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get anything to eat. Do you realize that there is nothing but four stale muffins, a pound of butter, and one cold sausage in this house?”
“Maybe we'd better go out, after all,” said a meek little voice from the sofa. "I'm awfully hungry, and we can't live on candy,” with a disdainful look at the dainty boxes piled on a table.
"Don't be silly, Dora. You know we'd ruin our clothes. Wish we knew those boys upstairs. They had two big boxes come a while ago."
“Yes, and they've been laughing like that nearly half an hour, and I wish they'd stop. It makes me feel bluer—why, what's that?" and she bounced to her feet, as a very loud and determined knock sounded at their door.
“You go, Nan, you're tidiest,” said Mary, in a stage whisper, that was plainly audible outside.
Nan obeyed, just as the other girls scuttled into the next room.
“I beg your pardon," a deep voice said, pleasantly, “but could I go through your rooms a minute? You see, our Christmas dinner is on your fire-escape.”
“Yes,” went on Tommy, serenely. "It-it got away from us, you see, and flew right down by your windows. I'm awfully sorry to bother you, but if I could go through and get it--"
“Why, certainly,” said Nan. “Come right in. Maybe you'd better hurry—will it fly any farther, do you think?"
“No, I am quite sure it will not," and then, with his most winning smile: "You are Miss Lorrimer, aren't you?"
“Why, yes, and you,
“Oh, I'm just Tommy. Everybody calls me that," and he followed Nan to the little dining-room, where the other girls were discovered innocently engaged in reading:
“Miss Bradley and Miss Dora Bradley,” said Nan, solemnly. “Mr.
“You see, I had to come down to get our dinner—it's out on your fire-escape, I suppose--may I look ?”
All three girls trooped after him to the kitchen.
“O-oh!” for there, against their window, was huddled a big, live turkey-gobbler, looking as forlorn and wet and bedraggled as a gobbler could.
“There!” cried Tommy, excitedly, as he threw up the window with a great deal of unnecessary clatter. “Now, you beast-quiet there-Miss Lorrimer, would you mind holding that blind open ? Steady now, steady-don't flap your wings so—ugh! how wet you are—have you got something I could wring him out in? Thank you—funny, isn't it? A live turkey in a little flat. But that's not the worst of it. You see, MacRae's uncle-MacRae's one of my chums-promised to send us a Christmas dinner, so we didn't make any other plans; and now it's come, just as he promised, but all in the raw-vegetables, and cranberries, and mincemeat, and this fowl. We're worse off than ever, for we can't cook what was sent us. I'm very sorry to have bothered you— I'm going down now to have the janitor help me get him ready to cook—and, oh, could you tell me what to do with him after he's emptied? I have to fill him up again, don't I? You see, we can cook steaks and chops all right, but we never tried to roast-we're awfully helpless."
The girls had been exchanging meaning looks. Mary, as the eldest of the little household, stammered:
“We'd-we'd only be too glad to show you. If you'll bring him down when he's ready, we'll stuff him for you—that is, if you've got the bread.”
"Bread? Oh, barrels of it! But—we couldn't bother you, you know. You must have your own things to get, and—-"
“No, we were going out. It will be no trouble; and Nan can make your jelly. She makes very good jelly.”
Tommy beamed upon her like a small sun.
"I'll tell you what !—we'll let you help cook him if you'll only promise to stay and help eat him. Unless your invitation is very pressing."
"Oh, no!” exclaimed Dora, despite Mary's frown of disapproval,
and five minutes later, after the impatient Dexter and MacRae had been brought down, introduced, and informed of the "great and unexpected kindness of their neighbors," there was such a scurrying up and down stairs, such peals of laughter and exclamations of wonder and dismay from the girls over the strange and awful culinary feats of their guests, that even the grim old janitor smiled to himself as he sat among a fast growing heap of turkey feathers, and the people in the other flats came into the hall to see what was the matter.
Though served very late, dinner was acknowledged by all hands to be an unrivaled success.
After the doors of their flat were safely locked for the night, MacRae and Dexter came solemnly over to Tommy and bowed down before him.
“Tommy," said Dexter, "you're a genius!"
Just then a sleepy voice down below came out of the darkness : "Girls, that turkey's wings were clipped, and his legs were tied. He couldn't ever have got there alone.”
Two. little giggles answered from the next room, as another voice announced, “I know—I saw them pull back the string.”
JAMES WHITCCAB RILEY. [From the biographical edition of the Complete Works of James Whitcomb Riley, copyright 1913. Used by special permission of the publishers, The Bobbs-Merrill Company.]
THE Raggedy Man! He works for pa,
An' he's the goodest man ever you saw !
if our hired girl sez he can,
Ain't he a' awful good Raggedy Man?
W'y the Raggedy Man-he's ist so good,
Ain't he a' awful kind Raggedy Man?
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!
Ain't he a funny old Raggedy Man?
Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!
I’m ist go’ to be a nice Raggedy Man!”
STREET MISSIONARY [to bystander). Are you a Christian,
BYSTANDER [cheerily]. Oh, dear, no! I'm choir-singer.
THOMAS L. Masson.
ON'T handle me more than is necessary.
Don't put into my mouth, to stop me from crying, an old piece of rubber to suck. It is about the worst habit I can get into.
Don't let any relatives see me.
Don't take me up, strain me to your breast, walk the floor with me, dance before me like a wild Indian shaking a horrible rattle, or talk gibberish to me, when I have a crying spell. There may be something serious the matter with me, but this isn't going to help.
When I push away my bottle, don't force me to feed. I know when it is necessary for me to eat anything.
Don't take me to the circus, prayer-meeting, or to spend the day at the seashore. I'm not so old or so fool-proof as you are.
Don't kiss me. Take some one of your own size.
I haven't any too much confidence in myself.
Don't be too proud of my unnatural brightness. It may be a form of degeneracy.
Don't tell anybody that I am only a little animal. Let them guess it for themselves.
Don't take my temperature, or send for the doctor on the slightest provocation.
Don't let the light strike into my eyes.
Don't rock me to sleep. Remember that the hand that rocks the cradle is ruled by the baby.
PARSON. Susannah, do you take this man to be your wedded husband, for better or for worse-
SUSANNAH. Jes' as he is, pahson; jes' as he is. Ef he gits any bettah Ah'll know de good Lawd's gwine to take 'im; an’ ef he gits any wusser, w’y, Ah'll tend to ’im myself.