Margaret Penrose.

Dorothy Dale in the City





CHAPTER I
ALMOST CHRISTMAS

Neither books, papers nor pencils were to be seen in the confused mass of articles, piled high, if not dry, in the rooms of the pupils of Glenwood Hall, who were now packing up to leave the boarding school for the Christmas holidays.

Going home is so very different from leaving home, remarked Dorothy Dale, as she plunged a knot of unfolded ribbons into the tray of her trunk. Im always ashamed to face my things when I unpack.

Dont, advised Tavia. I never look at mine until they have been scattered on the floor for a few days. Then they all look like a fire sale, and she wound her tennis shoes inside a perfectly helpless lingerie waist.

I dont see why we bring parasols in September to take them back in Christmas snows, went on Dorothy. I have a mind to give this to Betty, and she raised the flowery canopy over her head.

Oh, dont! begged Tavia. Listen! Thats bad luck!

Which? asked Dorothy, the parasol or Betty?

Neither, replied Tavia. But the fact that I hear Neds voice. Also the clatter of Colognes heavy feet. That means the plunge our very last racket.

I hope you take the racket out of this room, said Dorothy, for I have some Christmas cards to get off.

Let us in! called a voice on the outer side of the door. Weve got good news.

Only news? asked Tavia. We have lots of that ourselves. Make it something more substantial.

Hurry! begged the voice of Edna Black, otherwise known as Ned Ebony. Well be caught!

Tavia brought herself to her feet from the Turkish mat as if she were on springs. Then she opened the door cautiously.

What is it? she demanded. Is it alive?

It was once, replied Edna, but it isnt now.

The giggling at the door was punctuated with a struggle.

Oh, let us in! insisted Cologne, and pushed past Tavia.

Mercy! exclaimed Dorothy. Whatever is this?

The two newcomers were now in a heap on the floor, or rather were in a heap on a feather bed they had dragged into the room with them. Quick to scent fun, Tavia turned the key in the door.

The old darling! she murmured. Where did the naughty girls get you? and she attempted to caress the feather tick in which Edna and Cologne nestled.

Thats Miss Mingles feather bed! declared Dorothy. Wherever did you get it?

Mingling with other things getting packed! replied Edna, and I havent seen a little bundle of the really fluffy-duffy kind since they sent me to grandmas when I had the measles. Isnt it lovely?

No wonder she sleeps well, remarked Tavia, trying to push Cologne off the heap. I could take an eternal rest on this.

But why was it out in the hall? questioned Dorothy. I know Miss Mingle has a weak hip and has to sleep on a soft bed, always.

Her room was being made over, and she wanted to see it all alone before she left.

She is going to-morrow, said Edna.

And to-night? asked Dorothy.

She must have a change, declared Edna, innocently, and we thought an ordinary mattress would be more sanitary.

You cannot hide her bed in here, objected Dorothy. You must take it back.

Take back the bed that thou gavest! sang Tavia, gaily. How could I part with thee so soon!

We did not intend to hide it here, Doro, said Cologne. We had no idea of incriminating you. There is a closet in the hall. But just now there are also tittle-tattles in the hall. We are only biding a-wee.

Oh, its leaking! exclaimed Edna, as she blew a bunch of feathery down at Dorothy. What shall we do?

Get it back as soon as you can, advised Dorothy. Let me peek out!

Silence fell as Dorothy cautiously put her head out of the door. No one in sight, she whispered. Now is your time.

Quietly the girls gathered themselves up. Tavia took the end of the bed where the leak was. Out in the hall they paused.


The old feather be ed!
The de ar feather be ed!
The rust-covered be ed that hung in the hall!

It was Tavia who sang. Then with one jerk she pushed the bed over the banister!

Oh! gasped Edna and Cologne, simultaneously.

Mercy! came a cry from below. Whatever is

They heard no more. Inside the room again the girls scampered.

Right on the very head of Miss Mingle! whispered Edna, horror-stricken. Now we are in for it!

But she needed it, said Tavia, in her absurd way of turning a joke into kindness. I was afraid she wouldnt find it.

Better be afraid she does not find you, said Dorothy. Miss Mingle is a dear, but she wont like leaky feather beds dropped on her.

Well, I suppose we will all have to stand for it, sighed Edna, though land knows we never intended to decapitate the little music teacher. And she has a weak spine! Tavia Travers, how could you?

You saw how simple it was, replied Tavia, purposely misunderstanding the other. But do you suppose we have killed her? I dont hear a sound!

Sounds are always smothered in feathers, said Cologne. Dorothy, cant you get the story ready? How did the accident happen?

Too busy, answered Dorothy. Besides, I warned you.

Now, Doro! And this the last day!

Oh, please! chimed in the others.

I absolutely refuse to fix it up, declared Dorothy. I begged you to relent, and now

Hush! It came to! I hear it coming further to! exclaimed Cologne. Doro, hide me!

A rush in the outer hall described the approach of more than one girl. In fact there must have been at least five in the dash that banged the door of Number Nineteen.

Come on!

Hide!

Face it!

Feathers!

Mingle!

Some of the words were evidently intended to mean more. Snow was scattered about from out of door things, rubbers were thrust off hastily, and the girls, delighted with the prospect of a real row, were radiant with a mental steam that threatened every human safety valve.

Girls, do be quiet! begged Dorothy, and tell us what happened to that feather bed.

Nothing, replied Nita, it happened to Mingle. She is just now busy trying to get the quills out of her throat with a bottle brush. Betty suggested the brush.

And the hall looks like a feather foundry, imparted Genevieve. Mrs. Pangborn is looking for someones scalp.

There! I hear the court martial summons! exclaimed Edna. Tavia! You did it.

The footfall in the hall this time was decided and not clattery. It betokened the coming of a teacher.

A tap at the door came next. Dorothy scrambled over the excited girls, and finally reached the portal.

The principal would like to have the young ladies from this room report in the office at once, said the strident voice of Miss Higley, the English teacher. She is very much annoyed at the misconduct that appeared to come from Room Nineteen.

Yes, faltered Dorothy, for no one else seemed to know how to find her tongue. There was an accident. The girls will go to the office.

After the teacher left the girls gave full vent to their choking sensations. Tavia rolled off the couch, Edna covered her own head in Dorothys best sofa cushion, Cologne drank a glass of water that Tavia intended to drink, and altogether things were brisk in Number Nineteen.

We might as well have it over with, Edna said, patting the sofa cushion into shape. Ill confess to the finding of the plaguey thing.

Come on then, ordered Dorothy, and the others meekly followed her into the hall.

They were but one flight up, and as they looked over the banister they saw below Miss Mingle, Mrs. Pangborn and several others.

Oh! gasped Tavia, they are sprouting pin feathers!

Young ladies! cried Mrs. Pangborn. What does this mean?

They trooped down. But before they reached the actual scene of the befeathered hall, a messenger was standing beside Miss Mingle, and the music teacher was reading a telegram.

I must leave at once! she said. Please, Mrs. Pangborn, excuse the young ladies! Come with me to the office! I must arrange everything at once! I have to get the evening train!

You must go at once? queried the head of the school, in some surprise.

Yes! yes! instantly! Oh, this is awful! groaned the music teacher. Come, please do! And she hurried off, and Mrs. Pangborn went after her.

Just luck! whispered Tavia, as she scampered after the others, who quickly hurried to more comfortable quarters. But what do you suppose ails Mingle?

Maybe someone proposed to her, suggested Edna, and she was afraid he might relent.

But little did Dorothy and her chums think how important the message to the teacher would prove to be to themselves, before the close of the Christmas holidays.

CHAPTER II
GOING HOME

Did you ever see anything so dandy? asked Tavia. I think we girls should subscribe to the telegraph company. There is nothing like a quick call to get us out of a scrape.

Dont boast, we are not away yet, returned Dorothy.

But I would like to see anything stop me now, argued Tavia. Theres the trunk and theres the grip. Now a railroad ticket to Dalton dear old Dalton! Doro, I wish you were coming to see the snow on Lenty Lane. It makes the place look grand.

Lenty Lane was always pretty, corrected Dorothy. I have very pleasant remembrances of the place.

The girls were at the railroad station, waiting for the train that was to take them away from school for the holidays. There were laughter and merry shouts, promises to write, to send cards, and to do no end of remembering.

And, while this is going on, and while the girls are so occupied in this that they are not likely to do anything else, I will take just a few moments to tell my new readers something about the characters in this story.

The first book of this series was called Dorothy Dale; A Girl of To-Day, and in that, Dorothy, of course, made her bow. She was the daughter of Major Dale, of Dalton, and, though without a mother, she had two loving brothers, Joe and Roger. Besides these she had a very dear friend in Tavia Travers, and Tavia, when she was not doing or saying one thing, was doing or saying another in brief, Tavia was a character.

In the tale is told how Dorothy learned of the unlawful detention of a poor little girl, and how she and Tavia took Nellie away from a life of misery.

Dorothy Dale at Glenwood School, my second volume, told how our heroine made her appearance at boarding school, where she spent so many happy days, and where she still is when the present story opens. And as for Tavia, she went, too, thanks to the good offices of some of her chums friends.

Glenwood School was a peculiar place in many ways, and for a time Dorothy was not happy there, owing to the many cliques and mutual jealousies. But the good sense of Dorothy, and some of the madcap pranks of Tavia, worked out to a good end.

There is really a mystery in my third volume that entitled Dorothy Dales Great Secret. It was almost more than Dorothy could bear, at first, especially as it concerned her friend Tavia. For Tavia acted very rashly, to say the least. But Dorothy did not desert her, and how she saved Tavia from herself is fully related.

When Dorothy got on the trail of the gypsies, in the fourth book of the series, called Dorothy Dale and Her Chums, she little dreamed where the matter would end. Startling, and almost weird, were her experiences when she met the strange Queen, who seemed so sad, and yet who held such power over her wandering people. Here again Dorothys good sense came to her aid, and she was able to find a way out of her trouble.

One naturally imagined holidays are times of gladness and joy, but in Dorothy Dales Queer Holidays, which is the fifth book of this line, her vacation was queer indeed. How she and her friends, the boys as well as the girls, solved the mystery of the old castle, and how they saved an unfortunate man from danger and despair, is fully set forth. And, as a matter of fact, before the adventure in the castle came to an end, Dorothy and her friends themselves were very glad to be rescued.

Mistaken identity is the main theme of the sixth volume, called Dorothy Dales Camping Days. To be taken for a demented girl, forced to go to a sanitarium, to escape, and to find the same girl for whom she was mistaken, was part of what Dorothy endured.

And yet, with all her troubles, which were not small, Dorothy did not regret them at the end, for they were the means of bringing good to many people. The joyous conclusion, when the girl recovered her reason, more than made up for all Dorothy suffered.

Certainly, after all she had gone through, our heroine might be expected to be entitled to some rest. But events crowded thick and fast on Dorothy. On her return to Glenwood, after a vacation, she found two factions in the school.

Just who was on each side, and the part Dorothy played, may be learned by reading the seventh book of this series, called Dorothy Dales School Rivals. There was rivalry, none the less bitter because sweet girl graduates were the personages involved. But, in the end, all came out well, though at one time it looked as though there would be serious difficulties.

Of course many more characters than Dorothy and Tavia played their parts in the stories. There were Ned and Nat, the sons of Mrs. White, Dorothys aunt, with whom, after some years spent in Dalton, Dorothy and her father and brothers went to live, in North Birchlands. Tavia was a frequent visitor there, and Tavia and the good-looking boy cousins well, perhaps you had better find out that part for yourself.

Dorothy was always making friends, and, once she had made them she never lost them. Not that Tavia did not do the same, but she was a girl so fond of doing the unexpected, so ready to cause a laugh, even if at herself, that many persons did not quite know how to take her.

With Dorothy it was different. Her sweet winsomeness was a charm never absent. Yet she could strike fire, too, when the occasion called for it.

And so now, in beginning this new book, we find our friends ready to leave the Glen, as they called it; leave the school and the teachers under whose charge they had been for some time.

Leaving Glenwood was, as Dorothy said, very different from going there. One week before Christmas the place was placed in the hands of the house-cleaners, and the pupils were scattered about over the earth.

Dorothy and Tavia were together in the chair car of the train; and Dorothy, having gathered up her mail without opening it as she left the hall, now used her nail file to cut the envelopes, and then proceeded to see what was the news.

Oh, Tavia! she exclaimed, as she looked at the lavender paper that indicated a note from her Aunt Winnie, otherwise Mrs. White. Listen to this. Aunt Winnie has taken a city house. Of course it will be an apartment she looked keenly at the missive, and it will be on Riverside Drive.

Oh, the double-deckers! exclaimed Tavia. I can feel the air smart my cheeks, and she shifted about expectantly. Lets take the auto bus I always did love that word bus. It seems to mean a London night in a fog.

Well, I am sure it will mean good times, and I assure you, Tavia, Aunt Winnie has not forgotten you. You are to come.

There is only one Aunt Winnie in the world, declared Tavia, and she is the Aunty Winnie of Dorothy Dale. Tavia was never demonstrative, but just now she squeezed Dorothys hand almost white. How can I manage to get through with Dalton? I have to give home at least three snowstorms.

We are getting them right now, said Dorothy. I am afraid we will be snowbound when we reach the next stop.

Wheeling about in her chair, Tavia flattened her face against the window as the train smoke tried to hide the snowflakes from her gaze. Dorothy was still occupied with her mail.

It does come down, admitted Tavia, but that will mean a ride for me in old Daddy Brennens sleigh. He calls it a sleigh, but you remember, Doro, it is nothing more than the fence rails he took from Bradys, buckled on the runners he got from Tim, the ragman. And you cannot have forgotten the rubber boot he once used for a spring.

It was a funny rig, sure enough, answered Dorothy, but Daddy Brennen has a famous reputation for economy.

I hope he does not take it into his head to economize on my spinal cord by going over Evergreen Hill, replied Tavia. I tried that once in his rattletrap, and we had to walk over to Jordan, and from there I rode home on a pair of milk cans. But Doro, she continued, I cannot get over the sudden taking away of Mingle Dingle. Surely the gods sent that telegram to save me.

I hope nothing serious has happened at her home, Dorothy mused. I never heard anything about her family.

You dont suppose a little mouse of a thing, like that born music teacher, has any family, replied Tavia irreverently. I shall ever after this have a respect for the proverbial feather bed.

Here is Stony Junction, Dorothy remarked, as the trainman let in a gust of wind from the vestibuled door to shout out the name of that station. Madeline Maher gets off here. There, she is waving to us! We should have spoken to her.

Never too late, declared Tavia, and she actually shouted a good-bye and a merry Christmas almost the full length of the car. Dorothy waved her hand and blew a kiss, to which the pretty girl who, with the porter close at her heels, was leaving the train for her home, responded. Chairs swung around simultaneously to allow their occupants a glimpse of the girl who had startled them with her shout. Some of the passengers smiled especially did one young man, whose bag showed the wear usually given in college sports. He dropped his paper, and, not too rudely, smiled straight at Tavia.

There! exclaimed she. See what a good turn does. Just for wishing Maddie a hilarious time I got that smile.

Dont, cautioned Dorothy, to whom Tavias recklessness was ever a source of anxiety. We have many miles to go yet.

So much the better, as the old Wolfie, in Little Red Riding Hood, said, Tavia retorted. I think I shall require a drink of water directly, and she straightened up as if to make her way to the end of the car, in order to pass the chair of the young man with the scratched-up suitcase.

Dorothy sighed, but at the same time she smiled. Tavia could not be repressed, and Dorothy had given up hope of keeping her subdued.

Come to think of it, reflected Tavia, I never had any permanent luck with the drinking water trick. He looks so nice I might try being sweet and refined, and she turned away, making the most absurd effort to look the part.

Getting sense, commented Dorothy. We may now expect a snowslide.

And have my hero dig me out, added the irrepressible one. Wouldnt that be delicious! There! Look at that! It is coming down in snowballs!

My! exclaimed Dorothy, it is awful! I hope the boys do not fail to meet me.

Oh, if they didnt, you would be all right, said Tavia. They serve coffee and rolls at North Birchland Station on stormy nights.

I declare! exclaimed Dorothy, that young man is a friend of Neds! I met him last Summer, now I remember.

I knew I would have good luck when I played the sweet-girl part, said Tavia, with unhidden delight. Go right over and claim him.

Nonsense, replied Dorothy, while a slight blush crept up her forehead into her hair. We must be more careful than ever. Boys may pretend to like girls who want a good time, but my cousins would never tolerate anything like forwardness.

Only where they are the forwarders, persisted Tavia. Did not the selfsame Nat, brother to the aforesaid Ned

As if the young man in front had at the same time remembered Dorothy, he left his seat and crossed the aisle to where the girls sat. His head was uncovered, of course, but his very polite manner and bow amply made up for the usual hat raising.

Is not this Miss Dale? he began, simply.

Yes, answered Dorothy, and this Mr. Niles?

Same chap, he admitted, while Tavia was wondering why he had not looked at her. Perhaps, she thought, he will prove too nice.

I was just saying to my friend, faltered Dorothy, that I hope nothing will prevent Ned and Nat from meeting me. This is quite a storm.

But it makes Christmas pretty, he replied, and now he did deign to look at Tavia. Dorothy, quick to realize his friendliness, immediately introduced the two.

It was Tavias turn to blush a failing she very rarely gave in to. Perhaps some generous impulse prompted the gentleman who occupied the chair ahead to leave it and make his way toward the smoking room. This gave Mr. Niles a chance to sit near the girls.

We expect a big time at Birchland this holiday, he said. Your cousins mentioned you would be with us.

Yes, they cannot get rid of me, Dorothy replied, in that peculiar way girls have of saying meaningless things. I am always anxious to get to the Cedars to see father and our boys, and Aunt Winnie, of course. I only wish Tavia were coming along, and she made a desperate attempt to get Tavia into the conversation.





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