Grace Hill.

The Corner House Girls Under Canvas

And what names shall we send Mrs. MacCall? Dot wanted to know, when Tess had started the letter Deare Missus Mcall and was chewing the pencil as an aid to further thought.

Lets call them by seashore names, suggested Tess. Then theyll remind us of the fun we had here at Pleasant Cove.

Oh-oo! Lets, agreed Dot.

Well, now, said Tess, promptly. What will be the very first one? Ill write Mrs. MacCall what we want, and she proceeded to indite the following paragraph to begin the letter:

We are having so much fun down here at plesent cove that we cant find time to come home and name Sandfaces babbies. But we want you and unc rufs to do it for us and we are going to send you the names we chose. They are

Here Tesss laboring pencil came to a full stop. Now, you got the first name, Dot? she asked.

I got two, declared Dot, confidently.

What are they! queried Tess. Now, we want them to be real salt-water names. Just like fishes names or boats names or like that.

I got two, declared Dot, soberly. Lots of men must be named those names about here. I hear them hollerin to each other when they are out in the boats.

Well, well! cried Tess, impatiently. What are the names?

Ones Starboard and the others Port, declared Dot, seriously. And they are real nice names, I think.

Tess was rather taken aback. She had a hazy opinion that Starboard and Port were not Christian names; they might be, however, and she had heard them herself a good deal. Besides, she wanted to agree with Dot if she could, and so she sighed and wrote as follows:

We got to names alreddy, Missus Mcall, and ones Starborde and the other is Port. They are very pretty names, we think and we hope you an unc rufs and Sandface will like them, to. You give them to the kittens that they seem to fit the best, pleas.

Neale, and Ruth, and Agnes came along some time afterward and found the smaller Corner House girls reduced almost to a state of distraction. They had been unable to decide upon two more names. Starboard and Port had been inspired, it seemed. Now they were stuck.

It does seem as though there should be some other seashore names that would sound good for kittens, sighed Tess. I think Starboard and Port are real pretty dont you, Ruth?

Very fine, agreed her older sister, while Agnes restrained her giggles.

Why not call one of the others Hard-a-Lee? suggested Neale, gravely.

Is that a seashore name? asked Tess, doubtfully.

Just as salt as a dried codfish, declared Neale, confidently.

I think it is real pretty, Dot ventured.

Then well call the third one Hard-a-Lee, declared Tess. Ill tell Mrs. MacCall so, and she laboriously went at the misspelled letter again.

But how about the fourth one? asked Agnes, laughing.

Hes not going to be a step-child, is he? Isnt he to have a name?

Yes. We must have one more, Tess said, wearily. Wont you give us one, Aggie?

Sure! said Agnes, promptly. Main-sheet.

Starboard, Port, Hard-a-Lee and Main-sheet. Some names, those! declared Neale.

I like them, Tess said, reflectively. They dont sound like other cats names do they, Ruthie?

They most certainly do not, admitted the oldest Corner House girl.

And are they pretty, Ruthie? asked Dot.

They are better than pretty, agreed Ruth, kindly. If you children are suited, I am sure everybody else including the kittens themselves will be pleased!

The labored letter was therefore finished and sent away. As Dot said, it lifted a great load from their minds.

But there was another matter that served to trouble all four of the Corner House girls for some days. That was what Mr. Reynolds, the lumberman, was going to do about Tom Jonah.

The girls seldom left their tent now without taking the dog with them. He was something of a nuisance in the boat when they went crabbing; but Agnes would not hear of going out without him.

I know that man will come back here some time and try to get him away, she declared. But Tom Jonah will never go of his own free will no, indeed!

And he wont sell him again, he said, sighed Ruth. I dont just see what we can do.

However, this trouble did not keep the Corner House girls from having many good times with their girl friends at the Spoondrift bungalow, and their boy friends on the beach.

There were fishing trips, and picnics on Wild Goose Island. They sometimes went outside the cove in bigger boats, and fished on the banks, miles and miles off shore. There was fun in the evenings, too, at the hotel dances, although the Corner House girls did not attend any of those held at the Overlook House, for they were not exactly friendly with Trix Severn.

One day Pearl Harrods Uncle Phil arranged to take a big party of the older girls to Shawmit, which was some miles up the river. Ruth and Agnes went along and that day they left Tom Jonah at Willowbend to take care of the smaller girls.

Ruth determined to see Mr. Reynolds, so when they reached Shawmit, she hunted up the lumbermans office. She found him in a more amiable mood than he had been on the morning he drove to Pleasant Cove to get Tom Jonah.

Well, Miss! he said. How do you feel about giving up that dog?

Just the same, sir, said Ruth, honestly. But I hope you will tell me who the man is you sold Tom Jonah to, so that we can go to him and buy the dog.

Do you girls really want old Tom Jonah as much as that? asked Mr. Reynolds.

Yes, sir, said the girl, simply.

Willing to buy the old rascal? And hes nothing but a tramp.

Hes a gentleman. You said so yourself on his collar, said Ruth.

The man looked at her seriously and nodded. I guess you think a whole lot of him, eh?

A great deal, sir, admitted Ruth.

Well! I guess Ill have to tell you, said the man, smiling. Old Tom evidently thinks more of you girls than he does of me. Tell you what: After I got home the other day I thought it over. I reckon Tom Jonahs chosen for himself. I paid my brother-in-law back the money he gave me for him. So you wont be bothered again about him.

Oh, sir

You keep him. Rather, let Tom Jonah stay as long as he wants to. But if he comes back to me I shant let him go again. No! I dont want money for him. I guess the old dog likes it where he is, and his days of usefulness are pretty nearly over anyway. Im convinced hell have a good home with you Corner House girls.

Just as long as he lives! declared Ruth, fervently.

So Mr. Reynolds did not prove to be a hardhearted man, after all. Agnes and Tess and Dot were delighted. There was a regular celebration over Tom Jonah that evening after Ruth got home and told the news.

It is doubtful if Tom Jonah understood when Dot informed him that he was going to be their dog for keeps. But he barked very intelligently and the two smaller girls were quite convinced that he understood every word that was said to him.

Of course, he cant talk back, Tess said. Dogs dont speak our language. But if we could understand the barking language, I am sure we would hear him say he was glad.

And as our story of the Corner House girls visit to Pleasant Cove began with Tom Jonah, we may safely end it with the assurance that the good old dog will spend the rest of his life with Ruth and Agnes and Tess and Dot, at the old Corner House in Milton.


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