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Ladies-In-Waiting   By: (1856-1923)

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LADIES IN WAITING

By KATE DOUGLAS WIGGIN

WITH FRONTISPIECE BY CHRISTINE TUCKE CURTISS

BOSTON AND NEW YORK HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY

The Riverside Press Cambridge

COPYRIGHT, 1919, BY KATE DOUGLAS RIGGS ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

FOREWORD

It may be urged that all proper heroines go through a period of uncertainty before giving their hands and hearts in marriage. Occasionally, however, there are longer seasons of indecision, incident to pride, high temper, or misunderstanding on the lady's side, or to poverty, undue timidity, or lack of high pressure on the part of the gentleman. I have christened the heroines of this volume "Ladies in Waiting," and that no mental picture may be formed of Queen and Court and Maids of Honor I have asked the artist to portray for the frontispiece a marriageable maiden seated pensively upon a hillside. Her attitude is plainly one of suspended animation while the new moon above her shoulders suggests to the reader that she will not wait in vain.

KATE DOUGLAS WIGGIN

August 11, 1919

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE Miss Thomasina Tucker 1 The Turning Point 97 Huldah The Prophetess 145 Two On A Tour 183 Philippa's Nervous Prostration 275

LADIES IN WAITING

MISS THOMASINA TUCKER

I

"Good bye, Miss Tucker!"

"Good luck, Miss Tommy!"

"Bye, bye, Tomsie!"

"Don't stay away too long!"

These sentiments were being called from the Hoboken dock to the deck of an ocean steamer, while a young lady, buried in bouquets and bonbons, leaned over the rail, sparkling, inciting, compelling, responding.

"Take care of yourself, Tommy!"

"I don't see but that I must! Nobody else to do it!" she responded saucily.

"You wouldn't let 'em if they tried!" This from a rosy cheeked youngster who was as close to the water's edge as safety permitted. "Say, did you guess what my floral offering was to be when you trimmed your hat? I am flattered!"

"Sorry! The hat was trimmed weeks ago, and I'm wearing your bouquet because it matches."

"Thanks, awfully," replied the crestfallen youth. "Plans for reduction of head size constantly on file in Miss Tucker's office."

"Just Carl's luck to hit on a match."

"Don't see any particular luck in being accessory to a hat trimming," grumbled Carl.

"Write now and then, Miss Tommy, won't you?" said a fellow with eyeglasses and an air of fashion.

"Won't promise! I'll wait till I'm rich enough to cable!"

"Shilling a word's expensive, but you can send 'em to me collect. My word is 'Hopeful,'" at which the little party laughed.

"Register another, and make it 'Uncertain,'" called the girl roguishly, seeing that no one was paying any attention to her friends and their nonsense.

"London first, is it?" asked the rosy youth. "Decided on your hotel?"

"Hotel? It's going to be my share of a modest Bloomsbury lodging," she answered. "Got to sing my way from a third floor back in a side street to a gorgeous suite at the Ritz!"

"We'll watch you!" cried three in chorus.

"But we'd rather hear you, darling," said a nice, tailor made girl, whose puffy eyelids looked as if she had been crying.

"Blessed lamb! I hope I'll be better worth hearing! Oh, do go home, all of you; especially you, Jessie! My courage is oozing out at the heels of my shoes. Disappear! I've been farewelling actively for an hour and casually for a week. If they don't take off the gangplank in a minute or two I shan't have pluck enough to stick to the ship."

"You can't expect us to brace you up, Tommy," said the rosy youth. "We're losing too much by it. Come along back! What's the matter with America?"

"Don't talk to her that way, Carl," and the tailor made girl looked at him reproachfully. "You know she's got nobody and nothing to come back to. She's given up her room. She's quarreled with her beastly uncle at last; all her belongings are in the hold of the steamer, and she's made up her mind."

"All ashore that's going ashore!" The clarion tones of the steward rang through the air for the third time, and the loud beating of the ship's gong showed that the last moment had come... Continue reading book >>




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