Marjorie in Command - Carolyn Wells - ebook

Marjorie in Command ebook

Carolyn Wells



Carolyn Wells (1862-1942) was an American poet and writer of detective and mystery novels, as well as children’s books, best known for her Fleming Stone Detective Stories. Marjorie series is Carolyn Wells’s also known series was publicized as happy books for happy girls. The series includes „Marjorie’s Vacation”, „Marjorie’s Busy Days”, „Marjorie’s New Friend”, „Marjorie in Command”, „Marjorie’s Maytime”, and „Marjorie at Seacote”. Marjorie is a happy American little girl of twelve, up to mischief, but full of goodness and sincerity. The incidents of her summer vacation are such as will delight any little girl. In her and her friends every girl reader will see much of her own love of fun, play, and adventure. Highly recommended!

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Liczba stron: 260

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“Well,” said Marjorie, “I think it’s too perfectly, awfully, horribly dreadful for anything in all this world!”

“I do, too,” agreed King. “It’s a calamity, and a catastrophe and a cat,–a cata–cataclysm!”

“Of course it is,” said Kitty, who was philosophical. “But as it’s all settled, and we’ve got to live through it, we may as well make the best of it.”

“The best of it!” grumbled King; “there isn’t any best! It’s all outrageously horrid, and that’s all there is about it! I don’t see how we can stand it.”

“S’pose we say we just won’t stand it,” suggested Marjorie; “do you think they’d stay home?”

“No, indeedy!” declared King. “You know as well as I do, the tickets are bought, and everything is arranged for.”

“Even us,” said Kitty, sadly.

“Yes; even us,” repeated her brother. “And how are we arranged for? Left in charge of Larkin! Old Loony Larkin!”

“Hush, King, that’s disrespectful,” said Marjorie, laughing in spite of herself.

“Well, she is old; and she is Larkin; and I think she’s loony!”

“But you mustn’t say so, if you do,” persisted Marjorie.

“Indeed you mustn’t,” said Mrs. Maynard, coming into the living room where the three children were holding an indignation meeting. “I’m ashamed of you, King!”

“Aw, Mother, forgive me this once, and I won’t ever say such a thing again till next time.”

Kingdon sidled up to his mother, and nestled his cheek against hers in such a cajoling way, that Mrs. Maynard smiled, and forbore further reproof just then.

“But, dearies all,” she went on, “you mustn’t take such an attitude toward Miss Larkin; she’s good and kind and will look after you nicely till I return.”

“Larkin, Larkin,

All the time a-barkin’,”

chanted King, pinching his mother’s lips together, so she couldn’t reprimand him.

The whole tale of the Maynard children’s tribulations may be told in a few words.

Mrs. Maynard’s health was not quite up to its usual standard, and her husband had decided to take her for a short Southern trip. They would be absent from home about six weeks, and Miss Larkin, a friend of Mrs. Maynard’s, was to come and take care of the household of four children.

Now, though the little Maynards were perhaps more inclined to mischief than model children ought to be, they were a loving and affectionate little brood, and, moreover, they truly tried to correct their faults as pointed out to them by their parents.

The fundamental principle of Mr. and Mrs. Maynard’s training was common-sense, and this, added to deep parental love, made their discipline both wise and kind.

Mrs. Maynard, herself, had some doubts of Miss Larkin’s ability to manage the children tactfully, but there was no one else to ask to stay with them, and they could not be left entirely in charge of the servants, trusted and tried though they were.

But it was only for six weeks, anyway, and as Mr. Maynard said, they couldn’t become thorough-going reprobates in that short time.

Miss Larkin was delighted with the prospect. A quiet and rather lonely spinster, she welcomed the idea of a stay in a merry, lively home, where she should be the commanding spirit over both children and servants.

And so, it was only the four small Maynards who raised objections. Though they didn’t actively dislike Miss Larkin, they felt she was not in sympathy with their childish affairs and they could not know that this arose from ignorance, not unwillingness on her part.

It was a long time since Miss Larkin had been a child, and when she was, she was not like the children of to-day.

She thought she understood young people, but her ideas were old-fashioned, and often quite contradictory to the Maynards’ views.

However, as Kitty had said, the matter was settled. Mr. and Mrs. Maynard were going, Miss Larkin was coming, and all they had to do was to accept the situation and make the best of it.

“And perhaps it won’t be so bad,” said Mother Maynard, as they talked it over. “When Miss Larkin is living here with you, she’ll be more chummy and jolly than when she just comes to call or to spend the day.”

“I hope so,” sighed Marjorie; “you see, it’ll be the worst for me. King’s a boy, and he won’t have to have much to do with her; Kitty doesn’t seem to mind her so much, anyway; and, of course Rosy Posy is too little to care. But I shall have to entertain her, and go walking with her, and,–and, oh, Mother, how I shall miss you!”

Marjorie fairly pulled King out of Mrs. Maynard’s arms, and flung herself into them, with one of her sudden bursts of demonstrative affection.

“Take me with you, Mothery,” she wailed; “oh, do take me with you!”

“Nonsense, Midget,” said Mrs. Maynard, knowing it was best to treat the matter lightly; “why, the family would all go to pieces if you weren’t here. As you just now implied you’re the most important member of the household, and you’re needed here to keep all running smoothly in my absence.”

This was a new view of things, and Marjorie brightened up considerably.

“Shall I be head of the house, Mother? May I sit at the head of the table?”

Mrs. Maynard took a moment to think this over. Marjorie was only twelve, and she was sometimes a harum-scarum little girl; but, on the other hand, if she felt a sense of importance, she often acted with good sense and judgment beyond her years. At last Mrs. Maynard said:

“Yes, Midget; I believe I will let you sit at the head of the table. Miss Larkin is really a guest, and I think it would be better for you to be hostess in my place. Kingdon will sit in his father’s place, and I shall trust you two to uphold the dignity and decorum of the Maynard household.”

“Will Miss Larkin like that?” said Marjorie.

“I think so; or I should not consent to the arrangement. Miss Larkin is, I know, more anxious to please you children, than you are to please her. And so, to please me, I want you all to be very good to her. Kind, polite, deferential, considerate, all the things that a host and hostess should be to their guest.”

“H’m,” said Marjorie, considering; “p’raps she’d better be hostess, and let me be guest.”

“No, Mopsy; that matter’s settled. You shall be the lady of the house; and Miss Larkin your honored guest for whose pleasure and comfort you must do all you can.”

“Pooh,” said King, “if she’s only company, I don’t see why she need come at all.”

“In return for your kindness to her, she will do much for you. She will really keep house, in the sense of giving orders, looking after your clothes and mending, and superintending the servants.”

“Must we obey her, Mother?”

“Well, that’s rather a delicate point, my boy. I hope there’ll be no very serious questions of obedience, for I trust you won’t want to do anything that Miss Larkin will think she ought to forbid.”

“But if she does, must we obey?” persisted Kingdon.

“Hello, hello! What’s all this about love, honor, and obey?” cried a voice in the doorway, and the Maynards looked up to see Mr. Maynard smiling at them as he entered the room.

“Oh, Father!” cried Marjorie, making a spring at him; “do come and help us settle these awful questions. Must we obey Miss Larkin, while you and Mother are away?”

“Me ‘bey Miss Larky,” said Rosy Posy, as she toddled to her father and clasped him round the knees, nearly upsetting that genial gentleman. “Me goody gail; me ‘bey Miss Larky booful.”

“Kit’s good at it, too,” said King. “So let Kitty and Rosy Posy do the obeying, and Mops and I will count out.”

“What direful deeds are you planning, in defiance of Miss Larkin’s orders?” asked Mr. Maynard, sitting down, and taking the baby up in his arms.

“Not any,” said King; “but I hate to feel that I must do as she says, whether I want to or not.”

“But,” said his father, “you always do as Mother says, whether you want to, or not.”

“Yes, sir; but then, you see, I love Mother.”

This simple explanation seemed to please Mr. Maynard, and he said:

“Well, I wouldn’t bother much about this obedience matter. I doubt if Miss Larkin lays down very strict laws, anyway. Suppose you take this for a rule. Don’t do anything that you think Mother would forbid if she were at home.”

“That’s ever so much better,” said King, with a sigh of relief. “I did hate to be tied to old Larky’s apron strings.”

“Hold on, King, my boy. Stop right there. Obedience is one thing, respect another. You are, at my orders, to be respectful to Miss Larkin, both in speech and in spirit. Is that understood?”

“Yes, sir,” said Kingdon, looking ashamed. “I understand, and I’ll obey; but, Father, we always call her Larky.”

“But you won’t any more. I don’t think you realize what bad taste it is, for a child to speak so of an elder person. Call your school friends by nicknames, if you like, but show to grown-ups the civility and respect that good-breeding calls for.”

“All right; I’ll call her the Honorable Miss Larkin; Dear Madam,” and King swept a magnificent bow nearly to the floor, in token of his great respect for the lady.

“But do hurry home as soon as you can,” said Marjorie, as she squeezed her father’s coat sleeve with one hand, and with the other reached out to grasp a fold of her mother’s trailing gown.

“We’ll be gone just six weeks, dearie,” said Mr. Maynard. “I can’t remain away longer than that. And I think that will be long enough to make the roses bloom once more on Mother’s wan cheeks.” Mrs. Maynard smiled.

“I’m not really ill, Ed,” she said; “it’s more of a pleasure trip than a health trip, I think. And six weeks will be quite long enough to burden Miss Larkin with these four beautiful but not very manageable children.”

“And, oh, Father,” cried Marjorie, “there’ll be an Ourday while you’re gone! What shall we do about that?”

“Bless my stars!” said Mr. Maynard; “so there will. I hadn’t thought of that! Shall we give up the trip, Helen?”

“No,” said Kitty, who always took things seriously; “we can have two Ourdays together when you come back.”

“Bravo, Kitsie!” said her father; “you have a logical head. I think you had better take charge of the family while we’re gone.”

“I’m not old enough,” said Kitty, practically. “But I’ll help all I can.”

“I know you will,” said Mrs. Maynard, caressing her. “And you’ll all do the best you can. I know my quartette, and I can trust them to do right,–if they think in time.”

“That’s just it,” said Mr. Maynard, his eyes twinkling. “I expect King or Midget will pull the house down around Miss Larkin’s ears, and then excuse themselves by saying they forgot it was mischievous until it was all over.”

“All over Miss Larkin, I suppose you mean,” said Marjorie, chuckling at her own joke.

“Oho!” laughed Kingdon; “Mopsy’s quite a wit, isn’t she? Give us another, Midget!”

As he spoke, he affectionately pulled off Marjorie’s hair ribbon, and the mop of dark curls that gave her one of her nicknames came tumbling all over her laughing face.

This was a favorite performance of King’s, and though it never teased Marjorie, there was, of course, but one reply to it. That was to tweak the end of King’s Windsor tie out of its neat bow, and, if possible, out from under his flat round white collar.

But knowing what was coming, King sprang away and around the table before even quick-motioned Midget could catch him. Of course a race ensued. Round the room they went, knocking over a few chairs and light articles of furniture, until King paused and danced maddeningly up and down on one side of the large centre table, while Midget, at the other side, stood alert to spring after him should he run.

“Mopsy, Midget, Midge, just come around the idge!” sang King, as he made a feint of going one way, then another.

But even as he leaned over to smile teasingly in her face, Marjorie made a quick grab across the table, and just gripped the end of his tie enough to untie it.

Then, of course, peace was declared, although a pile of books was knocked off the table, and a small vase upset.

“My dear children,” sighed Mrs. Maynard, as Marjorie, flushed but smiling with victory, came back to her mother to have her hair retied, “why do you have to play so,–so emphatically?”

“Why, I just had to catch him, you see,” was Midget’s plausible explanation, “’cause a hair-ribbon pull-off always means a necktie untie. Doesn’t it, King?”

“Yep,” agreed her brother, who was adjusting his tie before a mirror, “always. If Miss Larkin pulls off my tie, I shall sure go for her hair-ribbon.”

“I believe you would,” said Mrs. Maynard; “and the worst of it is, Miss Larkin will be so anxious to entertain and amuse you, that I’m sure she’ll try to enter into your childish games. If she does, do try to remember she’s a lady and not a member of the Jinks Club.”

“She can be a member if she wants to,” said King, condescendingly; “only if she is, she must take what she gets.”

“Well, she’ll be here pretty soon, and I’ll warn her,” said Mr. Maynard.

“No,” said his wife, “she’s not coming to-night, after all. I expected her, but she telephoned to-day that she can’t come until to-morrow afternoon.”

“And we leave to-morrow morning! Why, my dear, that’s too bad.”

“Yes; I’m sorry, for there are lots of things I want to tell her. I’ll write a long note and leave it for her. And, Marjorie, I trust to you to welcome her properly, and in every way act like a gracious hostess.”

“I think I’ll practise,” said Midget, jumping up. “Now, you be Miss Larkin, Father, and I’ll be me.”

“Very well,” said Mr. Maynard, going out to the hall, and coming in again.

“Why, how do you do, Marjorie?” he said, offering his hand in exact imitation but not caricature of Miss Larkin’s vivacious manner. Marjorie suppressed a giggle, and gave her hand, as she said:

“How do you do, Miss Larkin? I hope you understand that we’re a very bad crowd of children. At least, King and I are. Kit and Rosy are angels.”

“Indeed! I thought you were the angelic one.”

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