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   Chapter 19 HOME, SWEET HOME

Glenloch Girls By Grace May Remick Characters: 10772

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:03


As the "Utopia" made her slow way out into the harbor Ruth's eyes clung lovingly to the three people who were waving farewell to her from the end of the pier. For some time she could see them distinctly, could tell which was Aunt Mary and which Arthur. Then the figures on the pier began to melt into each other, the waving handkerchiefs became mere white specks in the distance, and Ruth looked up to find Uncle Jerry watching her with quizzical gaze.

"I don't see why that band wants to play 'Home, Sweet Home,'" she said impatiently as she turned away from the side. "I don't think it's nice to work on people's feelings that way."

Uncle Jerry laughed. "You're not the first one who's thought that," he said consolingly. "Your aunt and a steamer chair are waiting for you on the other side, so come along and look at your letters and parcels."

"My aunt," repeated Ruth. "How ridiculous it seems to think of that little young thing being my aunt."

"Not any more absurd, I'm sure, than that a little young thing like me should be your uncle. I'm only five feet eleven, and a hundred and eighty pounds in weight."

Ruth laughed merrily, as Uncle Jerry meant she should, and just then they came to their chairs, and to the pretty new aunt smiling a welcome.

"You were so absorbed that we left you for a moment while we secured our chairs." she said as Ruth dropped down beside her. "I'm glad you've come, for I'm so anxious to know what's in these mysterious packages."

"I brought them up from your stateroom in my bag," added Uncle Jerry. "I thought you could entertain your youthful uncle and aunt by taking out one at a time. Sort of a grab-bag arrangement, you know."

Ruth drew out one of the packages and looked at it curiously. "That's Katharine's writing," she said, as she studied the address. Inside was a round flat pincushion made of blue velvet and embroidered with a spray of apple-blossoms. Around its edge was a fancy arrangement of pins of all colors, and fastened at the back hung a sort of needle-book with leaves of coarse net in which were run invisible hairpins. On a sheet of paper was written in Alice's small, neat hand:

Pins for your collar and pins for your hair, Pins for your belt, and some to spare For any old thing you may want to do. And not only pins, but our love so true We send in this little package to you. Katharine-Alice.

"Isn't that dear of them?" cried Ruth. "I suppose they made it, and I shall hang it up in my room just as soon as I get a room."

Number two proved to be a letter from Charlotte, and as Ruth opened it a dainty handkerchief trimmed with narrow lace insertion and bordered with pink wash ribbon dropped into her lap.

"DEAR OLD RUTH" (the letter ran):

"Don't fall overboard when I tell you I trimmed this handkerchief myself, and more than that, don't look at the stitches. I thought I couldn't show my devotion to you more than by poking a needle in and out.

"Glenloch won't seem the same without you, and I can't bear to think you've really gone. Do write to me often and tell me all the interesting things you see and do.

"I can hear weeping and wailing out in the yard, and I know the twins are into some mischief, so I must stop.

"Love to Uncle and Aunt Jerry from "Yours disconsolately, "CHARLOTTE."

"I should say that was devotion," said Ruth much touched. "Charlotte hates sewing, and that handkerchief must have been awfully fussy to do. But isn't that a nice name she's given you, Aunt Jerry? I like that and think I shall use it."

The next package was a small book from Marie, filled with little water-color sketches of Glenloch. Ruth and Mrs. Jerry took such a long time over it that Uncle Jerry got quite impatient, and threatened to draw the next one himself if Ruth didn't hurry.

This time she brought out a rolled sheet of paper, and opening it found a snapshot of Betty's merry face stuck in the centre, and all around her a circle of kitten pictures. At the bottom she had written:

"DEAR RUTH:

"Once a lady told me that nothing tasted so good to her on shipboard as some home-made cookies some one had given her, so I thought I'd try it for you. I packed them in a new tin pail with a tight cover, and I hope they'll keep crisp until you can eat them.

"Arthur promised to leave them in your stateroom, so if you don't find them you'll know it's his fault.

"I shall go in often and pet Fuzzy so that he won't miss you too much.

"Yours with love and kisses,

"BETTY."

"Isn't that Betty all over?" said Mrs. Jerry with a laugh. "So practical and helpful and anxious to comfort some one, if it's only a kitten."

"That accounts for the package down below that I didn't bring up," said Uncle Jerry. "I didn't realize it belonged to Ruth."

"Those cookies will taste good," laughed Ruth. "She couldn't have sent anything more-more Bettyesque."

The next thing was carefully packed and required much unwrapping, but as the last paper was taken off Ruth squealed with delight over a little traveling clock in a brown leather case. Enclosed with it were five cards each bearing a message. The first one that she read said in a small, even hand:

"This clock is to tick away the hours until you come back to us.

Please hurry so that it won't get too tired.-PHIL."

Then a boyish-looking writing announced, "'Time and tide wait for n

o man,' but Glenloch and the Candle Club will wait for the nicest girl that ever came out of the West.-JACK."

"Dear me! Am I blushing, Aunt Jerry?" asked Ruth quite overpowered by this last tribute. "This next is Frank's; I know his funny, scrawly writing."

"'Backward, turn backward, oh, Time in thy flight.' Give us our

Ruth again just for to-night."

"Isn't that neat and sentimental? Now I shall go in and play and sing 'My Bonnie lies over the Ocean.' Aren't you glad you're out of ear-shot?-Frank."

Card number four was enlivened by a funny drawing of a boy with his fists in his eyes standing in a pool of tears, and under it the inscription: "Bert; his feelings to a T."

The last card said in writing so small that Ruth could hardly read it:

"Dear Ruth:

"Hope you'll like the clock. We know you are fond of a good time(-keeper). I am growing thin because I miss you so. Not a morsel of food has passed my lips to-day; it has all gone in. My kindest regards to Emperor William.

"Love to Uncle Jerry and Mrs. Jerry.

"Yours,"

"Joe."

Ruth sat back in her chair quite overwhelmed by her latest gift. "Isn't that a dear clock, and aren't they perfectly dandy boys?" she asked as she fished around in the bag which was growing empty.

"Here's something from Dolly," she added as she drew out a tiny package with a note attached.

"DEAR RUTH" (the note said):

"I've decided not to be jealous any more, and just to prove it I'm sending you my heart.

"Do write soon to

"Yours lovingly, DOROTHY."

Ruth hastened to open the package and found in a little box a tiny, gold heart. "How lovely! Dolly heard me say I wanted one of these little hearts," she said in a satisfied tone. "And isn't it sweet of her to forgive me for letting Uncle Jerry marry you?" she added with a laugh.

"Now there are just two more packages; a small and a large. Which shall I take?"

"Take the large one; you've just opened a small one," advised Uncle

Jerry.

Ruth pulled out a large, square package, and opened it to find a handsome album filled with snapshots of Glenloch scenes and Glenloch friends.

"That's from Arthur, I know, though it doesn't say so, and that's what he's been so busy and secret over all these last weeks."

Ruth turned the leaves knowing that here, at least, she should find an unfailing source of pleasure. There were single pictures and groups of all the girls and boys she knew best, some of them so funny she could hardly see for laughing. There was Joe as the nice old lady; all the Candle Club boys in the costumes they wore at the last party; Ruth herself starting off on Peter Pan for a ride with Uncle Henry; Fuzzy in his most bewitching attitudes; and others so suggestive of the good times that had been that Ruth finally closed the book with almost a sigh.

"Well, now for the last package," she said diving into the bag. "Oh, here's a note from Arthur that I didn't find before." She tucked the envelope down in her lap, and opened first the little box to which was attached a note from Mrs. Hamilton. In the box was a brooch, a holly wreath in delicate greenish gold with tiny rubies for berries. The note said:

"DEAREST OF BORROWED DAUGHTERS:

"This is from Uncle Henry and me to remind you of the Christmas

when you did so much for us. I am beginning to miss you even as

I write this, and I don't like to think of our home without you.

Come to us again soon. With much love,

"AUNT MARY."

Ruth's eyes were suspiciously misty as she held the note and the little box out to Mrs. Jerry. "You'll have to read that for yourself," she said with a choke in her voice.

Then she opened Arthur's note, which began:

"DEAR RUTH:

"This is not a sell, but a real secret. Father has just told me that if everything goes well we three will take a trip abroad next year and meet you and your father. We want you to travel with us if we do. Isn't that great? You can tell your people, but we don't want it told in Glenloch just yet. I'm going to work like everything this fall so that when the time comes there won't be anything on my part to keep us from going.

"Keep jolly, and remember that you're a Glenloch girl and must come back to us before long.

Yours, ARTHUR."

"Here's a grand surprise, and you two can be in the secret," she said as she handed the note to Uncle Jerry. "Isn't it fine to think that the Glenloch good times haven't come to an end?" she continued. "Do you remember the story of the 'Princess and the Goblins,' and how the little Princess always felt safe so long as she held one end of her fairy grandmother's thread? Well, I feel as if I am taking with me the ends of any number of threads; one from each of the girls, and a very important one from Aunt Mary, and a great many others, too. I'm going to keep tight hold of them all, and some day they will pull me back to Glenloch, I'm sure."

Ruth sat silent for some time looking out with eyes that hardly saw the heavenly blue of the sky, or the sparkle of the waves as they rose and fell in the sunshine. Then, as though her spirit had already traversed the unending stretch of ocean, she said with a throb of exultation in her voice:

"Now, six days of this, and then Germany and-my father."

Other Stories in this Series are GLENLOCH GIRLS ABROAD

GLENLOCH GIRLS' CLUB GLENLOCH GIRLS AT CAMP WEST

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