Dorothea's School Gifts

: Boys And Girls Bookshelf


"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 much."

"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

customary tick.

"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

the table.

"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

fifteen minutes."

"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

all around.

"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.