“I see,” Josie cried. “I think it’s a splendiferous ideal”
“And, I thought, if we formed a sort of club among ourselves and worked together—”
“Listen,” Josie interrupted again, “we’ll make it a condition of membership, that each one must, in turn, think up something pleasant to do.”
“Is the membership to be limited?” Tom asked.
Pauline smiled. “It will be so—necessarily—won’t it?” For Winton was not rich in young people.
“There will be enough of us,” Josie declared hopefully.
“Like the model dinner party?” her brother asked. “Not less than the Graces, nor more than the Muses.”
And so the new club was formed then and there. There were to be no regular and formal meetings, no dues, nor fines, and each member was to consider himself, or herself, an active member of the programme committee.
Tom, as the oldest member of their immediate circle of friends, was chosen president before that first meeting adjourned; no other officers were considered necessary at the time. And being president, to him was promptly delegated the honor—despite his vigorous protests—of arranging for their first outing and notifying the other members—yet to be.
“But,” he expostulated, “what’s a fellow to think up—in a hole like this?”
“Winton isn’t a hole!” his sister protested. It was one of the chief occupations of Josie’s life at present, to contradict all such heretical utterances on Tom’s part. He was to go away that fall to commence his studies for the medical profession, for it was Dr. Brice’s great desire that, later, his son should assist him in his practice. But, so far, Tom though wanting to follow his father’s profession, was firm in his determination, not to follow it in Winton.
“And remember,” Pauline said, as the three went down-stairs together, “that it’s the first step that counts—and to think up something very delightful, Tom.”
“It mustn’t be a picnic, I suppose? Hilary won’t be up to picnics yet awhile.”
“N-no, and we want to begin soon. She’ll be back Friday, I think,” Pauline answered.
By Wednesday night the spare room was ready for the expected guest. “It’s as if someone had waved a fairy wand over it, isn’t it?” Patience said delightedly. “Hilary’ll be so surprised.”
“I think she will and—pleased.” Pauline gave one of the cushions in the cozy corner a straightening touch, and drew the window shades—Miranda had taken them down and turned them—a little lower.
“It’s a regular company room, isn’t it?” Patience said joyously.
The minister drove over to The Maples himself on Friday afternoon to bring Hilary home.
“Remember,” Patience pointed a warning forefinger at him, just as he was starting, “not a single solitary hint!”
“Not a single solitary one,” he promised.
As he turned out of the gate. Patience drew a long breath. “Well, he’s off at last! But, oh, dear, however can we wait ’til he gets back?”