“What on earth is that?” demanded Madge, as she kissed her chaperon and started around the semi-circle of her chums.
“It’s Lillian’s surprise!” Eleanor explained. “It’s a hurdy-gurdy. We found it in the village. I know it is pretty old. But Lillian persuaded the man to bring it on board, as we thought it would be jolly to have a dance on the deck to-night in honor of Miss Madge Morton, captain of the ‘Merry Maid.’”
A CALL FOR HELP
“Madge, you must go over to Fisherman’s Island with me,” urged Phil a few days later. “I feel dreadfully about Mollie. I promised the poor girl that we would come to see her soon. Now, a long time has passed; we have never been there. Eleanor and Lillian are anxious to go along with me. Mollie is perfectly lovely, and I am heartily sorry for her. Do come with us, there’s a dear. Don’t pretend you are tired, or make Miss Jones think you are sick. You are just as well now as any of the rest of us. If you don’t come, it is just because you want to stay here to read that silly novel. Real people are much more interesting than stories.”
Madge yawned and stretched herself lazily in the steamer chair. “Phil, it is awfully hot on the water. Couldn’t we go to see your girl some other time? If she has waited this long, she may as well wait a little longer. You see, I promised Mrs. Curtis I wouldn’t go out in the sun.”
“Madge Morton, you are putting on airs. Going out in the sun, indeed!” Phil sniffed disdainfully. “When did the sun ever hurt you? You just love to have people spoil you. You know there is nothing in the world the matter with you now. But please don’t come, if you do not wish to. Nellie and Lillian and I are going now.”
Phyllis walked quietly away, with her head in the air. Madge was really too provoking.
Madge closed her book with a bang and rushed after her friend. “Of course I wish to go with you, Phil. I am interested in your pretty girl. I had reached the most exciting part of my story when you asked me, and—— Now, you will hurt my feelings dreadfully if you don’t let me go along with you! Just think, Phyllis Alden. You said I was spoiled, and that I liked to pretend I was sick, and I didn’t get one bit angry. Don’t you truly think my temper is improving?”
Phyllis laughed. “Oh, come on, if you like. Do you think Miss Jenny Ann would mind my taking the poor girl a basket of nice things? I mean things that any girl would like. My friend isn’t in the least like a beggar.”
“Of course, Miss Jones will let you do anything you like, Phil,” replied Madge. “I am the only person she does not approve of.” Madge felt angry because her chaperon had intimated that Madge was hurting Eleanor’s feelings by talking so much of her Mrs. Curtis and the beautiful time she had spent with her. And Madge, though she needed criticism even more than most other girls, was just as little pleased at receiving it.