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- Two Little Women on a Holiday - 9/37 -
here, old Professor Wiseacre, what dynasty does this junk belong to?"
Dolly looked up with a vacant stare.
"Come back to earth!" cried Alicia, shaking with laughter. "Come back to the twentieth century! We mourn our loss!"
"Yes, come back, Dollums," said Dotty. "There are other rooms full of stuff awaiting your approval."
Dolly laughed. "Oh, you girls don't appreciate What you're seeing. Just think! Women wore these very things! Real, live women!"
"Well, they're not alive now," said Bernice, "and we are. So give us the pleasure of your company. Say, Dolly, some day you come up here all alone by yourself, and prowl around--"
"Oh, I'd love to! I'll do just that. And then I won't feel that I'm delaying you girls. Where do you want to go now?"
"Anywhere out of this old museum," said Alicia, a little pettishly. "You've had your way, Dotty, now it's only fair I should have mine. We've about an hour left; let's go to the shops."
"Yes, indeed," and Dolly spoke emphatically. "I didn't realise that I was being a selfish old piggy-wig!"
"And you're not," defended Bernice. "We all wanted to come here, but, well, you see, Dolly, you do dawdle."
"But it's such a wonder-place!" and Dolly gazed longingly backward as they left the antiquities. "And there are rooms we haven't even looked into yet."
"Dozens of 'em," assented Alicia. "But not this morning, my chickabiddy! I must flee to the busy marts and see what's doing in the way of tempting bargains."
"All right," and Dolly put her arm through Alicia's. "What are you going to buy?"
"Dunno, till I see something that strikes my fancy. But in the paper this morning, I noticed a special sale of 'Pastime Toggery' at Follansbee's. Let's go there."
"Never heard of the place," said Dolly. "But let's go."
"Never heard of Follansbee's! Why, it's the smartest shop in New York for sport clothes."
"Is it? We never get sport clothes. Unless you mean middies and sweaters. My mother buys those at the department stores."
"Oh, you can't get exclusive models there!" and Alicia's face wore a reproving expression.
"No," said outspoken Dolly, "but we don't wear exclusive models. We're rather inclusive, I expect."
"You're a duck!" cried Alicia, who, though ultra-fashionable herself, liked the honesty and frankness of the two D's.
They reached the shop in question, and the four girls went in.
The Berwick girls were a little awed at the atmosphere of the place, but Alicia was entirely mistress of the situation. She had many costumes and accessories shown to her, and soon became as deeply absorbed in their contemplation as Dolly had been in the Museum exhibits.
"Why, for goodness' sake!" cried Bernice, at last. "Are you going to buy out the whole shop, Alicia?"
"Why, I'm not going to buy any," returned Alicia, looking surprised; "I'm just shopping, you know."
"Oh, is that it? Well, let me tell you it isn't any particular fun for us to look on while you 'shop'! And, anyway, it's time to be going home, or we'll be late for the luncheon and for the matinee."
"All right, I'll go now. But wait. I want to buy some little thing for you girls,--sort of a souvenir, you know."
"Good for you !" said Bernice, but Dolly demurred.
"I don't think you ought to, Alicia," she said. "I don't believe my mother would like me to take it."
"Nonsense, Towhead! I'm just going to get trifles. Nobody could object to my giving you a tiny token of my regard and esteem. Let me see,-- how about silk sweaters? They're always handy to have in the house."
Unheeding the girls' protestations, Alicia selected four lovely colours, and asked the saleswoman to get the right sizes.
Dolly's was robin's egg blue; Dotty's salmon pink; Bernice's, a deep orange, and Alicia's own was white, as she declared she already had every colour of the rainbow.
Then she selected an old rose one for Mrs. Berry, getting permission to exchange it if it should be a misfit.
Alicia ordered the sweaters sent to her uncle's house, and the bill sent to her father. This arrangement seemed perfectly satisfactory to the shop people, and the girls set off for home.
"I feel uncomfortable about that sweater," announced Dolly, as they were on their way.
"That doesn't matter," laughed Alicia, "so long as you don't feel uncomfortable in it! Remove that anxious scowl, my little Towhead; I love to give things to my friends, and you must learn to accept trifles gracefully."
"But it isn't a trifle, Alicia. I know mother won't like it."
"Won't like that blue sweater! Why, it's a beauty!"
"I don't mean that. I mean she won't like for me to take it,--to accept it from you."
"All right; tell her you bought it yourself."
"Tell a story about it! No, thank you." Dolly's blue eyes fairly flashed at the thought.
"Well, my stars! Dolly, don't make such a fuss about it! Throw it away, or give it to the scullery maid! You don't have to keep it!"
Clearly, Alicia was annoyed. Dolly was far from ungrateful, and she didn't know quite what to do.
"Of course, she'll keep it," Dotty broke in, anxious to straighten matters out. "She adores it, Alicia; but we girls aren't accustomed to making each other gifts,--at least, not expensive ones."
"Well, you needn't make a habit of it. One sweater doesn't make a summer! I hope Mrs. Berry won't be so squeamish! If I thought she would, I'd throw hers in the ash barrel before I'd give it to her!"
"I s'pose I was horrid about it, Alicia," said Dolly, contritely; "I do love it, really, you know I do; but, as Dotty says, we never give such gifts. Why, I can't give you anything to make up for it--"
"And I don't want you to! You little goose! But like as not, you can sometime do something for me worth more than a dozen sweaters."
"I hope so, I'm sure. Will you tell me if I can?"
"Yes, baby-face! I declare, Dolly, it's hard to realise you're fifteen years old! You act about twelve,--and look ten!"
"Oh, not so bad as that!" and Dolly laughed gaily. "I s'pose I do seem younger than I am, because I've always lived in a small town. We don't do things like city girls."
"'Deed we don't!" exclaimed Dotty. "I used to live in the city, and when I went to Berwick it was like a different world. But I've come to like it now."
"I like it," said Bernice, decidedly. "I think we have a lot more fun in Berwick than we could in New York. To live, I mean. Of course, this visit here is lovely, but it's the novelty and the strange sights that make it so. I wouldn't want to live in New York."
"Neither would I," and Dolly shook her head very positively.
"I would," said Alicia. "I'd just love to live here, in a house like Uncle Jeff's, and have all these cars and servants and everything fine."
"No, thank you," Dolly rejoined. "It's beautiful for a week, but it makes my head go round to think of living like this always."
"Your head is not very securely fastened on, anyway," and Alicia grinned at her. "You'll lose it some day!"
"Maybe so," smiled Dolly, affably, and then they suddenly found they were back home.
"Good time, girlies?" called out Mrs. Berry, as they entered. "Lunch is all ready; sit down and eat it, and get dressed for the matinee afterward, Mr. Fenn got fine seats for you,--near the front. You'll like the play, I know."
And like the play they did. It was a light opera, of the prettiest type, full of lovely scenery, gay costumes and bright, catchy music. "The Lass and the Lascar" was its name, and the lass in question was a charming little girl who seemed no older than the quartette themselves. The Lascar was a tall, handsome man, whose swarthy East Indian effects were picturesque and attractive. He had a magnificent baritone voice, and the girls sat breathless when he sang his splendid numbers. All four were fond of music and even more than the gay splendour of the show they enjoyed the voices and orchestra.
"Isn't he wonderful!" exclaimed Alicia, as the curtain fell on the first act. "Oh, girls, isn't he SUPERB! I'm MADLY in love with him!"
"He has a beautiful voice," agreed Dolly, "but I couldn't be in love with him! He's too,--too ferocious!"
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