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THE JOYOUS ADVENTURE OF ETTA

BY GEORGE PHILLIPS

WITH PICTURES BY J. R. SHAVER

THE

HE junior department of a certain big Sunday-school was going on a picnic. Miss Devons, commander-in-chief of some eighty East Side boys and girls, was counting her charges as they assembled at the ferry-house one bright May morning, smiling at the expectant faces, subduing the more adventurous spirits, encouraging the timid. At last the roll was complete, and she drew a sigh of relief as she surveyed the fluttering throng. But her satisfaction was short-lived. Loud sobs rose from the corner where Etta Schwartz-Sieling had flattened her nose against the glass and had caught sight of the ferry-boat. In vain did the girls flock about her and remonstrate against such conduct on a holiday; in vain did Miss Devons clasp the stiffly starched child to her heart and beseech her to moderate her grief or at least to offer some explanation of it. Etta's sobs continued, punctuated by exclamations of despair.

"Nein, nein, es geht nicht," she wept. "Nefer can I on de boat go."

"But, Etta," Miss Devons expostulated, "what is the matter? Don't you want to go on the picnic?"

"Teacher, Teacher," wailed Etta, "it aind I don't wants I should go mit you; it aind noddings like dat. But I don't like dat I shall be drowneded over der sea."

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"Aw, dem Dutchies dey 're loony!" he exclaimed in disgust. "Can't see no boat but dey t'inks it 's anoder General Slocum. Say, you, we don't go by no steamer. Don't yer know dat?"

At the allusion of the still-recent disaster the crowd wavered. Did they not all know friends whose friends had never returned from some excursion begun, perhaps, as gaily as this one? And why should they be exempt? Longing glances were cast at the door, nervous whispers ran through the groups, and a stampede was imminent, when rescue came from an unexpected quarter. Cap in hand and a valiant smile on his face, Giuseppe Salvatori stood forward to prove his devotion to the lady who had been his guiding-star since he entered the department, an unreclaimed "dago." Now he was an American, and would be worthy of his new dignity.

"Mees Devons, Ah go wit' you," he declared, feeling capable of following Mark and his dearly beloved teacher to destruction, if necessary. "Ah not know moch about steam-aire, bot all times Ah go wit' you."

Where Giuseppe went, there Louisa May and Florabel went also, and the rest of the department followed their lead. Even Etta's fears were soothed by the promise of Miss Devons's hand during the entire trip, and the excursionists clattered on board the ferry-boat with high hopes and radiant faces once more.

Etta was newly arrived in America, having lived in Germany until the previous year, when her widowed father, Herr Johann Sieling had brought her to America to try his fortune. Here he prospered amazingly, and within three months had courted and married the widow Schwartz and her seven children. The lady

ducted a thriving candy-shop on Second Avenue, and all went merrily until Mr. Sieling fell under an elevated train and was killed, leaving Etta to his wife. Unlike the traditional German stepmother, she treated Etta like one of her own brood, even bestowing her first name upon her, that the child might feel at one with her own children, who had added Mr. Sieling's name to their own, a complicated, but by no means unusual arrangement. Unfortunately, Mrs. Schwartz Sieling had left the Fatherland too young to remember the homelife there, and Etta, for eleven years her father's only care, missed sadly the kisses and caresses to

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to

Once across the river, the party climbed aboard the special car reserved for them, and when they had settled themselves, the girls in prim pairs on the seats, the boys mostly on the floor and out of the windows, they were a sight to behold. Not a boy but had had his face scrubbed and his Sunday tie forced upon him by an anxious mother; not a girl but had had her best dress ironed in the small hours of the night, and had slept, or rather not slept, with her hair twisted in the tight, wet knobs which are guaranteed produce ringlets of a high-staying quality. On every ribboned head reposed a broad chip hat, garlanded with flowers, the general effect being that of a highly colored garden in which all the flowers of all the seasons were miraculously blooming at once. The minute the train had started, every hat was removed, and every ringlet and bow was adjusted with care, and every ruffle was smoothed over female portion

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Drawn by J. R. Shaver

"BEFORE THE GLORY OF THESE, M'REE'S BOOTS OF WHITE KID, . . . FADED INTO INSIGNIFICANCE"

with longing eyes the merry groups she was too shy to join, or envied with all her sad little heart the favored few who were singled out for the clumsy attentions of the gallants of the class. How gladly, thought Etta, would she return, after the briefest of sucks, a gift of gundy, if it were ever offered her, and what gratitude she would bestow upon the lordly giver! Moreover, she was an accomplished little housewife, and the happy-golucky housekeeping of her stepmother filled her tidy soul with horror, so that the land was accursed in her sight, and her only bright moments were those when she sat, as now, in the shadow of her teacher's arm.

the thin knees, and the of the expedition prepared to enjoy itself with the ever-happy subject of clothes. For, the moment the rent is paid and sometimes before, the East Side plans for the wardrobe regardless of the larder. That Nellie may have a white graduation dress trimmed with innumerable flounces edged with "Val," and that Albert may have a new suit for confirmation, are every mother's absorbing anxieties, and the entrancing result is that even the tenement babies in New York are stylish despite dirt and shabbiness.

Now, Marie (christened Mary) Ramsay, whose brown curls bobbed under a

pink bow of surpassing width and shininess, was the acknowledged "swell dresser" of the department, and Miss Devons had frequently wondered how such a vision of loveliness could come out of the two small rooms where she dwelt with her mother and four sisters. Somehow or other the miracle was accomplished, and "M'ree's" clothes were ever the despair of her imitators. To-day, however, her superiority was threatened by the appearance of Louisa May in boots of the latest style. Of shining patent leather, they extended half-way to the knee, and then merged into stiff tops, with tassels of silk and gold thread. Before the glory of these, M'ree's boots of white kid, with black-eyed pearl buttons, faded into insignificance, and Miss Devons was obliged to remind the company that it is not customary for a lady to travel with her feet on the back of the seat in front of her before Louisa May could be induced to stop vaunting her glories in the air.

"Well, certainlee, Louisa May," M'ree declared, with a toss of her brown curls, "them boots is elegant ; but Mommer thinks white boots is kind of refined for a party. I always wear black boots to church, except it's a holiday; but white boots is nice for the country, don't you think?"

M'ree's speech was as refined as her appearance, and the shot went home, for the audience well knew that Louisa May owned but the one pair of "dressy" boots.

"White boots is nice for kids," she retorted; "but these is all the style for ladies."

M'ree colored hotly. She, who was six months the elder, to be accused of babyishness!

"Maybe you ain't never been down to Manhattan Beaches," she declared. "Mommer's cousin was down to it last summer, and she says as how the ladies sits in rows all day long, changing to clean pairs. She says how their gentlemen friends don't care nothin' for the clothes they puts on, but they don't let 'em step on their boats except they 're wearin' white shoes. She says she seen that continuously. So, there, Louisa May!"

Any one else would have been crushed by this evidence, but M'ree's opponent rallied nobly.

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like to crawl along the floor an' see is Miss Devons wearin' white shoes, M'ree Ramsay."

"I'm wearing brown ones," Miss Devons interposed, hastening to interrupt a conversation which threatened to become as heated as the atmosphere. "I think both your boots are lovely, girls, and I feel quite shabby when I look at all these beautiful clothes."

She smiled upon the eager groups, and Florabel, gentlest of souls, hastened to reassure her.

"You ain't got no call to feel badly," she protested, inspecting Miss Devons's cool linen suit and broad-brimmed sailorhat. "It ain't all the time easy to wear your best clothes, an' what you got on is awful becomin', if they is kind o' plain."

Reassured as to her appearance, Miss Devons turned again to Etta, who had snuggled into her seat and was leaning against her shoulder.

"Are you comfy, honey?" she inquired, smiling into the upturned blue

eyes.

"Jawohl," murmured Etta, basking in the sunshine of caresses. "I likes awful goot to be lofed like dis. Not for long haf

I so lofed become. All times is it lonely here, an' I should to go home, you think?"

"Well, I don't know, deary," said Miss Devons, drawing the little figure closer. "You know your father wanted you to grow up here and learn all the wonderful things girls know in America; so suppose you try to like it better, and soon I think you won't be so lonely. Mrs. Sieling is very kind to you, is n't she?"

"Teacher, jawohl she iss kind. It iss not kind, but lofe I vants. So awful lonely am I all times for somebody to lofe me alone like mein fader did." And Etta's blue eyes wandered mournfully over the car, alighting, with the perversity of her sex, upon Mark, leader of the Avenue A gang and despiser of womankind. "I likes awful well to vash an' cook for some one vat lofes me," sighed Etta.

For a short space all was peaceful, and then from the end of the car, where some thirty boys were congregated, arose a wail of angry despair.

"You lie! It ain't so. You lemme git at him!"

Miss Devons extricated herself and went forward, for this promised trouble.

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Once acros aboard the s and when the girls in prim mostly on th dows, they w boy but had Sunday tie f mother; not dress ironed and had sle

548

ducted a thriving candy-shop on Second
Avenue, and all went merrily until Mr.
Sieling fell under an elevated train and
was killed, leaving Etta to his wife.
Unlike the traditional German stepmother,
she treated Etta like one of her own brood,
even bestowing her first name upon her,
that the child might feel at one with her
own children, who had added Mr. Sieling's
name to their own, a complicated, but by
Unfor-
no means unusual arrangement.

tunately, Mrs.
Schwartz Siel-
ing had left the
Fatherland too
young to remem-
ber the home-
life there, and
Etta, for eleven
years her father's
only care, missed
sadly the kisses
and caresses to
which she had
been accustom-
ed. Meeting

with practical
kindness, but no
cuddling what-
soever, she gave
herself up to
despair and la-
mented the day
she had ever en-
tered the land.
In the middle
of the winter she
had joined Miss
Devons's de-
partment, where
she watched
with longing eyes the merry groups she
was too shy to join, or envied with all her
sad little heart the favored few who
were singled out for the clumsy atten-
tions of the gallants of the class. How
gladly, thought Etta, would she return,
after the briefest of sucks, a gift of
gundy, if it were ever offered her, and what
gratitude she would bestow upon the lordly
giver! Moreover, she was an accom-
plished little housewife, and the happy-go-
lucky housekeeping of her stepmother filled
her tidy soul with horror, so that the land.
was accursed in her sight, and her only
bright moments were those when she sat,
as now, in the shadow of her teacher's arm.

[graphic]

Drawn by J. R. Shaver

"BEFORE THE GLORY OF THESE, M'RE WHITE KID, FADED INTO INSI

the thin of the exp

with the

For, the n times befo wardrobe Nellie ma trimmed with "Va

new suit mother's trancing

babies in dirt and s

Now, say, who

548

ducted a thriving candy-shop on Second
Avenue, and all went merrily until Mr.
Sieling fell under an elevated train and
was killed, leaving Etta to his wife.
Unlike the traditional German stepmother,
she treated Etta like one of her own brood,
even bestowing her first name upon her,
that the child might feel at one with her
own children, who had added Mr. Sieling's
name to their own, a complicated, but by
no means unusual arrangement. Unfor-
tunately, Mrs.
Schwartz - Siel-
ing had left the
Fatherland too

young to remember the homelife there, and Etta, for eleven years her father's only care, missed

sadly the kisses and caresses to which she had

THE CENTURY MAGAZINE

been accustomed. Meeting with practical kindness, but no

Once across the river, the party aboard the special car reserved ir: and when they had settled themse girls in prim pairs on the seats. mostly on the floor and out of dows, they were a sight to behold. boy but had had his face scrubbed Sunday tie forced upon him by an mother; not a girl but had had dress ironed in the small hours of the " and had slept, or rather not slept

her har in the knobs wa

cuddling what-
soever, she gave
herself up to
despair and la-
mented the day
she had ever en-
tered the land.
In the middle
of the winter she
had joined Miss
de-
Devons's
partment, where
watched
she

with longing eyes the merry groups she the thin knees, and the female
was too shy to join, or envied with all her of the expedition prepared to c
sad little heart the favored few who with the ever-happy subject of
were singled out for the clumsy atten- For, the moment the rent is paid
tions of the gallants of the class. How times before, the East Side plas
gladly, thought Etta, would she return, wardrobe regardless of the larder
after the briefest of sucks, a gift of Nellie may have a white graduatin
gundy, if it were ever offered her, and what trimmed with innumerable flou
gratitude she would bestow upon the lordly with "Val," and that Albert
giver! Moreover, she was an accom- new suit for confirmation,
plished little housewife, and the happy-go- mother's absorbing anxieties, and
Now, Marie (christened Mar
lucky housekeeping of her stepmother filled trancing result is that even the
her tidy soul with horror, so that the land babies in New York are stylish
was accursed in her sight, and her only dirt and shabbiness.
bright moments were those when she sat,

in the shadow of her teacher's arm. say, whose brown curls bobbel

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THE JOYOUS ADVENTURE OF ETTA

pink bow of surpassing width and shininess, was the acknowledged "swell dresser" of the department, and Miss Devons had frequently wondered how such a vision of loveliness could come out of the two small rooms where she dwelt with her mother and four sisters. Somehow or other the miracle was accomplished, and "M'ree's" clothes were ever the despair of her imitators. To-day, however, her superiority was threatened by the appearance of Louisa May in boots of the latest style. Of shining patent leather, they extended half-way to the knee, and then merged into stiff tops, with tassels of silk and gold thread. Before the glory of these, M'ree's boots of white kid, with black-eyed pearl buttons, faded into insignificance, and Miss Devons was obliged to remind the company that it is not customary for a lady to travel with her feet on the back of the seat in front of her before Louisa May could be induced to stop vaunting her glories in the air.

"Well, certainlee, Louisa May," M'ree declared, with a toss of her brown curls, "them boots is elegant; but Mommer thinks white boots is kind of refined for a party. I always wear black boots to church, except it's a holiday; but white boots is nice for the country, don't you think?"

M'ree's speech was as refined as her appearance, and the shot went home, for the audience well knew that Louisa May owned but the one pair of "dressy" boots. "White boots is nice for kids," she retorted; "but these is all the style for ladies."

M'ree colored hotly. She, who was six months the elder, to be accused of babyishness!

"Maybe you ain't never been down to Manhattan Beaches," she declared. "Mommer's cousin was down to it last summer, and she says as how the ladies sits in rows all day long, changing to clean pairs. She says how their gentlemen friends don't care nothin' for the clothes they puts on, but they don't let 'em step on their boats except they 're wearin' white shoes. She says she seen that continuously. So, there, Louisa May!"

Any one else would have been crushed by this evidence, but M'ree's opponent rallied nobly.

"Manhattan Beaches ain't so awful tony," she retorted loftily. "Mebbe you'd

549 like to crawl along the floor an' see is Miss Devons wearin' white shoes, M'ree Ramsay."

"I'm wearing brown ones," Miss Devons interposed, hastening to interrupt a conversation which threatened to become as heated as the atmosphere. "I think both your boots are lovely, girls, and I feel quite shabby when I look at all these beautiful clothes."

She smiled upon the eager groups, and Florabel, gentlest of souls, hastened to reassure her.

"You ain't got no call to feel badly," she protested, inspecting Miss Devons's cool linen suit and broad-brimmed sailorhat. "It ain't all the time easy to wear your best clothes, an' what you got on is awful becomin', if they is kind o' plain."

Reassured as to her appearance, Miss Devons turned again to Etta, who had snuggled into her seat and was leaning against her shoulder.

[graphic]

"Are you comfy, honey?" she inquired, smiling into the upturned blue

eyes.

"Jawohl," murmured Etta, basking in the sunshine of caresses. "I likes awful goot to be lofed like dis. Not for long haf I so lofed become. All times is it lonely here, an' I should to go home, you think?"

"Well, I don't know, deary," said Miss Devons, drawing the little figure closer. "You know your father wanted you to grow up here and learn all the wonderful things girls know in America; so suppose you try to like it better, and soon I think you won't be so lonely. Mrs. Sieling is very kind to you, is n't she?"

"Teacher, jawohl she iss kind. It iss not kind, but lofe I vants. So awful lonely am I all times for somebody to lofe me alone like mein fader did." And Etta's blue eyes wandered mournfully over the car, alighting, with the perversity of her sex, upon Mark, leader of the Avenue A gang and despiser of womankind. "I likes awful well to vash an' cook for some one vat lofes me," sighed Etta.

For a short space all was peaceful, and then from the end of the car, where some thirty boys were congregated, arose a wail of angry despair.

"You lie! It ain't so. You lemme git at him!"

Miss Devons extricated herself and went forward, for this promised trouble.

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