Marjorie's Busy Days

Language: English
Published: 1 month ago
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"What do you say, King, railroad smash-up or shipwreck?"

"I say shipwreck, with an awfully desert island."

"I say shipwreck, too," said Kitty, "but I don't want to swim ashore."

"All right," agreed Marjorie, "shipwreck, then. I'll get the cocoanuts."

"Me, too," chimed in Rosy Posy. "Me tumble in the wet water, too!"

The speakers in this somewhat enigmatical conversation were the four Maynard children, and they were deciding on their morning's occupation. It was a gorgeous day in early September. The air, without being too cool, was just crisp enough to make one feel energetic, though indeed no special atmospheric conditions were required to make the four Maynards feel energetic. That was their normal state, and if they were specially gay and lively this morning, it was not because of the brisk, breezy day, but because they were reunited after their summer's separation.

Though they had many friends among the neighboring children, the Maynards were a congenial quartette, and had equally good times playing by themselves or with others. Their home occupied a whole block in the prettiest residence part of Rockwell, and the big square house sat in the midst of about seven acres of lawn and garden.

There were many fine old trees, grassy paths, and informal flower-beds, and here the children were allowed to do whatever they chose, but outside the place, without permission, they must not go.

There was a playground, a tennis court, and a fountain, but better than these they liked the corner full of fruit trees, called "the orchard," and another corner, where grapes grew on trellises, called "the vineyard." The barn and its surroundings, too, often proved attractive, for the Maynards' idea of playing were by no means confined to quiet or decorous games.

The house itself was surrounded by broad verandas, and on the southern one of these, in the morning sunshine, the four held conclave.

Kingdon, the eldest, was the only boy, and oftener than not his will was law. But this was usually because he had such splendid ideas about games and how to play them, that his sisters gladly fell in with his plans.

But Marjorie was not far behind her brother in ingenuity, and when they all set to work, or rather, set to play, the games often became very elaborate and exciting. "Shipwreck" was always a favorite, because it could develop in so many ways. Once they were shipwrecked no rescue was possible, unless help appeared from some unexpected quarter. It might be a neighbor's child coming to see them, or it might be a servant, or one of their own parents, but really rescued they must be by actual outsiders. Unless, indeed, they could build a raft and save themselves, but this they had never accomplished.

The desert island was selected, and this time they chose a certain grassy knoll under an immense old maple tree.

Marjorie disappeared in the direction of the kitchen, and, after a time, came back with a small basket, apparently well-filled.

With this she scampered away to the "desert island," and soon returned, swinging the empty basket. Tossing this into the house, she announced that she was ready.

Then the four went to the big, double, wooden swing, and got in.

Kitty carried her doll, Arabella, from which she was seldom separated, and Rosy Posy hugged her big white Teddy Bear, who was named Boffin and who accompanied the baby on all expeditions.

The swing, to-day, was an ocean steamer.

"Have your tickets ready!" called out Kingdon, as his passengers swarmed up the gangplank, which he had thoughtfully laid from the ground to the low step of the swing....