In New York with the Tucker Twins - Emma Speed Sampson - ebook

In New York with the Tucker Twins ebook

Emma Speed Sampson

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In New York with the Tucker Twins” is a sixth book in the Tucker Twins series, written by an American author of juvenile fiction and a movie censor Emma Speed Sampson and published between 1915 and 1924. Nominally it’s a boarding school series, but actually only two of the books are set at school. Our heroine is 15 year-old Page Allison, a doctor’s daughter, raised in a rural Virginia community where she has no companionship with girls her own age. On her way to school for the first time, she meets the Tucker family, a set of twins nicknamed Dee and Dum who will be her best friends, and their startlingly young and sprightly widowed father. In it, Page Allison and the Tucker Twins head to New York City for a great adventure...

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Liczba stron: 235

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Contents

CHAPTER I. IN NEW YORK

CHAPTER II. MAISON GASTON

CHAPTER III. ADAPTING OURSELVES

CHAPTER IV. THE FOLDING BED THAT FOLDED

CHAPTER V. A LETTER IN THE POST OFFICE

CHAPTER VI. LETTERS FROM HOME

CHAPTER VII. BRINDLE TAKES A JOURNEY

CHAPTER VIII. A THEATRE PARTY

CHAPTER IX. BLOOD WILL TELL

CHAPTER X. THE PASSING OF BRINDLE

CHAPTER XI. THE FUNERAL

CHAPTER XII. PAIRING OFF

CHAPTER XIII. THE BLUES

CHAPTER XIV. MOVING TO GREENWICH VILLAGE

CHAPTER XV. AFTERNOON TEA WITH TEMPLE GRANDISON

CHAPTER XVI. AROUND THE GAS LOGS

CHAPTER XVII. AND THEY MIXED THOSE BABIES UP

CHAPTER XVIII. WASHINGTON SQUARE

CHAPTER XIX. CONFIDENCES—THREE IN THE BED

CHAPTER XX. RICE AND FUDGE

CHAPTER XXI. THE BUCKET BRIGADE

CHAPTER XXII. A LONELY STROLL

CHAPTER XXIII. MY HEIGHT

CHAPTER XXIV. WHAT DID HE CATCH?

CHAPTER XXV. CONFESSIONS

CHAPTER I. IN NEW YORK.

In New York! Thrills were running all up and down our back bones as we realized it. As our train puffed into the Pennsylvania Station our elation was as great as though ours had been the engineering feat of tunneling under the Hudson.

The Tucker Twins, Virginia and Caroline, known to their friends and even their enemies, as Dum and Dee, had launched with me on what we pleased to term “Our Great Adventure.” Mr. Tucker used to say that at our age changing the way of wearing our hair was a great adventure, and so it can be if the change is becoming; but this going to New York all by our lonesomes was different and more exciting than anything the Tuckers and I had undertaken.

“Ain’t it great, this landing all by ourselves?” exclaimed Dum.

“Don’t say ain’t! It ain’t proper in the Metropolis,” admonished Dee. “I must say you change your mind pretty readily, considering you told poor Zebedee that all the pleasure of going to New York was taken away when he couldn’t come with us.”

“Well, I thought it was when I said so, but I find it isn’t the case. I feel a kind of spunky elation filling my soul and I bet you and Page Allison feel the same way.”

I confessed I did and Dee had to give in that although she missed her father and had been bitterly disappointed when business had detained him in Richmond, that it was rather fun and exciting to land in New York all by ourselves with no male creatures to attend to our trunks and see us safely to the boarding house.

I felt, in spite of my elation over my emancipation, a keen regret that my poor father could not get off either. A country doctor is as important as the pope and has no more freedom than the prisoner of the Vatican. Every time my father would plan to do something pleasant Sally Winn would go to bed and try to die, or Aunt Keziah, the neighborhood “tender,” would send him word that all of her charges were coming down with measles or some other dire disease, and then Dr. Allison would have to give up his proposed trip. I suggested that he put a dash of something very bitter in Sally’s pink pump water and give all of Aunt Keziah’s little nigs a large dose of castor oil, whether they needed it or not, but father pinched my cheek and laughed, telling me that part of life was giving up pleasant plans which only made you make more and pleasanter ones. He declared he preferred New York later in the season when all the shows would be in full swing and he intended to come up with Jeff Tucker and perhaps surprise us.

While the twins and I are waiting in the restaurant at the Pennsylvania Station to have our very substantial order for breakfast filled, perhaps it would be just as well for me to explain to my reader something about these girls, who have been so informally introduced to her. I say to her because the hes who read books about girls are decidedly in the minority. I can’t see why hes wouldn’t like to read about the Tuckers–they certainly like to look at them and talk to them, that is hes with any sense or taste.

The Tucker Twins were one-fourth orphans. Most persons would call them half-orphans, as their little mother had died when they were born, but anyone who knows their father, Jeffrey Tucker, familiarly known as Zebedee, could hardly call them anything so forlorn as half-orphans. He had been father and mother, nurse and big brother to them and sometimes acted like their son. He had only twenty years the start of them and had been so busy raising them that he had forgotten to grow old and now when they were almost twenty, nobody could believe that he was almost forty.

Anyone who looked at those girls on that crisp morning in late September as they waited with scarcely concealed impatience for that far-from-light breakfast, would have come to the conclusion that Jeffrey Tucker had made a pretty successful job. It was hard to tell which was the handsomer of the two. They were alike and still so different. Dum’s hazel eyes and red black hair, growing low in a widow’s peak on her broad intellectual forehead, were most alluring. Her chin was square and determined, in contrast to the saucy, humorous expression of her pleasant mouth. Dee’s eyes were grey, her hair blue black. Instead of a widow’s peak on her forehead she had a dimple in her chin, which had evidently tried to be as square as her sister’s, but the dimple had got in the way. Both sisters had slender, athletic figures with heads well set and an upstanding look. Dum was artistic and had come to New York to study modeling. Dee was not quite certain what she wanted to be, but she wanted to know chemistry and anatomy and then decide to what use she should put her knowledge. She might very well have stayed at home and got what she wanted from a nearby college but New York is New York and her father well knew that a winter there would give his girl many things besides chemistry and anatomy.

And me! What about me, Page Allison? But the breakfast is ready to serve. The waiter is coming, bearing a great tray of smoking food, and there is no time to talk about myself. I couldn’t describe myself very well anyhow and it is well to leave something to the imagination of one’s readers.

“Ah! Think of it!” cried Dum. “Hashed brown potatoes and sausage, topped off with buckwheats and maple syrup!”

“This is the last breakfast of this sort we will get,” sighed Dee. “French people have French breakfasts and Madame Gaston is sure to feed us on coffee and rolls.”

“If we don’t like it, you remember our bond with father and Zebedee,” I remarked.

“Sure! Gee, Page, you were certainly slick to put it to them that way when we talked of coming,” enthused Dee.

The bond was that we should try the French boarding house first and if we did not like it after an honest endeavor we could go to housekeeping in an apartment of our own. Mr. Tucker had got in touch with this Madame Gaston through the pastor of a French Protestant church. Board for one month had been engaged, which would give us ample time to decide whether or not we liked it.

Madame Gaston’s boarding house was on West Fifty-third Street. Not a very stylish locality and certainly not in the least an attractive looking house. It was one of a row of red brick buildings, with long, narrow, bleak front yards. Evidently those homes had been built before New York real estate had become so valuable and now they were merely waiting for some speculator to take hold of them and utilize the waste space of those bare yards. We were thankful for this same space, as the Sixth Avenue Elevated turned at Fifty-third and went whizzing by. At least we would not have the passengers looking in our windows. We need not have concerned ourselves, however, about the elevated road, as the room consigned to us was on the third floor back. It looked out over back yards, where the system of clothes lines stretched from houses to fences was, I am sure, more complicated than the Western Union Telegraph.

Madame Gaston had a big, hard, wrinkled face on top of a big, hard, unwrinkled body. Her black hair was arranged in puffs and coils and piled high on her head, looking, as Dum said, like upholstery. Her voice was as hard as the rest of her, even when she spoke French, which she did to her little daughter, a child of twelve, who seemed to be a kind of slavey in the establishment.

We looked curiously around the dark, unaired parlor as madame received us in state. I can’t remember seeing such an ugly room in all my life before or since. The paper was a mixture of brown and green; the pictures, huge chromos in plush and gilt frames; the furniture, shiny, varnished oak, upholstered in harsh green plush that rose up under you as you sat on it like some angry, bristling animal. The mantel-piece was covered with hideous bric-a-brac and there were what-nots and cabinets and shelves laden with treasured atrocities: colored plaster figures, shell boxes, vases of paper flowers, beaded mats and various cooking utensils, gilded, with ribbon bows tied on the handles.

“I did not understand that you were such large young ladies,” was the greeting of our hostess as we seated ourselves gingerly on the bristling plush chairs.

“Oh, yes, we are–ahem–grown-up,” said Dee, who always said something when it was expected of her.

“Your father did not mention that you were so large,” persisted madame.

“No! Perhaps he didn’t like to acknowledge it,” said Dum flippantly, her eyes glued to a mysterious foot-stool that she was trying to make out in the gloom of the room.

“If I had known you were so large I should have been compelled to ask more board,” went on the landlady.

“But he told you our age, did he not?” asked Dee.

“Age has nothing to do with appetite!” snorted our boarding housekeeper. “But never mind I find that since I am a widow every one tries to get ahead of me.” This with a tone between a sniff and a whine.

“But, Madame Gaston, I am sure our father did not intend to conceal anything from you,” said Dee soothingly. “We are not so very large after all, not above the average height, and if we are, our friend here is a little below and that should even it up.”

Madame Gaston eyed me suspiciously.

“Little people often eat as much as big ones,” she remarked.

“They certainly do!” I exclaimed with a spunk that I felt it was up to me to produce to cope with this dragon. “And I have an excellent appetite that no doubt the change of air will whet.”

“Could we see our rooms?” asked Dee meekly, but with a twinkle in her eye and a gasping tone that presaged a fit of uncontrollable laughter.

“I have only one room for you,” was the stern reply as madame ushered us up the stairs.

“But we understood–” faltered Dee.

“Yes, I know; but I understood you were children, and arranged one room for the three of you.”

Up we went, following Madame Gaston along narrow halls and past closed doors up steep stairways. She puffed and creaked as she climbed the steps. We kept a respectful distance behind her as we had a feeling she might go to pieces at any moment as the exercise seemed to put too much strain on her tight, shiny satin basque. I felt like the colored waiter who begged of the gentleman who was much puffed up with his own importance: “Please don’ bus’ on me, boss!”

Reaching the third floor, Madame Gaston opened the door of the back room with a flourish.

“Voila!”

It was a large room with two back windows which I am sure had not been opened for weeks. The light was carefully kept out by heavy dark valances with much chenille fringe. Olive green shades, also fringed, were drawn to within a foot of the sills. The paper was the favorite mixture of green and brown with terrifying wiggily figures that might have been birds and might have been beasts and were in reality only scrolls.

Dum raised one of the shades and I hoped she would raise a window too, but evidently fear of madame restrained her.

“But it was a bedroom we wanted,” faltered Dee.

“Certainment! This is a bedroom and a very handsome one at that, n’est ce pas?”

None of us had the hardihood to gainsay her.

“But the beds!” we exclaimed wonderingly. The room had three Morris chairs, all of them in bad state of repair. We had yet to learn that all the furniture that is discarded by other roomers always finds its way to the third floor back. We were rapidly catching on to the fact, though. A strange looking high book case was on one side of the room and a wardrobe filled the space between the windows. The mantel-piece was decorated by a large, yellow, snub-nosed bust of Schiller and at each end were vases made to represent old top boots. These were filled with artificial flowers of gay paper.

“Les lits! Ah, mademoiselle wishes to see the beds? Voila, un lit de duvet, de parade!” and with a swoop she pounced upon the wardrobe and with a mighty pull she jerked down the front, disclosing a folding bed. I thought for a moment that an accident was happening and that the massive wardrobe was going to mash our hostess. I sprang forward to snatch her from under the falling furniture but I realized my mistake in time to dissemble.

“Oh!” gasped Dee. “But three of us cannot sleep in that–that–wardrobe.”

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