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the room, your mother and all - eh, Phronsie?"

"Yes, Grandpapa," said Phronsie, her round face falling. Yet she had
promised not to cry, and, although she had a hard time of it, every
tear was kept back valiantly.

"And Polly, now - " asked old Mr. King, cautiously, "and Jasper - how
were they feeling?"

"Grandpapa," Phronsie did not trust herself to reply, but, springing
up, she laid her rosy little mouth close to his ear. "What does it
all - the dreadful thing mean?" she whispered.

"It means," old Mr. King whispered back, but very distinctly, "that
your old Granddaddy is an idiot, Phronsie, and that he has been rude,
and let his temper run away with him."

"Oh, no, Grandpapa dear," contradicted Phronsie, falling back from him
in horror. "You couldn't ever be that what you say." And she flung both
arms around his neck and hugged him tightly.

"What? An idiot? Yes, I have been an idiot of the worst kind," declared
Mr. King, "and all the rest just as I say; rude and - why, what is the
matter, Phronsie?" for the little arms clutched him so tightly he could
hardly breathe.

"Oh, Grandpapa," she wailed, and drawing away a bit to look at him, he
saw her face convulsed with the effort not to cry. "Don't say such
things. You are never naughty, Grandpapa dear; you can't be," she

"There, there, there," ejaculated old Mr. King, frightened at the
effect of his words and patting her yellow hair, at his wits' end what
to say. So he broke out, "Well, now, Phronsie, you must tell me what to

Thereupon Phronsie, seeing there was something she could really do to
help Grandpapa, came out of her distress enough to sit up quite
straight and attentive in his lap. "You see I spoke rudely to a man,
and I called him a fellow, and he was a gentleman, Phronsie; you must
remember that."

"Yes, I will, Grandpapa," she replied obediently, while her eyes never
wandered from his face.

"And I told him to get out of the way and he did," said Mr. King,
forcing himself to a repetition of the unpleasant truth. "O dear me,
nothing could be worse," he groaned.

"And you are sorry, Grandpapa dear?" Phronsie leaned over and laid her
cheek softly against his.

"Yes, I am, Phronsie, awfully sorry," confessed the old gentleman; "but
what good will that do now? My temper has made a terrible mess of it

"But you can tell the gentleman you are sorry," said Phronsie. "Oh,
Grandpapa dear, do go and tell him now, this very minute." She broke
away from him again, and sat straight on his knee, while a glad little
smile ran all over her face.

"I can't - you don't understand - O dear me!" Mr. King set her abruptly
on the floor, and took a few turns up and down the room. Phronsie's
eyes followed him with a grieved expression. When she saw the distress
on his face, she ran up to him and seized his hand, but didn't speak.

"You see, child," - he grasped her fingers and held them closely, - "it's
just this way: the gentleman wants to do me a favour; that is, to help
Polly with her music."

"Does he?" cried Phronsie, and she laughed in delight. "Oh, Grandpapa,
how nice! And Polly will be so happy."

"But I cannot possibly accept it," groaned old Mr. King; "don't you
see, child, after treating him so? Why, how could I? The idea is too
monstrous!" He set off now at such a brisk pace down the room that
Phronsie had hard work to keep up with him. But he clung to her hand.

"Won't that make the gentleman sorry?" panted Phronsie, trotting along
by his side.

"Eh - oh, what?" exclaimed old Mr. King, coming to a dead stop suddenly.
"What's that you say, Phronsie?"

"Won't the gentleman feel sorry?" repeated Phronsie, pushing back the
waves of yellow hair that had fallen over her face, to look up at him.
"And won't he feel badly then, Grandpapa?"

"Eh - oh, perhaps," assented Mr. King, slowly, and passing a troubled
hand across his brow. "Well, now, Phronsie, you come and sit in my lap
again, and we'll talk it over, and you tell me what I ought to do."

So the two got into the big chair again, and Phronsie folded her hands
in her lap.

"Now begin," said old Mr. King.

"I should make the gentleman happy, Grandpapa," said Phronsie,

"You would - no matter what you had to do to bring it about?" asked
Grandpapa, with a keen pair of eyes on her face. "Eh? think now,

"I should make the gentleman happy," repeated Phronsie, and she bobbed
her head decidedly. "I really should, Grandpapa."

"Then the best way is to have it over with as soon as possible," said
old Mr. King; "so come on, child, and you can see that the business is
done up in good shape." He gathered her little fingers up in his hand,
and setting her once more on the floor, they passed out of the

The door of the private parlour belonging to Mr. King's rooms was flung
wide open, and into the gloomy interior, for Mother Fisher and Jasper
were still inconsolable, marched old Mr. King. He was arm in arm, so
far as the two could at once compass the doorway, with Herr Bauricke;
while Phronsie ducked and scuttled in as she could, for the big German,
with ever so many honorary degrees to his name, held her hand fast.

Old Mr. King continued his march up to Mother Fisher. "Allow me to
introduce Herr Bauricke, Professor and Doctor of Music, of world-wide
distinction," he said, bowing his courtly old head.

And then Mother Fisher, self-controlled as she had always been,
astonished him by turning to her husband to supply the answering word.

"Glad to see you!" exclaimed the little doctor, bubbling over with
happiness, and wringing the long fingers extended. "My wife is overcome
with delight," which the big German understood very well; and he smiled
his knowledge of it, as he looked into her black eyes. "She is like to
mein Frau," he thought, having no higher praise. And then he turned
quickly to Polly and Jasper.



For all that grand old Rigi's summit claimed them, it was some time
before Mr. King's party left the little parlour. Herr Bauricke surely
didn't want to until he had gotten it settled just what he did mean
about Polly's music. That she showed great promise, that some faults in
the way she had been taught were there, but it was by no means too late
to mend them, that she had spirit and expression and love for the art.

"Ah, dat is eet, after all." Herr Bauricke clasped his long fingers and
beamed at her, and then swept the entire party. "Lofe, ah, how one must
lofe eet! Eef not, shame, shame!" His countenance darkened frightfully,
and he fairly glared at them, as he unclasped his hands and swung one
over his head, while his black beard vibrated with each word.

"Goodness me!" exclaimed Tom Selwyn, "it takes a musical man to sling
around. I say, Jasper, I'd like to do a bit of boxing or cricketing
with him." But Jasper didn't hear or see anything but Herr Bauricke and
Polly; and, indeed, the whole room was given up to the "musical man"
and his words.

At last Polly drew a long breath; Grandpapa was taking her hand. "Let
us all go out and explore a bit," and off they went, the entire party.
And the "musical man," as Tom still continued to call him in private,
proved to be as expert in the use of his feet as his fingers, for he
led them here, there, and everywhere that promised the least chance of
a good view.

But Polly saw only the glorious future when, on the morrow, Herr
Bauricke would really show her on the piano how best to study and to
work! And the rosy glow of sunset wasn't one-half as bright as all her

"Polly," said Phronsie, pulling her hand gently, as she peered up into
her face, "are you looking at it?"

"What, Pet? Oh, yes," said Polly, starting out of her revery with a
little laugh, "you mean the sunset?"

"Yes," said Phronsie, "I do mean that. Are you looking at it, Polly?
Because if you are not looking, I wish you would, Polly."

"Well, I suppose I am looking at it, Phronsie," said Polly, with
another little laugh, "but perhaps not in just the right way, for you
see, Phronsie, I can't seem to see anything but just the splendid thing
that is coming to-morrow. Oh, Phronsie Pepper, just think of that."

"I know," said Phronsie, with a little gurgle of delight at Polly's
happiness, "and I am so glad, Polly."

"Of course you are," declared Polly, warmly, "just as glad as can be,
Phronsie," and she threw her arm around her. "And now I'm going to look
at the sunset in the right way, I hope. Isn't it beautiful, child?"

"Polly," declared Phronsie, suddenly wriggling away from Polly's arm,
to stand in front of her with a beaming face, "I think it's just as
beautiful as it can be up top here. I can see right in between that red
cloud and that little pink teenty one. And I wish I could just go in,

"Wouldn't it be nice?" echoed Polly, enthusiastically.

"What?" asked Adela, hurrying up from a point of rocks below, where she
had been sketching.

"Oh, to go in between those clouds there and see it all," said Polly.

"Dear me!" exclaimed Adela, "I shouldn't like it. I'd much rather stay
down here, and sketch it."

"We could go sailing off, oh, ever so far," said Polly, swinging her
arms to suit the action to the words. "And you'd be stuck to your rock
here, Adela; while, Phronsie, you and I would sit on the edge of a
cloud, and let our feet hang over; and oh, Adela, you could sketch us
then as we went sailing by."

"How that would look!" exclaimed Adela, with such a face that Polly
burst out into a merry laugh, and Phronsie, joining with her little
crow of delight and clapping her hands at the idea of such fun, brought
pretty much the whole party around them.

"What's up?" cried Tom to Jasper, on the way to the girls with some
fear, for he didn't dare even yet to talk much to Polly. As for Adela,
he let her severely alone.

"Don't know," said Jasper, "but we'll soon find out," and they did, by
Phronsie's flying away from Polly and skipping down over the rocks to
meet them.

"Oh, Jasper, Polly's telling how we would sail on that beautiful
cloud," announced Phronsie, her yellow hair flying from her face as she
sped along, heedless of her steps.

"Take care or you'll fall," warned Jasper. "See, your mother is looking
worried." And, truth to tell, Mrs. Fisher, on a point of rocks a little
way off with the others, was getting a bit alarmed as she saw the
progress of her baby.

"I'll take care," said Phronsie, sobering down at thought of Mamsie's
being troubled, and beginning to pick her way carefully. And Jasper
gathered up her fingers in his, thinking of the time when she toiled up
and down the long stairway, when she first came to what was now her
home, blessed thought! and Polly and he sat down at the foot to watch

"And so Polly and you are going to try sailing on that cloud there,"
said Jasper, squinting up at the brilliant sky.

"We aren't really going, Jasper," said Phronsie, shaking her head,
soberly, "because you see we can't. But Polly's pretending it all; and
we're to sit on the edge and swing our feet. And Adela is going to make
a picture of us."

"Whew!" whistled Jasper. "And I say, Polly," - for now they had
scrambled up to the two girls, - "isn't there room for us on that cloud
too?" While Tom kicked pebbles, and wished he knew how to talk to girls.

"Perhaps," said Polly, gaily. "Oh, I suppose that those who couldn't
get on our cloud could take the next one."

"I'd rather have your cloud, Polly," said Jasper.

"And Grandpapa must come too," cried Phronsie, in alarm at the very
thought of his being left out. "I want him on our cloud, Polly."

"Yes, and Mamsie and Papa-Doctor," finished Polly, ready for any
nonsense, she was just bubbling over so with joy at thought of the
morrow and what it would bring. "Well, it is good the cloud is big,"
squinting up at the radiant sky.

"And, Tom, you are coming on that cloud-boat."

Jasper pulled him forward with a merry laugh, giving him a clap on the
back at the same time.

"Eh - oh, I can't - no, thank you," stammered Tom, thus suddenly brought
into notice. "Excuse me," just as if the invitation had been a _bona
fide_ one.

Polly never smiled, but Adela giggled right out. Tom's face flushed,
and he rushed off furiously, determined never to chance it again
whereby he'd be mortified before girls - not he!

All the gay time was flown, and the red and pink and purple clouds
looked down upon a sorry, uncomfortable little group. Jasper spoke
first. "I must go after him," and he dashed down the rocks.

"O dear me, I couldn't help it," said Adela, twisting uncomfortably,
"it was so silly in him to take it all in earnest."

"He didn't really think we meant it," said Polly, her brown eyes very
grave. Would Jasper really persuade him to forget that laugh? "But he
is shy, and he said the first thing that came into his head."

"Boys haven't any right to be shy," said Adela, fussing with her little
sketching block and pencil, "they are so big and strong."

"Why did Tom run away so fast?" asked Phronsie, only half comprehending.

"Never mind, child," said Polly, with a reassuring pat on her head.

"And isn't Jasper coming back?" asked Phronsie, in great distress.

"Yes, oh, I guess so," said Polly. "Well, there, the pretty glow has
all faded; see, Phronsie," pointing up to the leaden clouds that no one
who had failed to see a few moments before could have imagined alive
with colour. "Now we ought to run over to the others, for they'll be
going back to the hotel."

"It's all gone," said Phronsie, sadly, looking up at the darkening sky.
"Polly, where has the pretty red and pink gone to?"

"Oh, I don't know," said Polly, thinking only of Tom, and what a hard
time Jasper must be having with him. "Take care, Phronsie, don't look
up now - you'll fall! There, take my hand; now come on."

"O dear me, I didn't mean to laugh," Adela was saying to herself as she
fell back in the zig-zag path down the rocks. "I wish I
hadn't - I'll - I'll - " What she meant to do wasn't very clear in her
mind; what she did do, was to run up to her grandmother's and her room,
and toss her sketch-book on the table, and herself on the bed, for a
good hearty cry.

Polly found her there, when they couldn't find her anywhere else, with
much searching and running about. Little old Mrs. Gray was worrying
dreadfully, so afraid she had been blown from the rocks; for the wind
had now risen, and all the travellers were seeking the shelter and
warmth of the hotel corridor and parlours.

"Oh, Adela, how _could_ you?" Polly was going to say. And then she
thought that would be the very worst thing in all the world, for
Adela's shoulders were shaking, and it would only make her cry worse.
And besides, Polly remembered how she had sometimes given way in just
this fashion, and how much worse she would have been, had it not been
for a wise, good mother. So she ran out in the hall. "I must tell her
grandmother," she said to herself.

"Have you found her?" asked Jasper, looking up from the foot of the

"Yes," said Polly, "I have."

"All right." And Jasper vanished, and Polly went slowly back, wishing
she could be downstairs with all the dear people, instead of trying to
comfort this dismal girl. The next moment she was kneeling down by the
side of the bed, and trying to get hold of one of Adela's hands. But
Adela bounced over to the farther side, and she cried out angrily,
"It's all very well for you to say so, because you didn't do it. And
everybody likes you. O dear me - tee - hee - boo - hoo!"

"But I've often done things just as bad," confessed Polly, "and, Adela,
I've cried like this, too. But Mamsie - oh, Adela! she made me see it
was wrong; so I had to stop it, you know."

"How is it wrong?" asked Adela, rolling over, and taking the
handkerchief away from one eye enough to see Polly Pepper's face. "I
can cry, I guess, if I want to, without asking anybody."

"Oh, no, you can't," said Polly, decidedly. "I mean no one can."

"Why not, pray tell?" said Adela, sniffing very hard. "My eyes are my
own, and I shall cry, too, whenever I want to."

"Well, I can't just tell you exactly why you can't cry when you want
to," said Polly, afraid she wasn't going to say the right word, "but
Mamsie could if she were here. I'll go and call her, Adela." And Polly
sprang to her feet. "She'll come, I know."

"Oh, no - no," cried Adela, in mortal alarm. "I don't want her - I mean
I'd rather have you. You're a girl; and a woman talking at me scares

"Then you mustn't cry if I stay," said Polly, stopping short, and
seeing her advantage, "for I surely shall go, Adela," she added firmly,
"unless you stop crying."

"O dear me." Adela squirmed all over the bed. "I can't stop - I've
always cried as much as I wanted to. O dear me - boo-hoo-hoo! I
mean - I'll stop, don't go - " sopping up her wet face with a nervous
hand. "See, Pol-_ly_!" for Polly had slipped out of the room. Adela
flew off from the bed. "Polly - Polly, Pol-_ly_!" she called, in a
piteous little tone.

Polly, halfway down the stairs, looked back. "Oh, you are up," she
said, with a smile. "Now that's fine; come." And she held out her hand.

"Mercy me, and O my!" cried Adela. "I can't go looking like this; why,
I'm a perfect sight, I know, Polly Pepper! and my nose feels all bunged
out of shape and as big!"

"Never mind," said Polly, as reassuringly, "just dash some water over
it, and it'll be all right. I'll wait here for you."

So Polly stood on her stair while Adela, bemoaning all the way that she
didn't look fit to be seen, and that she was a perfect sight, and she
couldn't go down among them all, stumbled back into her room. And
pretty soon Polly heard a big splash. "O dear me - oh, what shall I do?"

"What _is_ the matter?" cried Polly, deserting her stair, to run in and
up to the washstand.

"Just see what I've done," exclaimed Adela, holding out one arm. It was
dripping wet, and the water was running off in a stream and down to
meet a small puddle where the splash had struck on the floor.

"The pitcher slipped - O dear me - ugh - " cried Adela, wriggling all over.

"Stand still," said Polly, "do, Adela, till I wipe your sleeve dry."
And she got the towel and began to sop and to pat Adela's arm.

"It never'll feel dry, it's perfectly awful - ugh - Polly Pepper,"
declared Adela, twisting away from Polly's fingers; "it's just like a
wet snake - ugh - O dear me! and it gives me the creeps."

"You'll have to put on another waist, I do think," said Polly, hanging
up the towel, aghast to find herself growing angry at all this delay,
and with half a mind to run and leave Adela to herself.

"O dear me, and there's this water running all over the floor," cried
Adela, stepping gingerly over the pool, and trying to pick off the wet
sleeve from her arm at the same time.

"I'll fix it," said Polly, as cheerily as she could, "while you get
your waist on." And she sopped the water up. "There, that's done," she
announced with satisfaction; "now do hurry, Adela."

"I can't get out of this old, horrid, wet sleeve," said Adela, very red
in the face, and pulling and twitching at it.

"Take care, you'll tear it," warned Polly.

"I don't care if I do," said Adela, peevishly. "O dear me, somebody's
coming!" With that she flew into the closet and pulled to the door.

"Why, Polly!" exclaimed Mother Fisher, in surprise, "what is the
matter? We are all waiting to go in to dinner."

"Oh, I'm so sorry," began Polly, feeling as if nothing would be so
delightful as to have a good cry in Mamsie's arms and tell all the

"Well, you must come right away," said Mrs. Fisher. "Why, where is
Adela?" looking around the room.

"I'm here," said Adela, from the closet.

"Come out here, Adela," said Mrs. Fisher. So Adela came out, the wet
sleeve still on her arm; but she had gotten out of the rest of the

"That's too bad," said Mrs. Fisher; and in a minute Adela's wet arm was
free and nicely dried, and a clean waist being found, it was soon on,
and then Mother Fisher took up the hairbrush. "We must have this all
nice and smooth," she said. And Adela stood still, liking it all very
much; and her hair was brushed, much as if she had been Phronsie, and
then Mother Fisher released her with a smile. "There, now you are
ready," she said.

"She didn't scold a bit," said Adela, going after her with Polly down
the stairs, and forgetting her red eyes and swollen nose.

"Our mother never scolds," declared Polly, with her head very high,
"never in all this world, Adela Gray."

And at dinner Tom Selwyn looked across the table, and when he caught
sight of Adela's face, and saw that some one else could feel as badly
as he could, and he guessed the reason, he made up his mind what he was
going to do next. And as soon as the meal was over, without giving
himself time to think, he marched up to Adela. "Say, I didn't much mind
because you laughed, don't you know," and held out his hand.

"I've been crying ever since," said Adela, "and I didn't mean to laugh."

"I know it," said Tom to the first part of her sentence, and looking at
her nose. "Well, never mind now, so it's quits, and shake hands."

"I don't know what quits is," said Adela, putting out her hand.

"Oh, it's when things are evened up somehow," said Tom; "not exactly
that, but it will do well enough by way of explaining."

"And I'm never going to laugh again at anybody," said Adela, lifting
her red eyes.

"Well, come on, don't you want a game of draughts?" said Tom, awkwardly.

"Draughts?" repeated Adela, very much puzzled. "I don't know it."

"Why, what a whopper!" Tom was going to say, but changed it to, "Why, I
saw you playing it last night with Polly Pepper."

"Why, no, you didn't," said Adela, not very politely, "that was

"That's the same thing," said Tom, triumphantly, "only you Americans
call it that funny name."

"Well, I think it's a great deal nicer name than draughts," said Adela;
"that's silly."

"Well, checkers; that's senseless," retorted Tom, "and, besides, you
Americans always say 'nice' at everything." Then he looked at her red
eyes and poor little nose, and added kindly, "Well, never mind, call it
checkers, then, I don't care; let's have a game," and he rushed for the

Mrs. Selwyn looked from her corner where she had taken a book, and
smiled to see him playing a game with a girl. Then she nodded over to
Jasper, and he smiled back.

And Adela never once thought how she looked. And she beat Tom twice,
and that quite set her up. And then for the next three games he routed
her men completely off the board. And, strange to say, she kept her
temper, and even smiled at the disaster.

"That's a good game." Old Mr. King came up as the last one was going
on. "Tom, my boy, you play a fine one."

"And she fights well," said Tom, generously. "She beat me twice."

"You don't say so," exclaimed Mr. King. "Well, that's doing pretty
well, Adela, to get ahead of the English lad. But you don't stand much
of a chance this time; Tom's got the game, sure." And so it proved in
less time than it takes to write it.

And then everybody said "good night" to everybody else; for the Alpine
horn would sound at the earliest dawn to waken the sleepers to see the

"Mamsie," cried Polly, raising her head suddenly as she cuddled into
bed, "supposing we shouldn't hear that horn - just supposing it! Oh,
can't I stay awake? Do let me, Mamsie."

"Your Grandfather has made arrangements for us all to be called," said
Mrs. Fisher, "so we won't have to depend on the horn, and now you must
go to sleep just as fast as ever you can. Then you'll be as bright as a
button in the morning, Polly."

"Mamsie," said Polly, "I don't think Grandpapa has kept from doing
anything he could to make us happy, do you, Mamsie? not a single thing."

"No," said Mother Fisher, "I don't, Polly."



"Mamsie, what shall we do?" Polly clasped her hands in despair, and
looked down on Phronsie, sleeping away as if she meant to take her own
time to wake up, regardless of sunrise on the Rigi. "O dear me, and she
went to bed so early last night on purpose."

"You go right along, Polly," said Mother Fisher. "Put on your golf cape
over your jacket, child, it's dreadfully cold out there. I shall stay
with Phronsie, for of course we wouldn't leave her alone with Matilda,
and all go off for a nice time."

"No, of course not," cried Polly, in horror at the mere thought.

"And she's in such a nice sleep and so warm, that it's a pity to wake
her up," finished Mrs. Fisher.

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Online LibraryMargaret SidneyFive Little Peppers Abroad → online text (page 13 of 19)