Read CHAPTER VI of Polly and the Princess, free online book, by Emma C. Dowd, on


Polly was on the veranda when Doodles came.

“Why, Doodles Stickney! I was just thinking of you! How did you know I wanted to see you this morning?”

“I didn’t,” he laughed; “but I wanted to see you’”

“I’m so glad oh, I forgot! I’m due at the dentist’s at ten o’clock! Maybe I can get off.”

“No, no! I couldn’t stay till that time anyway. I came down on business

“Dear me!” laughed Polly, “how grand we are this morning!”

“I don’t know whether it is ‘grand’ or not it depends a good deal on the president of June Holiday Home. I’ll tell you all about it,” dropping into a chair beside Polly.

He related the incidents of the day before, of Miss Lily’s meeting him at the church door, of his singing to her in the afternoon, and finally of her distress at going to the poorhouse.

“And I happened to think if she could only come to the June Holiday Home

“Lovely!” cried Polly. “I don’t see why she can’t!”

“Nor I, but somebody may. I thought I’d see you first and maybe you’d give me a little note of introduction you know Mr. Randolph so well, and I never spoke to him.”

“Certainly I will! I’ll go right and do it now! Chris will want to see you I’ll send him out.”

The note that Doodles carried away with him was in Polly’s best style.

Dear Mr. Randolph:  This is to introduce my friend Doodles Stickney, or to be perfectly proper, Julius Stickney. He will tell you about Miss Lily, and I do hope you will make a place for her at the Home. I have never seen her, but I know she is nice, or Doodles wouldn’t like her or take so much trouble to get her in. I feel awfully sorry for her. It must be dreadful to have your eyes give out so you have to go to the poorhouse.

Miss Sniffen made a terrible fuss because you stayed at the picnic with us or because we stayed with you. Anyway, she scolded Miss Nita like everything. I’m afraid we can’t ever have a picnic again. She began on me when I went to report our arrival she happened to be at the desk. You know you have to report as soon as you get in, and I said I’d do it for the crowd. Miss Nita couldn’t because her ankle ached so. It turned black and blue just awful! She wouldn’t say a word to anybody, and father sent some liniment by me. The first smelt so strong Miss Nita didn’t dare use it for fear they’d suspect, so father sent her another kind. He said it wasn’t quite so good as the smelly sort, but her ankle is a whole lot better. Don’t you think she is brave? I don’t know what Miss Sniffen would say if she knew about that. We’ve all kept whist.

This is a pretty long letter, but I knew you’d want
to hear about Miss Nita’s ankle. You will let Miss
Lily in, won’t you?
Yours with hope,
Polly may Dudley.

Thank you ever so much for that beautiful ride! I
shall never forget it.

Doodles walked into the great office of the Fair Harbor Paper Company and asked to see Mr. Randolph.

“We hired a boy last week. We don’t want any more.” The clerk was turning away.

“Oh, I’m not applying for a place!” cried Doodles, his voice full of laughter. “I wish to see the president on business.”

The young man scowled, irritated by his blunder, and surveyed the boy with a disagreeable sneer.

“Well, he’s too busy to attend to kids. What do you want anyhow?”

Doodles hesitated. He did not wish to tell his errand to this pompous young person.

“Please say to Mr. Randolph that I would like to see him on important business about the June Holiday Home.”

“Who sent you?”

“No one; but I have a letter of introduction.”

“Oh, you have! Hand it out!”

Doodles made no move toward his pocket.

“I wish to give it to Mr. Randolph himself,” he said gently.

“Well, you can’t see him. He’s busy now.”

“I will wait,” replied the boy, and took a chair.

The clerk went behind the railing and sat down at a desk.

Doodles looked out on the street and watched the passers. Occasionally his eyes would wander back to the office and over the array of men and women bent to their work, then they would return to the wide doorway. He felt that he had small chance to speak with Mr. Randolph until he should go to luncheon, and that, he argued to himself, would not be a very good time to present his business. He wished that the unpleasant young clerk would go first he would like to try some other.

Men and women came and went, some of them disappearing in the rear, where, undoubtedly, was the man he sought. If only he dared follow! Finally the offensive youth came out through the gate and over to where he sat.

“Here, you kid,” he began in an insolent tone, “you’ve hung round here long enough! Now beat it!”

Into the soft brown eyes of Doodles shot an angry light.

The other saw it and smiled sneeringly. He did not count on the lad’s strength.

In a moment the indignation had passed. There was none of it in the quiet voice. “Good-day, sir!”

Doodles was gone.

A plan had instantly formed in his mind. He would get himself a lunch, and then wait outside the office until Mr. Randolph appeared. That was the only way. It never occurred to him to give the matter up.

One restaurant was passed; it did not look inviting. The next was better, but flies were crawling over the bottles and jars in the window. He went on.

“It will cost more, I suppose,” he muttered regretfully to himself, as he entered a neat cafe where the door was opened to him by a boy in livery.

“Bread and milk,” he ordered of the trim maid, and he smiled to himself contentedly at the daintiness with which it was served.

The milk was cool and sweet, and Doodles was hungry. The whistles and clocks announced that it was noon, and soon afterward people began to stream in. Women with shopping-bags and bundles, men with newspapers, hatless working-girls; but everywhere were courtesy and low voices. Doodles was glad of his choice.

He sat eating slowly, wishing he knew at what time he would be most likely to meet Mr. Randolph, when he stared at a man coming toward him it was the president of the Paper Company! The boy drew in a delighted breath what great good luck!

Mr. Randolph sat down at a little table not far away. He looked tired, the lad thought, and he decided to wait until the close of the meal, if he could manage to make his own small supply of milk last long enough.

“Nothing more, thank you,” Doodles told the maid who came to ask. “This milk is very nice,” he added, which brought out an answering smile.

At last the president had reached his fruit.

The boy’s last crumb had vanished long ago, and he thought he might venture across to the other table.

“May I speak with you a moment, sir?” he asked softly, taking the letter from his pocket.

“Certainly.” The man bowed with his accustomed courtesy.

“Polly Dudley gave me this for you.”

At mention of the name a pleasant light over-spread the grave face.

The lad watched him as he read. The light deepened, then the brows drew together in a scowl. Doodles wondered what Polly had written.

“This lady is a friend of yours, I take it.”

The keen gray eyes looked straight at the boy.

“Yes, sir,” Doodles smiled, “though a very new one. I never saw her till yesterday.”

The eyes bent upon him widened a little.

The lad told his story as simply as possible, touching lightly upon his own part in it. “And so,” he ended artlessly, his appealing brown eyes looking straight into the steady gray ones, “I thought, even if there were rules and patches and things she didn’t like, it would be better than the poorhouse.”

A little amused smile replaced the hint of surprise on the man’s face.

“Where do you sing?” he asked abruptly.

“At St. Bartholomew’s Church, Foxford.”

“Did you come down expressly to see me about this?”

“Yes, sir,” answered Doodles.

“How did you know I was here?”

“I didn’t.” A smile overspread the small face. “I waited at your office until” he hesitated an instant “I thought I would find you after I had had a lunch.”

“Get hungry?”

“Oh, no, sir!”

Mr. Randolph eyed him questioningly.

“The young man thought I’d waited long enough,” was the gentle explanation.

“So he told you to go!”

“I guess he got tired of seeing me there,” smiled Doodles.

“Did you wait long?”

“’Most two hours.”

“Tall, light-haired fellow, was it?”

The boy assented.

The president mused a moment and then resumed:

“In any case your friend will have to make an application. I think I will let her take a blank. Have her fill it out, and you can send it down to me. I will attend to the rest.”

Doodles rose from his chair, feeling that it was time to go, yet he could not forbear one question.

“Do you think she can come to the Home?” His tone betrayed his solicitude.

“I will do the best I can for her, Master Stickney.” Mr. Randolph had also risen, and he smiled down into the upturned face. “It will have to be referred to the Committee on Applications, but I will see that it is put through as quickly as possible.”

Doodles decided to see Miss Lily before going home, so it was still early afternoon when he entered the little house on North Charles Street.

“Why, you dear boy!” The little lady had him in her arms. “How good of you to come! I was thinking this morning, what if I shouldn’t ever hear you sing again and now here you are!”

“I told you I’d come,” laughed Doodles.

“Yes,” smiled Miss Lily; “but people forget. I guess you aren’t the forgetting kind.”

“I didn’t come to-day to sing,” the boy began slowly. Now that the moment was at hand he felt suddenly shy at disclosing his errand. “I happened to think yesterday of the June Holiday Home down in Fair Harbor, and I wondered if you wouldn’t rather go there and live than to go anywhere else.”

For an instant Miss Lily stared. “That beautiful place up on Edgewood Hill? me? go there?” Her mobile face showed a strange mingling of astonishment, fear, and joy.

“Certainly! Shouldn’t you like to?”

“‘Like to’! All the rest of my life? Oh, I can’t believe it!”

“I don’t know that you can get in,” Doodles hastened to explain; “but I went to Fair Harbor this morning to see Mr. Randolph he’s the president of the Home. He doesn’t know yet for certain, but he has sent you a blank to make out, and then it’s got to go to a committee. He said he’d do the best he could for you, he is a very nice man!”

“And you have taken all this trouble for me?” Miss Lily’s hands went up to her face. The tears trickled down and fell on her dress.

“It wasn’t any trouble,” asserted Doodles. “I thought maybe there was no chance, and so I wouldn’t tell you till I found out.” The lad took the paper from his pocket.

Miss Lily wiped her eyes. “I can’t see to write,” she said tremulously; “that is, not well, and the doctor said I mustn’t try.” She looked mournfully at the boy.

“I’ll do it for you,” he proposed cheerily. “Then if there’s anything to sign you can do it with your eyes shut. I love to write with my eyes shut and see how near I come to it!”

“I never tried,” she admitted, “but perhaps I could.”

“It says first, ‘Your name in full.’” Doodles looked up inquiringly.

“Faith Lily.” repeated its owner mechanically. Then she started across the room. “I’ll get you a pen and ink,” she said.

Doodles wrote with careful hand. “That’s a pretty name,” he commented.

“I always liked it,” she smiled. “But I’m afraid my faith has been going back on me lately. I did have a good deal. I thought the Lord wouldn’t let me go to the poorhouse, then it seemed as if He was going to. Only a little while ago I thought He must have forgotten me and now this!” Her dim eyes grew big with wonder and thankfulness. “Even if I can’t go, I shall be glad you tried to get me in; it will tell me I have one friend.”

“The next is, ‘Time and place of birth.’”

“I was born August 3, 1847, in Cloverfield, Massachusetts.”

“‘Name of father,’” read Doodles.

“Jonathan Seymour Lily.”

There were many questions, and the boy was a slow writer. It took no little time to place all the answers. But the end of the list was finally reached without blot or smudge. Doodles surveyed his work with gratification.

“I guess I haven’t made any mistake,” he said, reading it over. “Now if you can just put your name there, it will be done.”

Her hand trembled and the letters were wavering, but when Doodles declared it was “splendidly written,” she smiled her relief.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday went by, and Doodles heard nothing from Mr. Randolph. He began to be afraid that the committee had decided against his friend, and although his mother told him that such procedures always take considerable time, he grew more nervous with every mail-coming. When Saturday morning brought him no word, he decided to go over to Miss Lily’s.

“I don’t know that she could read the letter if she had one,” he said in dismay. “Why didn’t I think of that before!”

His first glimpse of the little woman corroborated his worst fears. Her eyes were swollen with weeping, and her face was haggard and despairing.

“Can’t you go?” he ejaculated.

“I haven’t heard a word!” she answered mournfully. “I didn’t know but you had.”

“No, I haven’t. That’s why I came over.”

She shut the door and made him sit down.

“I guess I’ll have to go to the poorhouse after all,” she began in a hushed voice, as if fearful of being overheard.

“Oh, I wouldn’t give up! Mr. Randolph said it would take time.”

“But I can’t wait! The woman thought I was going, and she’s rented my room, and she won’t let me stay another night! I haven’t quite enough money to pay up, and she says she shall keep my trunk and furniture oh, to think I have come to this!”

The little woman’s distress was agonizing to Doodles.

“Now, don’t you worry!” he pleaded. “You are coming straight home with me to stay at our house over Sunday, and next week we shall probably hear.”

“No, no! your mother your mother won’t want me!” she sobbed. “I can’t go to make her all that trouble!”

“’T won’t be a bit of trouble!” he insisted. “She will like to have you come! We all will! We’d better go right away, too. Is your trunk packed?”

“Pretty much; there are a few little things to put in.” She found herself yielding to the stronger will of the boy. Going to the closet, she brought out some articles of clothing which she began to fold.

“Is all the furniture yours?” Doodles asked, looking around on the meager array.

She shook her head. “Only the rocking-chair and the couch and that little chair you’re in and the oil heater and the pictures ” She ran her troubled eyes over the things enumerated, as if fearing to forget some of her few remaining possessions. “Oh, yes! there’s my bookshelf! I mustn’t leave that.”

“Suppose I make a list of them,” suggested Doodles. “I think maybe we’d better have them taken over to our house Blue can come this afternoon and see about it. Blue’s my brother, you know.”

“But Mrs. Gugerty won’t let me have them!”

“She will if you pay up.”

“Yes, but I can’t! I gave her the last cent I had!” Her voice quivered.

Doodles took out his purse and counted over his change.

“No, you’re not going to pay it!” she cried. “I shan’t let you!”

“I’m afraid I haven’t enough,” smiled the lad ruefully “only sixty-seven cents.”

“I owe a dollar and a quarter,” she admitted.

“Blue can pay it when he comes for the things,” returned the boy, dismissing with a careless “That’s nothing!” the little woman’s protest.

Miss Lily looked around for the last time with a cheerful smile.

“Somehow I can’t feel as bad to go home with you as I know I ought to,” she said, “only I hate to have you and your folks do so much for me and I such a stranger, too!”

“No, you’re a friend,” Doodles corrected.

“Yes, I am forever and ever!” She laughed tremulously. “I don’t see why you’re so good to me.”

“You’ll like my mother!” Doodles responded with some irrelevance. “She’s the best mother in the whole world!”

“I know I shall love her if she’s any like her boy!” She gave him a caressing pat.

True to the word of Doodles, Miss Lily was welcomed to the little bungalow with such heartfelt hospitality that her sad, starving soul was filled with joy, and when Blue returned with her small stock of goods and put Mrs. Gugerty’s receipt into her hand, her eyes overflowed with happy tears. With cheery Mrs. Stickney and merry Doodles and Blue for companions, she had little time to worry over the possible outcome of her application to the June Holiday Home, and Sunday was passed in an utterly different way from that she had imagined a week before.

It was not until the next Wednesday that any news came from Mr. Randolph. Then the letter-carrier brought a long, thin envelope addressed to “Miss Faith Lily,” and the recipient turned so white when Doodles handed it to her that he feared she was going to faint.

“Shall I open it?” he asked.

She bowed her head. Words were far away.

He drew out the paper and gave it one hurried glance. Then he swung it over his head with a glad whoop.

“You’re going! You’re going! You’re going!” he shouted.

“Doodles!” remonstrated his mother, for Miss Lily was weeping.

In a moment, however, tears had given way to joy, and Doodles must read to her every word of Mr. Randolph’s friendly note as well as the wonderful document that was to admit her to the palatial June Holiday Home.