xt79057crw94 https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt79057crw94/data/mets.xml Johnston, Annie F. (Annie Fellows), 1863-1931. 1916  books b92-237-31299377 English Grosset & Dunlap, : New York : This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed.  Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically.  Physical rights are retained by the owning repository.  Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. copyright laws.  For information about permissions to reproduce or publish, contact the Special Collections Research Center. Georgina of the rainbows  / by Annie Fellows Johnston. text Georgina of the rainbows  / by Annie Fellows Johnston. 1916 2002 true xt79057crw94 section xt79057crw94 











   GEORGINA
OF THE RAINBOWS

 











"As Long as a Man Keeps Hope
at the Prow He Keeps Afloat."

 This page in the original text is blank.

 









































































































Jl --r--L't l

 





G E O R G I N A

OF THE RAINBOWS


              BY
 ANNIE FELLOWS JOHNSTON



         AUTHOR OF
TrwO LITTLE KNIGHTS OF KENTUCKY,
     THE GIANT SCISSORS,
  THE DESERT OF WAITING, ETC.










    - . . . Still bear up and ster
    right onward. '     hIILTON



GROSSET &
P U B L I S H E R S



DUNLAP
NEW YORK



I

 





























           Copyright. 1916
LRITTON PUBLISHING COMPANY. INC.

         All Rights Reserved

 











        To
My Little God-daughter
"ANNE ELIZABETH"

 

















p, N -  



"At the Tip of Old Cape Cod."

 

            CONTENTS

CHAPTER                           PAGE
   I. HER EARLIER MEMORIES . .     I I
   II. GEORGINA'S PLAYMATE MOTHER   22
 III. THE TOWNCRIER HAS HIS SAY .  30
 IV. NEW FRIENDS AND THE GREEN
        STAIRS. .  . .  . . .  .  40
  V. IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF PIRATES  5 I
  VI. SPEND-THE-DAY GUESTS . .     63
VII. "THE TISHBITE".      .77
VIII. THE TELEGRAM THAT TOOK
        BARBY AWAY . . . . . .    86
 IX. THE BIRTHDAY PRISM. . .      96
 X. MOVING PICTURES .            I I
 XI. THE OLD RIFLE GIVES UP ITS
        SECRET .      .24
XII. A HARD PROMISE .    .35
XIII. LOST AND FOUND AT THE LINI-
        MENT WAGON .     .141
XIV. BURIED TREASURE.    .        I54
XV. A NARROW ESCAPE .    .i6i
XVI. WHAT THE STORM DID. . .      I69
                vii

 
Contents



CHAPTER                          PAGE
XVII. IN THE KEEPING OF THE DUNES 178
XVIII. FOUND OUT .I87
  XIX. TRACING THE LINIMENT WAGON  198
  XX. DANCE OF THE RAINBOW FAIRIES 209
  XXI. ON THE TRAIL OF THE WILD-CAT
          WOMAN   . . . . . . . 2I8
 XXII. THE RAINBOW GAME . . . . 230
 XXIII. LIGHT DAWNS FOR UNCLE DARCY 244
 XXIV. A CONTRAST IN FATHERS . . . 258
 XXV. A LETTER TO HONG-KONG . . . 272
 XXVI. PEGGY JOINS THE RAINBOW-
           MAKERS . . . . . . . 283
XXVII. A MODERN "ST. GEORGE AND THE
          DRAGON  . . . . . . . 29I
XXVIII. THE DOCTOR'S DISCOVERY     304
XXIX. WHILE THEY WAITED.         317
  XXX. NEARING THE END ...         329
  XXXI. COMINGS AND GOINGS.        336



Viii

 

            ILLUSTRATIONS
            BY RAY N. JACKSON

TIHE REAL GEORGINA (in life colors) Frontispiece
                                  FACING PAGE
THEY TOOK THEIR WAY IN "THE BETSEY"  54
COMING ACROSS A SEA OF DREAMS  .  . 240
THE TOWNCRIER AND His LASS .    .      310

 






















      '_. Gilll


"Put a Rainbow 'Round Your
   Troubles. -GEORGINA.

 

Georgina of the Rainbows



                CHAPTER I

            HER EARLIER MEMORIES

IF old Jeremy Clapp had not sneezed his teeth
   into the fire that winter day this story might have
had a more seemly beginning; but, being a true rec-
ord, it must start with that sneeze, because it was the
first happening in Georgina Huntingdon's life which
she could remember distinctly.
  She was in her high-chair by a window overlook-
ing a gray sea, and with a bib under her chin, was
being fed dripping spoonfuls of bread and milk from
the silver porringer which rested on the sill. The
bowl was almost on a level with her little blue shoes
which she kept kicking up and down on the step of
her high-chair, wherefore the restraining hand which
seized her ankles at intervals. It was Mrs. Trip-
lett's firm hand which clutched her, and Mrs. Trip-
lett's firm hand which fed her, so there was not the
usual dilly-dallying over Georgina's breakfast as
when her mother held the spoon. She always made a
game of it, chanting nursery rhymes in a gay, silver-
bell-cockle-shell sort of way, as if she were one of
                       I I

 
12       Georgina of the Rainbows
the "pretty maids all in a row," just stepped out of
a picture book.
  Mrs. Triplett was an elderly widow, a distant rela-
tive of the family, who lived with them. "Tippy"
the child called her before she could speak plainly-
a foolish name for such a severe and dignified person,
but Mrs. Triplett rather seemed to like it. Being
the working housekeeper, companion and everything
else which occasion required, she had no time to make
a game of Georgina's breakfast, even if she had
known how. Not once did she stop to say, "Curly-
locks, Curly-locks, wilt thou be mine" or to press
her face suddenly against Georgina's dimpled rose-
leaf cheek as if it were somthing too temptingly dear
and sweet to be resisted. She merely said, "Here I"
each time she thrust the spoon towards her.
  Mrs. Triplett was in an especial hurry this morn-
ing, and did not even look up when old Jeremy came
into the room to put more wood on the fire. In win-
ter, when there was no garden work, Jeremy did
everything about the house which required a man's
hand. Although he must have been nearly eighty
years old, he came in, tall and unbending, with a big
log across his shoulder. He walked stiffly, but his
back was as straight as the long poker with which
he mended the fire.
  Georgina had seen him coming and going about
the place every day since she had been brought to
live in this old gray house beside the sea, but this

 

Her Earlier Memories



svas the first time he had made any lasting impression
upon her memory. Henceforth, she was to carry
with her as long as she should live the picture of a
hale, red-faced old man with a woolen muffler wound
around his lean throat. His knitted "wrist-warm-
ers" slipped down over his mottled, deeply-veined
hands when he stooped to roll the log into the fire.
He let go with a grunt. The next instant a mighty
sneeze seized him, and Georgina, who had been gaz-
ing in fascination at the shower of sparks he was
making, saw all of his teeth go flying into the fire.
  If his eyes had suddenly dropped from their sock-
ets upon the hearth, or his ears floated off from the
sides of his head, she could not have been more ter-
rified, for she had not yet learned that one's teeth
may be a separate part of one's anatomy. It was
such a terrible thing to see a man go to pieces in
this undreamed-of fashion, that she began to scream
and writhe around in her high-chair until it nearly
turned over.
   She did upset the silver porringer, and what was
left of the bread and milk splashed out on the floor,
barely missing the rug.  Mrs. Triplett sprang to
snatch her from the toppling chair, thinking the child
was having a spasm. She did not connect it with old
Jeremy's sneeze until she heard his wrathful gibber-
ing, and turned to see him holding up the teeth,
which he had fished out of the fire with the tongs.
   They were an old-fashioned set such as one never



13

 
14       Georgina of the Rainbows
sees now. They had been made in England. They
were hinged together like jaws, and Georgina yelled
again as she saw them all blackened and gaping,
dangling from the tongs. It was not the grinning
teeth themselves, however, which frightened her.
It was the awful knowledge, vague though it was to
her infant mind, that a human body could fly apart
in that way. And Tippy, not understanding the
cause of her terror, never thought to explain that
they were false and had been made by a man in
some out-of-the-way corner of Yorkshire, instead
of by the Almighty, and that their removal was pain-
less.
  It was several years before Georgina learned the
truth, and the impression made by the accident grew
into a lurking fear which often haunted her as time
wore on. She never knew at what moment she might
fly apart herself. That it was a distressing ex-
perience she knew from the look on old Jeremy's
face and the desperate pace at which he set off to
have himself mended.
  She held her breath long enough to hear the door
bang shut after him and his hob-nailed shoes go
scrunch, scrunch, through the gravel of the path
around the house, then she broke out crying again
so violently that Tippy had hard work quieting her.
She picked up the silver porringer from the floor
and told her to look at the pretty bowl. The fall
had put a dent into its side. And what would

 
Her Earlier Memories



Georgina's great-great aunt have said could she have
known what was going to happen to her handsome
dish, poor lady! Surely she never would have left it
to such a naughty namesake! Then, to stop her
sobbing, Mrs. Triplett took one tiny finger-tip in her
large ones, and traced the name which was engraved
around the rim in tall, slim-looped letters: the name
which had passed down through many christenings
to its present owner, "Georgina Huntingdon."
  Failing thus to pacify the frightened child, Mrs.
Triplett held her up to the window overlooking the
harbor, and dramatically bade her "hark i" Stand-
ing with her blue shoes on the window-sill, and a tear
on each pink cheek, Georgina flattened her nose
against the glass and obediently listened.
  The main street of the ancient seaport town, upon
which she gazed expectantly, curved three miles
around the harbor, and the narrow board-walk which
ran along one side of it all the way, ended abruptly
just in front of the house in a waste of sand. So
there was nothing to be seen but a fishing boat at
anchor, and the waves crawling up the beach, and
nothing to be heard but the jangle of a bell some-
where down the street. The sobs broke out again.
  "Hush !" commanded Mrs. Triplett, giving her
an impatient shake. "Hark to what's coming up
along. Can't you stop a minute and give the Town-
crier a chance Or is it you're trying to outdo him "
  The word "Towncrier" was meaningless to



is

 
i6       Georgina of the Rainbows
Georgina. There was nothing by that name in her
linen book which held the pictures of all the animals
from Ape to Zebra, and there was nothing by that
name down in Kentucky where she had lived all of
her short life until these last few weeks. She did
not even know whether what Mrs. Triplett said was
coming along would be wearing a hat or horns. The
cow that lowed at the pasture bars every night back
in Kentucky jangled a bell. Georgina had no dis-
tinct recollection of the cow, but because of it the
sound of a bell was associated in her mind with horns.
So horns were what she halfway expected to see, as
she watched breathlessly, with her face against the
glass.
  "Hark to what he's calling!" urged Mrs. Triplett.
"A fish auction. There's a big boat in this morning
with a load of fish, and the Towncrier is telling every-
body about it."
  So a Towncrier was a man! The next instant
Georgina saw him. He was an old man, with bent
shoulders and a fringe of gray hair showing under
the fur cap pulled down to meet his ears. But there
was such a happy twinkle in his faded blue eyes, such
goodness of heart in every wrinkle of the weather-
beaten old face, that even the grumpiest people
smiled a little when they met him, and everybody he
spoke to stepped along a bit more cheerful. just be-
cause the hearty way he said "Good morning !" made
the day seem really good.

 
Her Earlier Memories



  "He's cold," said Tippy. "Let's tap on the win-
dow and beckon him to come in and warm himself
before he starts back to town."
  She caught up Georgina's hand to make it do the
tapping, thinking it would please her to give her a
share in the invitation, but in her touchy frame of
mind it was only an added grievance to have her
knuckles knocked against the pane, and her wails
began afresh as the old man, answering the signal,
shook his bell at her playfully, and turned towards
the house.
  As to what happened after that, Georgina's mem-
ory is a blank, save for a confused recollection of
being galloped to Banbury Cross on somebody's
knee, while a big hand helped her to clang the clap-
per of a bell far too heavy for her to swing alone.
But some dim picture of the kindly face puckered into
smiles for her comforting, stayed on in her mind as
an object seen through a fog, and thereafter she
never saw the Towncrier go kling-klanging along the
street without feeling a return of that same sense of
safety which his song gave her that morning. Some-
how, it restored her confidence in all Creation which
Jeremy's teeth had shattered in their fall.
  Taking advantage of Georgina's contentment at
being settled on the visitor's knee, Mrs. Triplett hur-
ried for a cloth to wipe up the bread and milk.
Kneeling on the floor beside it she sopped it up so
energetically that what she was saying came in jerks.



17

 
i8       Georgina of the Rainbows
  "It's a mercy you happened along, Mr. Darcy, or
she might have been screaming yet. I never saw a
child go into such a sudden tantrum."
  The answer came in jerks also, for it took a vigor-
ous trotting of the knees to keep such a heavy child
as Georgina on the bounce. And in order that his
words might not interfere with the game he sang
them to the tune of "Ride a Cock Horse."

  "There must have been-some very good-
  Reason for such-a hulla-ba-loo!'"

  "I'll tell you when I come back," said Mrs. Trip-
lett, on her feet again by this time and halfway to
the kitchen with the dripping floor cloth. Bat when
she reappeared in the doorway her own concerns had
crowded out the thought of old Jeremy's inisfor-
tune.
  "My yeast is running all over the top of the crock,
Mr. Darcy, and if I don't get it mixed right away
the whole baking will be spoiled."
  "That's all right, ma'am," was the answer. "Go
ahead with your dough. I'll keep the little lass out
of mischief. Many's the time I have sat by this fire
with her father on my knee, as you know. But it's
been years since I was in this room last."
  There was a long pause in the Banbury Cross ride.
The Crier was looking around the room from one
familiar object to another with the gentle wistful-

 

Her Earlier Memories



ness which creeps into old eyes when they peer into
the past for something that has ceased to be.
Georgina grew impatient.
  "More ride I" she commanded, waving her hands
and clucking her tongue as he had just taught her to
do.
  "Don't let her worry you, Mr. Darcy," called
Mrs. Triplett from the kitchen. "Her mother will
be back from the post-office most any minute now.
Just send her out here to me if she gets too bother-
some."
  Instantly Georgina cuddled her head down against
his shoulder. She had no mind to be separated
from this new-found playfellow. When he produced
a battered silver watch from the pocket of his vel-
veteen waistcoat, holding it over her ear, she was
charmed into a prolonged silence. The clack of
Tippy's spoon against the crock came in from the
kitchen, and now and then the fire snapped or the
green fore-log made a sing-song hissing.
  More than thirty years had passed by since the
old Towncrier first visited the Huntingdon home.
He was not the Towncrier then, but a seafaring man
who had sailed many times around the globe, and
had his fill of adventure. Tired at last of such a
roving life, he had found anchorage to his liking
in this quaint old fishing town at the tip end of Cape
Cod. Georgina's grandfather, George Justin Hunt-
ingdon, a judge and a writer of dry law books, had



19

 

20       Georgina of the Rainbows
been one of the first to open his home to him. They
had been great friends, and little Justin, now Geor-
gina's father, had been a still closer friend. Many a
day they had spent together, these two, fishing or
blueberrying or tramping across the dunes. The boy
called him "Uncle Darcy," tagging after him like a
shadow, and feeling a kinship in their mutual love of
adventure which drew as strongly as family ties.
The Judge always said that it was the old sailor's
yarns of sea life which sent Justin into the navy "in-
stead of the law office where he belonged."
  As the old man looked down at Georgina's soft,
brown curls pressed against his shoulder, and felt
her little dimpled hand lying warm on his neck, he
could almost believe it was the same child who had
crept into his heart thirty years ago. It was hard to
think of the little lad as grown, or as filling the re-
sponsible position of a naval surgeon. Yet when he
counted back he realized that the Judge had been
dead several years, and the house had been stand-
ing empty all that time. Justin had never been back
since it was boarded up. He had written occasion-
ally during the first of his absence, but only boyish
scrawls which told little about himself.
  The only real news which the old man had of him
was in the three clippings from the Provincetown
Beacon, which he carried about in his wallet. The
first was a mention of Justin's excellent record in
fighting a fever epidemic in some naval station in the

 
           Her Earlier Memories             21
tropics. The next was the notice of his marriage to
a Kentucky girl by the name of Barbara Shirley, and
the last was a paragraph clipped from a newspaper
dated only a few weeks back. It said that Mrs. Jus-
tin Huntingdon and little daughter, Georgina, would
arrive soon to take possession of the old Hunting-
don homestead which had been closed for many
years. During the absence of her husband, serving
in foreign parts, she would have with her Mrs. Maria
Triplett.
  The Towncrier had known Mlrs. Triplett as long
as he had known the town. She had been kind to
him when he and his wife were in great trouble. He
was thinking about that time now, because it had
something to do with his last visit to the Judge in
this very room. She had happened to be present,
too. And the green fore-log had made that same
sing-song hissing. The sound carried his thoughts
back so far that for a few moments he ceased to hear
the clack of the spoon.

 
CHAPTER II



         GEORGINA'S PLAYMATE MOTHER

A  S the Towncrier's revery brought him around to
     Mrs. Triplett's part in the painful scene which
he was recalling, he heard her voice, and looking up,
saw that she had come back into the room, and was
standing by the window.
  "There's Justin's wife now, Mr. Darcy, coming
im the beach. Poor child, she didn't get her letter.
I can tell she's disappointed from the way she walks
along as if she could hardly push against the wind."
  The old man, leaning sideways over the arm of his
chair, craned his neck toward the window to peer
out, but he did it without dislodging Georgina, who
was repeating the "tick-tick" of the watch in a whis-
per, as she lay contentedly against the Towncrier's
shoulder.
  "She's naught but a slip of a girl," he commented,
referring to Georgina's mother, slowly drawing into
closer view. "She must be years younger than Jus-
in. She came up to me in the post-office last week
and told me who she was, and I've been intending
ever since to get up this far to talk with her about
him."
                      22

 

       Georgina's Playmate Mother           23
  As they watched her she reached the end of the
board-walk, and plunging ankle-deep into the sand,
trudged slowly along as if pushed back by the wind.
It whipped her skirts about her and blew the ends
of her fringed scarf back over her shoulder. She
made a bright flash of color against the desolate
background. Scarf, cap and thick knitted reefer
were all of a warm rose shade. Once she stopped,
and with hands thrust into her reefer pockets, stood
looking off towards the lighthouse on Long Point.
Mrs. Triplett spoke again, still watching her.
  "I didn't want to take Justin's offer when he first
wrote to me, although the salary he named was a
good one, and I knew the work wouldn't be more
than I've always been used to. But I had planned
to stay in WVellfleet this winter, and it always goes
against the grain with me to have to change a plan
once made. I only promised to stay until she was
comfortably settled. A Portugese woman on one
of the back streets would have come and cooked for
her. But land! When I saw how strange and lone-
some she seemed and how she turned to me for
everything, I didn't have the heart to say go. I
only named it once to her, and she sort of choked up
and winked back the tears and said in that soft-
spoken Southern way of hers, 'Oh, don't leave me,
Tippy!' She's taken to calling me Tippy, just as
Georgina does. 'When you talk about it I feel like
a kitten shipwrecked on a desert island. It's all so

 

24       Georgina of the Rainbows
strange and dreadful here with just sea on one side
and sand dunes on the other.' "
  At the sound of her name, Georgina suddenly sat
up straight and began fumbling the watch back into
the velveteen pocket. She felt that it was time for
her to come into the foreground again.
  "More ride !" she demanded. The galloping
began again, gently at first, then faster and faster
in obedience to her wishes, until she seemed only a
swirl of white dress and blue ribbon and flying brown
curls. But this time the giddy going up and down
was in tame silence. There was no accompanying
song to make the game lively. Mrs. Triplett had
more to say, and Mr. Darcy was too deeply inter-
ested to sing.
  "Look at her now, stopping to read that sign set
up on the spot where the Pilgrims landed. She does
that every time she passes it. Says it cheers her up
something wonderful, no matter how downhearted
she is, to think that she wasn't one of the Mayflower
passengers, and that she's nearly three hundred years
away from their hardships and that dreadful first
wash-day of theirs. Does seem to me though, that's
a poor way to make yourself cheerful, just thinking
of all the hard times you might have had but didn't."
  "Thing it!" lisped Georgina, wanting undivided
attention, and laying an imperious little hand on his
cheek to force it. "Thing!"
  He shook his head reprovingly, with a finger

 

       Georgina's Playmate Mother            25
across his lips to remind her that Mrs. Triplett was
still talking; but she was not to be silenced in such
a way.  Leaning over until her mischievous brown
eyes compelled him to look at her, she smiled like
a dimpled cherub. Georgina's smile was something
irresistible when she wanted her own way.
  "Pleathe!" she lisped, her face so radiantly sure
that no one could be hardhearted enough to resist the
magic appeal of that word, that he could not dis-
appoint her.
  "The little witch !" he exclaimed. "She could
wheedle the fish out of the sea if she'd say please
to 'em that way. But how that honey-sweet tone and
the yells she was letting loose awhile back could
come out of that same little rose of a mouth, passes
my understanding."
  Mrs. Triplett had left them again and he was
singing at the top of his quavering voice, "Rings on
her fingers and bells on her toes," when the front
door opened and Georgina's mother came in. The
salt wind had blown color into her cheeks as bright
as her rose-pink reefer. Her disappointment about
the letter had left a wistful shadow in her big gray
eyes, but it changed to a light of pleasure when she
saw who was romping with Georgina. They were
so busy with their game that neither of them noticed
her entrance.
  She closed the door softly behind her and stood
with her back against it watching them a moment.

 

26       Georgina of the Rainbows
Then Georgina spied her, and with a rapturous cry
of "Barby!" scrambled down and ran to throw her-
self into her mother's arms. Barby was her way of
saying Barbara. It was the first word she had ever
spoken and her proud young mother encouraged her
to repeat it, even when her Grandmother Shirley in-
sisted that it wasn't respectful for a child to call its
mother by her first name.
  "But I don't care whether it is or not," Barbara
had answered. "All I want is for her to feel that
we're the best chums in the world. And I'm not go-
ing to spoil her even if I am young and inexperienced.
There are a few things that I expect to be very strict
about, but making her respectful to me isn't one of
them."
  Now one of the things which Barbara had decided
to be very strict about in Georgina's training was
making her respectful to guests.  She was not to
thrust herself upon their notice, she was not to inter-
rupt their conversation, or make a nuisance of her-
self. So, young as she was, Georgina had already
learned what was expected of her, when her mother
having greeted Mr. Darcy and laid aside her wraps,
drew up to the fire to talk to him. But instead of
doing the expected thing, Georgina did the forbid-
den. Since the old man's knees were crossed so that
she could no longer climb upon them, she attempted
to seat herself on his foot, clamoring, "Do it again !"
  "No, dear," Barbara said firmly. "Uncle Darcy's

 

Georgina's Playmate Mother



tired." She had noticed the long-drawn sigh of re-
lief with which he ended the last gallop. "He's
going to tell us about father when he was a little boy
no bigger than you. So come here to Barby and
listen or else go ofl to your own corner and play
with your whirligig."
  Usually, at the mention of some particularly pleas-
ing toy Georgina would trot off happily to find it;
but to-day she stood with her face drawn into a re-
bellious pucker and scowled at her mother savagely.
Then throwing herself down on the rug she began
kicking her blue shoes up and down on the hearth,
roaring, "No! No!" at the top of her voice. Bar-
bara paid no attention at first, but finding it impos-
sible to talk with such a noise going on, dragged her
up from the floor and looked around helplessly, con-
sidering what to do with her. Then she remembered
the huge wicker clothes hamper, standing empty in
the kitchen, and carrying her out, gently lowered her
into it.
  It was so deep that even on tiptoe Georgina could
not look over the rim. All she could see was the
ceiling directly overhead. The surprise of such a
novel punishment made her hold her breath to find
what was going to happen next, and in the stillness
she heard her mother say calmly as she walked out of
the room: "If she roars any more. Tippy, just put
the lid on; but as soon as she is ready to act like a
little lady, lift her out, please."



27

 

28       Georgina of the Rainbows
  The strangeness of her surroundings kept her quiet
a moment longer, and in that moment she discovered
that by putting one eye to a loosely-woven spot in the
hamper she could see what Mrs. Triplett was doing.
She was polishing the silver porringer, trying to rub
out the dent which the fall had made in its side. It
was such an interesting kitchen, seen through this
peep-hole that Georgina became absorbed in rolling
her eye around for wider views. Then she found
another outlook on the other side of the hamper,
and was quiet so long that Mrs. Triplett came over
and peered down at her to see what was the matter.
Georgina looked up at her with a roguish smile.
One never knew how she was going to take a punish-
ment or what she would do next.
  "Are you ready to be a little lady now Want me
to lift you out" Both little arms were stretched joy-
ously up to her, and a voice of angelic sweetness said
coaxingly: "Pleathe, Tippy."
  The porringer was in Mrs. Triplett's hand when
she leaned over the hamper to ask the question. The
gleam of its freshly-polished sides caught Georgina's
attention an instant before she was lifted out, and
it was impressed on her memory still more deeply
by being put into her own hands afterwards as she
sat in Mrs. Triplett's lap. Once more her tiny fin-
ger's tip was made to trace the letters engraved
around the rim, as she was told about her great-great
aunt and what was expected of her. The solemn

 

Georgina's Playmate MAother



tone clutched her attention as firmly as the hand
which held her, and somehow, before she was set
free, she was made to feel that because of that old
porringer she was obliged to be a little iady.
  Tippy was not one who could sit calmly by and
see a child suffer for lack of proper instruction, and
while Georgina never knew just how it was done, the
fact was impressed upon her as years went by that
there were many things which she could not do,
simply because she was a Huntingdon and because
her name had been graven for so many generations
around that shining silver rim.
  Although to older eyes the happenings of that
morning were trivial, they were far-reaching in their
importance to Georgina, for they gave her three
memories-Jeremy's teeth, the Towncrier's bell, and
her own name on the porringer-to make a deep im-
pression on all her after-life.



29

 

CHAPTER III



         THE TOWNCRIER HAS HIS SAY

T  HE old Huntingdon house with its gray gables
     and stone chimneys, stood on the beach near the
breakwater, just beyond the place where everything
seemed to come to an end. The house itself marked
the end of the town. Back of it the dreary dunes
stretched away toward the Atlantic, and in front the
Cape ran out in a long, thin tongue of sand between
the bay and the harbor, with a lighthouse on its
farthest point. It gave one the feeling of being at
the very tip end of the world to look across and see
the water closing in on both sides. Even the road
ended in front of the house in a broad loop in which
machines could turn around.
  In summer there was always a string of sightseers
coming up to this end of the beach. They came to
read the tablet erected on the spot known to Geor-
gina as "holy ground," because it marked the first
landing of the Pilgrims. Long before she could read,
Mrs. Triplett taught her to lisp part of a poem which
said:

        "Aye, call it holy ground,
        The thoil where firth they trod."
                       30

 

The Towncrier Has His Say



31



  She taught it to Georgina because she thought it
was only fair to Justin that his child should grow
up to be as proud of her New England home as she
was of her Southern one. Barbara was always sing-
ing to her about "My Old Kentucky Home," and
"Going Back to Dixie," and when they played to-
gether on the beach their favorite game was build-
ing Grandfather Shirley's house in the sand.
  Day after day they built it up with shells and
wet sand and pebbles, even to the stately gate posts
topped by lanterns. Twigs of bayberry and wild
beach plum made trees with which to border its ave-
nues, and every dear delight of swing and arbor and
garden pool beloved in Barbara's play-days, was re-
produced in miniature until Georgina loved them,
too. She knew just where the bee-hives ought to be
put, and the sun-dial, and the hole in the fence where
the little pigs squeezed through. There was a story
for everything. By the time she had outgrown her
lisp she could make the whole fair structure by her-
self, without even a suggestion from Barbara.
  When she grew older the shore was her school-
room also. She learned to read from letters traced
in the sand, and to make them herself with shells
and pebbles. She did her sums that way, too, after
she had learned to count the sails in the harbor, the
gulls feeding at ebb-tide, and the great granite blocks
which formed the break-water.
  Mrs. Triplett's time for lessons was when Geor-

 

32       Georgina of the Rainbows
gina was following her about the house. Such fol-
lowing taught her to move briskly, for Tippy, like
time and tide, never waited, and it behooved one to
be close at her heels if one would see what she put
into a pan before she whisked it into the oven. Also
it was necessary to keep up with her as she moved
swiftly from the cellar to the pantry if one would
hear her thrilling tales of Indians and early settlers
and brave forefathers of colony times.
  There was a powder horn hanging over the din-
ing room mantel, which had been in the battle of
Lexington, and Tippy expected Georgina to find the
same inspiration in it which she did, because the
forefather who carried it was an ancestor of each.
  "The idea of a descendant of one of the Minute-
men being afraid of rats!" she would say with a
scornful rolling of her words which seemed to wither
her listener with ridicule. "Or of an empty gar-
ret! Tzit!"
  When Georgina was no