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Gloria and Treeless Street   By: (1862-)

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By Annie Hamilton Donnell




Gloria sat in her favorite chair on the broad veranda. The shadow of the vines made a delicate tracery over her white dress. Gloria was lazily content. She had been comfortable and content for seventeen years.

"There's that queer little thing again, going off with her queer little bag!" Gloria's gaze dwelt on the house across the wide street. Down its steps a small, neat figure was tripping. Gloria recognized it as an old sight acquaintance.

"I wish I could find out where she goes at just the same time every day! In all the blazing sun ugh! I'll ask Aunt Em sometime. And that makes me think of what I want to ask Uncle Em!" It was natural that Aunt Em should remind one of Uncle Em. Gloria's thought of the two as the composite guardian of her important young peace and happiness as well as money. For Gloria was rich.

"I suppose I might go down and ask him this morning. It's a bore, but perhaps it will pay. Abou Ben Adhem, I'll do it!"

Abou Ben Adhem, the great silver cat in her lap, blinked indifferently. He was Gloria's newest pet, so named with the superstitious fancy that it might have the effect of making "his tribe increase," and Abou Ben Adhem's "tribe" was exceedingly valuable. Gloria set the big, warm weight gently down upon its embroidered cushion.

"Good by, old dear. Be glad you aren't a human and don't have to go down town in a blazing sun!"

A few moments later the dainty girlish figure came out again, gloved and hatted. Aunt Em followed it to the door.

"Walk slowly, dear just measure your steps! And be sure to take the car at the corner. Perhaps you can bring Uncle Walter back with you."

It was only Gloria who called him Uncle Em. He was not really uncle anyway to Gloria, being merely her kind, good natured, easily coaxed guardian. But for ten years he and this sweet faced elderly woman in the doorway had been father and mother to the orphaned girl.

"Of course he'll come, if I tell him to!" laughed back Gloria from the sidewalk. "Auntie, please ask Bergitta to come out and move Abou Ben's cushion into the shade when the sun gets round to him. He'd never condescend to move without the cushion."

At the corner no car was in sight and Gloria proceeded at a leisurely pace to the settee that offered a comfortable waiting place a block above. The small, neat person of the House Across the Street was there with her big, shabby bag. She moved over invitingly.

"But you'd better not sit down!" she said laughingly. "If you do, no car will ever come! I've been here a small age."

The shabby bag between them attracted Gloria's curious gaze. It might contain so many different things even a kit of unholy tools, jimmies and things! It looked decidedly like that kind of a bag.

"A fright, isn't it? If I ever got time, I could black it, or ink it, or something, but I never shall get the time. I don't wonder you look at it everybody does." "Oh!" Gloria hurried apologetically, "I didn't mean to be rude! I was just trying to make up my mind what was in it."

[Illustration: "I DON'T KNOW WHAT I DO SEE."]

"Well, did you?" The face of the small, neat person bubbled with soft laughter. Her hand went out and stroked the old bag's sides affectionately. "Give you three guesses!"

"I don't need but one!" laughed Gloria. A pleasant little intimacy seemed already established between the two of them.

"Well, guess one, then?"

"A jimmy!"

"Gracious!" laughed the Small Person. "Do I look as bad as that? No," growing suddenly quite grave, "you will have to guess again. I'll give you a cue absorbent cotton."

"Absorb " began Gloria in surprise, but stopped. The bag was open under her eyes. She caught a confused glimpse of bottles and rolls of something carefully done up in white tissue, of a dark blue pasteboard box with a red cross on the visible end, of curiously shaped scissors.

"See any jimmy?" queried the one beside her.

"No, but I don't know what I do see... Continue reading book >>

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