Dorothea's School Gifts
: STORIES _for_ LITTLE GIRLS
: Boys And Girls Bookshelf
BY EUNICE WARD
"It seems very queer," said Dorothea thoughtfully, "people who are going
to do something nice always have presents given them, but people who are
going to do something horrid never get a thing, and they need it twice
"As for instance?" said her father, laying down his paper and drawing
her onto his knee, while the rest of the family prepared to give the
ustomary amused attention to their youngest's remarks.
"Well, when Cousin Edith went to Europe we all gave her presents to take
with her, and when she came home lots of people sent her flowers.
Anita's been getting cups and things ever since she was engaged, and
last spring, when Florence graduated, almost all the family gave her
something; and when Mary Bowman was confirmed she got a lovely white
prayer-book and a gold cross and chain. But when people are going to do
what they hate to do, they're left out in the cold."
"What are you going to do that you don't like, Baby?" asked Florence.
"Why, you know, school begins again next week," said Dorothea. "It makes
me feel quite mournful, and I don't see anything to cheer me up and make
it interesting for me." A little smile was hidden in the corners of her
mouth although her tone was as doleful as possible.
"If you were going to boarding-school--" began Anita, who was apt to
take everything seriously.
"Then I'd have lots of things," interrupted Dorothea. "New clothes and a
trunk and a bag, and you'd all come to see me off, and it would be
interesting. But I'm going to work just as hard here at day-school, and
yet I've got to bear it, all by myself."
Her father pinched her ear, and her big brother Jim offered to have a
bunch of roses placed on her desk at school if that would make her feel
better, while her two sisters looked at each other as though the same
idea had occurred to them both.
* * *
On the morning of the first day of school, Dorothea was suddenly
awakened by a loud ting-a-ling-a-ling. She sat up in bed and rubbed her
eyes. The room was flooded with morning light and the brass knobs on her
bed gleamed cheerfully at her and seemed to say: "Get up, get up!" Now
Dorothea was a "sleepyhead" and had seldom been known to get up when
first awakened. It usually took at least three calls from her mother or
the girls, and sometimes Jim stole in and administered a "cold pig,"
that is, a few drops of chilly water squeezed upon her neck from a
sponge, before she was ready to leave her comfortable bed.
"It's an alarm clock," thought Dorothea. "But where is it?" Her eyes
traveled sleepily around the room but saw nothing that had not been
there the night before. The ting-a-ling-a-ling sounded once more. "It's
in this room somewhere!" she exclaimed, bouncing out of bed. She looked
on bureau, washstand, bookcase, and window-seat, and then jumped, for
the loud ting-a-ling came almost from underneath her feet. She hastily
lifted the drooping cover of a little table that stood near the window,
and there on the edge of the lower shelf stood an alarm-clock of the
ordinary pattern but of rather extraordinary appearance, owing to a
large yellow paper ruff which encircled its face.
"How did it get there?" exclaimed Dorothea in astonishment; and as she
gazed the clock burst forth with another loud ting-a-ling.
"Isn't it ever going to stop doing that?" she said, lifting it as she
spoke. The yellow ruff seemed to have something written on it, so she
took it off and, smoothing it out, read:
DEAR DOLLY: Happy school-day! After much earnest consideration I
have selected this as a suitable reminder of this joyful (?)
anniversary. It will continue to remind you five mornings in the
week, thereby saving your family much wear and tear, for it will be
properly wound and set every night by
Your affectionate brother,
P.S. When you are sufficiently aroused, press the lever and the
alarm will stop.
"It's one of those awful clocks that go off every minute!" said
Dorothea, carefully examining it to find the lever. She almost dropped
it when it began another of its loud and long rings, but she soon found
and pressed the lever and thereafter the clock was silent except for its
"I don't believe I shall ask anybody to give me presents any more," she
said, eying Jim's "reminder" with disfavor. But she changed her mind a
little later when, on looking for a clean handkerchief, she discovered a
flat square box tied with blue ribbon, and, opening it, saw half a dozen
handkerchiefs with narrow blue borders and a little blue D in the
corner. On the top was Cousin Edith's visiting-card, on the back of
which was printed in fantastic letters:
Dear Dolly: Use a handkerchief
Whenever you're inclined to sniff.
But with this band of blue I think
They don't need polka-dots of ink.
It was a constant wonder to the household what Dorothea did with her
handkerchiefs when she was at school. In vain she protested that she
didn't wipe her pen on them, and she didn't use them as blotters or to
wash out her ink-well; but, nevertheless, black stains almost always
appeared upon them, and Florence insisted that the family had to buy an
extra pint of milk a day to take out all these ink-stains. Cousin Edith
was too frequent a visitor not to know all the family plans and jokes,
and Dolly, as she laughed and shook out one of the blue-bordered
squares, resolved that "polka-dots" should be conspicuous by their
absence, for Edith would be sure to know.
She entered the breakfast room just as the family were sitting down to
"Behold the effects of my generosity and fore-thought!" exclaimed Jim
waving his hand toward her. "Our Youngest is in time for breakfast!"
"Many happy returns of the day, small sister," said Anita, just as if it
was her birthday, kissing her good morning and slipping a little hard
package into her hand. "Bob sends you this with his love."
"I don't mind returns of the day when it's like this," said Dorothea,
opening the package and at the same time spying a couple of tissue-paper
parcels lying beside her plate. Inside was a small chamois-skin case out
of which slid a little pearl-handled penknife. The accompanying card
bore the name of her future brother-in-law, and also these words:
I hesitate to offer you
This knife, for I shall be
Afraid that if you cut yourself
You straightway will cut me.
"How long did it take Bob to execute that masterpiece?" inquired Jim as
Dorothea read it aloud.
"You're jealous," she said. "Yours wasn't half so lovely as Cousin
Edith's and Bob's. It wasn't poetry at all."
"I left all the eloquence to my gift itself," answered Jim, helping
himself to an orange.
Dorothea paid no attention to him, for she was opening a small package
fastened by a rubber band. It was a silver-mounted eraser with a tiny
brush at one end. The inclosed note read:
This advice I must repeat;
Spare the rub and spoil the sheet.
If you can't restrain your speed,
This will prove a friend in need.
Dolly joined rather shamefacedly in the general smile, as she thanked
Florence, whose writing she had recognized. She was very apt to postpone
her work until the last minute, and then rush through it as fast as
possible; her compositions suffered from the many careless mistakes that
she was always in too much of a hurry to correct, while her drawings
belonged to what Jim called the "slap-dash school."
"We shall know by the amount of rubber left at the end of the term
whether you have taken my valuable advice," said Florence. "What's in
that other package, Baby? I know it is Anita's by the extreme elegance
of its appearance."
Dorothea opened an oblong package tied with green ribbon and found a set
of blotters fastened to a dark green suede cover ornamented with an
openwork design of four-leaf clovers, and a pen-wiper to match. On top
lay a slip of paper on which was written in Anita's pretty hand:
Wishing "Our Youngest" good luck and a happy school year.
"I'm not good at verses, so you'll have to be content with plain prose,"
said Anita, and Dorothea assured her that she was quite satisfied.
"Half past eight, Dolly," said her mother when breakfast was over. "It
is time you started."
"Oh, not yet, mother," said Dorothea the Dawdler. "It only takes me
"Now, see here," said Jim; "what do you suppose stirring young
business-men like your father and brother are lingering until the nine
o'clock train for, unless it is to see you off for school? We want to
give you as good a send-off as possible, for you're going to be absent
four whole hours, but we can't,--unless you do your part and begin to go
pretty soon. I don't believe you've got all your books together, as it
"Yes, I have," answered Dorothea triumphantly. "They are all on the hall
table, for I put them there last night. Oh, gracious!" she exclaimed
blankly: "I forgot to see whether I had any pencils! I don't believe I
have one! Jim, lend me yours, won't you? Just for to-day."
"Lend you my most cherished possession? Never!" said Jim, placing his
hand dramatically over his breast pocket.
"Then, Daddy, won't you please lend me yours?"
"Trot along, trot along!" said her father; and Dorothea, not knowing
quite what to make of having her demands thus ignored, put on her big
sailor hat and started to gather up her books. On top of the pile was a
slender inlaid box under a card bearing the words, "For Dolly, from
Father." Pushing back the sliding cover, Dorothea saw that the box
contained a row of pencils, all beautifully sharpened, a dozen pens, and
a slim gunmetal penholder.
"Oh!" she squealed with delight. "So that's why you wouldn't lend me any
pencils!" and gave her father a hug.
"Hurry up, now," said Jim. "Don't forget we've got to see ourselves off
after we've seen you."
"Why don't you take your bag?" asked Anita.
"It's too small for my new Geography," answered Dorothea, placing this
huge outward and visible sign of her progress in learning so that it
would form a foundation for the rest of her books. "Besides, it's too
"You had better take it to-day, anyhow, as you have so much to carry,"
suggested her mother. "I brought it downstairs and it's on the
"I just hate it!" pouted Dorothea, turning; and then stopped in
surprise, for instead of her little old satchel, a large new one made of
soft dark brown leather was hanging on the rack. It was ornamented on
one side with her monogram in raised tan-colored letters, and it was
large enough for the largest Geography that she was ever likely to have.
"Who gave me that?" she cried. "Oh, I know--Mother! It's just exactly
what I wanted. I think going to school this way is perfectly lovely!"
she added as she slipped her other possessions into the bag.
"Twenty minutes to nine!" called Jim warningly.
"All right, I'm going now," answered Dorothea gaily as she kissed them
"And the first day of school isn't so dismal after all, is it?" said her
"Oh, it's splendid, just splendid!" she replied enthusiastically. At the
gate she turned to wave her hand at the assembled family, who waved back
at her vigorously; and then, swinging her bag, she ran off down the
street toward school.