[Illustration: She truly did well in this performance. (Page 252)
CORNER HOUSE GIRLS
IN A PLAY
HOW THEY REHEARSED
HOW THEY ACTED
AND WHAT THE PLAY BROUGHT IN
GRACE BROOKS HILL
AUTHOR OF "THE CORNER HOUSE GIRLS," "THE CORNER
HOUSE GIRLS AT SCHOOL," ETC.
R. EMMETT OWEN_
BARSE & HOPKINS
BOOKS FOR GIRLS
The Corner House Girls Series
By Grace Brooks Hill
_12mo. Cloth. Illustrated. Price per volume,
75 cents, postpaid._
THE CORNER HOUSE GIRLS
THE CORNER HOUSE GIRLS AT SCHOOL
THE CORNER HOUSE GIRLS UNDER CANVAS
THE CORNER HOUSE GIRLS IN A PLAY
THE CORNER HOUSE GIRLS' ODD FIND
THE CORNER HOUSE GIRLS ON A TOUR
(_Other volumes in preparation_)
BARSE & HOPKINS
PUBLISHERS NEW YORK
Barse & Hopkins
_The Corner House Girls in a Play_
BINGHAMTON AND NEW YORK
I THE SOVEREIGNS OF ENGLAND 9
II THE LADY IN THE GRAY CLOAK 18
III BILLY BUMPS' BANQUET 27
IV THE BASKET BALL TEAM IN TROUBLE 42
V THE STONE IN THE POOL 57
VI JUST OUT OF REACH 66
VII THE CORE OF THE APPLE 75
VIII LYCURGUS BILLET'S EAGLE BAIT 84
IX BOB BUCKHAM TAKES A HAND 101
X SOMETHING ABOUT OLD TIMES 112
XI THE STRAWBERRY MARK 122
XII TEA WITH MRS. ELAND 134
XIII NEALE SUFFERS A SHORTENING PROCESS 145
XIV THE FIRST REHEARSAL 156
XV THE HALLOWE'EN PARTY 167
XVI THE FIVE-DOLLAR GOLD PIECE 175
XVII THE MYSTERIOUS LETTER 184
XVIII MISS PEPPERILL AND THE GRAY LADY 193
XIX A THANKSGIVING SKATING PARTY 198
XX NEALE'S ENDLESS CHAIN 206
XXI THE CORNER HOUSE THANKSGIVING 212
XXII CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE 217
XXIII SWIFTWING, THE HUMMINGBIRD 228
XXIV THE FINAL REHEARSAL 240
XXV A GREAT SUCCESS 247
She truly did well in this performance
At the moment the eagle dropped with spread talons,
the big dog leaped 103
They saw two huge pumpkin
lanterns grinning a
welcome from the gateposts 173
The scaffolding pulled apart slowly, falling forward
through the drop 238
THE CORNER HOUSE GIRLS IN A PLAY
THE SOVEREIGNS OF ENGLAND
"I never can learn them in the wide, wide world! I just know I never
"Dear me! I'm dreadfully
sorry for you, Tess," responded Dorothy
Kenway--only nobody ever called her by her full name, for she really was
too small to achieve
of anything longer than "Dot."
sorry for you, Tess," she repeated, hugging the
Alice-doll a little closer and wrapping
the lace "throw" carefully about
the shoulders of her favorite child. The Alice-doll had never enjoyed
robust health since her awful experience of more than a year before,
when she had been buried alive.
Of course, Dot had not got as far in school as the sovereigns of
England. She had not as yet heard very much about the history of her own
country. She knew, of course, that Columbus discovered it, the Pilgrims
settled it, that George Washington was the father of it, and Abraham
Lincoln saved it.
Tess Kenway was usually very quick in her books, and she was now
prepared to enter a class in the lower grammar grade of the Milton
school in which she would have easy lessons in English history. She had
just purchased the history on High Street, for school would open for the
autumn term in a few days.
Mr. Englehart, one of the School Board and an influential
Milton, had a penchant for beginning
at the beginning
of things. As he
put it: "How can our children be grounded well in the history of our own
country if they are not informed upon the salient points of English
history--the Mother Country, from whom we obtained our first laws, and
from whom came our early leaders?"
As the two youngest Kenway girls came out of the stationery and book
store, Miss Pepperill was entering. Tess and Dot had met Miss Pepperill
at church the Sunday previous, and Tess knew that the rather
sharp-featured, bespectacled lady was to be her new teacher.
The girls whom Tess knew, who had already had experience with Miss
Pepperill called her "Pepperpot." She was supposed
to be very irritable,
and she _did_ have red hair. She shot questions out at one in a most
disconcerting way, and Dot was quite amazed and startled by the way Miss
Pepperill pounced on Tess.
"Let's see your book, child," Miss Pepperill said, seizing Tess' recent
purchase. "Ah--yes. So you are to be in my room, are you?"
"Yes, ma'am," admitted Tess, timidly.
"Ah--yes! What is the succession
of the sovereigns of England? Name
Now, if Miss Pepperill had demanded that Tess Kenway name the Pleiades,
the latter would have been no more startled--or no less able to reply
"Ah--yes!" snapped Miss Pepperill, seeing
Tess' vacuous expression. "I
shall ask you that the first day you are in my room. Be prepared to
answer it. The succession
of the sovereigns of England," and she swept
on into the store, leaving the children on the sidewalk, wonderfully
They had walked over into the Parade Ground, and seated themselves on
one of the park benches in sight of the old Corner House, as Milton
people had called the Stower homestead, on the corner of Willow Street,
from time immemorial. Tess' hopelessannouncement
followed their sitting
on the bench for at least half an hour.
"Why, I can't never!" she sighed, making it positive
by at least two
negatives. "I never had an idea England had such an awful long string of
kings. It's worse than the list of Presidents of the United States."
"Is it?" Dot observed, curiously. "It must be awful annoyable to have to
"Goodness, Dot! There you go again with one of your big words,"
exclaimed Tess, in vexation. "Who ever heard of 'annoyable' before? You
must have invented that."
ignored the criticism. It must be confessed that she loved
the sound of long words, and sometimes, as Agnes said, "made an awful
mess of polysyllables." Agnes was the Kenway next older than Tess, while
Ruth was seventeen, the oldest of all, and had for more than three years
been the house-mother of the Kenway family.
Ruth and Agnes were at home in the old Corner House at this very hour.
There lived in the big dwelling, with the four Corner House Girls, Aunt
Sarah Maltby (who really was no relative
of the girls, but a partial
charge upon their charity), Mrs. MacCall, their housekeeper, and old
Uncle Rufus, Uncle Peter Stower's black butler
and general factotum, who
had been left to the care of the old man's heirs when he died.
The first volume
of this series, called "The Corner House Girls," told
the story of the coming of the four sisters and Aunt Sarah Maltby to the
Stower homestead, and of their first adventures in Milton--getting
settled in their new home and making friends among their neighbors.
In "The Corner House Girls at School," the second volume, the four
Kenway sisters extended
the field of their acquaintance
in Milton and
thereabout, entered the local schools in the several grades to which
they were assigned, made more friends and found some few rivals. They
began to feel, too, that responsibility
which comes with improved
fortunes, for Uncle Peter Stower had left a considerableestate
four girls, of which Mr. Howbridge, the lawyer, was administrator
well as the girls' guardian.
Now the second summer of their sojourn
at the old Corner House was just
ending, and the girls had but recently returned from a most delightful
outing at Pleasant Cove, on the Atlantic Coast, some distance away from
Milton, which was an inland
All the fun and adventure of that vacation
in "The Corner
House Girls Under Canvas," the third volume
of the series, and the one
the present story.
Tess was seldom vindictive; but after she had puzzled her poor brain for
this half hour, trying
to pick out and to get straight the Williams and
Stephens and Henrys and Johns and Edwards and Richards, to say nothing
of the Georges, who had reigned over England, she was quite flushed and
"I know I'm just going to de-_test_ that Miss Pepperpot!" she exclaimed.
"I--I could throw this old history at her--I just could!"
"But you couldn't hit her, Tess," Dot observed placidly. "You know you
"Because you can't throw anything straight--no straighter than Sammy
Pinkney's ma. I heard her scolding Sammy the other day for throwing
stones. She says, 'Sammy, don't you let me catch you throwing any more
"And did he mind her?" asked Tess.
"I don't know," Dot replied reflectively. "But he says to her: 'What'll
I do if the other fellers throw 'em at me?' 'Just you come and tell me,
Sammy, if they do,' says Mrs. Pinkney."
"Well?" queried Tess, as her sister seemed inclined to stop.
"I didn't see what good that would do, myself," confessed Dot. "Telling
Mrs. Pinkney, I mean. And Sammy says to her: 'What's the use of telling
you, Ma? You couldn't hit the broad side of a barn!' _I_ don't think
_you_ could fling that hist'ry straight at Miss Pepperpot, Tess."
"Huh!" said Tess, not altogether
pleased. "I _feel_ I could hit her,
"Maybe Aggie could learn you the names of those sov-runs----"
"'Sovereigns'!" exclaimed Tess. "For pity's sake, get the word right,
Dot pouted and Tess, being in a somewhat nagging mood--which was
entirely strange for her--continued:
"And don't say 'learn' for 'teach.' How many times has Ruthie told you
"I don't care," retorted Dorothy Kenway. "I don't think so much of the
English language--or the English sov-er-reigns--so now! If folks can
talk, and make themselves understood, isn't that enough?"
"It doesn't seem so," sighed Tess, despondent again as she glanced at
the open history.
"Oh, I tell you what!" cried Dot, suddenly eager. "You ask Neale O'Neil.
I'm sure _he_ can help you. He teached me how to play jack-stones."
Tess ignored this flagrant lapse from school English, and said, rather
"I wouldn't ask a boy."
"Oh, my! _I_ would," Dot replied, her eyes big and round. "I'd ask
anybody if I wanted to know anything very bad. And Neale O'Neil's quite
the nicest boy that ever was. Aggie says so."
"Ruth and I don't approve
of boys," Tess said loftily. "And I don't
believe Neale knows the sovereigns of England. Oh! look at those men,
Dot squirmed about on the bench to look out on Parade Street. An
erecting gang of the telegraph
company was putting up a pole. The deep
hole had been dug for it beside the old pole, and the men, with spikes
in their hands, were beginning
to raise the new pole from the ground.
Two men at either side had hold of ropes to steady the big pine stick.
Up it went, higher and higher, while the overseer stood at the butt to
guide it into the hole dug in the sidewalk.
Just as the pole was about half raised into its place, and a lineman had
gone quickly up a neighboring
pole to fasten
a guy-wire to hold it, the
interested children on the park bench saw a woman crossing the street
near the scene of the telegraph
company men's activities.
"Oh, Tess!" Dot exclaimed. "What a funny dress she wears!"
"Yes," said the older Kenway girl, eying the woman quite as curiously
The strange woman wore a long, gray cloak, and a little gray, close
bonnet, with a stiff, white frill framing her face. That face was very
sweet, but rather sad of expression. The children could not see her hair
and had no means of guessing her age, for her cheeks were healthily pink
and her gray eyes bright.
These facts Tess and Dot observed and digested in their small minds
before the woman reached the curb.
"Isn't she pretty?" whispered Tess.
Before Dot could reply there sounded a wild cry from the man on the
pole. The guy-wire had slipped.
"'Ware below!" he shouted.
The woman did not notice. Perhaps the close cap she wore kept her from
hearing distinctly. The writhing wire flew through the air like a great
Tess dropped her history and sprang
up; but Dot did not loose her hold
upon the rather battered "Alice-doll" which was her dearest possession.
She clung, indeed, to the doll all the closer, but she screamed to the
woman quite as loudly as Tess did, and her little blue-stockinged legs
twinkled across the grass to the point of danger, quite as rapidly as
did Tess' brown ones.