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IT was the fifteenth day of June, and the last day of school. Alice Grey had just said her last good-byes to the other girls, and was starting on her homeward way when she heard a voice behind her.“Alice, Alice, wait a minute.”Alice turned around and saw Susy Lee running towards her.
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George M. Baker
DOWN BY THE SEA.
IT was the fifteenth day of June, and the last day of school. Alice Grey had just said her last good-byes to the other girls, and was starting on her homeward way when she heard a voice behind her.
“Alice, Alice, wait a minute.”
Alice turned around and saw Susy Lee running towards her.
“Let’s go on together,” said Susy, overtaking her friend. “There is no use in walking alone when one can have company.”
“No, indeed,” said Alice, laughing, “particularly when the company has a good big sun umbrella, and the one has none. Here, let me take your arm, and creep under your shade, that’s a love.”
“Isn’t it hot?” exclaimed Susy, when they were both comfortably settled under the shade of the umbrella. “See, there isn’t a breath of wind.”
“Hot isn’t the word for it,” said Alice; “why, it is simply scorching. I am so glad we are through with school, for it is really dreadful to study in this weather. I am crazy to get off to the country, aren’t you?”
“Yes, indeed, I am,” said Susy. “I just love the country; don’t you? When I get on my blue flannel sailor suit and my big shade hat, and know that I can get just as mussy as I please, I am too happy for anything. Where are you going this summer?”
“Oh, we are going to Sandy Shore; we go there every summer. Papa has a cottage there.”
“Sandy Shore!” exclaimed Susy. “Why, how perfectly delightful. I am going there, too. Papa has rented a house for the summer, and we are to start off in about a week.”
The children were of course overjoyed to find that they were to be companions for the summer, and had a great deal to talk about. And so busy were they that Alice’s house was in sight long before the important event had been thoroughly discussed.
When they reached Mr. Grey’s it was nearly time for luncheon, however, so Alice and Susy
kissed each other good-bye, and separated, each to confide to her mother the pleasant prospects for the summer.
Alice found the house in rather a confused state. Trunks were in every room; carpets were being taken up; and everything denoted that a change of some sort was about to take place.
Alice flew up the stairs, and, rushing into her mamma’s room, she found her father and mother talking together very earnestly about something.
“Why, mamma,” she exclaimed, “what is the matter? Are we going to the country earlier than usual?”
“Yes, Alice,” said Mrs. Grey, “we are going to the country day after to-morrow. Now that your school is ended there is no need of our staying longer in town, and I am impatient enough to get away from this heat. I don’t suppose you are sorry, are you?” she added, laughing.
“Not very,” said Alice. “I am nearly roasted with this heat, and, mamma, just think, isn’t it too lovely? Susy Lee is going to Sandy Shore for the summer. Her papa has rented a cottage there.”
“Why, that must be the cottage next to us. I heard Mr. Morton had rented it but I did not know to whom. I am so glad. How delightful it will be for you.”
“But now you must run, my dear, for I am so busy that if I stop to talk to you I shall never finish what I have to do. I wish you would go up in the nursery, and see if the children are all right. Maria is so busy helping me that she has no time to look after them.”
Alice went up stairs, resolving that she would take care of the children all the afternoon. “I cannot pack the trunks,” she said,
“but I can help by giving the others time to do it.”
She found beside her little sister Janet and brother Harry, Pauline and Charley Roberts there. The children had found a box of paints, and had been amusing themselves by making pictures of each other. They were in a great state of merriment over their last performance when Alice opened the door and walked in.
“Why don’t you paint something really nice?” said she. “I have some pictures in my room, and you can draw any one which you will select. Now, wait a minute till I bring you some.”
So Alice went to her room, and soon returned with some pictures. The children gathered around, and, after some hesitation, they selected a picture of a man skating.
“Let’s choose this,” said Charley Roberts; “It is such a hot day that a winter scene is refreshing. Doesn’t it feel delightful to breathe that cold air, and to see all that ice and snow?”
Alice laughed at this flight of imagination, and seating herself upon the floor she began to look over her sketch-book, while the children amused themselves by drawing.
The hours flew quickly past, and Alice took such good care of the children that her mamma was able to get everything ready for their departure in time. The eventful day arrived, and at six o’clock the children were up. The train left so early that it was necessary to make a very early start.
Breakfast was hurriedly eaten, and then the small bags and parcels which had not been already sent were gathered together, and out went the happy party to the carriage which was waiting for them at the door.
Oh, how delightful it was to be leaving the hot city with all its noise and dust, and how sorry Alice felt for all the people she met who were obliged to remain behind. Although the morning was cool, the day which followed was sure to be warm and uncomfortable.
The ride in the cars was long and dusty, to be sure, but who cared for that when there was
something so delightful to look forward to at the end?
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