The Peterkins “At home.”
Might not something be done by way of farewell before leaving for Egypt? They did not want to give another tea-party, and could not get in all at dinner. They had had charades and a picnic. Elizabeth Eliza wished for something unusual, that should be remembered after they had left for Egypt. Why should it not be a fancy ball? There never had been one in the place.
Mrs. Peterkin hesitated. Perhaps for that reason they ought not to attempt it. She liked to have things that other people had. She however objected most to the “ball” part. She could indeed still dance a minuet, but she was not sure she could get on in the “Boston dip.”
The little boys said they would like the “fancy” part and “dressing up.” They remembered their delight when they browned their faces for Hindus, at their charades, just for a few minutes; and what fun it would be to wear their costumes through a whole evening! Mrs. Peterkin shook her head; it was days and days before the brown had washed out of their complexions.
Still, she too was interested in the “dressing up.” If they should wear costumes, they could make them of things that might be left behind, that they had done wearing, if they could only think of the right kind of things.
Mrs. Peterkin, indeed, had already packed up, although they were not to leave for two months, for she did not want to be hurried at the last. She and Elizabeth Eliza went on different principles in packing.
Elizabeth Eliza had been told that you really needed very little to travel with,—merely your travelling dress and a black silk. Mrs. Peterkin, on the contrary, had heard it was best to take everything you had, and then you need not spend your time shopping in Paris. So they had decided upon adopting both ways. Mrs. Peterkin was to take her “everything,” and already had all the shoes and stockings she should need for a year or two. Elizabeth Eliza, on the other hand, prepared a small valise. She consoled herself with the thought that if she should meet anything that would not go into it, she could put it in one of her mother’s trunks.
It was resolved to give the fancy ball.
Mr. Peterkin early determined upon a character. He decided to be Julius Caesar. He had a bald place on the top of his head, which he was told resembled that of the great Roman; and he concluded that the dress would be a simple one to get up, requiring only a sheet for a toga.
Agamemnon was inclined to take the part which his own name represented, and he looked up the costume of the Greek king of men. But he was dissatisfied with the representation given of him in Dr. Schliemann’s “Mykenae.” There was a picture of Agamemnon’s mask, but very much battered. He might get a mask made in that pattern, indeed, and the little boys were delighted with the idea of battering