Josephine Lawrence.

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"Brother," said Mother Morrison, "you haven't touched your glass of
milk. Hurry now, and drink it before we leave the table."

Brother's big brown eyes turned from his knife, which he had been
playing was a bridge from the salt cellar to the egg cup, toward the
tumbler of milk standing beside his plate.

"I don't have to drink milk this morning, Mother," he assured her
confidently. "Honestly I don't. It's raining so hard that we can't go
outdoors and grow, anyway."

Louise, his older sister, said sharply. "Don't be silly!" but Ralph,
who was in a hurry to catch his train, stopped long enough to give a
word of advice.

"Look here, Brother," he urged seriously, "better not skip a morning.
Your birthday is next week, isn't it? Well, if you're not tall enough
by Wednesday morning, you can't have the present I bought for you last
night. Too short, no present - you think it over."

He stooped to kiss his mother, tweaked Sister's perky bow of
hair-ribbon, and with a hasty "Good-bye" for the others at the table,
hurried out into the hall. They heard the front door slam after him.

Spurred by Ralph's mysterious hint, Brother drank his milk, and then
the Morrison family scattered for their usual busy day.

Brother and Sister were left to clear the breakfast table. They always
did this, carrying out the dishes and silver to Molly in the kitchen.
Then they crumbled the cloth neatly. Molly declared she could not do
without them.

"What do you suppose Ralph is going to give you?" speculated Sister,
carefully folding up the napkin Louise had dropped, and slipping it
into the white pique ring embroidered with an "L." "Maybe it's a train?"

"No, I don't believe it's a train," said Brother slowly, crumbling a
bit of bread and beginning to build a little farm with the crumbs. "No,
I guess maybe he will give me a tool-chest."

"Come on, and bring the bread tray," suggested Sister practically. She
never forgot the task in hand for other interests. "Mother says we
mustn't dawdle, Roddy, you know she did. It's my turn to feed the
birds, so I'll crumb the table. Could I use your saw if you get a

Brother answered dreamily that he supposed she could. He watched Sister
and her crumb-brush sweep away his nice little bread-crumb fences,
while he planned to build a real fence if Ralph's present should turn
out to be the long-coveted tool-chest.

When Sister had swept up every tiny crumb, she and Brother went out to
scatter the bits of bread to the birds who, winter and summer, never
failed to come to the back door and who always seemed hungry.

This morning there were robins, starlings, a pair of beautiful big blue
jays, and, of course, the rusty little sparrows. Each bird seemed to be
pretending to the others that he was looking for worms, and each one
slyly watched the Morrison back door in hopes that two small figures
would presently come out and toss them a breakfast of breadcrumbs.

Sister flung her crumbs as far as her short arm would send them, and
managed to hit an indignant old starling squarely in the eye. He glared
at her crossly.

"Birds don't mind getting wet, do they?" said Brother, as the sparrows
hopped about in the driving rain and pecked gratefully at the crumbs.
"Let's hop the way they do, Betty."

Sister obediently hopped, looking not unlike a very plump little robin
at that, with her dark eyes and bobbing curls. Only, you see, she and
Brother were much heavier than any birds, and they made so much noise
that Molly came to the door to see what they were doing.

"Another rainy day and the two of you bursting with mischief!" she
sighed good-naturedly. "Will you be quiet for an hour if I let you make
a dough-man while I'm mixing my bread?"

Brother and Sister loved to make dough-men, and so while Molly kneaded
her bread, they worked busily and happily at the other end of the
table, shaping two men from the bit of sponge she gave them and quite
forgetting to scold about the unpleasant weather which kept them

Their real names, you must know, were Rhodes and Elizabeth Morrison.
Rhodes was six, and Elizabeth five, and sometimes they were called
"Roddy" and "Betty," but most always Brother and Sister.

This was partly because they were so many Morrisons.

There was Daddy Morrison, who was a lawyer and who went to town every
morning to a busy office that seemed, to Brother and Sister, when they
visited him, to be all papers and typewriters.

There was dear Mother Morrison, who was altogether lovely, with brown
eyes like Brother's, and dark curly hair like Sister.

There were Louise and Grace, the twins; they were fifteen and went to
high school, and were very pretty and important and busy.

Then there was Dick, the oldest of them all, and Ralph, who went to law
school in the city, and Jimmie, who was seventeen and the captain of
the high school football team.

Counting Brother and Sister, seven children, you see, and as Molly
truly said, "a houseful." Molly had lived with Mother Morrison since
Louise and Grace were babies, and they would not have known what to do
without her. She was as much a part of the family as any of them.

The Morrison house was a big, shabby, roomy place with wide, deep
porches and many windows. There was a large lawn in front and an old
barn in back where the older boys had fitted up a gymnasium with all
kinds of fascinating apparatus, most of which Brother and Sister were
forbidden to touch.

The Morrisons lived in Ridgeway, a thriving suburb of the city, where
Daddy Morrison, Dick and Ralph went every day.

And now that you are introduced, we'll go back to Brother and Sister
making dough-men in Molly's kitchen.

"What makes my dough-man kind of dark?" inquired Sister, calling
Molly's attention to the queer-shaped figure she had pieced together.

Sure enough Sister's dough-man, and Brother's, too, was a rather dark
gray, while the bread Molly was mixing was creamy white.

Mother Morrison, coming into the kitchen carrying Brother's rubbers and
raincoat, saved Molly an explanation.



"Where are you going Mother?" asked Brother, when he saw the rubbers.

"I'm not going out," smiled Mother. "You are going for me, dear. These
are your rubbers and coat - hop into them and run across the street to
Grandma's with this apron pattern."

"Will you bake my dough-man, Molly?" begged Brother, struggling into
his coat and taking the small parcel Mother gave him. "Is Betty coming?"

"Not this time," answered his mother. "It is raining too hard. Yes,
Molly will bake your dough-man and you may eat him for lunch. Run along

Grandmother Hastings lived almost directly across the street from the
Morrison house and she was putting her beautiful Boston fern out to get
the rain when Brother tramped sturdily up her side garden path.

"Bless his heart, he's a regular little duck!" cried Grandma, giving
him a tremendous hug.

That is the way grandmothers are, you know, whether they live across
the street from you and see you every day, or whether they live miles
away and come to visit you Christmas and summer times. A grandmother is
always glad to see you.

Grandmother Hastings was short and plumpy and her white hair was curly
and her eyes were blue. She had pink cheeks and wore a blue dress and a
white apron with a frilly bib, and altogether, Brother thought
privately, she looked very nice indeed.

"I'm very glad to get that pattern," she told him, patting the long
leaves of the fern and spreading them out to catch the rain. "I've a
magazine you can take back to Mother, dearie, and an old fashion book
Sister will like for paper dolls. Come into the sitting-room while I
find them for you. Take off your rubbers, child."

Brother followed her into the house and there Aunt Kate swooped upon
him and tickled him as she always did. Aunt Kate was a school teacher.
In summer she tutored backward pupils. She was on her way to give a
lesson now and in a few minutes she went away merrily into the driving
rain. That left Grandmother and Brother to entertain each other.

"Do you know what Ralph is going to give me for a birthday present,
Grandmother?" Brother asked, dropping flat on his stomach to play
jungle with the tigerskin that lay before the fireplace. "He says if
I'm not tall enough I can't have it. But he's bought it all ready - he
said so."

Brother, you see, would be six years old in a few days. He couldn't
help thinking a great deal about his birthday.

Grandmother and Brother had no secrets from each other, though
sometimes they planned surprises for the other members of the family.

"No, I don't know what Ralph plans to give you," admitted Grandmother.
"Don't try to find out, dearie. It is much nicer to be surprised. Why,
you know you wouldn't have a bit of fun next Wednesday if you knew what
your presents were to be."

Brother was willing to be surprised, because Wednesday wasn't so long
to wait. Still he thought he would like to know what Ralph's present
was. Ralph was his dearest brother, and he had a happy knack of always
giving Brother and Sister exactly what they wanted. Louise and Grace
were apt to make them presents which were useful, like pretty socks and
hair-ribbons for Sister, and gloves and handkerchiefs for Brother, but
Ralph never did anything like that.

"I've dropped a stitch in my knitting," said Grandmother suddenly.
"Brother, I wonder if you could run upstairs and bring me my glasses? I
think they are on the bureau in my room."

Brother ran upstairs and went into Grandmother's pretty bedroom. There
were white and silver things on her bureau and a little gold jewel box
and several bottles of different colors. But, though Brother looked
carefully, he could not find the glasses.

He went out into the hall.

"Oh, Grandma!" he called. "Your glasses aren't on the bureau."

"Dear, dear," sighed Grandmother. "'Let me see, where can they be? Do
you know, Brother, I'm afraid I have left them in my black silk bag on
the closet shelf. Can you get it, or shall I come up?"

"I can get it," answered Brother confidently. "You wait, Grandma."

The closet shelf was pretty high, but Brother carried a chair to the
closet door and by standing on it he was able to reach the shelf.
Goodness, what was more, he could see the things on the shelf.

And they were bundles!

One - two - three - Brother counted three mysterious paper bundles, tied
with brown string.

Now you know if you had a birthday due most any minute and your head
was full of the presents you hoped to receive, and you saw three
bundles on the shelf in your grandma's closet, you know you would
probably do just what Brother did; poke your finger into the top
bundle. Brother poked. Then he prodded. The top bundle slipped and
carried the other two with it. Brother was brushed off the chair and
three bundles and one boy landed in a heap on the floor.

"Brother!" cried Grandma, who had come up to see what kept him so long.
"Are you hurt?"

"No'm," answered Brother, rather foolishly. "I was just feeling these
bundles, Grandma, to see - to - see - - "

"Whether they were birthday presents?" smiled Grandma. "Well, dearie,
they are nothing but blankets tied up to send to the cleaners. I'm
glad, for your sake, they were, for you might have hurt yourself,
otherwise, as it is, they were soft and thick for you to fall on."

"I'll get the glasses now," murmured Brother hastily.

He climbed up on the chair again and this time found without any
trouble the black bag which held Grandma's glasses.

"Mother is waving a handkerchief - that means she wants you," said
Grandmother, glancing from the window. "Scoot along, dear, and don't
think too much about the birthday till it comes. Here are the
magazines. And here's a drop-cake for you."

Brother paddled down the steps, went halfway to the front hedge, and
then turned.

"Oh, Grandma!" he shouted. "Do you know what I think Ralph is going to
give me? I think it's a tool-chest!"



"I hope it's like this to-morrow!"

Brother stood on the front porch, flattening his nose against the
screen door and sniffing the fragrant June sunshine.

Ever since his unsuccessful attempt to find out from Grandma Hastings
what Ralph's present was to be, it had rained. That was three days ago,
so you may be sure the whole Morrison family were very glad to see the
sun again. Especially as the very next day was Brother's birthday.

"Brother, I'm going down town to buy the favors for your party,"
announced Louise, who sat in the porch hammock crocheting a sweater.
"Wouldn't you like to go with me?"

Brother thought he would.

"Take me?" begged Sister, falling over the small broom she carried, in
her eagerness to be one of the party. "It's my turn, Louise, honestly
it is."

"Well, you see, I can't very well take you both," explained Louise
kindly. "Mrs. Adams is going to call for me with her car, and it
wouldn't be polite to ask her to take two children; and as it is
Brother's birthday, he ought to be the one to go - don't you think so?"

Sister nodded, though her lower lip trembled suspiciously. And when
Mrs. Adams drove her shiny automobile up to the curb, and Louise and
Brother were whisked away in it, two big tears rolled down Sister's
round cheeks.

"Why, honey!" Grace, the other twin sister, swinging her tennis
racquet, came through the hall and saw the tears. "What you crying
for?" she asked. "Everyone gone and left you? I'll tell you what to
do - you go out in the kitchen and take a peep at what is on the table
and you won't feel like crying another moment."

"What is it?" asked Sister cautiously.

She wasn't going to stop crying and then find out she had been cheated.

"You go look," answered Grace mysteriously.

So sister started for the kitchen and Grace ran off to her game of
tennis with Jimmie.

The kitchen was in perfect order and very quiet. Molly was upstairs
making the beds, and Mother Morrison was planning the party with
Grandmother Hastings.

"Oh!" said Sister softly as she saw what was on the table. "Oh, my!"

For right in the center of the white-topped table, on a large pink
plate, perched Brother's birthday cake! It was a beautiful cake,
perfectly round and very smooth and brown.

"But the icing!" said Sister aloud. "There's no ICING! I s'pose Molly
didn't have time."

If Sister had stopped to think, she would have remembered that all the
birthday cakes Molly made - and she made seven every year for the
Morrisons, and one for Grandmother Hastings - were always iced with pink
or white or chocolate icing.

But, you see, she didn't stop to think, and when she discovered a bowl
of lovely creamy white stuff on the small table between the windows,
this small girl decided that she would ice the cake and save Molly the

There was a little film of water over the top of the bowl, but Sister
took a wooden spoon and stirred it carefully, and the water mixed
nicely with the white stuff, so that she had a bowl filled with the
smoothest, whitest "icing" any cook could ask for.

"I'll get a silver knife to spread it with," said Sister, who had often
watched Molly, and knew what to do.

She brought the knife from the dining-room and had just put one broad
streak of white across the top of the cake when Molly came down the
back stairs and saw her.

"Sister!" cried Molly. "What are you doing with my cold starch?"

"I'm icing the cake," answered Sister calmly. "You forgot it, I guess."

Poor Molly grabbed the bowl from Sister's hands.

"Can't I leave the kitchen one minute that you don't get into
mischief?" she scolded. "This isn't ICING - it's STARCH for Mr. Jimmie's
collars. I'm going to make a beautiful chocolate icing for the cake
this afternoon and write Brother's name on it in white frosting."

"Oh!" said Sister meekly.

"Go on upstairs, do," Molly urged her. "I've my hands full today
getting ready for the party; can't you find something nice to do

Thus sped on her way, Sister reluctantly mounted the stairs to the
second floor.

"I could play jacks with Nellie Yarrow," she said to herself. "Only
she's lost her jackstones and I can't find mine. What's that on Dick's

Ralph and Jimmie roomed together, but Dick had a room of his own, and
though Sister was strictly forbidden to meddle with his things, they
had a great attraction for her. She could just see the top of Dick's
chiffonier from the floor and now she dragged a chair up to it and
climbed up to see what the shining thing was that had caught her eye.

It was a gold collar button, and Dick, she found, had a box of pearl
and gold buttons that Sister was sure she had never seen before. She
played with them, tossing them up and down and watching them glitter,
until a sudden thought struck her.

"They'd make lovely jackstones," she whispered. "I could use 'em and
put them right back. I know Nellie has a ball."

Dick had several new ties, and Sister had to admire these before she
could leave the chiffonier. Finally she slipped the box of pretty
buttons in her pocket and jumped down. She put the chair where she had
found it, and ran downstairs and through the hedge that separated the
Morrison house from that of Dr. Yarrow's.

"Nellie, oh, Nellie!" called Sister. "Come on, let's play jackstones."

"Haven't any," answered Nellie Yarrow, a little girl a year or so older
than Sister. "All I have left is my ball."

"Well, get that and we can play," Sister told her. "I've found
something we can use - see!"

Nellie admired the collar buttons immensely and thought it would be
great fun to play with them. She ran and got her ball and the two
little friends sat down on the concrete walk to play jackstones,
heedless of the hot morning sun.

Sister had won one game and Nellie two, when they heard Louise calling.

"Sister! Sister! Where are you? If you want to help fix the fishpond,
you'll have to come right away."

Sister stuffed the buttons in her pocket and ran home, eager to see
what Louise and Brother had bought.



When Mother Morrison had suggested a fishpond for the party, Louise and
Grace had protested.

"Oh, Mother!" they cried. "That's so old!"

"But the children like it," said Mother Morrison mildly.

"It's fun," urged Brother. "It's fun to fish over the table and catch

Sister, too, had asked for the pond, so it was decided to have one.
Louise and Grace might not care for such things at their birthday
parties, but this, as Sister said, was "different."

"We bought bushels and bushels," Brother informed Sister as she bounded
through the hedge and up to the front porch. "Little colored pencils,
and crayons, and games, and dolls, and oh! - everything!"

Louise, whose shopping bag was certainly bulging with parcels, laughed

"We bought all the little gifts for the fish-pond and for the - there! I
almost told you." She clapped her hand over her mouth and laughed again.

"For the what?" teased Sister. "Tell me, Louise - I won't tell."

"No, Mother said no one was to know," declared Louise firmly. "Now all
these packages you may open, and after lunch I'll help you tie them up
again and fix the pond. But these other parcels go upstairs to Mother's
room and no one is to touch them."

She tumbled half the contents of her bag on the porch floor and then
ran upstairs with the rest.

"Let's look at them," said Sister eagerly. "What's the matter, Roddy?"

"I was thinking," explained Brother, making no move to open the
packages. "We saw a little boy down town and his foot was all tied up
in a rag, and I know it hurt him 'cause he limped."

"Maybe he sprained his ankle," said Sister. "Like Dr. Yarrow's cousin,
you know."

"It wasn't his ankle - it was his foot," insisted Brother. "And I told
Louise Mother said we mustn't go on the ground without our sandals, and
she said she guessed the boy didn't have any sandals; she said he
prob'bly didn't have any shoes, either."

"Nor any stockings - just rags?" asked Sister in pity. "I like to go
barefoot, Roddy, but I like my new patent leather slippers, too."

"Maybe he has some for Sunday," comforted Brother, trying to be
hopeful. "Everybody has to wear shoes on Sunday."

"Yes, of course they do," agreed Sister, who had never heard of a boy
and girl who didn't wear shoes on Sunday and every day in the week
except when they were allowed to go barefoot as a great treat.

The tempting packages were not to be forgotten one moment longer, and
they decided to "take turns" opening them.

"Isn't it fun!" giggled Sister. "What do you s'pose Mother is going to
make you, Roddy?"

"I don't know," replied Brother absently. "I keep thinking about
Ralph's present. He says that he thinks I'll be tall enough to have it
by tomorrow."

"Did you drink all your milk for breakfast?" asked Sister anxiously.

Ralph was most particular about the children's milk. He insisted that
they couldn't grow properly without enough milk, and as both were
anxious to grow tall, Brother and Sister usually drank their milk
without fussing.

Brother had finished his to the last drop that morning, he said, and
when they were called in to lunch presently, he drank another glass so
that he would surely grow enough to please Ralph.

"And now we'll do up the fishpond presents," said Louise, when they had
finished lunch.

She and Grace both helped, for Mother Morrison was busy in the kitchen
with Molly, and of course none of the brothers were home during the day
except Jimmie, and he was usually busy out in the barn where the
gymnasium was.

You have probably "fished" in a fishpond yourself at parties, and know
what it is. Little gifts are placed somewhere out of sight, and each
small guest is given a fishing rod and line with a hook at the end. He
dangles this over the back of a sofa, or over a table, and when he
draws it up there is a "fish," or the present, attached to it.

Louise had plenty of nice white paper and pink string, and each gift
was carefully wrapped and tied. Dark blue crepe paper was tacked around
three sides of a table and this table placed across one corner of the
parlor. This was the "ocean." The presents were placed on the floor
back of the table, and Brother and Sister knew, from past pleasant
experience, that when it came time to fish, the packages would
obligingly attach themselves to the hooks.

"Tomorrow's ever so long off," sighed Brother, when the fishpond was
ready and Louise and Grace had gone over to the library to take back
some books.

He and Sister were not wanted in the kitchen and they were asked not to
touch the clean white clothes spread out on the guest room bed for them
to wear to the party. There really did not seem to be anything for them
to do.

"Let's go out and watch for Ralph?" suggested Sister.

Ralph was the best loved brother, after all, though, of course, the
children loved Dick and Jimmie dearly. But no one was quite as patient
as Ralph, no one had time to read to them as often as he did, no one
told them stories without coaxing as Ralph did.

He and Dick came up the street from the station together this night,
and though Dick kissed Sister and said, "Hello, kid," to Brother, he
dashed into the house, while Ralph stayed to talk.

"Birthday tomorrow, Brother?" he asked teasingly, though he knew very
well that Brother would be six years old.

"Oh, Ralph!" Brother was so excited he nearly stuttered. "Ralph,

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