Eight Girls and a Dog
EIGHT GIRLS AND
Copyright, 1902, by
The Century Co.
Published October, 1902
THE DEVINNE PRESS
LOUISE FRANCES STEVENS
|I||Pillows and Pitchers||3|
|II||On the Road||22|
|III||The Fun Begins||41|
|V||The Enchanted Princess||82|
|VII||The Indian Caller||121|
|VIII||Fritters and Salad||137|
|X||The Play’s the Thing||168|
|XI||A Successful Performance||187|
|XII||The Boys’ Entertainment||200|
|XVI||A Welcome Invitation||256|
|LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS|
|“Well, you are a proper-looking lot!” Mrs. Lennox exclaimed as the girls filed in||Frontispiece|
|“Mr. Bond is holding Timmy Loo,” said Helen||25|
|Marjorie and Millicent ordering things alternately||51|
|Millicent declared she looked like Tweedledee prepared for his fight with Tweedledum||61|
|“Who are you?” she said in a low, mysterious whisper||93|
|“This is the only correct and elegant way to fill a swing-lamp”||113|
|The gem of the collection||235|
Note.—A portion of this book was published
in the “St. Nicholas Magazine”
under the title of “Hilarity Hall.”
EIGHT GIRLS AND
PILLOWS AND PITCHERS
‟IS there any way to pack pillows inpitchers?” said Marjorie, framingherself in the front doorway, one handgrasping recklessly the handles of threelarge pitchers, and both arms full of sofa-pillows.
The group on the veranda looked upat her doubtfully.
“Yes,” said brilliant Nan. “Have yourpitchers bigger than your pillows, and thething is done.”
“But the pillows are bigger than thepitchers.”
“Then pack the pitchers in the pillows,”said Betty.
“Why, of course! Betty, you’re agenius!” And Marjorie disappeared withher burdens, while the girls on the verandafell to chattering again like half adozen shirt-waisted magpies.
Now I know that a story with eightheroines is an imposition upon even thegentlest of readers; but you see therewere eight girls in the Blue RibbonCooking Club; and when their president,Marjorie Bond, proposed that they godown to Long Beach and spend a fortnightall by themselves in her father’scottage, the whole club rose up as onegirl and voted aye.
Objections were disposed of as fastas they were raised. Permission? Thegirls were sure that the sixteen parentsconcerned could be persuaded to see thematter in a favorable light. Expense?That should be divided equally amongthem all. Trouble? Would be morethan compensated by the fun. Luggage?Not so very much required; the housewas completely furnished, except withlinen and silver, and each girl shouldtake her share. Burglars? That ideacaused some apprehension; but when Marjoriesaid that Uncle Ned and AuntMolly would be right next door, planswere suggested sufficient to scare anyreasonably cautious burglar out of hiswits. And so the preliminaries had beenarranged, and the date decided upon, andthe day had come.
It was Thursday morning, and theywere to leave on the noon train; and now,although ten o’clock had struck, six sailor-hattedgirls were gathered on the Bonds’veranda, hurriedly making final arrangementsand frantically trying to rememberwhat were the most important things theyhad forgotten.
“It’s like a fire,” Jessie Carroll wassaying; “you know people always savetheir old trash and leave their best thingsto burn up. Now I’m sure I’ve packedjust the very things we won’t want andleft at home the things we’ll need most.And that reminds me—Nan, can’t I putmy best hat in your box? I just had totake my down comfortable, and it was sopuffy it wouldn’t leave room for anythingelse.”
“Oh, don’t take your best hat,” criedBetty Miller; “we’re not going down toLong Beach to dress up and be giddy.It’s so late in the season none of thesummer boarders will be there, and we’rejust going to wear flannel frocks all day,and tramp in the woods and loll in thehammocks and get brown as berries andhungry as hunters and uncivilized as—asHottentots.”
“Yes, Betty; but remember somebodyhas to cook for these hungry Hottentots,”said Mrs. Bond, smiling.
“Aren’t you afraid, girls, that you’llget tired of cooking? And you’ll findthat there’s a great deal of work connectedwith housekeeping if you do it allyourselves.”
“Oh, no, indeed, Mrs. Bond,” said NanKellogg. “I just love to cook, and Idon’t mind housework a bit. Mammathinks it will be good training for me.”
“Such doings!” exclaimed GrandmaBond, a lovely old lady of the silver-haired,apple-cheeked variety. “Livingon chafing-dish foolery for two weeks!You’ll all be ill or starved to death inthree days, and you’ll wish yourselvesback in your comfortable homes.”
“Not we, grandma!” cried Betty.“We have a gas-stove and a range besidesour beloved chafing-dish, and wewon’t starve. But if Nan makes ourWelsh rarebits I’ll not promise that wewon’t be ill. Her concoctions are thestuff that dreams are made on. Oh,here’s Helen. What’s your misfortune,my pretty maid?”
Helen Morris came up on the verandaand dropped into a big wicker chair andfanned herself with her hat.
“Girls, I’m exhausted! You know Isaid I’d take all the things for afternoontea, but I had no idea there were somany. Why, I’ve packed a whole barreland they’re not all in yet. To besure, it’s mostly tissue-paper and excelsior;but I was so afraid they’d break.And I couldn’t get the tea-cozy in atall, or the Dresden cups; I’d hate tobreak them.”
“Yes,” said Betty, sympathetically;“don’t break the tea-cozy, whatever youdo, if it’s that pretty yellow satin one.But you’ve no ingenuity, Nell; whydon’t you wear it down on your head?Then you’ll look like a drum-major.”
“I will if you’ll all obey my orders.Well, this won’t do for me. I must goback and reason with those tea-things.I just ran over a minute because I sawyou all here. If I can’t get them intothe barrel I’ll have to take a cask besides.Good-by. I’ll meet you at the train.What time do we start?”
“Twelve-ten,” replied Hester Laverack.“I’ll go home with you, Helen,and help you pack your china.”
“Yes, do,” said Betty; “two heads arebetter than one in any barrel.”
But the two heads were already bobbingdown the walk, and didn’t hearBetty’s parting shot.
“Nell’s crazy,” remarked MillicentPayne, who always did everything leisurely,yet always had it done on time.“I do hope her barrel will go safely, forher tea-cups and things are lovely.”
“Shall we have tea every afternoon?”asked Marguerite Alden, a fragile wisp ofa girl who looked as if a real strong oceanbreeze would blow her away. “I’m soglad! I don’t care for the tea at all, butthe having it with all us girls togetherwill be such fun, only—I do hate to washup the tea-things.”
“Girlies,” said Mrs. Bond, “I think itwould be much better all round if you’dhire a neat little maid to wash your dishesfor you. You can probably find one downthere, and I’m sure you’ll be glad to havehelp when you discover what dish-washingfor eight means.”
“I think it would be heaps better, Mrs.Bond,” said Marguerite. “I don’t seehow we can have any fun if we have towork all the time.”
“Lazy Daisy!” said Betty. “Youwon’t do any more than your share. Butwe won’t let the interloper do any of ourcooking; I insist on that.”
“All right, Betty,” said Marguerite, orDaisy, as the girls called her, though shewished they wouldn’t; “and you may bechief cook.”
“No,” said Betty, “I’m not chiefcook—Marjorie is that. I’ll be the firstassistant. I’ll prepare the vegetables forher, and be a—a peeler.”
“Hurrah for Betty the Peeler!” saidMarjorie, appearing again in the frontdoor. “And what am I?”
“You’re the cook,” said Millicent.
“But we’re all cooks.”
“Yes, I know; but you’re head cook,chief cook—cook plenipotentiary, or anytitle you prefer.”
“Then I’ll be cook,” said Marjorie,“just plain cook.”
“Indeed, you’ll be more than a plaincook,” said her mother, laughing, “if youattempt all the fancy dishes in all thoserecipe-books I saw you stowing away inyour trunk.”
“Oh, they weren’t all recipe-books.Some of them were delectable tales to beread aloud at the twilight hour. I couldonly take light literature, as the boxweighs about a ton now. So I wasforced to leave out ‘Advice to YoungMaidens’ and Carlyle’s ‘French Revolution,’for I really hadn’t room.”
“I hope you took ‘Rollo Learning toWork,’ for I’m sure we’ll need it.”
“No, Betty, I didn’t; but I packed‘First Aid to the Injured’ and ‘Alice inWonderland’; we can struggle alongwith those.”
“There’s a circulating library down atLong Beach,” said Nan Kellogg; “wecan get books there.”
“Now look here, my rising young authoress,”said Betty; “you’re not goingdown there to read all the time, or write,either. So you may as well make up yourmind to it, milady, first as last. We’llhave no bookworms or blue-stockings.‘Cooks, not Books,’ is our motto. Now,Duchess, look over your lists for the lasttime; I’m going home to lock my trunk,and then I’m going to don my war-paintand feathers.”
“I am, too,” said Nan; “and I want togo down to the station an hour beforetrain-time, so as to have ample leisure tocome back for what I forget.”
“Good idea,” said Marjorie, approvingly.The girls called her “Duchess”because she had a high-and-mighty wayof giving orders. Not an unpleasantway—oh, dear, no! Marjorie Bond wasthe favorite of the whole village of Middleton.Her stately air was due to the factthat she was rather tall for her sixteenyears, and carried herself as straight as anarrow. She could have posed admirablyfor a picture of Pocahontas. Her dark,bright eyes were always dancing, and hersaucy gipsy face was always smiling; forMarjorie had a talent for enjoyment,which she cultivated at every opportunity.The girls said she could get fun out ofanything, from a scolding to a jug of sourcream. And that latter fact suggests Marjorie’spet accomplishment, which, thoughprosaic, afforded much pleasure to herselfand her friends. She was a borncook, and by experiment and experiencehad become a proficient one. Two yearsago she had proposed the Cooking Club,and though not very enthusiastic at first,every one of the eight members wouldtell you now that nothing in Middletonwas ever quite so much fun as the CookingClub.
“I’m sure I’ve thought of everything,”said the Duchess,