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   Chapter 11 THE ECHO.

Cricket at the Seashore By Elizabeth Weston Timlow Characters: 17958

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


"Girls, we forgot one very important thing," said Cricket, suddenly pausing in her work of copying out carefully, in print, on legal cap, the much-interlined and very untidy looking manuscripts that had been handed in. The three girls were sitting cosily in one end of the broad piazza, Edna lying back in a bamboo steamer chair, reading, Eunice in the hammock, while Cricket, at the table, with both feet curled up on the round of her chair, worked industriously.

"What did we forget?" asked Edna, languidly.

"We forgot to choose names for ourselves, as Jo and the rest did. I don't want to sign just plain Edna Somers to your piece."

"I'm sure I don't want you to," said Edna, with sudden energy. "I just hate my name. I wish mamma hadn't named me till I could choose for myself."

"What a good idea!" said Eunice, admiringly. "I never thought of that. What name would you choose?"

"Hildegarde Genevieve," answered Edna, promptly. "Those are my favourite names. And I wish my last name was Montague."

"Hildegarde Genevieve Montague! That's a beautiful name!" exclaimed Cricket. "Have that for your club name, Edna. Now you choose, Eunice."

"Let me see!" considered Eunice. "I think Esmeralda is just splendid, and I love Muriel. Esmeralda Muriel would do."

"And have Le Grand for your last name," begged Cricket. "I think anything with a Le in it is so-so stately. But Muriel is one of my favourite names, too, Eunice. What shall I choose? Do you like Seretta?"

"That isn't a real name, is it," asked Edna.

"I made it up the other night, and I think it's sweet. I'll be Seretta Carlillian. I made that up, too. So that's settled," said Cricket, resuming her work, and signing, "Hildegarde Genevieve Montague," very carefully.

The rest of the family had, of course, noticed the sudden literary bent of these young women, and were all curiosity to know the reason of it. The boys gave them no peace, and though the girls stuck to their secret valiantly, Will and Archie managed to worm it from them at last. To the relief of the girls, however, they did not tease, but, on the contrary, quite approved, and even offered to contribute, an offer which the small editor would not accept unconditionally.

"You may write things," she said, rather dubiously, "and if I like them I'll print them. But I'm not going to put in any nonsense. This is a really-truly paper, and the girls have written beautiful stories."

She was sole judge of the production, however, for the other girls had agreed that it would be more fun if nobody but the editor knew the contents of the paper till it was read. It proved to be a great deal of work to copy all the paper neatly in printing letters, but Cricket stuck to it faithfully. Auntie advised that she should work regularly, one hour in the morning, and one hour in the afternoon, till she got it done, and Cricket, who, at first, felt obliged to work at it all the morning, very willingly followed her suggestion. Auntie had also undertaken to advance the money for the badges, which a little local watchmaker had promised to have done before Wednesday. He kept his promise, and three prouder little girls never walked than these three, when they fastened on these round, shining pins, with "E. C." embroidered on them, as Cricket said.

Would my little readers like a glimpse of this "really-truly" paper of "really-truly" little girls?

Well, then, the club meeting was held, by common consent, on the piazza, instead of in "Rocky Nook," for the boys insisted on being present, and Auntie Jean hinted that an invitation to herself and grandma would be much appreciated.

"You mustn't anybody laugh," said Eunice, finally, in some trepidation.

"We'll be as sober as-crocodiles," promised Will, "and I don't know anything more serious than a crocodile."

So, when the audience was duly assembled on the piazza, the "Echo Club" marched out of the house, headed by President Eunice, the secretary and treasurer following, while the editor, all in a flutter, carrying the precious paper laid flat in an atlas, brought up the rear. The president sat down, gravely, in a big chair reserved for her, while the secretary took a seat by her side, though she cast a longing look at the hammock, which was regarded as undignified. The editor, vainly trying to control her smiles and restrain her dimples, stood behind the table, and began.

"I copied the top part of it from a real newspaper, auntie," she said, opening the sheet. "Now, boys, remember, if you laugh the least bit, I'll stop. And, oh, auntie, I forgot to say that the boys wrote some of the atoms."

"Atoms?" repeated Auntie Jean, puzzled.

"Atoms! Miss Scricket, oh, ho!" called Archie; then, recollecting himself just in time, he clapped his hands over his mouth.

"That's what you said they were, I thought," said Cricket, anxiously. "Don't you know, auntie, those little things that come between the stories, and all that? General atoms. I have written it down."

"Items, dear," said auntie, soberly.

"Items-atoms," repeated Cricket, thoughtfully, comparing the sounds. "Yes, of course. How silly of me. I'll change it right away. Well, the boys wrote most of them, anyway. Now, I'm all ready," and Cricket cleared her throat, and began.

The Echo.

Serella Carlillian, Editor.

No. 1. Marbury, Wednesday, July 15th, 18-. Vol. I.

DELL'S COMPOSITION.

"Oh, dear!" sighed Dell Ripley, "next Friday is Composition Day, and I've got to write a composition. What subject shall I take, mamma?"

"Are there not any subjects in your school composition-book?" asked Mrs. Ripley, a pleasant looking lady of apparently thirty-five.

"Yes'm, but not any I want. Oh, it seems to me that I saw a book up-stairs in the garret with something about compositions in it," and, shaking back her floating curls, the little girl bounded from the room. She ran up the garret stairs, and then began to look for the book. At last she found it, and eagerly opened it, and, as she opened it, a paper fluttered to the floor.

She picked it up, and saw the name "Amy Willard" on it. "Why," she thought, "it's something of Aunt Amy's," and she read it. It was a composition.

"Joan of Arc," cried Dell, "splendid subject, and splendid composition. I wish I could write one as nice."

"Why not take this one?" asked the tempter. Then there was a very long struggle in Dell's heart, but the tempter conquered, and Dell carried the composition down to her own room to copy it. When she had finished it, she read it over, trying to think that it sounded just like any of her own, and that no one would ever know it.

"It sounds just like mine," she said, trying to get rid of that uneasy feeling. "I guess I'll just change this sentence and that one."

"Have you written your composition, dear?" asked Mrs. Ripley, pleasantly, as Dell came slowly down-stairs, and out on the piazza.

"Yes'm," answered Dell, very low.

"You look tired, dear."

"I am."

"What shall I do if I am found out?" thought Dell.

When she went to bed that night she was very unhappy. Her conscience troubled her very much. She wished she had never found the composition, and almost made up her mind to confess, but, alas, only almost.

She turned and tossed till nearly ten o'clock, and then fell asleep, and dreamed that, just as she was reading the composition before the school, her Aunt Amy appeared, and claimed it as her own, thus showing her niece's wickedness. She awoke with a scream that brought her mother to her bedside. Dell's first thought was to tell her mother all, and, without waiting a moment, she confessed her sin.

After that, Dell's compositions were her own.

Esmeralda Muriel Le Grand.

* * *

POLLY'S NECKLACE.

"Oh, mamma," exclaimed little Polly More. "To-morrow is my birthday, and what are you going to give me for a present?"

"What do you want?" asked Mrs. More.

"I should like a necklace of some sort. Oh, papa," bounding toward her father, "are you going to give me something?"

"What would you like me to give you?"

"Oh, anything," said Polly.

So the next morning, Polly found by her bedside, when she woke up, a pretty little coral necklace, and a red purse with seventy-five cents in it, and a penknife.

Three or four weeks after, Polly went to visit her uncle, who lived in the country. He was a farmer, and it was haying time, and he was getting in the new hay, and Polly liked to play in the hay with her cousin May. One day, as they were playing there, her coral necklace came unclasped and fell into the hay. She hunted a long time, but could not find it.

Polly went home the next week sorrowing, but the next spring, when the cows had eaten up all the hay, the news came that May had found the necklace, and Polly was happy again.

Hildegarde Genevieve Montague.

* * *

POETRY.

TO MY MOTHER.

(A Lament.)

Oh, mother dear, why hast thou gone,

And left thy C

ricket all alone?

The tears flow often from my eye,

And oft, indeed, I almost cry.

Should danger chance to come to thee,

While thou are sailing on the sea,

With sorrow would our hearts be torn,

And we would be here all forlorn.

Perhaps thou may fall from the deck,

Before papa thy fall could check,

Perhaps they could not rescue thee,

And then, alas! what grief to me.

Of course papa might pull thee out,

Or else some burly sailor, stout.

Oh, dear mamma! I pray thee, strive

To keep thyself, for us alive!

And dear papa, we miss him, too,

Almost as much as we do you.

We long to see his dear old face,

And fold him in our close embrace.

And Marjorie and Donald, too,

We miss you all, but mostly you.

Oh, hurry and grow very strong,

That we may have you back ere long.

Seretta Carlillian.

* * *

Miss Zaidee and Miss Helen Ward have decided that they will patronize the ocean hereafter for their daily bath, rather than the tanks in the cheese factory.

* * *

A SAD ACCIDENT.

The other day our editor, and one of the valuable contributors to this paper, were seated on two posts, playing the manly game of bean-bag. The bag was coming to the editor, but somehow, when he grabbed for it, it fell on the ground. Our editor immediately sprang after it, but, in doing so, his dress caught on the post, and he hung up there. He was rescued by Miss Le G. He is now doing well.

* * *

POOR PATTY.

Little Patty looked very poor indeed. She sat on a rough stone that was used as a door-step, with her head resting on her hand. Her beautiful golden curls fell way below her waist, over her white neck and shoulders, which her ragged dress did not hide.

Patty had been stolen by gypsies three years before, when she was seven years old. She was very pretty, and because of that the gypsies had stolen her to sell. One night she ran away from the gypsies, and during the day she wandered on till she came to a large town. When it was night again, she was tired and hungry, and she sat down on a door-step and fell fast asleep, and here she was found by Mrs. Bruce, who took her home, thinking she could make her useful in running errands.

So Patty was sitting on the door-step when a rough voice called from inside the house, "Be off with you, you lazy thing! Didn't I tell you an hour ago to be off for the milk? Be off with you, I say."

Poor Patty got off rather slowly, for she didn't feel well, and ran down the street and didn't stop till she got to the store. But coming home she didn't run so fast, for her head ached, and when she got home Nan Bruce scolded her. In a few minutes Patty went up-stairs to her poor garret, where she slept, and threw herself upon the bed, and cried herself to sleep. When she woke up she had a high fever, and in a short time she was delirious. Nan was much alarmed, and sent for the doctor, who said she had scarlet fever, and he got a good nurse for her. For three months no one expected she would recover, but after that she began to get well.

One morning, when she was nearly well, she said suddenly to the doctor, "Doctor, it seems to me as if I had seen you before."

"You have, I guess," said the doctor, laughing. "I have been here every day for three months."

"I don't mean that," said Patty, "but I feel as if I had seen you before those people took me off."

"How old were you when they took you off?" asked the doctor, who knew she had been stolen.

"I think I was seven, for it was on the very day after my birthday, I remember."

"Why, I had a little girl that was stolen the very day after she was seven years old," said the doctor. "She was carried off by gypsies."

"Why, the gypsies were the very people that carried me off, too."

"Patty, would you like to go and live with me?" asked the doctor.

"Oh, yes, I would. Perhaps I am your little girl, for I am not hers."

"Perhaps so. I will see if I can find out about it." The doctor asked Nan Bruce, and she told him all she knew. He then made arrangements to take Patty home with him, for he knew now she was his own little girl. So Patty went to live with the doctor, and she had lovely dresses of porcelain to wear, and a servant to stand in statu quo behind her chair at dinner.

Seretta Carlillian.

* * *

MARRIAGES.

Hopvine-Woodbine. On the 21st, Mr. Hopvine, to Miss Woodbine, both of Marbury. No cards.

DEATHS.

On the first of June, little Robin, only child of Mr. and Mrs. Redbreast, aged two months, four days, and three hours.

Little Robin, thou hast left us,

We shall hear thy chirp no more;

Very lonely hast thou left us,

And our hearts are very sore.

On the 7th of June, two little kittens, in the barn of Mrs. Maxwell. We grieve greatly at recording the deaths of these loving and lovely twins, so sad and unexpected. They had a large circle of admirers and friends, who feel greatly overcome that these beautiful young twins are called away.

Also, Wallops, older brother of the above, departed this life on June 10th. He was found dead on the seashore.

Poor little Wallops,

Died of eating scallops.

(He really ate crabs, but crabs wouldn't rhyme.)

We'll see him frisk no more,

For we found him on the shore,

All stiff and cold, expiring in his prime.

* * *

TOWN TOPICS.

Miss Cricket Ward has decided to sell out her peanut stand at cost.

Mr. Will and Archie Somers have cleaned the Gentle Jane, and they are now prepared to take out parties at reasonable rates. Come early and often.

Mr. Kenneth Ward has nearly recovered from a serious wound he received when he was eloping with his aunt's watch. The path of the transgressor is hard. It was the stones in this case.

Miss Hilda Mason, of East Wellsboro', is expected soon to spend a week with her friend, the editor.

* * *

WIT AND HUMOUR.

["None of the wits are original, auntie," put in Cricket, here. "The boys sent some of them in, and they said they were, but I don't believe them, and I copied mine, anyway."]

How to get along in the world. Walk.

A little girl visiting the country for the first time, saw a man milking. After looking a few minutes, she asked, "Where do they put it in?"

When is a man thinner than a shingle? When he's a-shaving.

What was the first carriage Washington ever rode in? When he took a hack at the little cherry-tree.

What did Lot do when his wife became a pillar of salt? He got a fresh one.

"Mike," asked a man, addressing a bow-legged friend, "are them legs of yourn natural or artificial?" "Artificial, me lad. I went up in a balloon, and walked back."

* * *

GENERAL ITEMS.

Letters were received from Dr. Ward and family, that they are enjoying themselves in the Swiss mountains. Mamma is better. She says they have such funny little boys there.

Mr. Billy Ruggles is going to have a new shiny hat. Kenneth sat down on his other one, and it got all flattened out, and it looks like fury, and grandma says he can't wear it any more.

Bridget has a new dishpan.

Luke says he has forty-eight chickens.

Maggie Sampson's little donkey can't go nearly as fast as Mopsie and Charcoal Ward.

Mr. Simon has his summer stock of fresh red and white peppermints in. He won't have any chocolates till August, because he bought such a large stock in May.

There is to be a church sociable in the Methodist church. I wish auntie would condescend to let us go, for we haven't ever been to a Methodist sociable. I never went to any kind of a sociable.

Miss Hildegarde Genevieve Montague wishes to say that, if she was a boy, she doesn't think it would be any fun to cut up pieces of whalebones, and put them under the sheet in his sister's bed.

There will be a special and very private meeting of the E. C. in some very secret place, to decide whether we will let the boys be honorary members or not. If they are elected honorary members, we will turn them out any time that they don't behave themselves very well indeed.

THE END-FINIS.

The tail-piece was Cricket's ambitious flight of fancy. She drew a long breath and sat down, amid vigorous applause.

"That's very creditable, my little authorlings," said auntie, encouragingly. "Cricket, you did more than your share, I think, if you copied all that, and wrote a story and a poem beside."

"I had them all thought before, auntie. I made up the poetry the day I was caught on the mud-flat. I love to think out stories."

"Oh-h!" groaned Edna. "How any one can think out stories just for fun, I don't see. I'd almost rather fight skeeters. Mine's the stupidest story that ever was, but I don't believe I slept a wink for three nights, while I was making it up. You don't catch me writing any stories, girls, when I am editor."

"I am afraid you weren't intended for an author, my dear," said her mother, laughing.

"Somebody must read the stories," said Edna, defensively.

* * *

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