ROLLO IN SOCIETY
A GUIDE FOR YOUTH
GEORGE S. CHAPPELL
EMBELLISHED WITH CUTS BY WM. HOGARTH, JR.
A NEW EDITION, REVISED BY THE AUTHOR
G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
NEW YORK AND LONDON
The Knickerbocker Press 1922
George S. Chappell
Made in the United States of America
NOTICE TO PARENTS
Although this little book is primarily intended for the entertainment of youthful readers, it is hoped by the writer that it may also aid in accomplishing a number of useful purposes and may prove to be, in the hands of parents, a guide for the modern child through the devious paths which his or her feet must inevitably tread.
It is now many years since our little friend Rollo has appeared between the covers of a book. Readers of an earlier generation will recall that Rollo's environment in their day was that of the farm, the woods, the fields, the brooks, and, at proper intervals and always under the care of Jonas, the village. Inevitably time has wrought changes with these simple elements of our social background and it was to be expected that Rollo's family would, at some period, be swept by the current of events into closer contact with the life of the great cities which were growing up about them. Thus it is with no surprise that parents should see the little fellow in situations far removed from the woodshed and the hay-barn.
Rollo has much to learn in the City, much of cleverness, of politeness, and of knowledge of seemly behaviour amid surroundings to which he has been a stranger.
But it is the belief of the author that while Rollo may learn much, he too may teach. He, too, brings with him lessons which the writer feels may be studied to advantage by both children and adults in the City. Among certain useful purposes they may accomplish the following.
1. A cultivation of the amiable and gentle qualities of the heart. Wherever the scenes of this book are laid, Rollo's character and conduct described are generally—with the exception of some of the ordinary exhibitions of childish folly—of a kind to be imitated; for it is far better in dealing with children, to allure them to what is right by agreeable pictures of it, than to attempt to drive them to it by repulsive delineations of what is wrong.
2. The instruction, especially of parents, in the temptations to which childhood is often thoughtlessly exposed, which in the guise of narrative are here explained and set forth so that the reader may be both improved and entertained.
3. The imparting of useful rules of conduct by which all ages may profit. It will be seen, for instance, how Rollo's Parents are constantly endeavouring to teach him habits of thrift, honesty, and order. He is urged to take care of his things, his books, his pencils, his toys. Here is a lesson all may learn. Consider only the subject of books—let us say this book. It is your book because you have bought it with your own money. How wrong, then, to injure or deface it, to lose it or even to lend it. Nay, it is more unfortunate to lend it than to lose it for if you lose it you may easily buy another but if you lend it you not only deprive someone of the pleasure they might have had in making a purchase for themselves but you also take from the author's pocket the few pennies he might have received from the printer had you not acted so thoughtlessly.
If my readers but learn any of these lessons, particularly the last, the Author will be content.
G. S. C.
ROLLO IN SOCIETY 3
ROLLO'S DAY WITH A DEBUTANTE 21
ROLLO'S WEEK-END IN THE COUNTRY 42
ROLLO'S EVENING WITH UNCLE GEORGE 63
ROLLO AMONG THE ARTISTS 89
ROLLO'S ROMANCE 115
ROLLO GOES A-SHOPPING 138
THE END OF LITTLE ROLLO 154
"He was playing with some bright shells" 7
Rollo's Father 13
Rollo's Mother 17
"At everything Rollo said Stella and Anabelle laughed very loud" 27
"I have been angling in the fountain" 37
"A gentleman in a dress suit took his lunch-box" 49
"Mr. Robbins turned and said something I can not print" 59
"Rollo never dreamed that ladies could be so beautiful" 69
"Rollo, catching the spirit of the evening, joined merrily in the conversation" 77
"It was but the work of a moment to undress and leap into bed" 85
"How would you like to visit Greenwich Village?" 95
"Never in his life had Rollo seen such a strange woman" 109
"Round about the great arena stretched thousands of people" 119
"—it seemed to him that he kissed her" 131
"Everything within was very grand and gloomy" 143
"Can you not imagine Anabelle's joy when she opened all these presents?" 149
"Gentlemen, with your kind permission I will read a poem" 161
"—what a happy ending it is!" 169
ROLLO IN SOCIETY
When Rollo was between ten and eleven years old he was seated one day in the little arbor which Jonas had built for him. He was playing with some bright stones and shells which his Uncle George had brought him from the seashore, setting them in rows on the edge of his comfortable bench or, again, marching them in columns as he had seen the soldiers go during training-week. One shell in particular, Rollo admired greatly. It was a large clam-shell in which was a beautiful picture of a light-house and a ship in the distance and below were the words "Souvenir of Atlantic City."
"How pretty," thought Rollo, "and how clever of a clam to decorate his home so! But I did not know that they could also write."
While he was absorbed in these reflections he heard his mother's voice calling, "Rol-lo, Rol-lo."
At first, Rollo had a great mind not to go for he disliked being disturbed while he was busy with his shells. However, he finally decided it would be best to obey, so, gathering up his stones and placing the clam-shell in his pocket, he ran toward the house. In the entry he found his father, his mother, and Jonas awaiting him. It was evident from their expression that something of importance had happened.
"What do you think, Rollo?" his mother inquired. "We are going to move to the city."
"HURRAH! HURRAH!" cried Rollo, and then once more, "HURRAH for Atlantic City."
"Atlantic City?" said his father. "What ever put that idea into your head? We are not going to Atlantic City; we are going to New York."
"Oh, bother," said Rollo, crossly, adding, "but if there are light-houses and ships there I shall not mind."
Now this was very wrong of Rollo, for he should have known that it spoilt the pleasure which his parents had hoped to find in surprising him. Children often behave so by acting natural when they should know better. Rollo's father was considerably vexed, but, realizing that Rollo was still young, he said kindly, "You have many things to learn, my son, but fortunately you still have time in which to learn them, and New York will do very well to begin with. Atlantic City may come later. But come, we must be off to the photographer's studio. Hurry, Rollo, and put on your Sunday suit. Uncle George and James and Lucy will be waiting for us."
While Rollo, a very excited little boy you may be sure, was putting on his blue round-about and his white collar, his mother explained to him that, since they were going to the City to live for a while, they would be expected at certain times to go out in Society.
"What is Society, Mother?" asked Rollo. Rollo's mother was silent for a while before she replied. "That is a difficult question to answer, Rollo, but I will try to explain. You know that here at home you see a few people very often whom you know very well. You play every day with your cousin Lucy and your cousin James, and Jonas instructs you in piling wood and digging potatoes. But that is not Society. In a great city like New York you will occasionally see a great many people whom you hardly know at all. That is Society."
"And will I not be instructed in digging potatoes?"
"No," said his mother, "I think not."
"Oh goody! goody!" cried Rollo,—"I am sure I shall like it. But why do we go to the photographer's studio?"
"That is my idea," said his mother. "You may not realize it, but we go to the city and will meet a number of strangers."
"I can readily understand that," said Rollo, who was a bright little chap thoroughly interested.
"Therefore," continued his mother, "it is more than likely that when the news of our arrival begins to be spread about through the city there will be an immediate demand for our photographs."
"Yes," said Rollo, rather peevishly, "but I do not see why Uncle George, and Lucy and James have to be in the picture. And Jonas, is he important? O-ho!" Rollo laughed at the very idea.
"Rollo," said his mother quietly, "you do wrong to laugh so. Your Uncle George and Lucy and James are going with us to the City. They are to share our new home, for we have rented our farms to two New York gentlemen for a great deal of money, much more than it will cost us to live in New York if we all live together."
"But Jonas is the hired-man," objected Rollo.
"From now," said his mother, "he is not the hired-man. He is your father's secretary."
"His secretary!" cried Rollo. "I do not understand?"
"You do not have to," said his mother. "Come along; the chaise is waiting."
Rollo was so delighted to hear of something that he did not have to understand that he was quite the happiest of the family whose parental heads embellish this chapter. Indeed it was necessary for the photographer to ask Rollo to please not look so pleasant before the picture could be taken. Mr. Bishop, the photographer, was anxious to take separate pictures of each, even including Jonas, who looked surprisingly well in his other suit, but Rollo's father said kindly but firmly, "No, Mr. Bishop, that would be putting me to unnecessary expense, which would be wrong. You have said your price is three and one-half dollars a dozen. I will purchase a dozen of the pictures if they are satisfactory, and cut one up if the occasion requires. Should an enlargement of the central figure be demanded, I presume it can be arranged."
As the family were driving home from Mr. Bishop's studio, Rollo who sat on the front seat with Jonas said, "Jonas, why did Mr. Bishop tell Lucy and James and me to watch for the little bird in the hole in his camera when there was no little bird?"
Jonas, with the butt of his whip, humanely removed a large horse-fly from the flank of Old Trumpeter before he said, "Mr. Bishop spoke of the little bird merely to attract the attention of you and your cousin James. While it is true that there was no little bird—or at least, I saw none—it is equally true that you and James were exceedingly restive."
"But, Jonas," continued Rollo, "if there was no little bird, did not Mr. Bishop tell a lie?"
While Jonas was thoughtfully removing another horse-fly from Old Trumpeter Rollo's father leaned over his son's shoulder and said kindly, "My son, you must not disturb Jonas while he is driving, or we shall soon all be in the ditch. It is only reasonable to suppose that Mr. Bishop was mistaken in thinking that there was a little bird in the studio. Or there may have been one under his black cloth. Did you look under the black cloth?"
"No sir," replied Rollo.
"And did you look in Mr. Bishop's dark-room?"
"No sir," again replied Rollo.
"Then you see, Rollo," said his father, "you may well have been mistaken. Let us say no more about it."
Rollo's family now felt themselves thoroughly equipped to receive and to mingle with society. How they did so will be described in the next chapter.
ROLLO'S DAY WITH A DEBUTANTE
HOW OUR INNOCENT LITTLE HERO APPEARED AT THE RITZ WITH HIS VERY MODERN COUSIN
One day Rollo was sitting on the little green cricket, which Jonas had made for him, in a very discontented frame of mind. He was staring at the open fireplace, in which were three birch logs; or rather he had at first thought they were logs, until Jonas pointed out to him that they were only clever imitations made of iron, full of tiny holes, through which flowed an evil-smelling odour called gas when Jonas turned a small faucet. Rollo was at first mightily amused at these logs, and admired especially the life-like way in which the bark was shown to be covered with moss on one side.
"They are much prettier than real logs," said he, and thought he should never tire of turning them on and off and making them sparkle and blaze and smell.
In spite of all this, Rollo was dull and despondent. He was just beginning to wonder whether he should go out in the hall and push the elevator-buttons, or remove the telephone receiver from the hook, or what he should do to amuse himself when his mother looked up from a letter she was reading and said, "Rollo, how should you like to go to luncheon to-morrow with your Cousin Stella?"
"Splendid," said Rollo, "anything for a change. But I did not know I had a cousin Stella. Who is she?"
"She is not really your cousin," said his mother, "but the daughter of an old friend of mine, Mrs. Bradley. We have always spoken of her as Aunt Estelle. Stella is about your age. She lives in the city and would like to have you lunch with her to-morrow at the Ritz. She is a debutante or what I prefer to call 'a bud.'"
"What is that?" asked Rollo eagerly.
Rollo's mother explained that "a bud" was the term used to describe an innocent young lady who is just beginning to go about to sociables and lectures by herself.
So pleased was Rollo with his plans for the morrow that he played quite contentedly until bedtime and was not surprised to hear his father say, "Our little Rollo is so good to-day!... there must be something the matter with him."
Rollo at first thought he should take his luncheon with him in a basket, but his mother explained that she did not think Mr. Ritz would like that, and that in the city "luncheon" meant the noon-day meal.
"Remember, my son," said his father, "this is to be your dinner, so eat heartily and enjoy yourself. Here is a dime for pocket-money, but be sure not to spend it."
Rollo had no difficulty whatsoever in finding the Ritz, but, once there and safely through the strange doors which revolved like a great mill-wheel, it was quite another matter to find his Cousin Stella. Rollo decided to solve his own difficulty in the simplest way. Standing in the center of the hall-way, he shouted lustily, "Cousin Stel-la! Cousin Stel-la!" It was not long before he heard an answering voice cry, "Rollo," and saw a beautiful young lady waving and beckoning to him from a table in the corner. Walking toward it, Rollo said, "Is this Cousin Stella?" It was even so, and Rollo, after bowing very low and presenting his cousin with a large, bright orange which he had brought for her, took his place by her side and the famous luncheon began.
Besides his Cousin Stella there were at the table two others, a young lady named Anabelle Litchfield and a lad about Rollo's age whose name was Rupert Hogan. Rollo made his best bow to each and said, "I am very pleased indeed to make your acquaintance," just as his mother had taught him from the deportment book which Jonas had purchased. Soon the young folk were chatting merrily. Indeed there were so many strange and wonderful things to see and hear, that Rollo could scarce taste the delicious food that was set before him, though, taste it or not, he remembered his father's warning to eat as heartily as possible.
First of all there was a band of music, the like of which Rollo had never heard before. There was also the prettiest little fountain.
"Do you suppose they would let me angle in the fountain, Cousin Stella?" asked Rollo, thinking of his little line and bobbin at home, and keeping time to the music with his fork.
"Yes, indeed, Rollo, old Kid," said his cousin.
When Rollo was not engaged in looking about the room, he was occupied in watching his Cousin Stella, who did many things which surprised him. To begin with, she always talked when her mouth was full, and she was never still a moment, what with pointing, gesticulating, and jumping from her chair to greet other friends who passed their table. At everything Rollo said, Stella and Anabelle and Rupie laughed very loud, and Rupie surprised Rollo several times by slapping him sharply on the back, on one occasion causing him to spill several drops of water on the corner of his lace collar. This vexed Rollo very much, and at first he was inclined to be in a pet.
All the while the music was playing gaily, and you may be sure Rollo was enjoying himself thoroughly.
"Would you like to dance?" asked Stella with a merry smile.
"Would I not, indeed!" cried Rollo.
"Let me see," said Stella, "what o'clock is it? Three o'clock. Let us meet here again at five when there is dancing. I have to go to the hairdresser's. Will you come, Rollo?"
"No, thank you," said Rollo politely. "I must go to my apartment and tell my mother what I propose to do."
"Very well!" said Stella, "we will meet here at five." And so it was arranged.
Rollo was not sorry when he reached the apartment to find that no one was at home. The very first thing he did was to look in his box for his fish-line and bobbin. There it was, just where he had put it when he left home. Rollo put it in his pocket and walked slowly back to the Ritz. In the hall-way he met Stella and the others and they were soon at a table in another room where the music was playing pleasantly.
"Who will dance with us?" asked Rollo presently.
"Why, I will dance with you, and Rupie will dance with Anabelle," said his Cousin Stella.
It embarrassed him very much when Stella placed his arm about her waist and led him into the middle of the room, where many other young people were dancing and bumping each other and laughing rudely.
"It is a Toddle," said Stella, tickling Rollo's ear with her hair.
Rollo did not know what this meant, but he did his best and managed to keep a-going until the music stopped, when they went back to their table.
"I dance very ill," said Rollo, completely out of breath. "Indeed, I stumble as much as Old Trumpeter, our horse, going over a rough spot in the road."
Rollo danced several more dances, doing a little better each time. During the last dance which was what is called a fox-trot, he was somewhat surprised to find that Stella's cheek was pressed close to his. This caused Rollo to blush furiously. He could not help thinking of his mother's words, "She is not really your cousin"—but "after all," thought Rollo, "she is nearly so." Thus the dance was concluded very pleasantly and Rollo was quite disappointed when several other boys came to their table and invited Stella and Anabelle for the next dance and for the one after that. Rupie had disappeared, so that Rollo was left quite alone. The others danced nicely for several dances, until it began to be quite late.
"What has become of Rollo?" said Stella. "Wherever can he be?"
Just then they saw him approaching. With him was a tall man in uniform. It was evident from Rollo's expression that he was in some sort of trouble.
"What is the matter, Rollo?" cried Stella and Anabelle and Rupie, in one breath.
"Matter enough," said Rollo, endeavouring to control his voice. "While you were dancing I have been angling in the fountain."
"But you did not catch anything," said Stella.
"Did I not?" said Rollo. "Look," and he held up a string on which hung three bright golden fish. "I caught these three in no time at all, and had I not been interrupted, I should have caught them all, I dare say."
Then there was a great hub-bub you may be sure. Stella and Anabelle and Rupie laughed a great deal, and even the tall man in the uniform smiled a little, especially when Rupie slipped something into his hand. Shortly after the tall man went away.
It was now six o'clock and time for Rollo to go home to his supper. While he was getting his cap which he had left with a young lady in a small room near the door he saw that most of the gentlemen, when they took their hats, placed a coin in a saucer that stood near-by. This reminded Rollo that he had paid for nothing and that he still had the dime which his father had given him.
"Surely," thought Rollo, "if I should give my dime to this young lady it would not be spending it." After some reflection he placed the dime in the saucer, for which he was rewarded by a kind smile, and gathering up his cap and his fish he joined his companions in the hall-way.
"Good-bye, Stella, Good-bye, Anabelle, Good-bye, Rupie!" cried Rollo, waving his fish at them, and they all cried "Good-bye," and promised Rollo they should have another holiday together soon.
As he walked homeward Rollo realized that perhaps he ought not to have angled in the little fountain. But here were his fish and what was he to do with them? Just then he saw a lady putting a letter in an iron box which was fastened to a post on a corner of the street. "Just the place for my fish!" thought Rollo and suiting the action to the word he popped the little fish in the box and went on his way.
ROLLO'S WEEK-END IN THE COUNTRY
HOW OUR LITTLE HERO BECAME ACQUAINTED WITH AN OUTDOOR GAME AND ALSO ONE PLAYED INDOORS
One bright morning, as Rollo stood by the window of the handsome city apartment to which his family had moved, his mother entered the room and said:
"Rollo, how should you like to spend a week-end in the country?"
"Ho, ho," laughed Rollo. "That is a droll idea! Here we are in the city, whither we have but just come, and you propose that I should return to the country. Ho ho! ho ho!"
It was very wrong of Rollo to laugh at his mother so, but his mother realized that he was a little boy and did not know all there was to be known in the world. She therefore answered him gently.
"My son, you do not understand. The country I speak of differs from the country where we formerly lived."
"In what way?" asked Rollo.
"That you will soon see," replied his mother. "But let me ask you a question; what used you to do in the country?"
"Well," answered Rollo, "let me see; first I used to carry the milk-pails up from the cow-barn for Jonas; then I would sweep the steps and well-kerb and draw a fresh pail of water from the well. During the day I would pile wood, gather potatoes, rake up after the hay-wagon, or weed the garden. Then in the evening I often did my sums or helped with the churning."
"Very good," said his mother. "Now in the country I speak of, you will do none of these things."
"Hurrah!" cried Rollo.
"Be silent," said his mother. "You must not interrupt. Your Cousin Stella's mother has written to me asking if you could not come to them in the country to spend a week-end."
"Which end of the week should I spend?" asked Rollo.
"Both," said his mother. "Or rather, the end of one week and the beginning of another, for you are to go on Friday and stay over Lord's Day. Should you like to go?"
"Indeed, yes," said Rollo pleasantly.
"Very well, I shall speak to your father about it this evening, for we must first have his consent."
"Oh, dear," said Rollo.
"I do not see why Rollo should be sent to the country when we have just moved to the city," said Rollo's father when the expedition was explained to him. "It seems very strange to me that city-folk with magnificent palaces to live in should, at this time of year, seal up their doors and windows and go to the expense of living in another place."
"But there will be no expense in connection with this journey," said Rollo's mother. "Cousin Stella is to send her automobile."
"Very well," said Rollo's father, "since you are all so set on Rollo's going I will agree to it. And now I must go to bed, for I have had a busy day at the grain-market. Good-night to all."
"Good-night," said Rollo's mother and Jonas, and Rollo added "Good-night" more loudly than any.
You may be sure that little Rollo was up at day-dawn, his luncheon ready in a box, his travelling satchel neatly packed. Presently the largest automobile he had ever seen rolled up to the door, and to his delight, there was his Cousin Stella sitting on the back seat.
"Shall I sit with you, or with the gentleman on the front seat?" asked Rollo.
"With me," cried his Cousin Stella, laughing gaily. "Alley, Jong, a Sootomtom."
"What was that you said?" questioned Rollo when the journey had really begun.
"That was French," explained his cousin. "'Alley a Sootomtom' means 'Go to Southampton.' 'Jong' is French for John."
"Well, I declare!" cried Rollo. "Really Cousin, you amaze me. But tell me, where are we, and whither are we going?"
"This is Long Island," said Stella, pointing to level fields which bordered the highway.
"It seems to be mainly cabbages," said Rollo, "but I do not see any water."
"You will presently," said Stella. And sure enough, after they had travelled at a very rapid pace for a short time, Rollo began to catch glimpses of blue water dotted with tiny white sails. Coming as he did from an inland community, this excited Rollo very much and he kept shouting "Hurrah! Hurrah!" and asking John to go faster.
To this John only shook his head and smiled.
"He is going as fast as he can," said Cousin Stella. "But I will tell the world, Rollo, you are a good sport."
"I thank you very much," said Rollo politely.
Shortly after this they drove through winding hills and stopped before a large house where, to Rollo's surprise, a gentleman in a dress-suit took his lunch-box and satchel from him and walked away with them as rapidly as possible.
Then another neatly dressed gentleman guided Rollo through many long hall-ways and up a flight of stairs to a beautiful chamber.
"This is your room, sir," he said.
"Is it so?" said Rollo. "Thank you, sir."
The gentleman smiled pleasantly, and went out, leaving Rollo alone.
Looking at the handsome three-dollar watch which his father had given him, he saw to his surprise that it was long past his supper-hour.
"Very evidently I am too late for supper," thought Rollo. Fortunately he still had his lunch-box which he had not thought to open during the journey, so that from this he supped very well indeed, slipped off his garments, said his evening prayer by the side of a very grand bed and was soon asleep.
"Well, Rollo," said Stella's mother, who was his hostess next morning, "we missed you last night at dinner. Where were you?"
"You must mean supper, do you not?" answered Rollo, and then explained how he had supped in his room the evening before, at which all the company laughed merrily.
"You are a dear boy, Rollo," said his hostess, "but you must remember that we have dinner at eight o'clock."
Rollo laughed heartily at this idea and said, "Then, according to that, you must have supper at midnight!"
"You are quite right," answered Stella's mother.
"And breakfast at noon next day."
"Very often, I admit. But Saturday and Sunday are holidays and we are always up betimes. Come, what shall we do? Rollo, you propose something."
All the company, of which there was about a score of folk of various ages, looked at Rollo expectantly, causing him to feel much embarrassed, but he spoke up bravely and said, "Since it is a holiday I suppose we may as well play games. Shall we play at catch-as-catch-can or blindman's buff,—or should you prefer an indoor-game such as pillows-and-keys or post-office? The latter, I think I ought to say, are kissing games."
"O fie! for shame!" they all cried. "It is too early in the day."
"Come, Rollo," said a very pretty young lady whose name was Miss Lois. "Monty and I are going to play tennis."
"Alas! I fear I cannot," said Rollo sadly. "It is like battledore and shuttlecock, is it not? I think, if you do not mind, I will watch Mr. Bradley and his friend Mr. Robbins play at golf, which is a game I have never witnessed, though I have often seen gentlemen falling over their golf-sticks in the city train-cars."
"Right you are," said Monty as Rollo strolled after Mr. Bradley, who was Stella's father, and his friend, Mr. Robbins.
"Such larks!" thought Rollo, as he watched the two gentlemen place the small white balls on mounds like mole-hills, and then knock them far away.
"We are aiming at that little red flag," said Mr. Robbins, whom Rollo had secretly nicknamed Robin-Redface.
"Thank you, sir," said Rollo, "I should never have guessed it."
For a time all went well. The two gentlemen hit the ball with great skill and seemed well pleased with their success. Rollo, too, delighted in the velvety lawns about him, and marvelled to see all the hay in so early in the season.
Thus the morning passed very quickly, but toward noon things began to turn out not so agreeably. First Mr. Bradley, and then Mr. Robbins, knocked their golf-balls into places where it was impossible to find them, search as they might. This was great fun for Rollo, who thought it was like looking for field-sparrows' nests, and he kept fooling the two gentlemen, crying, "Oh, here it is!—No, it is only a stone! Oh, here it is!—No, it is only a mushroom," until Mr. Bradley took him by the shoulder and spoke to him very roughly.
Then they came to a pretty little pond where Rollo longed to stop and fish. Mr. Robbins placed his ball on a little mound and very skilfully hit the pond right in the middle.
"Bravo!" cried Rollo.
To his surprise Mr. Robbins turned and said something which I cannot print, but which caused Rollo's cheeks to turn a deep crimson. In fact he called Rollo a very bad name.
Then Mr. Bradley, as if imitating Mr. Robbins, hit the pond in almost the same spot. It was then Mr. Robbins' turn to cry "bravo," which he did, and, to Rollo's dismay, Stella's father twice, at least, took the name of his Maker in vain.
You may be sure it was in vain, for, from then on, things went from bad to worse, until Rollo could stand it no longer. He turned and walked quietly back toward the house.
The gentlemen did not notice his departure; they were too busy digging holes in the ground and throwing sand out of a ditch which, to Rollo, seemed deep enough already.
"Never," thought Rollo, "have I seen men dig up so much ground without either putting anything in or taking anything out."
As Rollo neared the house he noticed that the tennis-ground was deserted. Two rackets lay on the terrace-steps. He crossed the terrace quietly and peered into the dim living-room within which he saw Monty and Miss Lois sitting on a sofa.
"Hurrah," cried Rollo, bounding into the room, "may I join you?"
They were playing pillows-and-keys.
ROLLO'S EVENING WITH UNCLE GEORGE
IN WHICH OUR HERO UNDER THE TUTELAGE OF AN EXPERT, BECOMES A BOY-ABOUT-TOWN
One cool morning in the early autumn, Rollo was sitting on the red velvet hassock which his mother had given him for his birthday, his chin resting on the sill of the window which faced toward Park Avenue. Below was a pleasant picture of green spaces and cheerful nursemaids attentively watching the tall constable on the corner, while their little charges darted nimbly amid the passing automobiles whose black tops glittered like the backs of large beetles. This was a scene which Rollo had often contemplated with much satisfaction, but to-day he found no pleasure in it whatsoever. Suddenly he heard a light step behind him and turning perceived that Jonas had entered the room, silently, as was his custom.
"Jonas," said Rollo, crossly, "I wish you would not steal up behind me as you do. Since we have moved to the city and you have become my mother's social secretary, instead of the hired man, you wear shoes which do not warn me of your approach by their squeaking. It is not right to spy so."
Now this was very rude of Rollo, and it may be plainly seen that he was in an ill-humour, but Jonas only smiled pleasantly, which made Rollo more angry than ever.
"You are mistaken, Rollo," said Jonas. "I was not spying upon you. In fact, quite the contrary, it was expressly to see you and deliver a message that I came into the room."
"A message!" cried Rollo, "and from whom, pray?"
"From your Uncle George," answered Jonas. "He wishes to know if you could dine with him to-night and go to the theatre."
Rollo's face lighted up with pleasure, but he replied seriously, "To-night? Let me see; to-day is Thursday, is it not? I do not think I have any engagement for this evening."
Of course Rollo knew very well that he had no engagement, but he had learned that in the city it was not considered polite to accept any invitation without a certain amount of hesitation. When Jonas had left the room, however, Rollo leaped about with many a caper, and shouted "Hurray!" to himself. He no longer felt gloomy and contrary, but was quite satisfied with the world which had looked so dark to him a few moments before. At exactly seven o'clock in the evening, Rollo was ready and waiting, dressed in his best suit with a new tie which his father had purchased for ten cents from a peddler in the lower part of the city. Rollo's father once said to him, "My son, buy everything you can from a cart. You get more for your penny."
Uncle George came promptly as he had promised and Rollo drove off with him gaily in a bright yellow taxicab. Rollo's uncle has not lately been mentioned in these stories. He was a younger brother of Rollo's mother, and Rollo liked him very much, partly because he was always gay and light-hearted, and partly because his father did not seem to approve of Uncle George. Rollo's father frowned very severely when he saw the yellow taxicab, but since he was not paying for it he said nothing.
"I am going to take you to my club," said Uncle George.
"A club!" cried Rollo. "What is that?"
"I will tell you," said Uncle George. "A club is a place of refuge from one's family. It is an organization where a man can order what he likes for dinner, when he likes. It is a place where he can be sure that his letters will not be opened by mistake."
"Could my mother belong to this club?" asked Rollo.
"No; only gentlemen are admitted."
"But could my father join such an organization?"
"No, not the club I have in mind. I do not think even your father could become a member."
"What a delightful place!" said Rollo.
"Indeed it is so," said his uncle. "But here we are."
Just then the taxicab stopped in front of a handsome building with a large glass door, which was opened for Rollo and his Uncle George by an old gentleman with white hair, whom Rollo thanked politely as he entered.
"Will you excuse me for a moment," said Uncle George. "I have to go upstairs to discuss a business matter with a friend of mine. He has some stock he wishes to dispose of, and I often take a little of it off his hands just before dinner."
"Quite so," said Rollo. "I will await your convenience."
During his uncle's absence Rollo strolled into a handsome room the walls of which were covered with books. In large chairs sat a number of gentlemen with books in their laps, as if they were reading, but Rollo was surprised to see that they were all fast asleep.
"What a beautiful room," thought Rollo. "I understand now why I yawn so over my lessons. All books must make people sleepy."
One old gentleman was snoring loudly, so Rollo took a large card marked "Silence" and placed it on his stomach, after which he went into another room to meet his uncle, who returned at that moment, looking brighter and more good-natured than ever. He brought with him the gentleman with whom he had been doing business.
"Rollo," he said, "this is my friend, Mr. Ross, who is going to dine and go to the theatre with us. He is a member of the old Shaker Colony."
"Is it so?" said Rollo. "There are a number of Shakers living near my home in the country. One of them has made several comforters for my mother."
"Yes," said Mr. Ross. "And I have made a number of comforters for your uncle, have I not, George?"
"Indeed you have," said Rollo's uncle, and together they walked upstairs to a splendid room, where they all dined together very merrily. Rollo stood for a moment beside his chair expecting that his Uncle George would ask a blessing, but Uncle George evidently forgot to do so and bade Rollo sit down and fall to, which he did.
"Have you been to the theatre, often, Rollo?" asked Mr. Ross, while they were eating dinner.
"No, not exactly," replied Rollo. "My mother took me to Boston two years ago, and I saw a very wonderful panorama of the battle of Gettysburg. But that is not exactly the theatre, is it?"
"Not exactly," said Mr. Ross, "though I am sure some of the plays in New York are much worse than any battle."
"What play are we to see, Uncle George?" asked Rollo. "Is it to be Shakespere?"
"No," answered Uncle George. "I hardly thought Shakespere would be lively enough. You see, Rollo, the plays in New York are divided into two groups. There are the very serious plays acted by great people which all the critics say are great successes. But unfortunately, no one goes to see them. Then there are the very silly comedies about people in bath-tubs, which the critics say are very low and wicked and which everyone flocks to see. That is the kind we are going to see."
"How delightful!" said Rollo. "I have never seen anyone in a bath-tub but myself."
As soon as dinner was finished, Rollo and the two gentlemen drove in another cab to the theatre, which was on the main street of New York, called Broadway, because it is quite narrow and goes zigzag through the city. But Rollo was entranced with the brilliant electric lights, the flashing signs and great rush of traffic.
"Is it a celebration?" he asked.
"Yes," said Uncle George. "Broadway is always a celebration. But come; let us alight."
Rollo greatly admired the interior of the theatre, which was at least five times larger than the Second Congregational Church, which he was accustomed to attend when at home. Just then to his surprise all the lights in the edifice went out.
"Oh dear," said Rollo. "Isn't that provoking."
"Hush," said the two gentlemen. "The play is about to begin."
At that moment an enormous curtain rose slowly, music filled the air from some hidden and mysterious source, and Rollo saw before him a picture more beautiful than anything he had ever seen before.
The name of the play which Uncle George had selected was "Shaking the Shimmy."
It was in three acts. The first act was in the ladies' dressing-room of a parlor car, the second was on the beach at Atlantic City, and the third was in the dormitory of a young ladies' seminary in Greenwich. A notice on the program explained that the last act enabled the producers, two Jewish gentlemen, to have twenty beds on the stage at one time, which broke all records.
Rollo never dreamed that young ladies could be so beautiful as those who flitted about on the stage. Although he understood very little of what was said on the stage, he was tingling with excitement and sat far forward on the edge of his chair, resting his chin on the shoulder of a lady in front of him, who smiled and patted his hand.
Rollo heaved a great sigh of disappointment when the play was over. Then looking about at the audience he said, "Does it not seem strange, Uncle George, to see all these people fully clothed? I vow I had forgotten that there were such things as dresses."
"And how did you like the play?" asked Uncle George.
"It was superb, sir," said Rollo politely. "And much pleasanter than the 'Battle of Gettysburg.'"
"Good," said his uncle, "and now we shall go to supper."
"Bless my soul!" cried Rollo. "Is not the evening over?"
"No indeed," replied Uncle George, "it is but just beginning."
"Hurray! Hurray!" shouted Rollo, tossing his cap in the air.
The place where Rollo and Uncle George and Mr. Ross went for supper was high up on the top of a tall building. At the entrance a gentleman held a red velvet rope across the door, but he smiled pleasantly when he saw Uncle George and let them pass to the annoyance of a number of people who were waiting. This of course pleased Rollo not a little.
"What is the name of this place?" asked Rollo.
"It is called the Place Blanche," explained Uncle George. "French is the language spoken by the people who name New York restaurants. If a restaurant should have a name which a taxi-driver could pronounce correctly, it would not last a week!"
"It is very crowded," said Rollo, "and the space for dancing seems quite small."
"That too is carefully arranged for," said his uncle. "People like to eat in stuffy, uncomfortable places. As for dancing, it is much better to dance when one is pressed hard against several other couples, for if you do not happen to care particularly for your partner you can close your eyes and imagine you are dancing with a number of other ladies at the same time."
"What strange music!" said Rollo.
"It is indeed so," agreed Mr. Ross. "We are gradually getting away from the old-fashioned instruments such as violins and flutes. You will notice, Rollo, that in the orchestra are two drums, a pair of cymbals, a siren, and a pistol; also the pianist does not use his fingers but his clenched fists."
Rollo fully expected that this time at least Uncle George would not forget to ask the blessing, but lo! a second time he did so, perhaps because he was at the time very much occupied trying to get the cork out of a large bottle, which he had managed to conceal in his inside pocket. As soon as this was open, Uncle George and Mr. Ross became very gay indeed, and Rollo, catching the spirit of the evening, joined merrily in the conversation. Later in the evening they met several friends at other tables, with whom they danced and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
The sky in the east was a pale blue-green when Rollo entered the door of the apartment. Jonas, who kept to his country hours, was just rising.
"Good-morning," said Jonas.
"Good-night," said Rollo.
It was but the work of a moment to undress and leap into bed. But before he did so Rollo knelt for a moment and asked a blessing—for Uncle George.
ROLLO AMONG THE ARTISTS
OUR LITTLE FRIEND VISITS GREENWICH VILLAGE AND MEETS A SCULPTOR, A POETESS, AND A PAINTER
You will remember that I have spoken in a previous story of the beautiful clam-shell which Rollo possessed, and which he admired very much. It was a gift from his Uncle George, and on it was painted a picture of a curving beach, a light-house, and a small yacht. Below the picture was the title, "Souvenir of Atlantic City."
One day Rollo was sitting on his little cricket, holding up the shell to the light, and marvelling at the change this made in the colours. His mother was busily engaged knitting washcloths for the missionary box which was to be sent to the natives of the Filbert Islands; for though she had moved to the city, Rollo's mother did not forget her duties toward Dr. Ordway, the minister at home, and through him, to the heathen children in the Filbert Islands.
"Do you know, Mother," said Rollo, "I believe that the man who painted this clam-shell was perhaps the greatest artist in the world. I have looked all through the vast collection at the Metropolitan Museum, and I do not find the mate to my clam anywhere."
"Is it so?" said his mother. "You seem very much interested in artistic things. I remember that years ago I too enjoyed the fine arts. You may recall the portrait of a kitten which I painted on the red plush sofa-cushions at home."
"Indeed I do!" cried Rollo. "It was most artistic. Heigh-ho! I wish I was an artist!"
Just as he said these words, as if in answer to his wish, his Uncle George opened the door. "What is that?" he said. "You wish you were an artist? What kind of an artist do you wish to be?"
Rollo was puzzled. "What kind?" he repeated. "What kinds are there?"
"Many," said his Uncle George. "But perhaps before you make up your mind it would be well if you looked over the different kinds. How would you like to visit Greenwich Village with me where all the artists live?"
"Oh Goody-Gumpkins!" cried Rollo, for which his mother gently reproved him.
"I should love it," said he. "You are so kind, and I am so glad you are a broker, Uncle George, for you always seem to have plenty of time."
"Nothing but," said Uncle George. "But come, if we are going, let us be off at once."
"Hurrah," cried Rollo. "Good-bye, Mother!" and seizing his cap and thrusting his clam-shell into his pocket, he ran to join his uncle in the doorway.
"How do we go? Is it far?" he questioned when they had reached the street.
"We may as well take the stage," said his uncle. "It goes directly to the Village."
Rollo's uncle raised his hand and the stage stopped politely.
"Thank you," said Rollo as they climbed to the top. Soon the conductor came to them and held out a little machine, which seemed to nibble Rollo's fingers when he pushed the two dimes which his uncle had given him into the slot.
"He cannot hoodwink me," said Rollo after the conductor had gone away. "I saw the money drop through into his hand."
"You are a bright lad," said his uncle, which made Rollo very happy. As they rode along Uncle George pointed out to him the eager faces of the thousands of Lithuanians, Greeks, and Polaks who make New York the greatest of American cities. Soon the stage rolled through a majestic stone archway.
"We are now entering the Village," said Uncle George.
"Well, I will say it has a handsome front door," said Rollo, "but did you say 'Village,' Uncle George? It appears to me mightily like a part of the city."
"So it would seem," said his uncle, "but appearances are deceitful. However, you will soon see that it is very different from the rest of the city. We are first to visit a friend of mine, a Mr. Pryzik, the great American sculptor. You know what a sculptor is, Rollo?"
"Yes, indeed, sir," said Rollo. "We have a beautiful group at home done by Mr. Rogers. It is called 'Reading the Will.' The expression of anxiety on the part of the relatives is most noteworthy."
"It is a noble subject," said his Uncle.
"But did you say Mr. Pryzik was an American?" asked Rollo.
"Practically," replied his uncle. "He was born in Prague, but he has lived in this country for six years. True, he has not become a citizen because of the income-tax, but he is very patriotic and much prefers to sell his sculptures to Americans. But here we are at the sculptor's."
While talking, Rollo and his uncle had turned into a narrow doorway and mounted several flights of stairs. A tinkling bell was answered by a very hairy man who flung open the door before which they stood, crying, "Enter," in a great voice.
"This is Mr. Pryzik," said Uncle George, "and this is my nephew Rollo."
The room was a large loft or storeroom lighted from above and while Mr. Pryzik and Uncle George chatted amiably together, Rollo looked about him eagerly noting many large groups of figures struggling and writhing in every conceivable posture. Some were covered with grey cloths which gave them a singularly ghost-like appearance.
"And what are you doing that is interesting?" asked Uncle George.
"Much," replied the great artist. "I have some magnificent things under way, not completed, you understand, but well begun. Here, for instance, is a fountain for Mr. Rockefeller's garden. It represents the struggle between crude and refined oil."
"It is very exciting," said Rollo. "Does Mr. Rockefeller like it?"
"I do not know," said Mr. Pryzik. "I have written him seven letters on the subject, but I think he must be away on his vacation. And here is my masterpiece, the crowning group destined to be placed on the dome of the Palace of the League of Nations."
"Oh!" said Rollo. "Where is it to be?"
"The site has not been decided," replied the artist. "A Swedish friend of mine, Mr. Lundquist, has drawn some very noble plans for the building, which he has sent to Washington. We need only ten million dollars. You will note that the figures representing the various nations are made in sections so that any one may be removed in case of war. The bosom of Bulgaria has been much admired."
"I never have been to Bulgaria," said Rollo.
"This group here," continued Mr. Pryzik, "is an idea of mine for the pylons of the proposed Hudson River bridge. The figures at the New York end symbolize the four boroughs of Greater New York, those on the Jersey side the great commonwealths of Hoboken, Jersey City, Englewood and Hohokus. My commission alone will amount to over two hundred thousand dollars. But there is a powerful political influence working against me. In the meantime I have some immediate work on hand, small but useful, some amusing button hook handles for one of the big silversmiths and a new radiator cap for Ford cars which will give them great distinction. An advantage is that any tinsmith can make them."
"You are indeed a genius," said Uncle George, "and make no mistake, you will be recognized as such. But we have other calls to make, I thank you for your courtesy." And bowing to Mr. Pryzik, Rollo and his uncle descended to the street.
"And now, Rollo," said Uncle George—"you shall see another kind of artist—the great poetess, Miss Myra Stark. She is an old friend of mine. She lives in a cellar—there we are, down these steps."
Never in his life had Rollo seen such a strange woman as Miss Myra Stark. She was very pale except her lips, which were painted a rich prune colour; her yellow hair was cut very like Rollo's except that it had no curl. Her smock was of coarse burlap with a skirt of yellow wool.
"Come in, Man. Come in, Boy," she said, in answer to their knock. "Take off your shoes if you like. My cellar is near the earth. I never wear shoes at home. I like to feel my feet on the face of Mother Earth."
"I wonder if Mother Earth likes it," said Rollo.
"She loves it," said Miss Stark. "Boy, you have the soul of a poet. Are you a poet?"
"I can recite a little," said Rollo, modestly.
"Do so," commanded his hostess.
Rollo was an obliging little boy and therefore, standing in the middle of the room, he recited as follows, with appropriate gestures which he had carefully learned at school:
"One day while strolling on the strand A pearly shell lay in my hand. I stooped and wrote upon the sand My name, the place, the day. As on my onward way I passed One backward glance behind I cast, The rolling waves came high and fast And washed my name away!"
"Bravo!" cried Miss Stark and Uncle George.
"I thank you very much," said Rollo.
"It is a great poem," said Miss Stark. "It sounds simple but it means more than it says. It has its devious moments. You notice that though the 'name' is washed away the 'place' and the 'day' remain. I have just written something myself in the same manner."
"Do let us hear it," said Uncle George.
"I will," replied the poetess. "It is called Brain-ticks. Listen:
"In the midnight of day Myself came to me Saying, 'See,'— 'See,' I said, In my hand, I hold the brain of my head! How it ticks, ticks, ticks, 'What does it mean?' I cried. 'What is it all about? Why is it out? Why was it ever inside? I don't understand.'"
"I don't understand," said Rollo.
"Of course you don't," cried Miss Stark. "We none of us do. We were just meant to live quietly and simply near Mother Earth. But you must come again. I am sorry you will not stay. Good-bye, good-bye."
"Our next visit, and I think it must be our last," said Uncle George, "will be to a gentleman friend of mine who is a painter. In a way he is quite a genius. His name is Wilkins. Wilkins' idea is that it is very wrong for a man to be limited to one form or school of art, to be exclusively a landscape painter or a portrait painter, a radical or a conservative. He goes in for all forms of art. But you shall see for yourself, for here is his studio."
Mr. Wilkins' studio was by far the pleasantest place Rollo had yet seen in the Village. And it was even as Uncle George had said; all about the walls were pictures, no two alike, but all, Rollo thought, very beautiful. Mr. Wilkins, a tall, handsome man, was very cordial to his visitors and showed Rollo the various pictures, explaining carefully just how they were made.
"There is a formula for each," he said. "In these cow-pictures, for instance, you will see that there is a definite proportion of two-thirds cow to one-third landscape. Venetian canal scenes like this must be exactly fifty per cent reflection. Last week I worked up a batch of South Sea pictures using the Gauguin formula. It is very simple."
Mr. Wilkins was delighted with Rollo's clam-shell.
"I must do some!" he said. "Could you leave it here?"
"Yes, indeed, gladly," said Rollo.
"And what have you been working on to-day?" said Uncle George.
"Just a little summer work," said Mr. Wilkins. "Here it is."
He removed a cloth which covered an easel, and Rollo gazed with awe and admiration at a picture of a beautiful young lady who was about to go in bathing without any bathing suit. Rollo had never seen anything like it before and he was much interested.
"She is a hum-dinger," said Uncle George. "Who is she?"
While Mr. Wilkins and Uncle George chatted in a corner Rollo examined the picture closely and was really very sorry when Uncle George told him it was time to go.
When they were again seated on the stage on their way home, Rollo said, "Uncle George, I should not think Mr. Wilkins would wish to show his wife's picture to people in that way."
"His wife's picture!" said Uncle George. "But I did not know Mr. Wilkins was married."
"Of course he is," said Rollo. "How ever else could he see a lady so?"
Rollo's uncle was silent for a moment before he said, "Rollo, I had occasion to say before and I repeat now, you are a bright lad. You have seen to-day three artists, a sculptor, a poetess, and a painter. Which would you prefer to be?"
I leave it to my little readers to guess which one Rollo chose.
OUR LITTLE HERO DEFEATS BOTH YALE AND PRINCETON AT FOOTBALL
Some of my little readers may recall that shortly after Rollo's family moved to their city apartment, Rollo was invited to a gay luncheon party at a public inn which was managed by a Mr. Ritz. It was here that Rollo first met his cousin Stella, and another little girl named Anabelle Litchfield. Rollo had liked Anabelle very much, but he had had no opportunities to talk with her at that time, for Anabelle's attention was greatly occupied by the laughing chatter of a young Mr. Rupert Hogan, a boy of about Rollo's own age who lived in New York and knew a great many things about city life which our little hero had never learned.
During the months which followed, Anabelle had made a number of visits, and thus the summer and fall had passed until her memory in Rollo's mind had become vague and indistinct, though still very pleasant.
In the meantime, however, Rollo was becoming more and more versed in the accomplishments which are expected of a city boy. This was due very largely to the kindness of his Uncle George who frequently took his little nephew with him to the theatre, to his club, and to a number of evening festivals where there was dancing, charades, and all manner of fun.
At the time this chapter of our story opens, Rollo was seated before the cheerful gas-log at home instructing Jonas as to the proper method of making a martini. This was indeed a change from the old days in the country when Jonas used to teach Rollo how to pile wood and pick up potatoes. The positions were now reversed. Rollo was the teacher and Jonas was the pupil.
"You see, Jonas," said Rollo, "you must be very careful to put in at least two-thirds of gin to one-third of vermouth."
"What is vermouth?" asked Jonas.
"Vermouth is a sweet cordial similar to cherry-bounce," said Rollo. "But now, Jonas, we will have the review lesson. What is a manhattan?"
"A manhattan," replied Jonas, "is a liquid composed of two-thirds of extract of rye, one-third——"
At this moment Rollo's sister, Lucy, came running into the room.
"Oh, bother!" cried Rollo. "Why do you interrupt Jonas and me at our work?"
"You will be very glad to hear," said Lucy gaily. "Our cousin Stella's mother has just telephoned to say that she wishes you and me to go with her to a great football match at New Haven to-morrow. The Yales are to play the Princetons, and Stella is to go and her friend Anabelle, likewise."
"Hot towel!" cried Rollo, to Jonas's amazement, and running violently about the room to the grave danger of the dainty bric-a-brac which stood on the marble-topped table.
"We start to-morrow morning at ten o'clock," said Lucy, "and mother said you must surely wear your tippet, and take the little shawl your Aunt Sarah knit for you."
"Tippet and shawl, indeed!" said Rollo, "I shall wear my new fur-lined great-coat and my coon-skin hat. Oh, hot towel! Hot towel!"
The little folks then joined hands and danced about excitedly until they were quite exhausted.
Promptly at ten o'clock on the following day, Cousin Stella's handsome automobile came rolling around the corner, and Rollo and Lucy, warmly dressed in their best coats and hats, were soon ensconced among the comfortable cushions with their little friends.
Somewhat to Rollo's disappointment Rupert Hogan was one of the party, but this feeling was almost immediately forgotten in his enthusiasm at again seeing Miss Anabelle who looked charming indeed in a dark blue dress with grey furs, against which she wore a large bouquet of violets. Rupert, on the contrary, wore a bright, brown suit with an extremely large yellow chrysanthemum in his buttonhole.
"Which are you for, Rollo," asked Anabelle, "Yale or Princeton?"
"I am for Princeton," said Rupert loudly, which was very rude as he had not been addressed.
"I am for Yale, of course," cried Rollo.
"Oh joy!" laughed Anabelle. "So am I. I must teach you the cheer. It begins 'Brek-ek-kek-kek, ko-ax, ko-ax!'"
"Tiger. Siz-boom-ah!" shouted Rupert.
"See, I have a tin horn, all the Princeton men carry tin horns."
Thus, with much shouting and noise and merry glee the little company sped on their way towards the city of New Haven. The thoroughfare soon began to be greatly crowded with thousands of automobiles filled with other girls and boys as well as grown-ups, some so old that Rollo marvelled at their being out of doors at all, all bound for the great match. There was much dust and confusion, and not a little danger. Racing cars filled with gentlemen with pleasant red faces dashed by at a break-neck pace, and at one spot there was quite a pile of autos which had run into each other and were severely damaged. It also began to be extremely cold.
"Are we not delightfully uncomfortable?" shouted Rollo, as they whirled off the road to avoid another car, jumped a ditch, grazed a telegraph pole, and bounced back onto the turnpike again.
"Yes indeed," said Anabelle. "That is half the fun. Of course we might have made the journey in a warm train, but that is not considered the smart thing to do. One should always be half-frozen when one arrives at a football match."
"Right-o!" said Rollo. "Come, Rupert, I will wager you a dime on the result!"
"Done with you, Rollo," said Rupert, and Lucy and Stella and Anabelle all applauded.
New Haven town was even more crowded and confusing than the highway had been. Important constables waved them hither and thither, and they were soon passing imposing buildings, which Stella's mother told them were the Halls of Learning.
"There are the new Harkness buildings," she said. "A very great architect, Mr. Rogers, designed the group."
"We have a Rogers group in our parlor," said Rollo, "but it is by no means so large or so fine as this one. But do they play the match in that great courtyard?"
"Dumbbell!" said Rupert. "They play the game in the Bowl."
"Well I vow!" thought Rollo, "who ever heard of playing football in a bowl!"
But he kept silent and was very glad he had done so, for, after an hour of snail-like pace through the streets they came in sight of a gigantic structure, in which Rollo could see thousands and thousands of people sitting.
"There is the Bowl," cried his friends and they all clambered stiffly to the ground, still munching their luncheon sandwiches, and made their way to their seats.
The spectacle which met Rollo's gaze was indeed an imposing one. Round about the great arena stretched thousands of people, tier upon tier, an unbroken mass rising far above his head.
"They do not look like people," cried Rollo, "but like the knots on one of Grandmother's hooked-rugs. But I should like very much to see a baseball game here."
"And why baseball?" asked Rupert.
"Because," said Rollo, "it would be interesting to see a tiny pitcher in such a huge bowl."
"Bravo!" cried Anabelle, and Rupert scowled ill-naturedly.
At this moment a tremendous burst of cheering split the air, several bands began to play at once, and the great multitude rose to its feet shouting and waving their flags, as two groups of strange padded creatures pranced into the arena like savage beasts entering the Coliseum at Rome.
A moment later a whistle blew sharply, and an ominous hush fell over the vast assemblage. Although he knew not why, a strange sensation of physical illness almost overpowered Rollo. The game was about to begin.
"Isn't it wonderful!" cried Stella.
"Is it?" said Rollo in a faint voice.
The contest which followed left our little hero even more dazed and confused. Time after time he shuddered and winced as the two groups of players came crunching together, or when ten or more Princetons fell with a crash upon a single Yale.
"No fair!" shouted Rollo, but Anabelle said, "Hush, Rollo," very gently, and put her hand on his under the robe.
Occasionally the players would stop to rest, while doctors and men with stretchers would rush out on the field and remove the wounded.
"Who is winning?" asked Rollo.
"Nobody knows," said Anabelle. "No one ever does know at a football game. The only way to find out what is really happening is to read about it in the papers to-morrow."
This was a great comfort to Rollo, for he gave up trying to understand what was going on and from then on began really to enjoy himself. A few moments later, the whistle blew again, everyone began cheering wildly and the game was over.
"This way," cried Anabelle as she and Rollo reached the ground outside the Bowl. Rollo followed her and for several minutes they threaded their way among the crowd, squeezing between groups of people and dodging motor cars. Night was falling, and bright headlights were gleaming over the tumbled fields. This way and that they darted, until Anabelle suddenly stopped and said, "Oh, Rollo, where are the others?"
"Anabelle," replied Rollo, "I verily believe we are lost."
"I'll say so," said Anabelle. "Well, let us sit here until we are found. It is much safer than to go wandering about."
"You are quite right," agreed Rollo. "We once lost a fine brindle cow, because she wandered into a swamp and sank in a quagmire. But, hello—what is this?" As he spoke Rollo pulled from his coat pocket a small bottle.
"As I live and breathe, it is a bottle of martini which Jonas has thoughtfully prepared against the cold."
"Blessings on Jonas!" cried his little companion. "I am almost frozen."
It was the work of a moment to spread the robe on a grassy knoll, and here Cousin Stella's chauffeur found them just as Rollo tossed the empty bottle into a coppice.
"Atta-boy!" cried Rollo gaily as they struggled to their feet and ran toward the automobile. It was now quite dark, and when they were snugly tucked among the cushions Rollo began to feel very sleepy. As they rolled homeward through the night, the little boy drowsed off into slumber. Then he seemed to see two bright stars gleaming in the sky, which reminded him of Anabelle's eyes and it seemed to him that he kissed her. But he may have been dreaming.
"Who won?" asked Jonas when Rollo and Lucy reached the apartment.
"I did," cried Rollo, "I beat Rupert Hogan all to pieces."
"But who won the football match?" persisted Jonas.
"How do I know, Dumbbell," said Rollo. "Look in the papers to-morrow morning!"
ROLLO GOES A-SHOPPING
THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT MOVES OUR LITTLE HERO TO A VAST OUTLAY, BUT THE RESULT IS ALL THAT COULD BE DESIRED
It was now the merry Yuletide season which, in town and country, falls like a mantle of white snow over the hearts of men and ladies, and you may be sure that little Rollo was among the very first to feel its influence. Although it was but early December, he and his Sister Lucy had long been storing up their pennies, and many an hour had been passed writing the lists of those to whom they wished to give remembrances and from whom they expected to receive them.
Rollo had saved a whole dollar, which was indeed a great task for him, for Rollo's father was a frugal man and few coins came his children's way. But, by changing his Sunday-school dime into two nickels, our little hero was able to save five cents a week, and still make a louder noise in the contribution box than ever before. Thus, little by little, the small iron bear, into whose jaws Rollo placed his hoard, became gradually filled, until one day Rollo found to his surprise that no more coins would go in.
"Feel how heavy my Bruin is become," said Rollo to Jonas. "Now I must open him, for it is time to do my Christmas shopping. How shall I do it, Jonas? Shall I cast him on the stone pavement and so burst him?"
"Ho ho," laughed Jonas. "That would be a pretty way indeed! But wait a moment."
Then, repairing to another chamber, Jonas soon returned with a small screw-driver from Rollo's mother's sewing-machine. With this he set to work so diligently that there was soon a sharp snap, and Rollo saw that the shaft of the screw-driver had broken off.
"Oh, bother!" cried Jonas crossly, at the same time rapping the bank against the steam radiator with such force that Bruin was split clearly in two from head to tail.
"Thank you! Thank you, Jonas," shouted Rollo. "How wonderful it must be to be as handy with tools as you are! But now I must go a-shopping, for it is not yet nine o'clock, and the signs all ask us to do our Christmas shopping early."
On the threshold Rollo met his father, who said cheerfully, "Good-morning, Rollo. And whither are you going so fast?"
"Good-morning to you, sir," said Rollo, touching his cap politely. "I am about to do my Christmas shopping, sir, and you may believe me, I have a great list. There is Mother, and you, sir, and Lucy and Jonas and Uncle George and Cousin Stella."
Rollo's father waited patiently until Rollo had finished speaking before he said, "Rollo, I think I ought to tell you that there are to be no family presents in our household this year. The grain business is most distressing just now, and we can ill afford to waste our funds on such wicked luxuries as presents. Let us wish each other a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in a suitable and inexpensive manner."
"I heartily agree with you, sir," said Rollo, with a cheerfulness which pleased his father.
Now the real reason for Rollo's happy acquiescence in his father's plan was that there was one name on his list which he had not mentioned.
Anabelle—for it was indeed she—was a charming girl of about Rollo's own age, whom he had met on several occasions, and of whom he had thought more than ever since their last meeting at the great football contest between the academies of Yale and Princeton.
"Hurrah!" shouted Rollo to himself as he hurried toward Fifth Avenue, which is the Main Street of New York City. "Hurrah! I can now spend my entire dollar on Anabelle."
This was Rollo's first Christmas season in a great city and, although he had begun to feel quite at home in the thoroughfares, he was nevertheless greatly surprised to find so many folk abroad at such an early hour.
He finally found himself in the portal of a magnificent shop in the windows of which were beautiful oil paintings.
"The very thing!" thought Rollo. "Anabelle herself is so beautiful, and she paints, too, herself—a little. It is a merry idea."
Everything within was very grand and gloomy, particularly the shop attendants, who were tall young gentlemen in immaculate cut-away coats.
"My favourite artist is Rockwell Kent," said Rollo. "He once painted my father's barn—in a picture, of course. Have you anything by him which would be suitable for a young lady?"
"I doubt it very much," said the gentleman, "but we shall see."
He then showed Rollo several pictures by his favourite artist, one in particular which Rollo greatly admired.
"That is most beautiful!" said Rollo. "And what does it fetch?"
The gentleman looked puzzled before he said, "Oh, you mean the price. Well, that is one of the most reasonable. It is only a thousand dollars."
Alas! Everywhere Rollo turned he met with the same discouraging reply. A tiny vial of perfume was supposed to fetch ten dollars; even single blossoms of rare flowers were three dollars each.
It was a tired and disheartened Rollo who finally turned his footsteps homeward, his dollar still sagging heavily in his pocket, as his heart sagged heavily within.
And then a most surprising thing happened, for Rollo suddenly found himself before the most beautiful shop he had ever seen, its windows gleaming with brilliant wares and holiday decorations, and its doorways, beneath a handsome red sign, breathing forth odours of the utmost fragrance. But what fascinated our little hero most was a card displayed in many places which stated "Nothing in this store over ten cents."
"Hurrah!" shouted Rollo.
It was a tired but happy little Rollo who emerged an hour later, clutching his precious purchases in his arms, ten in all, and each to be marked later, "To Anabelle from Rollo, with love and a Merry Christmas."
For there, if you can believe me, Rollo found all the marvellous things which he had so unsuccessfully endeavoured to purchase before, a beautiful picture called Spring with pink apple-blossoms a-bloom, a string of magnificent pearls, much larger than those he had seen in the other shop, a bright red book entitled Memorandum, a fragrant flower similar to the ones he had seen, but made of cloth and wire so that it could not wither, and a large bottle of most delicious perfume labelled Bay Rum Lotion, a sample of which the amiable young saleswoman squirted on Rollo's curly locks to his great delight.
Can you not imagine Anabelle's joy when she opened all these presents on Christmas morning! Surely hers was the brightest, happiest Christmas of any little girl in all this wide land.
THE END OF LITTLE ROLLO
WHICH IMMEDIATELY PROVOKES THE USUAL QUESTION—WHICH END?
On a bright midwinter morning, Rollo was sitting before the sputtering gas-log, endeavouring to warm himself. Although he had on his red-flannel wristers and the tippet which his Aunt Lucy had given him for Christmas, and his hands were extended over the blue flames, yet he felt cold. Ever and anon he shivered slightly.
"Jonas," said he, addressing his father's secretary, who had just entered the room, "why am I so chilly? The room according to the mercury-tube is warm, and yet I shiver."
"Some one is walking over your grave," said Jonas cheerfully, "Such tremblings are oft times presentiments of death." So saying, he passed out of the room whistling a merry funeral march.
This was the one thing necessary to make Rollo feel colder and more disconsolate than ever before. He squirmed round on his green cricket, and seemed to shrink to a smaller size, as he again extended his hands, his expression becoming more and more disconsolate as the picture conjured up by Jonas's remarks floated before his eyes. He saw himself lying on his trundle bed, his family weeping about him. Among them, he saw in his imagination his little friend Anabelle approaching, sadly, carrying a large wreath of lilies tied with a white ribbon, marked "Rollo." At this thought, two large tears rolled slowly down Rollo's cheeks. It was more than he could bear. And thus his mother found him when she entered the room.
Now the reasons for our little hero's depression were three. I wonder if any of my young readers can guess them!
First, there was the natural reaction to the gay Holiday season, which always plunges the world into profound gloom; secondly, Rollo was by nature inclined to be rather bilious; and thirdly,—well,—I shall wait before I tell you the third reason and perhaps you may divine it for yourselves, and will not that be fun!
"Great news, Rollo," cried his mother, brightly but not so loudly as to be unladylike, "great news! Your Uncle George is to be married and to whom do you think?"
Rollo thought of several of the gay ladies whom he had met during his evening parties with Uncle George, but, having lived in the city now for nearly a half-year, he had learned that it is not best to express one's thoughts too frankly at all times, and therefore answered, "To whom, Mother? I am sure I cannot guess."
"Why, to Anabelle's mother," was the reply. "Her first husband was a very wicked man, and Anabelle's mother was forced to leave him. She has just returned from visiting her folks in Reno, Nevada. The wedding is to be in her apartment on Park Avenue, and your Uncle writes to say that he hopes that you and Anabelle will be page and flower-girl on that occasion. Anabelle is to be allowed to come home from school for the great event."
At these glad tidings, Rollo's depression vanished in a trice. All thought of dying was swept away by the realization that he was soon to see Anabelle again! And now perhaps you have some idea of what the third reason for his low spirits had been.
From that time on, events moved at a rapid pace, each more exciting than the last. First came the Bachelor Dinner, one of the strangest meals which Rollo had ever attended. Rollo's father did not approve of Uncle George's marriage, though when he learned that Anabelle's mother was very wealthy he said, "Well, I shall voice no objection. George has made his bed; let him lie in it."
Rollo thought this a coarse remark, but kept silent as his father continued, "As for this Bachelor Dinner, I do not approve of Rollo's attendance."
"But there are to be handsome gifts," said Rollo's mother. "George informs me that everyone at the table is to receive a jewelled scarf pin, a splendid cravat, and a pair of gloves."
"I do not wish to offend George," said Rollo's father. "The boy may as well go, but let him surely be home by nine o'clock. Do you remember what my glove size is, Mother?"
And so it was arranged.
It was, as I say, the strangest dinner Rollo had ever attended. It was served in a private room of the handsome edifice owned by Mr. Ritz, and the menu or bill-of-fare was most elaborate, consisting of beautiful, ornamental dishes which were whisked before Rollo's eyes in rapid succession. Each course was accompanied by a different beverage, and toward the end the serving gentlemen filled large tumblers with a most delicious sparkling cider, which Rollo vowed the best he had ever tasted.
Such fun as they had! The guests were eight in number, with Rollo making the ninth, and never had he seen such merry companions. Very few of rare viands were actually eaten, quite an amazing quantity being spilled, or thrown from one guest to another, and Rollo could not keep from thinking with some dismay of his bib at home which Lucy had cross-stitched for him with the words "Waste not, want not." He was comforted, however, by the assurance of a Mr. Stewart who sat next him, that the food would be scraped up in the morning and sent to the starving women of Mesopotamia.
Then the strangest thing happened. The cider-goblets having been filled, a Mr. Weaver, who was called the best-man, cried loudly,—"Bottoms up! To the bride." At this shocking remark, everyone drained his portion of cider and then cast the goblet at the wall or ceiling or floor so that the handsome Brussels carpet was covered with broken glass.
"Well, I declare!" thought Rollo, "if Mr. Weaver is the best man, I wonder what the others are like!" and partly to hide his confusion, partly to restore order, he rose and said, "Gentlemen, with your kind permission, I will read a poem."
"'Ray, 'ray," shouted Uncle George, "Squiet, please, squiet."
Then Rollo read as follows:
"O, Hail! O beauteous, blushing bride Your future will be happy we know, When you are by your husband's side, And no more with your folks in Reno. Your other husband, I've heard say, Was one in whom affection dwindled, But Uncle George I'm sure will stay And tend the fire which he has kindled."
Rollo's poem was a great success and after that a Mr. Bishop and a Mr. Benchley sang many duets, while the others made speeches, to which Uncle George replied, sitting on the floor and making gestures over the edge of the table.
The sun was shining when Rollo reached home and placed his cravat and gloves at his father's door, keeping the scarf pin for himself, but the little fellow was delighted to see that it was only half after seven by the parlour clock, so that he had obeyed his father's instructions and got home before nine after all.
The next day was the wedding and you may be sure Rollo was up betimes, after a refreshing sleep of ten minutes. He dressed himself with particular care, his heart pounding with excitement, for to-day he was to see Anabelle, who had arrived from her seminary the evening before!
All the family were early astir, and there was much scrubbing and inspection of finger nails and ears, and rustling of starchy garments, and at promptly half after eleven, the entire family set forth, except Jonas, who had gone before in his squeakiest shoes, for he was to guard the wedding gifts lest some of the guests should steal them.
The apartment was large but the company was larger and, as many had already arrived, Rollo soon found himself in a dense crowd in which he could catch no glimpse of Anabelle, but had only a view of the elbows and waist-lines which were on a level with his eyes. Just as he was feeling quite faint and stunned from bumping his head against the gentlemen's hip-pockets, he was rescued by Mr. Stewart and dragged into a room where the ushers were forming the nuptial procession.
Suddenly, from a veritable forest of rubber-plants, the strains of Mendelssohn's Wedding March smote the air, the hum of conversation died down and the lovely bride, preceded by Anabelle, and accompanied by her aged father in a wheel-chair, moved majestically down an aisle which Jonas had cleared. Rollo was propelled forward into his place, and, blushing furiously, marched by Anabelle's side until they reached the arch of smilax and roses beneath which stood Dr. Ordway, the minister.
It was a beautiful sight, the bride in a lovely lavender dress, the dignified old father and the ushers, their red faces contrasting handsomely with their white carnations and gray cravats.
But all this was a dream to Rollo, who had eyes only for Anabelle, bewitchingly fairy-like with her pale-blue dress and basket of flowers. It made Rollo's head swim to look at her and as the words of the ceremony came to him indistinctly a vague resolve formed itself in his mind. At the words "And with all my worldly goods," he thought of his own possessions and wondered what Anabelle would think of his knife and of the decorated clam-shell which his Uncle had brought him from Atlantic City.
"It is not much," thought Rollo, "but one cannot give more than all, and oh! how beautiful she is——!"
And now they had reached the solemn part of the service where Dr. Ordway asked if there was anyone present who had any objection to the wedding. One of the gentlemen coughed rather loudly, but no one said anything and soon the ceremony was over and everyone was laughing and talking and congratulating the happy pair.
Then for the first time Rollo had an opportunity to speak to Anabelle and you may be sure he lost no time in gaining her side. They were soon chatting merrily.
"Let's eat," said Rollo, for his father had instructed him that he must be sure to get his luncheon at the wedding.
When they had regaled themselves with the lavish collation, they joined the grown-up company who were dancing to the soft strains of three saxophones and a bass drum.
"That was lovely," said Rollo politely when the dance ended,—"but do you not think the party is getting a little rough?"
"So it is," agreed Anabelle. "Let us sit on the stairs, where we can see without being seen."
"Yuppy," said Rollo, and soon they were comfortably seated just beyond the landing with Anabelle quite close to Rollo and her brown eyes looking up into his blue ones.
Now Rollo did not know it, but sitting on a stairway with a young lady is an almost certain way of bringing about a proposal. Why this is we do not know, but so it is, and so it has been since stairs were first invented.
All things seemed to conspire to bring to the surface a declaration of Rollo's great love for Anabelle. The wedding had stirred him deeply, and Anabelle's beauty, the dancing, and now this quiet corner with the sound of the saxophones softened by the distance.
His hands were very cold and his voice trembled slightly as he said, with more originality than one would have expected—"Anabelle, I have something to say to you."
"Yes," said Anabelle.
"Yes," repeated Rollo, "and this is what it is. I should like to marry you, Anabelle. But for several reasons I may not be able to do so. My worldly goods, to which Dr. Ordway referred, are of very little value, and moreover, from something Jonas said to me this morning I fear I may not be long for this world."
"Oh, Rollo," cried the little girl, and put her hand over his.
"But as I understand it," continued Rollo, "we must first be engaged, and perhaps we should not take but one step at a time. Shall we be engaged, Anabelle?"
"Let's," she answered.
"I regret," said Rollo, "that I have no engagement ring, but perhaps for the present another piece of jewelry will serve."
So saying, he drew from his pocket the scarf pin which Uncle George had given him.
As he went forward to fasten it in Anabelle's dress she leaned toward him. It was as if two roses had been brought together by a breeze straying through a garden. Through Rollo's heart spread a shivering thrill which carried no presentiment of an untimely end, but a feeling that he should live forever.
"Oh, Anabelle," he whispered through her hair. "This must be the ending which Jonas prophesied—but what a happy ending it is!"
"It is only the beginning," said Anabelle weeping.
Minor changes have been made to correct typesetters' errors; otherwise, every effort has been made to remain true to the author's words and intent.