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The Hickory Limb   By: (1878-1944)

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Copyright, 1907,

by The Ridgway Company

Copyright, 1910,

by John Lane Company




"I don't care what she says! I'm going!" 13

"Dare you to come in swimmin'! Dare you to come in swimmin'!" 25

Eddie Grote was in a tight place 37

"Margery Blair, you come right out of that pond!" 41


Mother, may I go out to swim? Yes, my darling daughter; Hang your clothes on a hickory limb, And don't go near the water.


Gladys Bailey had a parasol in one hand and a card case in the other. From her own wide experience in social usage, she was going to initiate the twins into the mystery of formal calls. She had told them earlier in the day that they might bring their younger sister, but later reflection decided her to withdraw this permission. As Katherine and Alice were ready first, it was easy to explain to them her reasons.

"Four," Gladys said, "are too many to go calling. Margery's too little for our crowd anyway, and, besides, that would make three from one family. We had just better start before she comes down."

For a moment the twins looked doubtful; then, as usual, agreed. Thereupon, all three cautiously tiptoed off the porch and down the lawn. Before they reached the street, Margery was after them, calling: "Wait a minute, Katherine! Wait, Alice!"

The twins had barely time to slip through the gate and hear Gladys's low injunction, "Don't let her come," when Margery was upon them.

"You can't come with us, Margery," Katherine began, with an assumption of innocence.

"Why, Katherine, you promised I could."

"That was for to morrow," suggested Alice weakly.

Margery looked from her sisters to Gladys, who was staring vaguely across the street. Her excessive aloofness was suspicious, and Margery instantly jumped to conclusions.

"I bet I know what's the matter. That old Gladys Bailey doesn't want me. But I'm going anyhow! I don't care what she says! I'm going!"

[Illustration: "I don't care what she says! I'm going!"]

And, throwing herself against the gate, Margery pushed and kicked and shook, while Katherine and Alice, holding it shut from the outside, blushed with embarrassment that Gladys should hear, and whispered fiercely, "Margery, keep still!"

But Margery would not keep still. At that moment she was remembering against Gladys many a former indignity. How she hated her how she had always hated her for her prim, deceitful, grown up manners, for her patronizing airs, and, most of all, for the strange influence she wielded over Margery's own sisters and brother. It was bad enough that the twins should hang upon her words, but worse, far worse, that even Henry, that model of discretion, should be so completely taken in as to look upon Gladys with an interest which bordered dangerously near to admiration. Secure in the esteem of Katherine and Alice, and conscious of her sway over Henry, Gladys saw no reason to conciliate the youngest member of the family. "Margery's too little for our crowd," she would say, and, while Margery fumed and fought, would calmly reiterate the statement until it came to be accepted as fact. Gladys never fought. As on this afternoon, she was always the general, who, so to speak, directed from afar the onslaughts of the actual combatants.

Though outnumbered two to one, Margery had the spirit of a host, and for a while victory hung doubtful... Continue reading book >>

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