The Chinese Kitten
THE CHINESE KITTEN
EDNA A. BROWN
- THAT AFFAIR AT ST. PETER’S
- JOURNEY’S END
FOR BOYS AND GIRLS
- FOUR GORDONS
- UNCLE DAVID’S BOYS
- WHEN MAX CAME
- ARNOLD’S LITTLE BROTHER
- ARCHER AND THE “PROPHET”
- THE SPANISH CHEST
- AT THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE
- RAINBOW ISLAND
- ROBIN HOLLOW
FOR YOUNGER READERS
- THE SILVER BEAR
- THE CHINESE KITTEN
- WHISTLING ROCK
- THREE GATES
- POLLY’S SHOP
LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO., BOSTON
EDNA A BROWN
LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO.
By Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co.
All Rights Reserved
The Chinese Kitten
Printed in U. S. A.
To Muff, the Dearest Kitten
|II.||At the Beach||24|
|IV.||Friends from Home||50|
|V.||When School Begins||66|
|IX.||The Kitten’s Story||133|
|X.||The Victory Park||148|
|XII.||A Busy Saturday||177|
|Wrapped in bright red paper so she could not fail to see it, was a small box, tied with a white ribbon (Page 89)||Frontispiece|
|Old Father Ocean ran right in through the front door||34|
|Dora shivered a little when the squirrel put its paws about her fingers||102|
|“Ghosts, Mamma! Come and save me!”||174|
|What possessed Timothy just then?||200|
|A great star was looking through the open window||220|
The Chinese Kitten
“I think,” said Lucy Merrill in a whisperto her sister Dora, “that Uncle Danhas a surprise for us.”
Dora was industriously setting the table forsupper. Lucy, at the kitchen dresser, waspeeling peaches. Lucy had on a big apron belongingto her mother, and it covered both herand the stool on which she sat. Dora wore apink apron over her checked pink-and-whitedress, and Dora’s apron was just like the bigone, only the right size.
Lucy owned a proper-sized apron also, butLucy had been unlucky enough to upset theblueing bottle when she took a dish from thekitchen closet. Her apron wasn’t hurt a bit,but Mrs. Merrill had rinsed it out and now itwas flapping on the line in the back yard. Thecloset floor was bluer than the apron and notso easy to wash.
“What makes you think there is a surprise?”asked Dora, standing back from thetable to see whether she had rememberedeverything that anybody could use during supper.No, she had forgotten the pulverizedsugar for the peaches.
“Because,” said Lucy, “he keeps followingMother everywhere she goes, and I know he isteasing her to do something. I heard him saysomething about the beach.”
Dora stopped in the pantry doorway, hereyes big and blue. “Do you think we can begoing to the beach?” she asked eagerly.
“My, I hope so!” said Lucy. “Wehaven’t been away this summer. And Fathersaid last night that the press was going to shutdown for the week after Labor Day.”
Dora looked out of the window across thestreet at the low brick building where FatherMerrill worked in the printing office.
“We had better not ask too many questions,”she said wisely. “Perhaps Uncle Danis going to take us to White Beach for a day.But we did go to the vacation school, Lucy,and that was a great deal of fun.”
“It was,” agreed Lucy. “And it cost adollar a week. But just one day at the beachwould be lovely. I wish the Sunday-schoolpicnic had gone there.”
Dora didn’t agree with Lucy. That annualpicnic had been held at World’s EndPond. Even the salt water could not be nicerthan that place.
Just as Lucy finished the last peach, Mrs.Merrill came in. Dora brought the sugar-bowlfrom the pantry and looked hard at hermother. Sometimes it was possible to tell byMother’s face how she felt about things.
Mrs. Merrill did not seem disturbed, butneither did she look as though she was thinkingof anything especially pleasant. She putthe rest of the supper on the table and toldLucy to call her father and Uncle Dan.
It was Uncle Dan who told the secret.Right in the middle of supper he turned to hissister.
“You know, Molly,” he began, “Jack saysI may have his tent and we should need onlyone.”
“Dan!” said Mother Merrill, and everybodywas still. The children looked at UncleDan. Then Father Merrill laughed.
“A tent!” shrieked Lucy. Dora jumpedright out of her chair and ran around thetable to her uncle.
“Are we going, too?” she asked quitebreathlessly. “Can I sleep in a tent? I neverdid, you know.”
Mr. Merrill laughed again, and this timeDan laughed with him.
“You’ve done it now, Dan,” said his sister.“You may as well tell them.”
But Uncle Dan didn’t explain. “Oh,Molly, then you will go?” he asked as eagerlyas the little girls.
“I suppose I shall have to,” said Mrs.Merrill, but she didn’t look as though shewould find it very hard work.
“What is it? What is it?” Dora was askingwith her arms around her young uncle’sneck.
“Quit choking me,” said Dan. “Go backand eat your supper.”
Dora gave him one last hard hug before returningto her chair. “I know it is nice,” shesaid. “But is it the beach, Uncle Dan, andare we to sleep in a tent?”
“Maybe,” said Dan.
“The press is going to shut down for aweek,” said Mrs. Merrill, “and Dan can getoff, too. He wants to go over to White Beach.There’s a little shack we can have for not muchmoney, but it has only two rooms. Dan thinkshe can bunk on the porch. He wants OliveGates to go with us, and she and you childrenwould have to sleep in the tent.”
“I wouldn’t be scared if Olive was withus,” said Lucy. Dora was too happy to sayanything at all. Her eyes shone and lookedbluer than ever. When one is only eight, thereare a great many important things in life. Togo to the beach and to sleep in a tent seemedalmost too good to be true.
“Alice Harper is at the beach this summer,but she sleeps in a house,” said Lucy. Nobodywas listening. Dan and Mr. Merrill wereboth talking, and it was plain that they wantedto go just as much as the children did.
“What shall we do with Timmy?” askedDora, a sudden cloud coming over her face. Itwould never do to leave the tiger-striped pussyto take care of himself for a week. “Can hego with us?”
“No,” said Mrs. Merrill. “He would bescared to death, if he didn’t run away entirely.”
Dora looked so distressed that Mr. Merrillcould not stand it. “We’ll plan for Timmy,”he said kindly. “I never did think much ofpeople who go off for a vacation and leave theircats to take care of themselves. We will leavethe key of the house with Jim Baker, and askhis little girl to come over twice a day to feedTimmy and to let him into the kitchen everynight if he wants to sleep inside. But thesenice nights, Timmy may prefer to stay out.”
Dora’s face looked bright again. Of courseshe could not enjoy the beach if Timmy werenot cared for. He was used to being pettedand fed regularly. Now there was not a cloudin her sky.
Uncle Dan was as pleased as the little girls.He talked much more than usual during supper,and after it was over and the dishes werebeing washed, he came to where his sister wasmixing bread.
“All right for me to ask Olive?” he inquired.
“Yes,” said Mrs. Merrill, smiling a little.“Tell her we all want her to go with us.”
Dan was off in a hurry, but before he wenthe gave his sister an awkward hug.
Never were dishes done with such speed!Mrs. Merrill looked at them suspiciously butdid not say a word. Lucy had washed themproperly and Dora had wiped them as dry ascould be, even though they worked so fast.And yet neither of them knew why they werehurrying. They were not to go to the beachfor three days, not until Saturday.
There was plenty to do between then and theend of the week. First, they had to decidewhat clothes to take, and were surprised to findthat Mother did not think as they did aboutthe dresses. She came and looked at themwhen Lucy and Dora had laid them out ontheir bed.
“You won’t need your good clothes,” shesaid. “Those must be kept for school. Youwill be playing on the beach all day, and notneed to be dressed up. When we go over, youwill have on one good dress apiece, and that isenough.”
Lucy and Dora were disappointed. Theythought that people who went away on a vacationshould take all their best clothes.
“But not people who live in tents,” saidMrs. Merrill. “That makes a great difference.We are only going to camp, you know.”
“But I may take Arcturus?” Dora begged,bringing from her bureau the little silver bearon her neck-chain, the bear which had beennamed for a star. “Arcturus does really needsea air, Mother.”
“He looks as though he were pining away,”said Mrs. Merrill, but she said that on the wayover Dora might wear the necklace.
After Mother had edited that collection ofclothes, Lucy and Dora packed them veryeasily into one suit-case. When they consideredthat this was to be a camping-trip, it wasfun to see how much one could get on without.
Then there was the question of food.Mother made a great many cookies, both ofsugar and molasses, and shut them into tinboxes. She also made some cake.
On Friday a pleasant thing happened. Theman who owned the printing-press where Mr.Merrill was foreman, said that he would haveall their things taken over to the