“Girls,” Miss Jones remarked, as she put down a big plate of corn muffins before her hungry charges, “Phil accused me once of being mysterious and never talking about myself. Well, I am going to make a confession about myself at once.”
Madge raised her eyes in surprise. After all, was Miss Jones going to tell of last night’s adventure? But the chaperon was not looking at her. She was smiling at Phil, Lillian and Eleanor.
“Well, out with it, Miss Jones,” laughed Phil. “What is the confession?”
“It is a foolish one, perhaps. I hate the name of ‘Jones.’ I have despised it all my life. There, that is my confession. Won’t you girls please call me something else while we are having our holiday together? I know Madge can find a name for me.” She looked rather timidly at Madge.
The girl blushed, though she felt vastly relieved at Miss Jones’s confession. “What do you wish us to call you? I saw your initials in some of your books, ‘J. A. Jones,’ so we might call you Jenny Ann Jones, because, when Nellie and I were children, we used to play an old nursery game: ’We’re going to see Miss Jenny Ann Jones, Miss Jenny Ann Jones, and how is she to-day?’” Madge’s explanation ended with a song.
Miss Jones laughed. “My name is worse than Jenny Ann, it is Jemima Ann.”
“It isn’t pretty,” agreed Phyllis, with a shake of the head. “Girls, what shall we call our chaperon? And we have never named our houseboat, either. We have a day’s work ahead of us. We must think of names for both of them.”
“Wouldn’t ‘Miss Ann’ do?” Eleanor asked.
“I think Ann is such a pretty name.”
“I would rather you had a more individual name for me. I have often been called Ann.”
“You might be the ‘Queen of our Ship of Dreams,’” laughed Lillian.
“That sounds altogether too high and mighty,” objected Phyllis. “We ought to have something nice and chummy.”
“We might call you ‘Gem,’ because it is short for Jemima, and in honor of these corn muffins, which we call ‘gems’ in our part of the world,” added Phil. “We’ll think of a name yet. Come on, girls, we must get to work; there is so much to be done. Lillian, you and I must go up to the farmhouse to get some supplies this morning. Suppose we take a long walk this afternoon and explore the woods back of us?”
“We will think of the prettiest name we can for you and another for our houseboat,” declared Lillian as the four girls rose from the table to go about their various tasks; “then we shall make our report to-night.”
It was nearly four o’clock in the afternoon when the four churns started on their walk. Miss Jones did not go with them. She was tired and wished to sit out on the deck of the boat in the sunshine.
“Be back before dark, children,” she called out gayly as the girls climbed up the little embankment. “Remember, you don’t know your way in this country, as you do at old Harborpoint. I shall be uneasy about you if you aren’t back on time.”