Read CHAPTER VIII - JETTY’S PARTY of A Dear Little Girl's Thanksgiving Holidays , free online book, by Amy E. Blanchard, on ReadCentral.com.

Grandma was so concerned lest Edna had taken fresh cold by reason of this latest adventure that she insisted upon putting the little girl through a course of treatment to prevent possible evil results. “After dabbling in that cold water and getting her feet wet it will be a wonder if she isn’t laid up,” said grandma, coming into the room just as Edna was going to bed. “She must have her feet in mustard water, and Amanda is making a hot lemonade for her.”

So Edna’s feet were thrust into the hot bath, and she was made to sip the hot drink, then was bundled into bed with charges not to allow her arms out from under the covers. It was rather a warm and unpleasant experience, and the worst of it was that grandma said the next morning that she mustn’t think of going out-of-doors that day.

“Oh, dear,” sighed the little girl, when she was alone with her mother, “don’t you think grandma is very particular? Did she used to do so when you were a little girl?”

“She did indeed, and when she was a little girl it was even worse, for instead of lemonade to drink, she was made to take a very bitter dose of herb tea, or a dreadful mess called composition which had every sort of nauseous thing in it you can think of. Little folks nowadays get off very easily, it seems to me.”

“I didn’t mind the hot lemonade a bit, but I shall never forget the smell of that mustard water,” said Edna after a pause.

Her mother laughed. “You must be thankful that it is no more than that.”

“What am I going to do to-day?” inquired the little girl. “I was going to do ever so many nice things out-of-doors and now I can’t.”

“Then we must think up some nice things to do indoors.”

“What kind of things?”

“I shall have to put on my thinking cap in order to find that out. Meanwhile, suppose you run down to grandma with this tumbler; it had your lemonade in it and should go down to be washed.”

Edna ran off to her grandma, coming back presently with a much brighter countenance than she took away. “Grandma is going to let me help with the turtle cakes,” she said eagerly. “That’s a very nice thing, don’t you think?”

“I think that is very nice indeed.”

“Amanda is mixing them now, and when they are cut out, I am going to help with the turtles. Good-bye, mother; I will bring you one of my turtles as soon as they are baked.”

These turtle cakes were much prized by the Conway children. When grandma sent a box from the farm there was always a supply of these famous cookies. Grandma had promised that Edna should take some home with her when she went on Saturday morning. She watched Amanda roll them out, cut them in rounds and place them in the pans; then came Edna’s part in the preparation. Amanda showed her how to put first a big fat raisin in the center of the cake, then a current for the turtle’s head, four cloves were then stuck in, part way under the raisin, thus making the feet, and for the tail, another clove with the sharp end out. Amanda could do them much faster than Edna, but the child was greatly pleased to have completed a whole pan all by herself, and when these were baked she carefully carried some of them to her mother and Aunt Alice. Grandma had already seen the results of her granddaughter’s labors.

“I know just how to do them now, mother,” said Edna, “and I think it is great fun. Grandma is going to save the pan I did so I can have them to carry home.”

“You might have a tea-party for the dolls this afternoon, and use some of your cookies for refreshments.”

“Could Reliance come?”

“Why, I should think so. I have thought of something else for you to do this morning; you could begin a Christmas gift for Celia. You know you always have a hard time keeping her gift a secret.”

“What kind of thing could I make?”

“I noticed that your sister’s little work bag was getting rather dingy and I am sure she would be delighted to have a new one.”

“But where will I get anything to make it of?”

“No doubt grandma has something in her piece-bag; she always has all sorts of odds and ends, and it would give her pleasure to let you have anything that might serve the purpose. I will ask her, and we can get the ribbons for it any time between now and Christmas.”

Her mother was as good as her word, and leaving the room came back in a few minutes with a large bag whose contents she emptied on the bed. “There,” she said, “take your choice. Grandma says you are perfectly welcome to anything you find.”

Edna began turning over the pieces. “You help me choose, mother,” she said presently. “I don’t know just how big the piece ought to be.”

Her mother drew up her chair and began to look over the bits of gay silk before her. “I declare,” she said presently, “here is a piece of a party frock I wore when I was about Celia’s age. It was almost my first real new party frock, for before that I always wore a simple white muslin. This is perfectly new, and must have been left over. To think of its being in this bag all those years. It appears to be sufficiently strong, however.” She shook it out and held it up to the light. The material was a pale green silk with tiny bunches of flowers upon it. Edna thought it very pretty.

“I think Celia will be perfectly delighted to have a bag made of your first party frock, mother,” she said. “Do you think grandma would mind my having it?”

“I am sure she will be very much pleased. We will decide upon that, and you can put back the rest of the pieces. There will be an abundance in this for a nice, full bag I am sure. I will cut it out for you and show you just how to make it.”

The time passed so rapidly in planning and making the bag that it was the dinner hour before they knew it, and after dinner came an unexpected call from Alcinda. She was a sedate-looking little girl with big blue eyes and straight, mouse-colored hair, but upon this occasion she was dimpling and smiling as she handed a tiny, three-cornered note to Edna. Upon opening this Edna discovered, written in a childish hand, the following words, “Mr. Jetty Hewlett requests the honor of Miss Edna Conway’s company to a tea-party at four o’clock this afternoon.”

“Oh, dear,” sighed Edna, “I’m awfully afraid I can’t go, for grandma said it was as much as my life was worth to go out of the house to-day.”

“Oh, but you aren’t ill, are you?” asked Alcinda.

“No, but she is afraid I will be.”

“But you must come,” persisted Alcinda, “for it is in honor of you and Reliance, and Jetty is going to help receive.”

“I will go ask mother,” returned Edna, and running off she returned with Mrs. Conway.

“Mayn’t Edna come to Jetty’s tea-party?” begged Alcinda. “We have everything planned, and it will be perfectly dreadful if she stays away. She won’t take cold, just going across the street, and our house is as warm as anything.”

Edna looked beseechingly at her mother. “Do please say yes, mother,” she begged.

“I don’t see how you could take cold going just across the street, if you wrap up well and wear your rubbers,” said her mother.

“Goody! Goody!” cried Alcinda. “Here is an invitation for Reliance, too. Be sure to come at four o’clock. I have some more invitations to deliver so I must go.”

“Now I needn’t have a tea-party for the dolls,” said Edna when Alcinda had gone. Her mother smiled. “You speak as if that would be a great hardship,” she remarked.

“No, I don’t mean that, but I would so much rather go to Alcinda’s. Shall I wear my best frock, mother?”

“Why, yes, I think you may.”

“I wonder if grandma will let Reliance go, and what she will wear,” said Edna, after a moment’s thought. “I think I will go ask, mother, for I don’t want to be better dressed than Reliance; it was really she who saved Jetty, you know.”

“That is the proper feeling, dear child.”

Edna flew off to find Reliance who had received her invitation, and hoped for the permission from Mrs. Willis. “I do hope she will let me go,” she said fervently. “Come with me, Edna, when I ask her, won’t you?”

Edna was very ready to do this, and hunted up her grandmother. “Oh, grandma,” she cried, “we’ve been invited to a party over at Alcinda’s. Jetty is giving it in honor of Reliance and me. Mother says I won’t take cold just going across the street, and you are going to let Reliance go, too, aren’t you?”

“What’s all this?” inquired grandma.

Edna repeated her news, but her grandmother did not reply for a moment. “I am afraid Reliance will not be back in time to do her evening work,” she said at last.

“Oh, but ­” this was an unexpected objection, “couldn’t she do some of it before she goes?”

“She might do some, but not all, however, we will see. Reliance, you bustle around and see how smart you can be, and I will think what can be done.”

“I can set the table,” said Edna eagerly. “Would you mind if it were done so much ahead of time for just this once?”

“No,” replied her grandmother very kindly.

“And may I skim the milk and bring up the butter for supper? I can set it in the pantry where it will keep cool,” Reliance said.

“You may do that,” Mrs. Willis told her.

“What else will there be to do?” asked Edna, as the two little girls hurried from the room.

“I have to turn down the beds and light the lamps when it gets dark.”

“That isn’t very much to do. Maybe Amanda wouldn’t mind seeing to those things for just this one time. I am going to ask her.”

Reliance was only too glad to have Edna take this request off her hands, herself having a wholesome awe of Amanda, but to her relief Amanda was in a good humor and promised to look after these extra duties, so in good season Reliance was free to prepare for the party, while Edna went to her mother to be dressed.

“Mother,” she said, “do you think it is funny to go to a party with a bound girl? Is a bound girl the same as a Friendless? You know Margaret McDonald is our friend, and she used to be a Friendless.”

“I don’t think it is funny at all. Reliance had no home, to be sure, till your grandmother took her, but she is a good, little girl, and I used to know her father when I lived here.”

“Oh, mother, did you?”

“Oh, yes, he was quite a nice, young man. I never knew his wife, but I am afraid he did not marry very well. Reliance will probably have to work for her living, but that is no reason why she should not be treated as an equal. The people about here know she comes of good stock and that the poverty of the family was due more to misfortune than misbehavior. I have no doubt but Reliance will make a fine woman, as her grandmother was, and when she is grown up, she may marry some farmer of the neighborhood, and take the place she should.”

This was all very interesting to Edna, and she sat looking at the outstretched feet upon which she had just drawn her stockings till her mother reminded her that time was flying. “Wake up, dearie,” she said. “Why, what a brown study you are in. Reliance will be ready long before you are. Hurry on with your shoes, and then come let me tie your hair.”

At this Edna jumped and bustled around with such promptness that she was ready by the time Reliance came to the door neatly dressed in her bright plaid frock and scarlet hair ribbons. She was a dark-haired, dark-eyed little girl with rosy cheeks, and though not exactly pretty, had a pleasant, intelligent face. Edna had finally decided not to wear her best white frock, but had on a pretty blue challis, quite suited to the occasion, her mother told her.

The two little girls set out in high feather and arrived at Alcinda’s house to find that several had reached there before them. Jetty, with a huge red bow on his collar, barked a welcome, and Alcinda beamed upon them as they entered. “I was so afraid something would happen to keep you,” she said.

Esther Ann hurried forward to talk as fast as she could, as was her habit, her words tumbling over one another in her effort and excitement. “Wasn’t it splendid that you two found Jetty? I wish we had gone that way, but then maybe we wouldn’t have found him after all. I think it is real nice of Alcinda to ask Reliance when she is a bound girl, don’t you?” This in an aside to Edna. “I’m sure she is as good as anybody. How long are you going to stay? Here, I’ll show you where to take off your things; you needn’t go, Alcinda.” And she swept the little hostess aside while she led the way to an upper room.

By this time, the latest comers had arrived, so there were about a dozen in all, enough for almost any game they might choose to play. In the first, Hide the Handkerchief, Jetty joined with great zeal, being always the first one to find the handkerchief. “You see he does it with his nose,” said Alcinda by way of explanation, a remark which made everyone laugh, and set the lively Esther Ann to sticking her nose into every corner the next time the handkerchief was hidden.

“You ought to put cologne on it and then maybe we could find it,” she said, and this, too, raised a laugh as she meant it should, for it took very little to amuse them.

At five o’clock a tray was brought in. Delicious cocoa and home-made cakes were served, followed by candies, nuts and raisins. While the girls were busy over these, Alcinda cast many glances toward the door and once or twice whispered to her mother, who nodded reassuringly. It was evident that some matter of surprise was to follow. What it was, came to light a little later when Mr. Hewlett came in. He knew each little girl, for even Edna was no stranger to him, so he spoke to each by name. Then he stood up by the fireplace and said: “You have all heard of the medals which are given for the performance of brave deeds. Well, my little girl thinks her small dog would like to show his appreciation of the act which saved his life the other day, and so I have prepared two medals for the heroines of that occasion; they are not gold medals; in fact they are not real medals and of no special value except that they represent her, and our, gratitude to the little girls who were the life savers.” He paused and looked at Alcinda who bustled forward and gave into his hands two tiny baskets.

“Here, Jetty,” called Mr. Hewlett, and Jetty, who had been sitting in Mrs. Hewlett’s lap, jumped down and danced over to see what was required of him. Mr. Hewlett stooped down and gave the dog one of the small baskets which he took in his month with much wagging of tail.

“Take it, Jetty,” ordered Mr. Hewlett. Jetty started off toward his little mistress, who quickly left her place and stood by Edna’s chair. Jetty dropped the basket, not knowing exactly what was expected of him.

“Bring it here, Jet,” said Alcinda. Therefore, being sure of himself, Jetty frisked over to where Alcinda was standing. “Give it to Edna,” said Alcinda, laying her hand on Edna’s lap. Jetty did as he was told and then scampered back to repeat the operation, this time it being Reliance to whom he was directed to go.

“Do let’s see,” urged Esther Ann, edging up to Edna.

Edna uncovered the basket and saw a box lying there. Inside the box was a new quarter in which a hole had been drilled; a string had been passed through this and to the string was attached a bow of blue ribbon. Reliance found the same in her basket, only her ribbon was red.

“You must put them on and wear them,” said Alcinda, “so everyone can see how honorable you are.” She didn’t just know why her father and mother smiled so broadly.

The girls proudly pinned on their medals and wore them home, for very soon came grandpa to say they must get ready to go.

“I’m going to keep mine forever and ever, aren’t you?” whispered Reliance, as she started around to the kitchen door.

“’Deed I am,” returned Edna.