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The Bluebird Books

MARY LOUISE AND JOSIE O'GORMAN


[Frontispiece]
Josie gets a job as a maid. - Chapter XII


MARY LOUISE AND JOSIE O'GORMAN

by

EDITH VAN DYNE

Author of
"Mary Louise", "Mary Louise in the Country",
"Mary Louise Solves a Mystery", "Mary Louise
and the Liberty Girls", "Mary Louise Adopts
a Soldier", "Mary Louise at Dorfield",
"Mary Louise Stands the Test"

Frontispiece by Harry W. Armstrong







The Reilly & Lee Co.
Chicago

Printed in the United States of America

Copyright, 1922
by
The Reilly & Britton Co.
All Rights Reserved



_Mary Louise and Josie O'Gorman_



CONTENTS

I MARY LOUISE MAKES AN INVESTMENT
II THE BOARD ELECTS NEW MEMBERS
III MARY LOUISE TELLS A STORY
IV JOSIE DONS A HENNA WIG
V BREAKFAST FOR TWO
VI A SUCCESSFUL DISGUISE
VII JOSIE GETS A JOB
VIII PETER REFUSES NEW PARENTS
IX JOSIE GETS HER BEARINGS
X AT MISS DENTON'S DINNER TABLE
XI JOSIE ENGAGES AN ASSISTANT
XII CHESTER HUNT'S NEW MAID
XIII A NEW BROOM SWEEPS CLEAN
XIV JOSIE JUMPS HER JOB
XV JOSIE VISITS INDIANA
XVI JOSIE GETS A RIDE
XVII HUSBAND AND WIFE
XVIII CHESTER HUNT CONFESSES
XIX A HAPPY REUNION



Mary Louise and Josie O'Gorman



CHAPTER I
MARY LOUISE MAKES AN INVESTMENT

Mary Louise had stood the test of being rich and beloved, and envied by
all the daughters of Dorfield; and then of being poor and bereft,
pitied by all who had formerly envied her. Soon after the death of her
grandfather, Colonel Hathaway, had come the news of her husband's
shipwreck. Hope of Danny Dexter's survival was finally abandoned by his
sorrowing little wife and his many friends. Colonel Hathaway's
comfortable fortune had mysteriously disappeared and Mary Louise faced
a future of poverty. With native pluck she arose to the occasion.
In spite of her sad heart she showed a cheerful spirit. Joining
forces with Josie O'Gorman and Elizabeth Wright in the quaint
Higgledy-Piggledy Shop, she opened a millinery department and was soon
swamped with orders for smart hats by the elite of Dorfield and
old-fashioned bonnets for the ancient ladies who refused to wear hats.
When Danny came back, not having gone to a watery grave after all, and
the lost fortune was found, Mary Louise again stood the test of being
rich and beloved.

"Nothing can spoil our Mary Louise," Josie O'Gorman declared, and Irene
Macfarlane smiled from her wheel chair.

"That is because she is pure gold, through and through," said the lame
girl as she deftly plied her needle in the cobwebby lace collar she was
mending.

"We certainly shall miss her here at the Higgledy-Piggledy," put in
Elizabeth Wright. "It doesn't seem like the same place with Mary Louise
gone. I wonder what the old ladies who still wear bonnets will do now.
There is no other milliner in Dorfield who can fashion an old-time
bonnet like our Mary Louise. She did them as though she loved them and
the old ladies for whom they were intended."

"Well, every old woman in town has had Mary Louise make her a bonnet
'exactly like Jane's and Susan's and Martha's and Matilda's'," laughed
Josie, "and they don't change their bonnets oftener than every seven
years, so we needn't worry about them just yet. Speaking of angels!
Here she is!"

Mary Louise literally danced into the shop. Ever since Danny returned
her feet seemed to have wings.

"I didn't know how miserable I had been until I had my present
happiness with which to compare my former sorrow," she had told Josie
O'Gorman shortly after Danny got back.

"You were too busy to be altogether unhappy," spake the wise Josie.
"Being poor enough to have to make one's living is not so bad as it is
cracked up to be. It was certainly a blessing in your case."

As we have said, Mary Louise danced into the shop. Then she breezed
over and kissed the three friends in turn.

"It's sad no longer to be a partner here," she said, "but it is nice to
be able to kiss all of you dear old girls. A business footing does not
permit of the familiarity of embraces between partners. I've just got
lots to tell all of you!"

"Fire away," commanded Josie, "but you must excuse me if I go on
ironing the fine linen of the wealthy."

Among the many industries the Higgledy-Piggledy Shop boasted was that
of laundering fine linen and laces. It was not known in Dorfield except
by a select few that Josie O'Gorman was a detective in high standing
with the chief, but everybody who had laces or linen too fine to trust
to the doubtful ministrations of an ordinary laundress knew that the
girl was a magician with suds and a flatiron. Josie declared washing
and ironing helped her to work out knotty problems and there was
nothing like having your arms in suds up to the elbows to give you an
insight into who did what and why.

The girls settled themselves to listen to Mary Louise's news, whatever
it was. Elizabeth Wright closed her typewriter on which she had been
copying some manuscript for a budding author; Irene Macfarlane stuck
her needle in the pin-cushion hanging from her tidy work-basket and
folded the lace collar. Only Josie went on with her work, testing her
electric iron with a professional sizzle.

"Well, you see it's this way," continued Mary Louise, settling herself
on an antique Windsor chair that the Higgledy-Piggledies were trying to
sell on commission. "Danny and I are going to have plenty of money to
live on, with what he earns. I know how Danny feels about my being an
heiress; not that he ever says a word about it, but he has a good job
and there is a chance of steady advancement and I have decided to do
something for somebody who needs it more than I do with all that gold
Grandpa Jim left me and the old house which is too huge for Danny and
me to live in, and too sad somehow for me just yet."

"I'm glad you feel that way about the house," put in Josie, shaking out
another damask napkin. "It's a bully old house but too big for a young
couple who don't need much room to be happy in."

"What is your plan, dear?" asked Irene, her sweet eyes misting a
little. The thought of Mary Louise quitting the old house which was
next to Uncle Peter Conant's, where Irene made her home, caused her to
be sad.

"Danny and I are going into an apartment for the time being and later
on will build a house more suitable to our needs. I am going to give
the old home to the Children's Home Society and make an endowment with
a part of my gold, so the society can begin operations at once in their
new quarters. They have a miserable place now, with not near enough
room."

"What a corking plan!" cried Josie. "I know of no charity that appeals
to one as this business of getting homes for poor little waifs. It
helps the poor little kiddies and it helps the childless persons who
want to adopt them. I'm with you, Mrs. Danny Dexter!"

"And I! And I!" came in a chorus from Elizabeth and Irene.

"The old house is more fitted for an institution than a private home.
The rooms are so huge, at least most of them are, and still it is
homelike. Only think how lovely it will be for the children to have the
pretty yard and old garden to play in. Dr. Weston, the dear old
gentleman who is in charge of the home now, says there is so little
room and so little money that they can't care for the children properly
and the people who come to see about adopting them are afraid to take
them sometimes because they don't look healthy enough."

"Poor little things!" murmured Irene.

"I'm wondering if your Uncle Peter and Aunt Hannah would mind having a
children's home next door to them," Mary Louise asked.

"I'm sure they wouldn't," said Irene. "I heard Uncle Peter say only
last night that he'd like to see the old place occupied again even if
it were by noisy boarders, and you know Aunt Hannah loves company and
she's so deaf that the noise the children make won't affect her in the
least."

"And you?" asked Mary Louise. "How will you like it?"

"I want what you want, dear. You must call on me to help in any way I
can."

"Indeed I will! We hope to make a very active society of this
Children's Home. I have talked to Dr. Weston, but have not told him
about making the endowment or giving the old house yet. I wanted to be
sure it would not be a nuisance to Uncle Peter Conant. He and Aunt
Hannah have been too good to me for me to go against their wishes."

"Set your mind at rest on that score," said Irene. "I can answer for
them."

"I'll do any typing you need when you begin on the thing," suggested
Elizabeth, "and I can look after the publicity end, too. The more
persons who get interested in an enterprise like this the better for
it."

"Indeed you are right. We will need more money than I can give, too.
Yearly subscriptions will have to be solicited and the more publicity
we get the better."

"I'll be chief detective for the society," laughed Josie, shaking out
another napkin. "You may think that is a joke, but I tell you there are
more shady mix-ups in a concern like that than in courts of law. I'll
bet I'll be called on to trace parentage and establish property rights
and relationships before the year is up."

"Nobody could do it better," smiled Mary Louise. "Now I am going to
stop in and have a little talk with Uncle Peter Conant at his office
and then I'm going around and tell dear old Dr. Weston that as far as I
am concerned he can move his Children's Home to the Hathaway house
tomorrow. That is, if Uncle Peter doesn't object." Josie offered to
meet her at the Children's Home and Mary Louise gladly accepted.

Uncle Peter didn't object. To the contrary he seemed vastly pleased
with the prospect of some young neighbors.

"'Twill do Hannah good and no doubt she will turn our house into a kind
of annex. Go ahead, my dear, and invest your money in something where
moth and rust will not corrupt and where thieves will not break through
and steal."

"Oh, Uncle Peter, I am so glad to hear you say that. I haven't any
blood kin to go to for advice and Danny always says for me to do
exactly what I want to do, which is bad for my character. It might make
me very conceited to have him always insist that I'm right just because
I want to do something."

"Well, well! The young rascal is right," laughed Mr. Conant.

"But do you think Grandpa Jim would approve of what I am doing?"

"Surely he would. I haven't a doubt if you had not been in existence he
would have done much the same sort of thing with his fortune. Jim
Hathaway was a powerful charitable man."

Mary Louise then went to see Dr. Weston at his office in the dingy
little building that housed the Children's Home Society. The old man
slept on a bumpy couch in the corner of his office. He had been
assigned a bedroom in the house, but the association had grown beyond
its quarters and the devoted doctor had long ago given up his room as
an overflow dormitory for the constantly increasing number of little
children who were sent to the home to be kept there until some kind
person saw fit to adopt them.

Dr. Weston's life had been dedicated to social work and now in his old
age the thing which interested him most and to which he gave all his
strength and time was the placing of unfortunate children in good
homes. It was through his labor and influence the Children's Home
Society had been established and struggled for existence. He was
hampered in his work by an unwieldy board of women managers, but he
realized the importance of having a large board, because the more
persons interested the more money it was possible to raise for his pet
charity. At the time of Mary Louise's call funds were very low, so low
that it seemed as though the society might have to close its hospitable
doors to the homeless waifs and the present inmates be parceled out to
the various orphan asylums. The board was to meet that very day. Dr.
Weston always dreaded a board meeting. There were some fine, noble
women on his board, but also some interfering busy-bodies, who were
always starting disagreeable discussions, such as how much sugar a
little child should be allowed and how important it was that vanity
should not be encouraged in the girls.

Business and finance were not Dr. Weston's strong points. His only idea
was to gather in the little children and give them a home in the
society until better homes could be found for them. He wanted to make
the place as little like an institution as possible, but several
members of the board were for unrelenting law and prison order.

The old man sat with his head in his hands worrying over the affairs of
the home. He was aware of the fact that funds were low and needs were
increasing. The home needed another nurse and a higher-priced cook, who
would prepare the food with more care than the present slatternly
incumbent. It needed several hospital wards, where children could be
isolated when attacked by contagious diseases. The doctor had known his
family, varying from thirty to fifty, all down at one time with bad
colds, or coryza, as named by the medical profession, when isolating
the first small cougher and sneezer might have saved all of the others.

"If only that young Mrs. Dexter, Jim Hathaway's granddaughter, would
make us a small donation," he groaned. "No doubt she could well afford
it, but young folks are mighty thoughtless. She seemed interested in
the children but I fancy that will be all - just a sentimental interest
and no more."

A tap on the door and Mary Louise entered as though in answer to his
thoughts.

"I have come to see if I might help, Dr. Weston," she said simply.



CHAPTER II
THE BOARD ELECTS NEW MEMBERS

As Mary Louise seated herself in Dr. Weston's shabby office Josie
entered and was introduced.

"Miss O'Gorman is an especial friend of mine, Dr. Weston, and I have
asked her to come here because she also is interested in your home."

"Fine! There can't be too many interested in my home," exclaimed the
old man, a light coming in his eyes. "I say _my_ home just because I am
so interested in it, but it is in reality under the control of the
board. You say you want to help some?" he asked with eagerness.

"Yes, sir! I have been thinking over the matter and have decided that
this undertaking of all others appeals to me most and I should like to
give my old home. You know the old Hathaway house, do you not?"

"Yes, yes!" There was excitement in Dr. Weston's tone.

"It is too big for me to live in and I think my grandfather would be
glad to know that many little children are finding a temporary home
there," said Mary Louise. "There is a great deal of furniture there,
too, much of which would be suitable, and a lovely great yard and
pretty garden where the kiddies can play."

"Oh, my dear, you make an old man very happy!"

"I want to make an endowment, too," Mary Louise continued, "enough with
the subscriptions you already control to take care of the children as
they should be taken care of."

The tears were rolling down Dr. Weston's cheeks, then he laughed. "What
a bomb I can throw in the camp when the board meets this morning! I
dreaded their coming but now - now - "

"Who is on your board?" asked Josie practically.

Dr. Weston began naming them over.

"Humph!" was all Josie said, but that "humph" was eloquent.

Many of the names were known to the girls. It was a varied list
composed of good, bad and indifferent personalities, from the viewpoint
of the social worker.

"Mrs. Opie is a fine open-hearted woman," said Josie, "and Mrs. McGraw
is good nature itself and most generous. Mrs. Wright is a great worker
and manager - " Josie shrugged her shoulders without finishing her
sentence.

"Yes!" breathed Dr. Weston with an eloquent sigh. "A good woman, a good
woman, but something of a - a - boss!"

"You mean Elizabeth's mother?" asked Mary Louise. "Grandpa Jim used to
call her Kaiser Wright, but that was before we went into the war. He
said she could be the head of an absolute monarchy and run all the
affairs of state and see to it that the kitchen maids washed out the
tea towels after every meal. She is on every charitable and club board
in town and at the same time is a most strenuous housekeeper and has a
hand in the making of the clothes of her entire family."

"A wonderful woman! A wonderful woman!" exclaimed Dr. Weston, but there
was that in his tone that gave Mary Louise and Josie to understand that
he was glad there were not many "wonderful women" on the board of the
Children's Home Society.

"The board meets in a few minutes," continued the old man. "It is now
beginning to assemble in the parlor. I hope you young ladies can remain
until I can inform the ladies of the generous gift in store for our
home. I am the sole and unworthy representative of my sex on the
board."

"Of course we can wait," declared Josie. "Who is the president of your
organization?"

"Mrs. Trescott is chairman but - "

"She doesn't stay in it?" laughed Josie.

"I won't say that," smiled the doctor. "Never tell tales out of the
board. Ill return in a few moments. I can't tell you the happiness I
feel in being able to inform these ladies of our good fortune."

The board was trying to get in session. The girls, waiting in the
office, could hear a steady hum of conversation with an occasional
sharp rap of the gavel when the president evidently had something to
say herself.

"Sounds more like an afternoon tea than the deliberations of an august
body," said Josie.

But at last the meeting was called to order, the minutes were read, the
treasurer's report made and the various committees called on for a
reckoning. All this was accomplished with much talk and many
interruptions. The treasurer's report brought forth a groan. There was
little money left in the treasury and much was needed in the way of
equipment.

"I see nothing for it but to give up," said one lugubrious member.
"Dorfield doesn't take enough interest to support the home and so
there's an end of it."

"That would come under new business," suggested the president. "We must
get through with what is on the carpet first," consulting a small book
on parliamentary law.

"Well, there is no use in staying here if we are going to have to give
up," spake the lugubrious one. "All of this talk is foolish if we are
going to disband."

"Disband, nothing!" broke in Mrs. Wright, whose hands were busily
employed knitting a sweater for one of her girls while her eyes were
glancing from person to person. Her foot tapped constantly while her
knitting needles flew. One felt that she was doing some kind of work
with that tapping foot.

"Disband, indeed!" she whispered sibilantly. "We'll have a tag day and
a rummage sale and I'll get up a dicker party and some theatricals.
Disband, indeed!"

At last Dr. Weston was allowed to speak.

"Ladies," he said, "I mean Madame President, I have to report to the
board - "

"Not another case of measles, I trust!" interrupted one.

"No, not a case of measles, but a case that I hope is going to prove
quite as contagious - "

"Mumps, I'll be bound!"

"No, madame! We have had a gift for the home - "

"More old faded carpets and carved walnut furniture, I wager!"

Finally Dr. Weston was able to divulge to the board of managers that
Mary Louise Burrows, Jim Hathaway's granddaughter, now Mrs. Danny
Dexter, intended to hand over to them her grandfather's old home.

Mary Louise and Josie in the next room with the door closed were able
to tell exactly the moment when the news was broken. Such a hubbub
ensued that the doctor's voice was quite drowned out.

"And now, ladies," continued Dr. Weston, "since we have several
vacancies on our board, I think we could not do better than to ask Mrs.
Dexter to fill one of those vacancies and her friend Miss Josie
O'Gorman one of the others."

There was much hemming and hawing at this proposition.

"Too young!" was the general verdict, but Dr. Weston declared that Mary
Louise was not too young to give her property to the home, and then he
hinted wisely of other things she might give. The astute old man was a
good judge of human nature, especially human nature as exemplified by a
board of women managers. He had held back the fact that Mary Louise
also intended to endow the home. He was determined to have her put on
the board first, and also her clever little friend, who had such a
quiet way of hitting the nail on the head.

With the air of conferring on Mary Louise and Josie a tremendous favor
they were finally elected to the board.

"But who is this Josie O'Gorman?" asked a smartly dressed woman, "and
why? Isn't she a kind of a washerwoman?"

"Hush!" admonished another. "Don't you know she is in the
Higgledy-Piggledy Shop with Elizabeth Wright?"

The secretary was requested to inform the two young women of the honor
conferred upon them.

"They are in my office," said Dr. Weston, "and I might just step in and
tell them myself."

"Oh, horrors!" cried one of the women. "Do you suppose they heard what
we said?"

"I never said anything but that they were too young. Nobody could
object to that."

"And I said board work might prove too arduous for them."

"And I said our board was too big as it was."

"I was for them all the time."

"And I!"

"And I!"



CHAPTER III
MARY LOUISE TELLS A STORY

The members of the board need not have concerned themselves in regard
to the waiting girls. Josie and Mary Louise had been fully occupied. At
the moment that the hubbub had arisen, marking the time when Dr. Weston
had made his announcement, there had been a sharp tap on the office
door. Josie had opened the door and there had entered a woman and two
children, a girl of eight and a boy of about six. The girl carried a
badly wrapped bundle of clothes.

Mary Louise and Josie felt a keen interest in all three. The woman was
young - under thirty. She was handsome, with raven black hair and
well-cut features. Her face was pale and her eyes gloomy. She carried
herself with a slow, lazy grace. The good lines of her tall figure
asserted themselves in spite of the cheap, ill-fitting serge suit.
Josie always noticed hands and feet, because she declared they were
more difficult to disguise than any other portion of one's anatomy. One
glance at the woman's ungloved hands made Josie wonder at the well-kept
nails and dimpled knuckles.

"No horny-handed daughter of toil, at least," was her mental note. She
then instinctively glanced at the woman's feet.

"Too well shod for the serge suit," was her verdict, "high arched
triple A with French heels, about a five, which is small for a person
of her height. She must be at least five feet, ten inches."

This inventory took Josie the fraction of a second, so quick was she to
see and pigeon-hole her observations in her well-ordered brain.

The children had evidently been crying. The girl's eyes and nose were
red and the boy at intervals gave a dry sob as though he had been
through a storm of weeping and could with difficulty stop. They clung
to each other as they would had they been drowning. The woman pushed
them into the room. The children's clothes were the worse for wear, and
untidy. Their faces were dirty and showed signs of grimy little
knuckles having been dug into streaming eyes. The eyes of both children
were blue, as blue as cornflowers, and their hair very light, the boy's
curling in tight rings but the girl's straight and bobbed.

"I want to see the manager," said the woman in a well-modulated voice.

"Dr. Weston will be here in a few minutes," said Mary Louise. "Won't
you sit down?"

The young woman sank into a chair. She paid no attention to the
children, but Josie found them a seat on a bench by the window. The
little girl lifted the boy to the bench and put her arm around his
shoulders, drawing him close to her sisterly bosom.

"Quite warm today," said Josie to the woman.

Mary Louise could with difficulty keep from giggling. It was so foreign
to Josie's character to discuss the weather.

"Think so?" answered the woman shortly.

"Not so warm as it was yesterday, but still a little unseasonable,"
persisted Josie. "I find a suit quite warm, but then, what is one to


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