NEWS INDEED!

THAT night the Two D’s put off going to bed as long as possible, and
when, at last, Mrs. Fayre sent them away, laughingly, they marched
up-stairs like two deaf and dumb Drum Majors.

“What’s the matter with the kiddies?” asked Mr. Fayre, who couldn’t help
noticing their demeanour.

“I don’t know, I’m sure,” returned his wife. But Trudy laughed outright,
and said:

“I do. They’re mad.”

“Mad?”

“Yes. A school girl ‘mad,’ you know. Neither will speak first—it’s
beneath her dignity. They’ll act like this a day or two longer, and then
they’ll make up. I know ’em!”

“Better speak to them, Mother,” suggested Mr. Fayre, “and clear up
matters. Seems silly to me.”

“Oh, I don’t believe I’d better interfere. They’ll fix it up themselves,
if that’s what’s the matter. Some foolish quarrel, I suppose.”

“It isn’t like them. They rarely quarrel.” Trudy looked thoughtful. “But
I’m sure it is that. They never spoke to each other at supper, though
each was gay and chatty with the rest of us.”

“Silly babies!” said Mr. Fayre, smiling. “Let them work it out
themselves, then.”

Meanwhile the “silly babies” were tossing on restless pillows. In
adjoining rooms, Dolly and Dotty were thinking hard, though in different
moods. Dotty was tumbling about the bed, throwing her arms out and
digging her face in her pillow, in the intensity of her warring
emotions.

Dolly was lying quiet and straight, her eyes turned toward the ceiling,
her heart throbbing, as she “thought it out.”

Both rooms were flooded with moonlight, and the two girls stayed awake
far into the night.

At last, about one o’clock, Dolly finished her cogitations.
Deliberately, she rose and put on her dressing-gown and slippers. She
went to Dotty’s room, opened the door softly and walked in. Then she
closed the door behind her, and going to the bedside, said:

“You awake, Dots?”

“Yep,” came the surprised voice from the rumpled coverlets.

“Well, sit up here, then. I’ve come to talk.”

“Isn’t—isn’t it late?” and Dotty sat up, a little uncertain what
attitude to assume.

“Of course it’s late. But I’ve got to have this thing out. I can’t go on
this way.”

“Nor I either, Doll!” and Dotty leaned forward and threw her arms around
Dolly’s neck in a convulsive hug that nearly strangled her. “Aren’t we
the silly geese to—”

“Now, you wait, Dotty Rose. After I say what I’ve come to say, you may
not want—”

“Yes, I will, Dolly! I don’t care _what_ you’re going to say. You may
jump on me all you like,—I _was_ a pig, but I’m sorry, and—”

“I’m sorry, too! You shan’t be sorry before I am!”

“But I have to, Doll! You know I’m always _everything_ before you are.
I’m quicker-jointed, or something. But never mind that, I’ve got you
back, you dear old thing, and now you can go ahead and scold me, all you
want to. Oh, Doll, hasn’t it been horrid?”

“_Hasn’t_ it! Well, as we’re all right again, let’s have this Bernice
business out once and for all. If you say so, Dotty, I’ll give up trying
to make her more popular. I’ve thought it all out, and it’s this way.
You’re my best friend, and I want you to be, and if it bothers you so to
have me friendly with her,—why, I won’t be, that’s all.”

“Oh, Dollyrinda, how sweet you are! You make me feel like an awful pig.
But you see,—well, I s’pose I was jealous. I thought you’d like Bernice
more and more, till you liked her better’n everybody and better’n me.
And I just couldn’t stand it!”

“Why, Dorothy Rose! The idea of your thinking _that_!” and Dolly clasped
the tousled black head to her breast and kissed the tear-wet cheeks.
“We’re special friends, nobody could come between _us_! They’d just
better try it!”

“Then that’s all right!” and Dotty’s quick-working mentality jumped to a
happy conclusion of their troubles. “Now, look here, Doll, you don’t
have to throw Bernice over entirely.”

“I will, if you want me to.”

“But I don’t want you to. Your idea of making her one of our set is all
right, now that I know _we’re_ all right. And I’ll help you.”

“Will you? Oh, Dot, then we can do it. We’ll have to plan it—”

“Oh, of course! You’d have to plan, if it was only to eat your dinner!”
and Dotty affectionately pulled the golden curls. “And say, old
Dollypops, we haven’t planned much for our luncheon next Saturday.”

“Couldn’t very well, when we were mad. Oh, Dot, wasn’t it horrid in the
house yesterday morning?”

“Horrid all the time. Hasn’t to-day been awful?”

“Yep. But it was funny you had to come over here to stay just now.”

“Awful funny. Now about Saturday—”

“No, sir! Not _now_ about Saturday. Do you know what time it is?”

“Nixy; and I don’t care.”

“Well, I do. It’s ’most two o’clock, and Mother will give us Jesse
to-morrow if she hears us talking so long. So you go by-by, and I will
too, and we’ll plan by daylight. Good night, old girl.”

“Good night, Dollums, and I am sorry I was horrid.”

“So’m I, that I was.”

And peace being declared and ratified, the Two D’s went to sleep so
successfully that they were late to breakfast.

* * * * *

“The country’s safe,” remarked Trudy, after the pair had started for
school.

“How do you know?” asked her mother.

“Signs. Lots of ’em. They talked _to_ each other, not _at_ each other.
And they smiled and sang, and were generally in fine spirits.”

“Well, I’m glad of it. I hate to have them so childish and silly.”

“I ’spect all girls are. They’ll outgrow it. And they are two such
sensible, nice, little girl chums, that I don’t believe it will happen
often.”

Nor did it. In all their lives, Dotty and Dolly never again had one of
those foolish “mads” that most school girls know so well.

They had differences of opinion frequently, very frequently; and often
they had hot, hasty words; but the quarrels were of short duration, and
ended amicably and lovingly.

The Saturday luncheon was duly planned. They invited Maisie, the two
Rawlins girls and Celia. Dolly would have liked to ask Bernice and Dotty
was more than willing, but they had only room for six,—and too, they
knew all the girls would like it better without the stranger, and so for
this time they decided against her, agreeing that they would invite her
some time soon.

It was to be a very festal occasion. More, the whole luncheon was to be
the work of the two girls themselves. Not everything was to be made in
Treasure House, but no one save the Two D’s could have a hand in the
preparations.

And so, when Saturday morning came, they were up bright and early to
begin their work. Dotty was still at the Fayres’; Genie, though better
was still housed, and the time was not yet up when Dotty could return
home.

“It doesn’t seem fair, Doll,” said Dotty as, swathed in big aprons, they
went into the Fayre kitchen, “for me to work over here. We’ve always
divided the work before.”

“That doesn’t matter. What do you want for the cake?”

“A big bowl and a spoon. I’ll measure out the things myself.”

“All right, and I’ll make the salad dressing now.”

Two busy bees worked all the morning, barely having time to set the
table in Treasure House and arrange some flowers there before their
guests came.

“Goodness, there they are!” cried Dotty, as she set a saucepan of lard
on their kitchenette stove to heat. “I can’t leave this, Doll, so you go
in and do the polite, and I’ll run in when I can. They won’t mind.”

So Dolly, serene and smiling, met the girls, who all came together.

“What a jolly lark!” exclaimed Maisie; “the idea of you two girls having
a lunch party!”

“And cooking everything ourselves,” added Dolly. “Dot’s in the kitchen
yet, struggling with foods. Take off your things.”

The guests complied, keeping up a perfect stream of chatter as they
looked about and admired everything in sight.

All had been there before, but not to a regular invited feast, and the
occasion was a great one.

“If I had a house like this,” declared Ethel Rawlins, “I wouldn’t ask
any more favours of Fate for twenty years!”

“Nor I,” agreed Celia. “Isn’t it wonderful! Don’t you just adore it,
Dolly?”

“Indeed we do—yes, all right!” This last in answer to a frantic call
from Dotty, in the kitchenette. “Excuse me, girls, Dot’s come to grief,
somehow. Amuse yourselves till I come back.”

Dolly hurried to the rescue, and found Dotty throwing dish-towels into
the croquette kettle.

“The old thing caught fire somehow!” she exclaimed, dancing about, “and,
I never thought of it before, but, Dolly, do you think the house is
insured?”

“Goodness, I don’t know! But never mind that, now; it isn’t going to
burn down. Can we save the croquettes, or what shall we have for lunch?”

Gingerly with a fork they picked up the towels, and found a number of
black, dried-up cylinders that had once been Dotty’s carefully shaped
croquettes.

“Nothing doing!” said Dolly, philosophically, as she gazed at the
charred remains. “You got the lard too hot, Dotsie.”

“So I notice! Well, we’ll have to cut out the croquette course.”

“No matter. I’ll skip over home and get a platter of cold lamb, there
was a lot left last night, I know. You chin with the girls, and I’ll
fly.”

Dolly scooted out at the back door of Treasure House, and across to her
own home, and soon returned with a dainty dish of sliced lamb.

Then she busied herself with her own allotment of the preparations, and
began to heat the soup.

“’Most ready?” said Dotty, flying in suddenly, and startling Dolly so
she nearly dropped the pepper-box.

“Yes, in a minute. Fill the water glasses, set the fruit thing-a-ma-jigs
on the table, cut the bread,—oh, no, we have rolls,—well, get them
fixed, and hunt up the butter and—oh, my gracious, the salad has
upset!”

“Not really!”

“Not entirely; I can straighten it out, I guess. Oh, why did we ask them
to come so early! I’ve heaps to do. You put the cocoa in the silver pot,
won’t you? and, oh Dot, the olives haven’t been opened yet!”

“I’ll do it. Where’s the opener-thing?”

“I don’t know. I guess there isn’t any over here—”

“I guess there is. Here it is, but it won’t work. You give it a pull,
Dolly.”

Both girls, together and in turn, pulled at the refractory cork of the
olive bottle,—for without olives, no school girl lunch is complete! But
it refused to budge. Now, the ways of corks are most mischievous. Just
as they were about to give it up, a last strong pull brought the cork
out with a jerk, and the two D’s fell in a heap in the middle of the
kitchenette, with such a clatter of accompanying dishes, that the guests
came running out to see what was the matter.

They found their hostesses scrambling up from the floor, laughing, but
pretty much upset withal.

“It was that old cork,” explained Dotty. “It wouldn’t come out, and then
all of a sudden it couldn’t get out quick enough! ’Scuse us girls, for
such a racketty performance, but truly, everything is going screw-wampus
to-day!”

“Let us help,” begged Grace; “oh, do let us, please.”

“Yes, do help,” said Dolly, who was at the end of her rope. “You, Grace,
see if everything is on the table that ought to be there. Ethel, please
put some sugar in this bowl,—there’s the box,—and Celia, won’t you set
these salad plates on the side table? Maisie May, you just stand around
and look pretty,—I don’t know of anything else for you to do. Now, I’ll
take up the soup, oh, no, I won’t. We must eat the fruit thingumbob
first. Come on, let’s do that. I don’t see how people _ever_ get the
things ready at the right time. Everything here is either too ready or
not enough so. Come on, friends. You sit here, Maisie, and Grace, here.”

Laughing gaily, the girls took their seats, and delightedly attacked the
dainty first course. It was a combination of various fruits,—orange,
pineapple and crimson cherries, served in delicate slender-stemmed
glasses.

“I just love this fruit muddle,” said Maisie, “and this is the best
ever! Who made it?”

“I did,” said Dolly, with pardonable pride. “It took most of the
morning, though, that’s why everything else fell behind. It isn’t hard
to make, but it takes forever.”

The Two D’s were to take turns in changing the plates, so Dolly rose to
bring in the soup. Very pretty it looked, in the bouillon cups, but
after the first taste Celia hurriedly caught up her glass of water.

“Look out!” she cautioned, but too late. Nearly every girl had taken a
spoonful of soup, before she discovered it was burning hot with pepper!
When Dotty had come upon Dolly in the act of seasoning the soup, she
startled her so, that far more pepper went in than was meant, and the
result was appalling.

Eagerly the girls sipped the cold water, and with tears running down
their cheeks from the pungent taste and odour, they protested that “they
didn’t mind it!”

“I like peppery soup,” said Grace, politely.

“But you don’t like soupy pepper, do you?” gasped Dotty, “and that’s
what this is!”

Then Dolly, crestfallen and chagrined, but trying to be merry, took away
the soup, and brought the cold lamb, and the salad.

The lamb was all that it should be; but the salad dressing had separated
itself into its original ingredients, after the manner of some
ill-natured salad dressings. This was harrowing, but Dolly smiled
bravely, and acknowledged it was her first attempt.

“Don’t you mind, Doll,” said Grace, comfortingly; “not one of us could
make a better one. And with the olives and all, you don’t notice
anything the matter.”

But the crowning blow came with the dessert. The girls had made lovely
home-made ice cream, and had frozen it with the greatest care. This they
felt sure would be right, for they had made it before many times.

But, alas, by some oversight, the freezer had been left outdoors in the
sun, the ice had been insufficient, and the result, instead of a finely
moulded form, was a lot of thick creamy liquid.

“Don’t you care!” cried Ethel. “I just _love_ soft ice cream. Call it a
pudding, and let it go at that. Come, Dot, brace up. Who cares for the
occasional slips of young housekeepers? Cut the cake and pass it to us,
and give us some of that delicious-looking ice cream custard!”

The cake had turned out fairly decent, but not up to the mark. Dotty was
a good cake maker but making it in a strange kitchen and baking it in a
strange oven had made a difference, and the fluffy sponge cake she
usually achieved, showed up a close, almost soggy, and very sticky
compound.

“I’m just ready to cry,” said Dotty, as she looked at the dessert, from
which they had hoped such great things.

“Don’t do anything so foolish,” said Dolly. “We slipped up on ’most
everything, but we tried hard enough, goodness knows! If you’re hungry,
girls, there are cookies in the cupboard, and there’s plenty of cocoa.”

“I’ll take some, please,” said Maisie, so plaintively, that they all
laughed. And then they all fell to on the previously despised cookies,
and under the cheer and raillery of their guests, the two D’s finally
regained their poise, and laughed themselves at their chapter of
accidents.

“Call it ‘The Feast That Failed,’ and let it go at that,” said Dotty.

“It wasn’t a failure at all,” protested Celia. “We’ve had heaps of fun.”

“Yes, it _was_ a failure,” insisted Dotty; “and we’ll have to learn to
do better. Why, when the boys come home, they’ll make all sorts of fun
of us, if we can’t do better than this.”

“We _will_ do better than this,” declared Dolly. “We’ll ask you again,
girls, and show you how great an improvement second attempts are!”

“Then I’m glad of this frolic,” said Grace, “for it means we get two
parties instead of one.”

“Just what you might have expected,” said Trudy, laughing till the tears
rolled down her cheeks at the D’s’ account of the feast. “You little
geese, not to know that you couldn’t do it! Now, I’ll take you in hand,
and give you a few practical lessons, and then when the boys come home,
you can astonish them with your skill and dexterity.”

“All right,” said Dolly. “I’ll try to learn, won’t you, Dots?”

“Well, I rather just guess yes!” exclaimed the other D.

“I have a piece of news for you,” said Mr. Fayre, as the family sat at
dinner one night.

“What is it, Dads?” asked Dolly, as her father paused.

He was still silent, and his face looked a little grave as his eyes
rested in turn on his two daughters and on their guest, for Dotty was
still there. After a moment, he said:

“I’m afraid it will hit you hard, Trudy, and I know it will make Dolly
miserable. So I hate to tell you. But it must be told. I’ve been ordered
to Buffalo.”

For a moment the girls didn’t take in just what he meant, then Trudy
cried, “Go to Buffalo! To live? All of us?”

“Well, Trude, I certainly couldn’t leave any of my family behind me.
Mother and I are going, and I guess you girls better come along too.”

Dolly sat looking at her father, her eyes very wide and very blue as she
thought over what he was saying.

“We can’t do it,” she said, finally, and as if she were disposing of the
whole matter: “I can’t go away from Berwick to live.”

“But, Dolly dear, where would you live, here alone? In Treasure House?”

“She can live with me!” exclaimed Dotty, excitedly. “Why, she’ll _have_
to. I won’t let my Dollyrinda go away from Berwick. She’s mine, and I’ve
got to keep her!”

“Is it really true, Father?” asked Trudy, looking very thoughtful. “Must
we go?”

“Yes, dear,” answered Mr. Fayre. “The company has transferred me to the
Buffalo office, and I must obey or leave the road. You know a freight
superintendent is under orders from his superiors.”

“There isn’t anybody superior to you, Daddy,” said Dolly, who was
looking blank and stunned at the news she had heard. “Can’t you tell the
president, or whoever is sending you, that you won’t go?”

“I might, Dolly; but that might mean my entire dismissal, and who’d buy
your hair-ribbons then, my girl?”

“But to Buffalo!” wailed Dolly. “We might as well go to Timbuctoo!”

“It’s awful,” said Trudy, with a long-drawn sigh. “Did you know about
it, Mother?”

“Yes, some days ago. And I knew how sorry you girls would feel. But I
know you’ll brace up and meet the disappointment bravely, for Father’s
sake. He doesn’t want to hurt his girls so, but he can’t help it.”

“What will Bert say?” said Dolly; “won’t he be mad!”

“I don’t think Bert will care as much as you girls,” began Mr. Fayre,
when Dotty interrupted: “My Dollyrinda _shan’t_ go! I won’t have it!
I’ll make my father buy her for me, and keep her here! That’s what I’ll
do!”

“Don’t be silly, Dots,” said Dolly, who was beginning to realise that
this thing was a fact. Apparently her parents had already become used to
the idea, and were regretting it principally on the girls’ account.

“Do you want to go, Father?” Dolly asked. “Would you just as lieve live
in horrid old Buffalo as here in beautiful, lovely Berwick?”

“No, Dolly, I wouldn’t. But I must obey orders.”

“Whose orders?”

“The general manager, child.”

“Why, that’s Mr. Forbes, isn’t it? Bernice Forbes’ father?”

“That’s the man.”

“Is he sending you away?”

“Not directly; that is, not personally. But he and the board of
directors have combined to decree this thing. They consider it an
honour, Dolly. It is a better position, financially, and I have earned
it by my integrity and exemplary behaviour!” Mr. Fayre smiled at his
younger daughter, and was so honestly sorry for her that he didn’t know
what to do.

“Well, Daddy, I can’t stand it,” and Dolly shook her head. “I’ll just
die, that’s all. I couldn’t live anywhere except here. You couldn’t get
me another Treasure House, or another Dotty Rose, or all our crowd at
school, or anything that I have here.”

“But Buffalo may be full of Dotty Roses and Treasure Houses and school
crowds, that are heaps nicer than the Berwick variety!” Mr. Fayre tried
to speak gaily, but at these words Dolly burst into tears and Dotty
followed suit.

The family left the table, and though they tried to have calm and
general conversation the effort was vain, and very soon the Two D’s went
off up-stairs.

They went to Dolly’s pretty bedroom, and here their woe broke out
afresh.

“Oh,” wailed Dolly, “I can’t leave this room, this pretty, sweet, lovely
room, and go to old Buffalo, to sleep in an attic with rats gnawing me!”

“Why would you do that?” and Dotty stopped midway of a sob to understand
this dire prognostication.

“Well, it’s as bad as that, whatever it is.”

“But if your father gets more money, more salary, you know, maybe you’ll
have a grand house, like the Forbeses.”

“I don’t want a grand house. If it’s in Buffalo at all, I’d just as
lieve have the ratty attic as anything else!” and Dolly renewed her
weeping. She rocked her plump body back and forth in paroxysms of woe,
and wailed out new horrors as they came to her distorted imagination.

“_I_ know the sort of girls they’ll have there. All wearing shirtwaists
and old ribbon bands round their foreheads! Oh, I know!”

“How do you know?” and Dotty’s admiration rose at these strange
revelations.

“Oh, I sort of see them, the horrid bunch! I hate to see girls of our
age in shirtwaists, and I _know_ they’ll all have them. And the boys
will be horrid, too. Not nice, like our brothers and Tad and Tod, but
all sort of outgrown!”

“My! Buffalo must be an awful place!”

“It isn’t only Buffalo, it’s _any_ place in the United States, except
Berwick. Don’t you see it, Dotty? Don’t you _know_ it must be so? And if
not just as I’ve described, it’s something equally worse!”

“Yes, I s’pose so,” returned Dotty, awed by this instinctive knowledge
of Dolly’s.

“But I’ve got to go, all the same. So I’ve got to make up my mind to
it.”

“You shan’t go, and you shan’t make up your mind to it! I won’t have it.
Say, Doll, how about this? If you do go,—you visit me six months every
year, and I’ll visit you six months.”

“No; if I go, I shall give you up entirely, and get a new chum up there.
I can’t have my most intimate friend a million miles away. And you know
our people wouldn’t agree to that six months business.”

“You’ll get a new chum! Dorinda Fayre, I think you’re the most awful
girl I ever saw! I believe you _want_ to go to your horrid old Buffalo,
and have a girl with a shirtwaist on, for your intimate friend, and a
band around her forehead!”

“Oh, hush up, Dotty! I didn’t mean that, and you know it! But I’m beside
myself, I don’t know what I’m saying!”

And then the two girls gave way to such desperate and uncontrollable
sobbing, that Trudy heard them and came to their room.

“Dolly! Dolly!” she exclaimed. “Oh, you poor little girl! Don’t cry so,
darling. Try to stop,—you’ll make yourself ill. Dotty, be quiet, dear.”

Trudy’s soft voice calmed the turbulent ones a little, and she went on
talking.

“Listen, Dollykins. I don’t want to leave Berwick, either. I have lots
of friends here—”

“And beaux,” put in Dotty, suddenly realising Trudy’s trials, too.

“Yes,” Trudy agreed, smiling, “and beaux. But probably beaux grow in
Buffalo, and friends of other sorts too. Now, I don’t in the least
undervalue what it means to you two girls to part, but, Dolly, it can’t
be helped. Father has to go. Now, oughtn’t we to help him, by
unselfishly forgetting our wishes, and going cheerfully? That’s the only
way we can help Dad, and I think it’s our duty to do it.”

“I know it is,” sobbed Dolly, “but I always _did_ hate to do my duty!”

“But you always do it,” and Trudy smiled at her little sister. “I’ve
never known you to shirk a duty because you hated to do it.”

“But I never had such a big, horrid, awful bad duty before.”

“No; and that’s all the more reason why you must meet this one bravely.
Now, don’t think any more about the whole thing to-night. Go to bed and
to sleep, and to-morrow things will look brighter.”

The girls both felt sure they would lie awake all night, but so
exhausted were they by their strenuous grief, they fell asleep before
they knew it.

But Dolly woke early in the dawn of morning, and she lay there in her
pretty green room, thinking it out. And somehow, her thinking cheered
her, for at rising time, Dotty awoke to see a smiling Dolly bending over
her.

“Wake up, old sleepyhead! Get your eyes open, and rise to greet the
morn!”

Dotty rubbed her half-open black eyes, and strove to remember what was
the matter after all. Then it all came back to her.

“Buffalo!” she said, sitting up in bed. “Buff-a-lo!”

“Never mind Buffalo,” and Dolly kept on smiling. “You wake up, and get
yourself up into Berwick. And if you’ll be a good girl, some day I’ll
tell you something.”

“You’ve been thinking it out!” exclaimed Dotty. “I know you! Don’t deny
it!”

“’Course I’ve been thinking it out. But don’t you tell anybody that I
have. You get dressed, instanter! Do you hear?”

Dotty heard, and obeyed, and soon two calm, serene girls were on their
way down to breakfast.

The subject was not mentioned at the table. The elders purposely avoided
it, and the Two D’s had no desire to discuss it.

It was only as she was starting for school, that Dolly said to her
mother, with a quivering lip, “Mumsie—when—”

“In about a month, dear,” said Mrs. Fayre, kissing the trembling mouth.
“Don’t begin to think about it yet.”

The two D’s started off in silence. After a block or so, Dotty said,
“Shall you tell the girls?”

“No,” said Dolly, shortly. “Don’t mention it, Dot. This afternoon in the
house, I’ll tell you something.”

Dotty could scarcely wait till afternoon, and then when that time
arrived, Dolly decreed that they should learn their lessons first,
before she told the “something.”

“You’re getting terribly good!” grumbled Dotty.

“I know it. I’ve _got_ to be. Perhaps _then_ I’ll get something I want.”

So the two studied like everything, until they both declared they really
knew all the next day’s lessons. They even heard each other some of the
very hardest ones, and then, they sat down together before the fire for
the “something.”

“Here it is,” said Dolly, soberly. “I’m going to get Father let off from
that transfer to Buffalo.”

“You can’t,” said Dotty, with an air of calm conviction.

“I know I can’t, but I’m going to all the same. Father doesn’t want to
go, neither does Mother. Nor Trudy; nor me. So why should we go?”

“’Cause your father is sent.”

“Yes, that’s just it. But I’m going to get him unsent.”

“Amend the Constitution?”

“Just about that. Now, look here, Dot: Who is sending Dad?”

“Mr. Forbes.”

“Of course he is. He’s Father’s boss. Now, who is Mr. Forbes’ boss?”

“The president of the railroad, I s’pose.”

“Not at all. Mr. Forbes is bossed and ruled and absolutely commanded
by—”

“Bernice!”

“Yes, of course. He worships and idolises his motherless girl. And,
listen, now; through Bernice I’m going to get Father repealed,—or
whatever you call it.”

“Can you?”

“I will, whether I can or not.”

“Will your father like it?”

“He won’t know, till it’s all over. And if I fail, which I won’t, he
need never know. I’ve thought it out, and it isn’t wrong; there isn’t a
wrong thing about it. Bernice can make her father do anything in the
world she wants to. I know that. So she can get him to change his mind
about my father, if I can persuade her to do it. I mean, if I can
persuade her to persuade her father.”

“It’s a fine scheme, Dollops, but I can’t seem to see it succeeding.
Bernice can make her father do anything she wants for herself, but this
is different. Why should she bother her father for your father’s sake?”

“I don’t know,” and Dolly looked uncertain; “but I’m going to try to
make her do it, and sumpum tells me I shall conquer in the fight!”

Dolly looked so jubilant, so already victorious, that Dotty hadn’t the
heart to express further doubt. And too, Dotty had great faith in
Dolly’s powers of success when she set to work in earnest. And she
surely was very much in earnest now.

“Aren’t you going to tell Trudy or your mother?”

“No; nobody at all but you. Maybe I’ll tell Bert, when he comes home for
Thanksgiving. He could help me.”

“_I_ can help you! I mean, I will, if you’ll tell me what to do.”

“Indeed you can help me, Dot. I couldn’t do it at all without your help.
See here, you don’t understand yet. If Bernice makes her father do this
thing, it’ll be because she herself wants me to stay in Berwick. And
here’s why. Because,—if Bernice does what I want her to, I’m going to
make her the most popular girl in town!”

DOLLY went alone to see Bernice. She had wanted Dotty with her for aid
and sympathy, but on thinking it over, she decided it would be better to
go alone first.

The Forbes house was impressive, the man who opened the door to Dolly’s
ring was awe-inspiring, but of these things Dolly was not afraid. Her
fear was that she would not be able to present in the most persuasive
way, the strange matter on which she had come.

When Bernice came into the reception room, she found Dolly so deep in
thought she scarcely heard her.

“Hello, Dolly Fayre,” said the hostess, looking at her inquiringly.
“What do you want?”

“You never could guess,” returned Dolly, not resenting this somewhat
ungracious greeting.

“Oh, yes, I can, you want to beg some money for some High School
performance, or else you want me to be on some rubbishy old committee.
You never came here just because you wanted to see me,—myself.”

This frightened Dolly, for it struck perilously near the truth. But she
plunged boldly in.

“You’re not far out, Bernice, and yet it’s nothing about school. Can any
one hear us?”

“No; but I’ll shut this door. Now, what is it?”

Bernice’s curiosity was roused by Dolly’s air of repressed excitement,
and her very evident embarrassment. At least, something unusual was
coming.

“Bernice,” she began, “you know my father is in the employ of your
father’s railroad. My father is in the freight department—”

“Yes, I know it. What of it?”

“Well, your father has ordered my father to be transferred to Buffalo.”

“Oh, Dolly, I don’t want you to go to Buffalo. Why, you’re the only
friend I have in Berwick.”

“Well, this is the point, Bernice. You ought to have more friends in
Berwick. With your home and everything, you ought to be the most popular
girl in town.”

“I’m not!” and Bernice laughed grimly.

“That’s partly your own fault, and partly not. Now, if you’ll persuade
your father to retract that order and let my father stay in Berwick,
I’ll make you popular,—I will honest!”

Dolly’s eyes beamed with earnestness. Her plea was out, now it was to
follow it up.

“I know that sounds crazy,” she went on, “but think a minute, Bernice.
Your father and mine are splendid business men, so perhaps we inherit
their business talent. So let’s make a business deal. If I can make
good, and put you in the front ranks of our crowd, will you try to coax
your father to do what I want?”

“Why, Dolly Fayre, what an idea!”

“I know it. But I don’t want to leave Berwick, none of us do, and yet,
we’ll have to go, unless your father changes the orders. I’d ask him
myself, only I know he wouldn’t listen to me, but he would to you.”

“Does your father know you’re doing this?”

“Mercy, no! I wouldn’t have him know it for the world! It isn’t wrong,
Bernice, and it isn’t underhanded or anything like that. You know
yourself, how the railroad men are ordered here and there. Now it seems
to me some one else might as well be sent to Buffalo, and my father left
in the New York office, where he is now. Don’t you think so? If only
your father will agree.”

[Illustration: “I’ll make you popular,—I will honest!”]

Dolly looked very pleading. Her little face looked up into Bernice’s
with a wistful, hopeful smile. Her hands were clasped in the intensity
of her feeling, and her voice quivered as she made her plea.

Bernice looked at her. “I don’t know why I should do this for you, Dolly
Fayre,” she said, at last. “You’re the most popular girl in Berwick, you
and Dotty Rose. Now, if you go away, I’ll stand a better chance of
getting in your crowd, in your place, than if you stay here.”

Dolly hadn’t thought of this. Nor did it strike her at the moment what a
selfish and self-seeking spirit Bernice showed. She knit her brows as
she thought deeply what to say next.

“You see,” Bernice went on, “I’ve always wanted to be in your set. It’s
the nicest set of all. And when I was in Grammar School of course I
couldn’t, but now we’re all in High, I want to be one of you. And I’ll
do anything I can to get there. But I think I’d stand a better chance
with you away. Then I’d be friends with Dotty Rose in your place,
maybe.”

Dolly looked aghast. Such presumption! But the absurdity of the idea
brought her to her senses.

“Not much you wouldn’t, Bernie!” she said. “Dot is willing to do a lot
for you if I stay here. But she knows I’m saying all this to you, and if
you don’t help me about Father’s position with the road, you can just
bet Dotty Rose won’t have anything to do with you, nor will any one else
in our set!”

“Look here, Dolly, isn’t this what the boys call a ‘hold-up’?”

Dolly laughed. “It did sound like that, but listen, Bernice. It’s a
straight proposition. You want to be in our set, really in it and of it.
Well, I’ll see to it that you get there, if you’ll coax your father to
let my father stay here. That’s all, and I don’t think it’s mean or
hold-uppish. I think it’s a fair deal between us. I don’t know what my
father would say if he knew I asked you, but even though he might think
it undignified or silly, he couldn’t say it was really wrong. Now, could
he?”

“No,” agreed Bernice, “there’s nothing wrong about it. But can you do
your part?”

“Can you?”

“Yes, I know I could. I can make Dad do anything. He spoils me,—and
he’d move to Kamchatka if I wanted to, or send anybody else there if I
said so.”

“Yes, I knew he was like that. It’s a shame, Bernie, with all your
lovely home and privileges and everything, that you’re not top of the
heap here.”

“Well, I’m not. And I’m not at all sure, Dolly Fayre, that you can help
to put me anywhere near the top.”

“Oh, yes, I can.”

“How? By making the girls come to see me? Or by forcing the boys to
dance with me? I know of your efforts in those directions, and don’t you
s’pose they make me feel cheap?”

“Bernice, I don’t wonder. And I’m glad you spoke like that. No, I don’t
mean to do it that way,—not entirely. But if we go into this bargain,
you and I, it must be a real bargain, and you must help,—not hinder any
part of it.”

“Oh, Dolly, I’d only be too glad to help. If I could be popular,—I
don’t mean actually top of the heap, but just liked by the crowd, I’d be
so glad. And if you could help bring it about, I’d make father do what
you want. I know I could, But, I won’t do it unless you do what you say
you will.”

“All right, Bernice,” and Dolly looked thoughtful. “But, you see, if
Dad’s orders are changed, I suppose it ought to be done at once. And I
can’t do my part all in a jiffy, it will naturally take a little time.”

“Yes, I see that. When does your father expect to go?”

“In about a month.”

“That’ll be the middle of December. S’pose I get Father to postpone the
date till, say, after Christmas. The first of the year they often make
changes. That’ll give you nearly two months, and if things are working
all right by then, I can easily make Father let you stay here. Why, if I
told him I wanted you here in Berwick, he’d make any arrangements to
keep you here.”

“Then do it now!” and Dolly’s eyes danced at this easy settlement of the
whole matter.

“Nixy! You haven’t done a thing yet! I don’t want to be mean about this,
but—well, you know what I _do_ want and it’s up to you.”

“All right, Bernice. Will you ask your father, to-night, to put off
Dad’s transfer till after the holidays?”

“Yes, I will, and he’ll do it. Now, what are you going to do first?”

“First of all, I’m going to talk to you like a Dutch uncle!” Dolly’s
eyes were dancing now. Her aim was accomplished, at least, in part, and
her well thought out campaign was about to be begun.

“You see, Bernice, all I can do will not count at all unless _you_ do
something to help along. And what you’ve got to do, is to change your
way with ’em. Now, wait a minute. You’re pretty and bright and you have
lovely clothes and all that, but you go around with a chip on your
shoulder! Yes, you do, and it upsets your whole apple-cart! Now, you’ve
just simply _got_ to be sunny and sweet and if you think you see little
slights or mean things, swallow them and keep on smiling. I know that
sounds hard, even sounds silly, but that’s all there is to it. You’ve
got to break down that sort of barrier you’ve built up around you. Do
you know what they say about you? They say you’re stuck-up. That’s an
awful thing in our crowd. We don’t like stuck-up people. You’re so rich,
you see, so much richer than any of the rest of us, that we feel sort of
shy of you, unless you come down to our level. I mean our level as to
grandeur and style and those things. We don’t care if you have silk
dresses when we have gingham, if you don’t rub it in. Oh, _don’t_ you
see what I mean?”

“I don’t know as I do, Dolly,” and Bernice looked very serious. “But I
begin to, and I do believe I can learn. But it’s so hard when everybody
turns the cold shoulder, and nobody wants to speak to me.”

“But it’s so much your own fault! Have you ever tried, real hard, to be
nice to any of the girls? Real up and down _nice_?”

“No, I’ve been too busy paying them back for the snubs they gave me.”

“That’s just it! And they only snubbed you because they thought you were
snubbing them. Oh, I know all about it, Bernice. Don’t you s’pose I’ve
heard them talk you over? And the boys. They say you’re a pretty girl
and a good dancer, but—well, I’m going to tell you right out, for I
believe it will help you,—they call you a lemon!”

“They do, do they? Then I don’t want anything to do with them!”

“Yes, you do! Now, hold on; they call you that, ’cause you _are_ lemony
to them! You know yourself that you snip and snap the boys awfully. They
won’t stand it.”

“But, Dolly, I haven’t the sweet sunny disposition that you have.”

“Then get it! You can, if you want to. Good gracious, Bernice, if you
_want_ to be popular and have a good time, isn’t it just too easy to
quit being a sour old lemon and work up an amiable manner? Anybody would
think I was asking you to do something hard! Why, it’s easier to be
pleasant than not, if you only think so! Now, that’s _part_ of your
part. Next, you must invite people here.”

“Give a party?”

“Yes, if you like. I meant ask just a few at a time. But it would be a
good scheme to start in with quite a party. Not too gorgeous,—but a
nice, _right_ party.”

“It’ll be my birthday week after next, I might have it then.”

“Just the thing! You do that, and let me help plan your party. You
mustn’t have a grand ball, you know.”

“I’ll do just as you say, Dolly,” replied Bernice, meekly.

“All right,” and Dolly laughed. “This is like planning a campaign, and I
s’pose it’s sort of foolish for girls of our age, but you’re in wrong,
and if I can set you right, I’m only too glad to. And I _can_, if you’ll
do as I say.”

“I’m jolly _glad_ to do as you say! But will the crowd come to my
party?”

“’Course they will. I’ll make ’em. Now, wait, I know you don’t like to
have them come ’cause they’re made to, but it’s got to be that way at
first, and then it’s up to you to make it so pleasant they’ll want to
come again.”

“But seems to me _I’m_ doing most of this.”

“Oh, that’s the way it seems to you, does it? _Does it!_ Well, I don’t
want to hurt your feelings, but you _try_ it without me, and see where
you bring up!”

Dolly was a little annoyed at Bernice’s readiness to accept her advices
and ignore the very real help that Dolly was able and willing to give.

“I know, Dolly. I sort of forgot myself.”

“Well, you try to remember yourself! And remember too, that while I want
you to be one of us, at the same time, I’m bothering about you for the
reason I told you when I first came here. I’m not doing it for your
sake, but for my own. And, another thing. I want to stay in Berwick
mostly, because Dotty Rose is here, and she and I are intimate friends
and always will be. She’s ready and glad to help us in this scheme, but
it’s because she wants to keep me here in Berwick. So, Bernice Forbes,
don’t you try to come between Dot and me, for it won’t do a bit of good
and it will do you a lot of harm.”

“I won’t, honest, Dolly. But does Dotty know all about your plan?”

“Every bit. And I tell you, Bernie, if Dot and I set out to make you
have a good time, you’ll _have_ it, and that’s all there is about that!”

“I believe you, and I’m glad you’re so outspoken, Dolly. Now, honest,
I’m going to try, but you don’t know how hard it is to be nice to those
girls when they turn aside and whisper to each other about me and all
things like that.”

“They won’t do that, Bernice, if you act differently toward them. Now,
look here. You talk over your party with your father and if he says you
can have it, get your invitations out soon. My brother and Dot’s will be
home for Thanksgiving,—when is your birthday?”

“The 30th of November.”

“Good! They’ll be here then. Well, you ask your father about your
party,—and—about that other matter, will you?”

“Yes, I will, to-night. And he’ll say yes to both.”

IT was a few days later that Mr. Fayre announced to his family the news
that his transfer of locality had been postponed until after the
Christmas holidays.

“Perhaps you won’t have to go at all, Father,” said Trudy.

“Perhaps not,” agreed Mr. Fayre. “These matters are uncertain. I should
be glad not to leave Berwick, for I like my New York business, and my
suburban home; but what is to be will be, whether it ever comes to pass
or not.”

This was one of Mr. Fayre’s favourite nonsense speeches and always made
the girls laugh. Dolly laughed now, perhaps a little more than the
occasion demanded, for she knew a small joke of her own.

Dotty, too, controlled her smiles discreetly and as the subject was
lightly passed over, no one suspected that the postponement was due to
Dolly’s endeavours.

“Bernice Forbes is going to have a party,” Dolly said, after a time.

“Is she?” said Mrs. Fayre, interestedly. “When?”

“On the thirtieth. It’s her birthday. I ’spect it will be a lovely
party. Can I have a new frock, Mother?”

“Why, I think so. You need one more new party dress this winter, and you
may as well have it for that occasion.”

“I thought Bernice wasn’t much liked by your crowd,” said Trudy.

“Well, she isn’t a favourite,” said Dolly, slowly, “but I think she’s
better liked than she used to be. Anyway, everybody’ll be glad to go to
her party.”

“Yes,” said Trudy, “and then talk about her afterward! I think that’s
mean.”

“I do too,” chimed in Dotty. “But Bernice is nicer than she used to be,
more pleasant, you know. And maybe there won’t be anything to say about
her party, except nice things.”

“She’ll probably have a brass band and supper from New York,” laughed
Trudy.

“Well, I want you to be nice to her, Dolly,” said Mr. Fayre. “Mr. Forbes
has been exceedingly kind to me of late, and if you can do anything for
his motherless girl, you do it.”

“Yes, Dad,” said Dolly, meekly, though her heart was singing for joy
that she was already carrying out her father’s wishes.

“Why I thought Mr. Forbes was an awful strict, stern man,” said Trudy.

“He is,” returned her father. “And he’s a just and particular man, in
his business relations, as, of course, he ought to be.”

“Couldn’t you ask him, Father, not to let us go away from Berwick?”
suggested Dolly, timidly.

“Gracious, no, child. I wouldn’t dream of such a thing! If he says go, I
must go. But he spoke to-day as if the matter were still in abeyance—”

“In where?”

“Never mind your geography, Dollums. You wouldn’t find abeyance in any
Christian country. I mean he spoke as if my going away is still
uncertain.”

“Oh! Well, I’m glad of it. Every day here counts.”

Before Bernice’s birthday party came off Dolly had much to do. And Dotty
ably aided and abetted her plans.

They lost no opportunity to hint to the girls and boys of Bernice’s good
traits. They even said to some, that she had been misunderstood and
enlisted their sympathies for the new candidate for favours.

Bernice herself tried hard to do her part. Naturally shy, hers was the
disposition that takes quick offence at a seeming slight, and
supersensitive to such, she often felt like returning a haughty stare.
But she remembered Dolly’s instructions, and managed fairly well to
control her quick temper, and overlook many things.

A few days before the party Bob Rose and Bert Fayre came home from their
school for the Thanksgiving vacation.

Great rejoicing was in the two families at this event. Dotty had
returned home, Genie being all well again, and Treasure House was the
daily meeting place of the quartette.

“My stars! girls, but this is fine!” declared Bert, as the Two D’s
showed off their possessions.

“You bet it is!” chimed in Bob, as he paraded round the House, taking in
all its glories.

It was the day of their return, they hadn’t been in town ten minutes
before they were rushed over to the wonderful Treasure House.

“And catch onto the dinky kitchen business! Can you cook, oh, Treasure
ladies?”

“Some,” said Dolly, smiling at the recollection of the feast that
failed.

“Pshaw! We’ll show you how. Say we begin now. What you got on hand?”

“Oh, wait, Bert! don’t upset things!” cried Dolly, in dismay, for her
brother was ruthlessly rummaging in the cupboard for goodies.

“Unhand me, villain!” and Bert shook off Dolly’s restraining hand. “I
seek what I seek!” and with a flourish he brought out a package of
chocolate and the sugar bowl. “Fee fi fo fum, I smell the scent of
Fudgerum. Go to it, Dollops! See how quick you can turn out a panful!”
Bert took out his watch as if to time her. “One, two three! Go!”

Falling into the spirit of the thing, Dolly whisked out a sauce-pan and
long-handled spoon, while twice as quickly, Dotty seized a knife and
began to shave off the chocolate. Fudge was a thing they _could_ make,
with no chance of failure, so the two worked smoothly together, and in
an incredibly short time, the delectable compound was cooling, to be cut
into squares.

“You’re the right sort of sisters for a chap to have,” said Bob, looking
admiringly at the two smiling, flushed faces before him.

“You’re two pretty good brothers,” Dotty flashed back, and Bert
remarked. “Cut out the taffy, and look after the fudge.”

So they marked it off in squares and diamonds, and the impatient boys
began on it at once.

“Guess we’ll bring home some chaps for the Christmas Vake, hey, Bob?”
and Bert nodded at his chum.

“That’s a go. But not many, for this house has all the modern
improvements, except size, it seems to me.”

“Oh, it holds quite a good many,” Dolly said; “we’ve had sixteen here at
a time and it wasn’t so awfully crowded.”

“All right. We’ll bring Chalk and Cheese, eh, Bert?”

“Yep. Give me another piece of fudge, Dollums.”

“You’ll be very exceedingly ill,” remarked Dolly, gravely, as she handed
her brother the plate. “Now, see here, Bert, and you, too, Bob, I’ve got
you sweetened up, I want to tell you something. To ask you something,
rather.”

“Clever Dolly! First fudge, then demands. Well, go ahead. To the half of
my kingdom!”

“Now, listen, I’m serious. It’s about Bernice Forbes.”

“No, you don’t!” and Bert grinned. “I know the fair Bernie! None for
this citizen, thank you! What you want? Me to take her to a party, I’ll
bet. Well, you lose! See?”

“Now, Bert, be quiet,” and Dolly gave him a pleading glance. “Don’t jump
at things so. Be still a minute.”

“All right,” put in Bob. “My chum, at his sister’s request, will now be
mum. But I’ll take the floor. I hereby assent that Us Two, being for the
moment in a position to grace the fair town of Berwick by our gracious
presence, utterly decline to spoil our all too short stay in these
parts, by so much as an allusion to the impossible Forbes damsel.”

“But you _must_ listen,” and Dolly looked so honestly distressed, that
the boys woke up to the fact that she was serious.

“Fire away, then,” said Bert, “but cut it short. What’s it all about?”

“It’s this,” burst out Dotty, for Dolly couldn’t seem to find the right
words. “We’re booming Bernice. And you two have got to help!”

“Help! Help!” cried Bert, faintly. “Do I get you aright?”

“You do!” and Dotty wagged her black head, vigorously. “You sure do!
Now, the situation is this—”

“Let me tell,” said Dolly, who had recovered her nerve. “For reasons of
my own, which I will not explain at present, but which affect you, Bert,
as much as me, it is necessary that we make Bernice popular—”

“What!” exploded Bob. “Bernice popular! Oh, Jiminy Crickets! that’s a
good one!”

“Yes, popular,” repeated Dolly, severely. “And if it seems so difficult
to you, then there will be all the more glory in accomplishing it. Now,
don’t stop to argue; just realise that we’re going to do it. Look on it
as a stunt, to be wrastled somehow, and—and chip in and help us. Are
you wid us or agin us?”

Dolly was standing now, and flung out her arms like an importunate
orator, pleading for the sympathies of his audience. A determined fire
shone in her deep blue eyes, a determined smile curved her red lips, and
as she paused for a reply, Bob shouted, “To the last ditch!”

“Good for you!” and Dolly thanked him with a beaming smile. “Now, Bert,
of course you’re in it, too. So here’s the game. We four are to do all
we can, in a clever and quiet way, to make Bernice Forbes’ party a
howling success, and—”

“Told you it was a party!” growled Bert. “Hate parties!”

“No, you don’t hate parties. You love ’em. And this party is next
Tuesday, and if you two boys don’t go in and win,—for me—you’re no
good!”

“What’s it to you, Doll?” asked her brother, detecting the earnest note
in Dolly’s voice.

“It means a lot, Bert,” and Dolly’s voice shook a little. “But never
mind that now. You two just do as we girls—”

“Ours not to reason why,” exclaimed Bob; “ours but to do or die! and
we’ll do anything or anybody you say. Now, as to details, what is our
special rôle at this party racket?”

“Just this,” said Dotty. “To push up Bernice’s stock! Be awfully nice to
her yourselves. Make the other boys be nice to her, too. See that she
has a partner for every dance and a good time at every game,—or
whatever they have. Hover round her at supper time, and in general make
her think she’s It!”

“Well, Sweet Sister, what you say, goes! But you’ve given us a pretty
large order! You know the lady, I take it?”

“Yes, but you don’t. At least, you don’t know that she’s a heap nicer
than she used to be. Also, you don’t know what a great big whopping
reason there is for all this. If you did, you’d—why, you’d fly over
there at once, there’d be no holding you!”

“And can’t we know?”

“Not just now,” said Dolly, looking mysterious. “Some day, if you’re
good, I may tell you. Till then, you must work in the dark. Oh, you
_are_ good boys! I knew I could depend on you! Have some more fudge.”

“Oh thank you _so_ much! Say, if we promise to do all and more than
mortal can ask to further that crazy project of yours, can we drop the
subject for now?”

“Yes, but remember you’ve promised,” and Dotty shook her finger at the
two jolly boys, who were willing to please their sisters, but who took
little interest in Bernice Forbes and her success.

“Seems to me,” observed Bob, as they returned to discussion of Treasure
House, “that this is too good a piece of property for two simple girls!
Why, it’s worthy of boy occupants. Want to rent it?”

“No-sir-ee, Bob!” laughed Dolly. “We’ve been weeks getting it into
shape, and fixed just exactly as we want it, and we don’t propose to
have a lot of boys rampoosing all over it. You are invited to inspect
it,—and then I don’t know as you’ll be asked again.”

“Well, I like that! Why, we supposed you’d give us the freedom of it
while we’re at home, at least.”

“Oh, we won’t lock you out, except when we’re studying,” said Dotty.
“But there won’t be much studying while you’re home, for it’s our
vacation too.”

Just then a rap sounded on the brass knocker of Treasure House, and Bob
flung open the door to admit the three Rawlins and two Browns.

“Hullo,” cried Tad and Tod together; “when did you fellows get home?”

“Just to-day,” answered Bert, as they all said hullo to each other and
then found seats for themselves on chairs, window-boxes or floor.

And then a general chattering broke loose. Everybody talked at once, and
Bob and Bert were welcomed back like long lost brothers. But soon the
boys all had their heads together, telling of Clayton’s wonderful new
football, and the girls had grouped themselves on the other side of the
room and were eagerly discussing Bernice’s party.

“We’re going, now, Doll,” shouted Bert. “Going over to Clayt’s. All us
fellows. Don’t weep, ladies, but we _must_ leave you now.”

“All right,” said Dotty. “We can spare you. Of course, we just hate to
have you go, but if you must—”

“Oh, we’ll come back. But it’s too great a day to stay inside. You girls
had better go out for a run yourselves.”

“Maybe we will,” said Dolly. “But wait a minute, boys. I want to ask you
something. Won’t you each promise to dance twice with Bernice at her
party?”

“Goodness, gracious! Bernice again!” and Tod Brown pretended to fall in
a faint.

“Yes, again and yet and all the time!” declared Dolly, laughing at Tod’s
ridiculous antics. “Now, own up, you know you can’t go to her party and
not dance with her—”

“Why go?” demanded Clayton.

“Of course you’ll go! Wild horses couldn’t keep you away! But as you’re
going, why not be decent about it, and do the really nice thing? If each
of you will dance twice, and a few others once, she will have all the
partners she wants.”

“Are you her press agent, Dolly? What has come over you?” asked Tad.

“Never you mind about that. You just do as I say.”

Now Tad was pretty apt to do as Dolly said, and so he bowed and scraped,
saying, “What you say goes. Two is _my_ number. Hey, fellows?”

“Two it is!” sung out Tod, and the rest voiced agreement. “Now can we
go, mum?” begged Tad.

“Yes,” said Dolly, “you’re good boys, and you may run and play.”

“What _are_ you up to, Dolly?” asked Grace, as the boys ran off,
laughing and jumping about.

“Gracie, you know how much I want to make Bernice more popular. Well,
this is my chance, and I want all you girls to help me. If we take her
up and are nice to her, the boys will do as we tell them, and the other
girls will fall in line, and it will be all right. But if we fall down
on it, the whole plan will drop through. _Do_ be on my side, won’t you,
Grace?”

Wily Dolly knew that Ethel would do whatever Grace did, and also that
Maisie May would agree to whatever the Rawlinses agreed to.

“Yes, I will,” declared Grace. “I think we haven’t been very nice to
Bernice, and I’m ready to try to be friends with her, if she’ll have it.
But, Dolly, you know she isn’t very easy to be nice to.”

“I know, Grace, but I think we’ll find her better natured nowadays. Any
way, let’s be awful nice to her at her own party, and try to make it a
grand success.”

“All right,” said Grace, “I’ll do all _I_ can.”

“_Me_ too,” said Ethel, and then Dolly was satisfied.