Produced by David Edwards, Chuck Greif and the OnlineDistributed Proofreading Team at https://www.pgdp.net (Thisfile was produced from images generously made availableby The Internet Archive)
NEW YORK: DODD, MEAD & COMPANY, PUBLISHERS.
Copyright, 1880, by DODD, MEAD & COMPANY.
It was the fifteenth day of June, and the last day of school. Alice Greyhad just said her last good-byes to the other girls, and was starting onher homeward way when she heard a voice behind her.
“Alice, Alice, wait a minute.”
Alice turned around and saw Susy Lee running towards her.
“Let’s go on together,” said Susy, overtaking her friend. “There is nouse in walking alone when one can have company.”
“No, indeed,” said Alice, laughing, “particularly when the company has agood big sun umbrella, and the one has none. Here, let me take your arm,and creep under your shade, that’s a love.”
“Isn’t it hot?” exclaimed Susy, when they were both comfortably settledunder the shade of the umbrella. “See, there isn’t a breath of wind.”
“Hot isn’t the word for it,” said Alice; “why, it is simply scorching. Iam so glad we are through with school, for it is really dreadful tostudy in this weather. I am crazy to get off to the country, aren’tyou?”
“Yes, indeed, I am,” said Susy. “I just _love_ the country; don’t you?When I get on my blue flannel sailor suit and my big shade hat, and knowthat I can get just as mussy as I please, I am too happy for anything.Where are you going this summer?”
“Oh, we are going to Sandy Shore; we go there every summer. Papa has acottage there.”
“Sandy Shore!” exclaimed Susy. “Why, how perfectly delightful. I amgoing there, too. Papa has rented a house for the summer, and we are tostart off in about a week.”
The children were of course overjoyed to find that they were to becompanions for the summer, and had a great deal to talk about. And sobusy were they that Alice’s house was in sight long before the importantevent had been thoroughly discussed.
When they reached Mr. Grey’s it was nearly time for luncheon, however,so Alice and Susy
kissed each other good-bye, and separated, each to confide to her motherthe pleasant prospects for the summer.
Alice found the house in rather a confused state. Trunks were in everyroom; carpets were being taken up; and everything denoted that a changeof some sort was about to take place.
Alice flew up the stairs, and, rushing into her mamma’s room, she foundher father and mother talking together very earnestly about something.
“Why, mamma,” she exclaimed, “what is the matter? Are we going to thecountry earlier than usual?”
“Yes, Alice,” said Mrs. Grey, “we are going to the country day afterto-morrow. Now that your school is ended there is no need of our stayinglonger in town, and I am impatient enough to get away from this heat. Idon’t suppose you are sorry, are you?” she added, laughing.
“Not very,” said Alice. “I am nearly roasted with this heat, and, mamma,just think, isn’t it too lovely? Susy Lee is going to Sandy Shore forthe summer. Her papa has rented a cottage there.”
“Why, that must be the cottage next to us. I heard Mr. Morton had rentedit but I did not know to whom. I am so glad. How delightful it will befor you.”
“But now you must run, my dear, for I am so busy that if I stop to talkto you I shall never finish what I have to do. I wish you would go up inthe nursery, and see if the children are all right. Maria is so busyhelping me that she has no time to look after them.”
Alice went up stairs, resolving that she would take care of the childrenall the afternoon. “I cannot pack the trunks,” she said,
“but I can help by giving the others time to do it.”
She found beside her little sister Janet and brother Harry, Pauline andCharley Roberts there. The children had found a box of paints, and hadbeen amusing themselves by making pictures of each other. They were in agreat state of merriment over their last performance when Alice openedthe door and walked in.
“Why don’t you paint something really nice?” said she. “I have somepictures in my room, and you can draw any one which you will select.Now, wait a minute till I bring you some.”
So Alice went to her room, and soon returned with some pictures. Thechildren gathered around, and, after some hesitation, they selected apicture of a man skating.
“Let’s choose this,” said Charley Roberts; “It is such a hot day that awinter scene is refreshing. Doesn’t it feel delightful to breathe thatcold air, and to see all that ice and snow?”
Alice laughed at this flight of imagination, and seating herself uponthe floor she began to look over her sketch-book, while the childrenamused themselves by drawing.
The hours flew quickly past, and Alice took such good care of thechildren that her mamma was able to get everything ready for theirdeparture in time. The eventful day arrived, and at six o’clock thechildren were up. The train left so early that it was necessary to makea very early start.
Breakfast was hurriedly eaten, and then the small bags and parcels whichhad not been already sent were gathered together, and out went the happyparty to the carriage which was waiting for them at the door.
Oh, how delightful it was to be leaving the hot city with all its noiseand dust, and how sorry Alice felt for all the people she met who wereobliged to remain behind. Although the morning was cool, the day whichfollowed was sure to be warm and uncomfortable.
The ride in the cars was long and dusty, to be sure, but who cared forthat when there was
something so delightful to look forward to at the end?
And it did not seem so very long after all, for there was so much totalk about, and there were so many plans to make for the summer, thatbefore they knew it the conductor called out “Sandy Shore,” and theywere at their summer home.
There was the old stage waiting at the station. In a few minutes allwere comfortably seated, and off they went.
Oh, what rejoicings there were to be at home again, for the childrenalways persisted in calling their country place home, and their house inthe city as a sort of place where they must work and improve as much aspossible.
The children ran about from room to room to see if there were anychanges, but first of all they had to pay a visit to the stable, wherethey found Wrinkles, the old mastiff, basking in the sun, littledreaming that his friends were so near. When he heard their voices andsaw them before him, his joy knew no bounds. He jumped up, and nearlyoverturned them in his joy at seeing them again.
Then, when he was convinced of their presence, he would not let them outof his sight, but followed them about everywhere. Everything had to beinspected; every room in the house had to be gone into; every corner ofthe stable must be looked at; and the dear old hay loft, where so manyhappy hours had been passed, could certainly not be neglected. And whatshould they find up there but Mistress Tab, with five of the prettiestkittens you ever saw. And what did they all do but march down stairsafter the children, and walk into the house to show themselves to Mrs.Grey.
Then the boats had to be examined to see whether they leaked after thelong winter
drying. They were discovered to be in good condition, and while Wrinklesran along the banks the children roved about, having such a delightfultime that they could scarcely believe it could be so late when supperwas announced.
The days went on happily till the time arrived when Susy Lee wasexpected. Then of course Alice
So Susy came, and then began the good times in earnest. The childrentook long walks in the woods and lanes, with Wrinkles for a guide andprotector, and many were the curiosities they brought back from theirrambles.
One day as they were walking along over a road which they had nevertaken before, Susy suddenly exclaimed:
“See, there is a little house. I am so glad, for I am dreadfullythirsty. I didn’t say anything about it before, for it was of no usewhen there was no water near by, but now I can get a drink. Come.”
So the children ran on till they came to the hut, and knocking at theback door they waited quietly for it to be opened.
But no answer came to their rapping, so Susy lifted the latch and peepedcautiously in. She started back in