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- Two Little Women on a Holiday - 5/37 -


"I like it, too," agreed Bernice. "Oh, girls, what fun we're going to have! You won't like Uncle Jeff at first, he's awful queer; but there's one thing sure, he'll let us do just as we like. He's very good-natured."

"What's Mrs. Berry like?" asked Dotty. "I suppose we'll obey her?"

"Yes, but she's good-natured, too. I can twist her round my finger. Oh, we'll have a high old time."

"S'pose Mrs. Berry shouldn't be there to meet us when we get in," suggested Dolly. "What then?"

"She will, of course," said Bernice. "But if she shouldn't, if the car broke down or anything like that, we'd take a taxicab right to the house."

This sounded very grown-up and grand to the two D's, who had had little experience with taxicabs, and Dotty exclaimed with glee, "I'd rather do that than go in Mr. Forbes' car! What a lark it would be! Oh, Bernice, can we go somewhere in a taxicab while we're there?"

"I don't know, Dotty,--I s'pose so. But why should we? Uncle Jeff has two cars, and the chauffeur will take us wherever we want to go."

"But I've never been in a taxicab,--without older people, I mean, and I'd love to try it."

"Well, I expect you can," returned Bernice, carelessly. "I dare say you can do pretty much anything you want to."

"But do behave yourself, Dot," cautioned Dolly; "you're so daring and venturesome, I don't know what mischief you'll get into!"

"Oh, we won't get into mischief," laughed Bernice. "There'll be enough fun, without doing anything we oughtn't to."

"Of course, I won't do anything wrong," declared Dotty, indignantly. "But there are so many things to do, it sets me crazy to think of it!"

"I'm going to buy things," announced Bernice. "There aren't any decent shops in Berwick, and I'm going to get lots of things in the city stores."

"We can't do that," said Dolly, decidedly. "We haven't lots of money like you have, Bernie; I'm going to see things. I want to see all the pictures I possibly can. I love to look at pictures."

"I want to go to the theatre," and Dotty looked at Bernice inquiringly. "Will we, do you s'pose?"

"Oh, yes, Mrs. Berry will take us. Perhaps we can go to matinees, alone."

"I don't think we ought to do that," and Dolly looked distinctly disapproving.

"Oh, come now, old priggy-wig," said Dotty, "don't be too awfully 'fraidcat!"

"It will be just as Mrs. Berry says," Bernice informed them. "Father said I must obey her in everything. Uncle Jeff won't pay much attention to what we do, but Mrs. Berry will. I wonder if Alicia will be there when we get there."

But Alicia wasn't. As the girls came up the stairs into the great station, they saw a smiling, motherly-looking lady waiting to welcome them.

"Here you are!" she cried, and it wasn't necessary for Bernice to introduce her friends, except to tell which was which.

"I feel as if I knew you," Mrs. Berry said, and her kindly grey eyes beamed at them both. "Now I must learn to tell you apart. Dolly with golden hair,--Dotty with black. Is that it?"

"Is Alicia here?" asked Bernice, eagerly.

"No; she's coming in at the other station. She won't arrive for an hour or more. Where are your checks? Let George take them."

The footman took the checks and looked after them, while Mrs. Berry piloted the girls to the waiting motor-car.

It was a large and very beautiful limousine, and they all got in, and were soon rolling up Fifth Avenue.

"How splendid it all is!" exclaimed Dolly, looking out at the crowds." It seems as if we must get all snarled up in the traffic, but we don't."

"Kirke is a very careful driver," said Mrs. Berry, "and he understands just where to go. How you've grown, Bernice. I haven't seen you for two years, you know."

"Yes, I have. We're all getting to be grown-ups, Mrs. Berry. Isn't Alicia?"

"I don't know. I haven't seen her for a long time. But she's at a very fashionable school, so I suppose she is full of notions."

"What are notions?" asked Dolly, smiling up into the speaker's eyes.

"Oh, notions," and Mrs. Berry laughed, "well, it's thinking you know it all yourself, and not being willing to listen to advice. I don't believe you have notions, Dolly."

"No, she hasn't," said Bernice. "But Dotty and I have! However, I promised Dad I'd obey you, Mrs. Berry, in everything you say, so I don't believe you'll have any trouble with us."

"Land, no! I don't expect any. Now, let me see; I've two big rooms for you all, with two beds in each. I suppose you'll room with your cousin, Bernice, and these other two girls together?"

"Yes, indeed," said Dolly, quickly, for she had no idea of rooming with any one but Dotty.

"That settles itself, then."

"But suppose I don't like Alicia," said Bernice, doubtfully. "Suppose we quarrel."

"All right," and Mrs. Berry nodded her head, "there are other rooms. I don't want you to be uncomfortable in any particular. I thought you'd like it better that way. The two rooms I've fixed for you, are two big ones on the second floor. Mine is on the same floor, in the rear. Your uncle's rooms are upon the third floor,"

"I think it sounds fine," declared Bernice, "and I'm sure I'll get on with Alicia, if she does have 'notions.'"

And then they reached the big house on upper Fifth Avenue, and as they entered, Dolly felt a little appalled at the grandeur everywhere about her. Not so Dotty. She loved elegance, and as her feet sank into the deep soft rugs, she laughed out in sheer delight of being in such beautiful surroundings. Mrs. Berry took the girls at once to their rooms, and sent the car for Alicia.

"I'll give the front room to Dotty and Dolly," she said to Bernice; "and you can have the other. It's quite as nice, only it looks out on the side street, not on the Avenue."

"That's right, Mrs. Berry. Dot and Dolly are more company than Alicia and I are. We're really members of the family. I was so surprised at Uncle Jeff's inviting us. Why did he do it, anyway?"

"Why, indeed!" said Mrs. Berry, but her expression was quizzical. "No one can tell why Mr. Forbes does things! He is a law unto himself. Now, girls, your trunks are coming up. And here are two maids to unpack for you and put your things away. You can direct them."

Mrs. Berry bustled away, and two neat-looking maids appeared, one of whom entered Bernice's room and the other attended on Dot and Dolly.

"Which frocks shall I leave out for dinner?" the maid asked, as she shook out and hung up the dresses in the wardrobe.

"The blue voile for me," replied Dolly, "and--er--what is your name?"

"Foster, miss," and she smiled at Dolly's gentle face.

"And the rose-coloured voile for me," directed Dotty. "You'll find, Foster, that our frocks are pretty much alike except as to colour."

"Yes, ma'am. And these patent leather pumps, I daresay?"

"Yes, that's right," and Dotty flung herself into a big easy-chair and sighed in an ecstasy of delight that she really had a ladies' maid to wait on her. Dolly didn't take it so easily. She wanted to look after her own things, as she did at home. But Dotty motioned to her not to do so, lest Foster should think them inexperienced or countrified.

Their simple belongings were soon in place, and the two D's wandered into Bernice's room.

Here everything was helter-skelter. Finery was piled on beds and chairs, and hats were flung on top of one another, while shoes and veils, gloves and hair-brushes were scattered on the floor.

"It's my fault," laughed Bernice, "don't blame Perkins for it! I'm hunting for a bracelet, that has slipped out of my jewel case, somehow. It must be in this lot of stockings!"

It wasn't, but it turned up at last, inside of a hat, and Bernice gave a little squeal of relief.

"That's all right, then!" she cried; "I wouldn't lose that for worlds! It's a bangle father gave me for Christmas, and it has a diamond in the pendant. All right, Perkins, put the things away any place you like. But save hooks and shelves enough for my cousin Alicia. She'll be in this room with me."

Each large room had what seemed to the two little women ample room for clothes. But Bernice had brought so much more than they did, that her things overflowed the space provided.

"I'll wear this to-night, for dinner," she said, pulling out a light green silk from a pile of frocks.


Two Little Women on a Holiday - 5/37

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