know as we can go about much; I believe Mr. Forbes is quite an old man, and who will take us about?"


Two Little Women on a Holiday - 3/37

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