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- Glenloch Girls - 20/38 -

It was a delicious supper of chicken and creamed potatoes, crisp rolls and foamy chocolate, and Ellen's unrivaled ice-cream and cake to top off with. As they were finishing the ice-cream, Katie appeared with a tray on which reposed six pound boxes and an equal number of half pound boxes. All eyes were upon her as she gave a large box to each girl and a small box to each boy.

"Wow!" said the irrepressible Joe, lifting his box and letting it fly into the air, so great was his astonishment at finding it empty.

"Oh, here's richness!" cried Dorothy, taking off the cover of hers to disclose row upon row of tempting chocolates.

The boys with one accord uncovered their boxes, only to find them empty, and a low groan went around the table.

"I say, Betty, I always did like you," said Frank, gazing covetously at the sweets so near at hand.

"Tell them about it, Ruth," laughed Mrs. Hamilton.

Ruth tried to look very solemn as she gazed around the table. "This, boys," she said impressively, "is intended for an object-lesson, to show you how nice and kind and generous, and--and everything else that's good, girls can be when they have the slightest chance. My Uncle Jerry, who hopes soon to know you all, has sent this candy to the girls, and now it's their turn to do the next thing."

"Give me your box then, and let me fill it at once before I am tempted to keep it ail myself," groaned Charlotte, reaching for Joe's box. "And 'think shame to yourself' for your greediness in the past."

Meanwhile Mrs. Hamilton was busy with the packages placed around the little Christmas tree. From somewhere in the midst of the greenery she extracted a bunch of red and white ribbons and, holding them so that it was impossible to see to which packages they were attached, she offered them to each in turn saying, "Girls white, and boys red, please.

"Now pull and see what you'll get," she said as the last ribbon left her hand. "These are gifts which have come across the ocean to you from Ruth's father."

The ribbons were purposely so tangled that at first it was like pulling in an unwilling fish. There was much friendly squabbling, and then a chorus of ohs and ahs as the gifts were finally opened.

"Just what I wanted," contentedly sighed Dorothy as she clasped a turquoise-studded bracelet on her round arm. "What a perfectly elegant father you must have, Ruth!"

"I should say so," came in a duet from Betty and Katharine who were respectively gloating over a string of pearl beads and a pretty hatpin. Alice had found a silver belt-buckle in her parcel, and Charlotte was gazing at a coral necklace with great satisfaction.

"What vain creatures girls are," said Frank maliciously as he gazed at the absorbed young ladies. "Now we men, ahem, are presented with practical gifts." As he spoke he held up a fine knife with views of Nuremberg on the handle.

"You spoke too soon, Frank," said Phil, showing a pair of cuff links, while Joe made every one laugh by assuming dandified airs as he stuck in his tie a pretty scarf-pin. Arthur peacefully attached a silver pencil to his watch-chain, Bert transferred his small change to a pigskin purse, and Jack slashed imaginary villains with a knife similar to Frank's.

"But where's your present, Ruth?" asked Betty. "You ought to have the nicest of all." Ruth, who had been absorbed in watching the others, came to herself with a start. "Why--why, I actually forgot to choose something for myself. I meant to, though," she added honestly.

"How will this do?" asked Mrs. Hamilton, producing a package that no one had seen before.

"Why, did father send another package?" said Ruth, looking so surprised that every one shouted with laughter. The girls eagerly crowded around her as she cut the cord and disclosed an attractive-looking box. Opening this she discovered a dainty velvet case in which reposed the prettiest watch she had ever seen. It was hung on a slender chain, and Ruth put it around her neck at once and tucked the little watch under her belt.

"Isn't it a darling?" she said happily. "Father always gives me what I most want."

"Let's see the wheels go round," suggested Phil, and Ruth opened the case to find a little picture of her father, taken since he went away, and looking so very like him that for a moment she could hardly speak.

"That's my father," she said when she could find her voice. Both girls and boys crowded around to look at the kind, handsome face gazing at them from out the little watch, and Ruth's heart swelled with pride and affection as she listened to their admiring remarks.

"Let's show them the game we tried the other night," said Dorothy to her brother as they all returned to the music-room.

"Oh, that's too hard for them," answered Frank with affected superiority. "They couldn't guess anything so difficult as that."

"Try it and see," clamored two or three voices.

So Frank with one finger drew a large circle in the air, and with elaborate gestures made two points for the eyes and a line each for nose and mouth. As he did so he recited solemnly:

"The moon is large and full and round; Two eyes, a nose and mouth."

"Now see if you can do it just as I did," he said to Jack, who sat next him.

Jack tried, imitating as nearly as he could remember all of Frank's peculiar movements of hand and arm, but as he finished Dorothy and Frank shouted, "No; not right."

"Do it again, Frank," begged Charlotte, watching him sharply.

Frank did it again, and this time with even more elaboration of gesture. The eyes were poked in with great firmness, the nose in its airy curves looked like no possible human feature, and the mouth was so decidedly turned up at the comers that one might have fancied it was laughing at them.

Charlotte thought she knew; she had noticed a peculiar curve in Frank's little finger, and the sudden way in which he had dropped his hand both times. So she tried her fate with great courage, only to fail as Jack had done.

"You do it, Dorothy," said Betty.

Dorothy did it, but her method was so different from Frank's that she gave them no discoverable clue. The features she made were all small and precise, and she put in a few meaningless flourishes which puzzled them more than ever.

Then Arthur, who had been watching quietly, said the little speech and made the drawing in a way quite different from either Frank or Dorothy, and to the surprise of all the two wise ones admitted him at once into their fellowship.

"All right, old fellow," laughed Frank. "Now there are three of us who know."

At last Betty, with a gurgle of triumph, did it in the required way. Then Phil saw the point, and Alice discovered it almost at the same time. Finally there was a circle of waving arms, and a chorus of voices announcing that:

"The moon is large and full and round; Two eyes, a nose and mouth."

Only Ruth failed to guess the secret, and, though she waved with the others and tried her best to imitate all the various methods at once, she still failed every time.

"Your arm's in my way, Ruth," said Joe, who happened to be sitting on her right.

"I'll do it with the other, then," responded Ruth good-naturedly. To her surprise this attempt was greeted with a shout of, "That's right," and then every one laughed at her dazed expression.

"Why, I've done it that way dozens of times," she protested.

"No, you haven't," came in a laughing chorus. "Look at us once more."

Ruth looked and for the first time realized that each one was using the left hand to make the picture. "What a stupid I am," she said ruefully. "To think I let all you Glenloch girls and boys get ahead of Chicago."

"You're a Glenloch girl yourself, now," put in Katharine.

"So I am, and I know a trick game, too. If Betty will come out in the hall with me I'll have my revenge on you."

She started toward the door as she spoke, but a loud peal of the door-bell sent her flying back into the room again.

Mr. Hamilton opened the door and took in a yellow envelope which he handed to Ruth.

She tore it open eagerly and her face flushed with pleasure as she read the message. "It's from father," she cried, looking at the expectant faces around her. "He must have guessed that we might be having a party, for he says, 'Merry Christmas to all.' I just wish he could know you all, for I'm sure he'd like you."

As she stood there smiling happily, Frank had a sudden inspiration. Seizing the hands of Charlotte and Alice, who were nearest him, he began to dance around Ruth, singing at the top of his voice:

Glenloch Girls - 20/38

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