Elizabeth Ann stared when they reached the street. The crowds of people she had noticed when she had marched over the crossing beside the policeman that afternoon were nowhere to be seen. There were not half so many automobiles and trucks, either.
"Has everybody gone home to supper, Mr. Robert?"* she asked, puzzled.
" "Uncle Robert,' you mean," he corrected. "Why, chicken, I think that is just the answer. And here is a little place where you may have a bite; we mustn't waste time, and yet I don't want you to have that long ride without something to eat."'
Elizabeth Ann had never been in a lunch- room before-why, she wondered, did they call it a lunch-room when the people came to buy supper-and she liked the clean white-topped tables and. the shining counter and the white-jacketed men who stood behind the counter and tried to wait on everyone at once.
Mr. Morgan ordered an egg sandwich and a glass of milk for her, but he ate nothing himself.
"I am used to a late dinner, dear," he said, when she asked him if he was not hungry.
The milk and sandwich tasted very good to the little girl, who was thirsty as well as hungry, and when she had finished they went over to the subway stairs and down into the underground station. She stared up the track till a winking red light told her a train was coming.
"We'll take this, but we must get off soon,'* said Mr. Morgan, as the train stopped and they got on. "This is an express and we want a local."
The train was brightly lighted, and there were ever so many interesting things to see, but Elizabeth Ann felt sleepy presently. It was, of course, past her bedtime, and she was tired. The day had been an exciting one. Her head nodded, and she leaned against Mr. Morgan's shoulder.
"Wake up, dear, this is our station!" was the next thing she heard.
She had gone fast asleep, and Mr. Morgan was shaking her gently. It was time for them to change trains and take the local to the station nearest Aunt Isabel's.
Elizabeth Ann managed to wake up and to stay awake long enough to walk across the platform and stumble into the local train, but she went to sleep again almost as soon as she sat down. Mr. Morgan let her sleep until their station was reached, and then he picked her up, big girl that she was to lift, and carried her from the train.
"Wake up, chicken," he said softly, putting her down on her feet on the platform. ' ' Take hold of my hand, for we are going upstairs. We'll soon be home now, and you can go to sleep in your own little bed."
Elizabeth Ann toiled up the stairs half- awake, but the fresh air made it easier for her to keep her eyes open. She knew she never could have found her way home when it was as dark as this, and she was glad that she had not had to try alone. Mr. Morgan swung along and never even asked his way; he seemed to know just where he was going, although he had not been to Aunt Isabel's before.
Elizabeth Ann was very glad to see the white glass dragons that lighted the entrance to the apartment house, when they finally turned into the broad walk. The big door was open, for it was a mild evening. Frank, the elevator boy, hurried toward Elizabeth Ann as soon as he saw her.
"Goodness, Miss 'Lizabeth!" he exclaimed, which was as close as he ever got to pronouncing the little girl's name. "Goodness, Annie and Esther's been having fits about you! Where you-all been?"
"Is Mrs. Wood home?" asked Mr. Morgan, saving her from answering Frank, by asking a question himself.
"No, sir, Annie said she telephoned she wouldn't be home for dinner," answered Frank respectfully. "And there's a telegram come for her, and Annie thinks it's bad news because she dreamed about water last night."
"Well, take us up and stop chattering for a minute," said Mr. Morgan, drawing Elizabeth Ann into the elevator.
That was one of the reasons people called him cross; he said that he did not like to hear tongues wagging unless they had something to say.
Frank took them up in the elevator, and Mr. Morgan rapped on the door of Aunt Isabel's apartment. Annie opened the door, and Esther was close behind her.
"Elizabeth Ann!" screamed Annie. "Esther, look, it's the darling herself. Won't you come in, sir?"
And Annie dropped on her knees and bugged Elizabeth Ann fervently, then jumped up to hold the door open for Mr. Morgan to come in.
"Did you run away?" asked Esther coldly, following them into the living-room, where the beaming Annie turned on every light and hastened to take Mr. Morgan's hat and light overcoat.
"I did not!" Elizabeth Ann retorted indignantly. ' ' I went to see Rosa and I lost myself, kind of."
Esther snorted as though she did not believe that, but Mr. Morgan spoke quickly, and when he had anything to say everyone always listened.
"I understand that Mrs. Wood is not at home," he said, looking toward Annie. "I telephoned, or tried to, about six-thirty, and there was no answer."
"We were out looking for the little girl, sir," replied Annie, smoothing down her apron. "Mrs. Wood telephoned at five o'clock that she wouldn't be home to dinner, and Esther and I didn't begin to worry about Elizabeth Ann till it began to get dark and she didn't come. Then we went out, thinking maybe she was playing and didn't notice it was late,' Esther went up the Drive and I went down, but not a sign of her could we find. When we come back, Frank had signed for that telegram there for Mrs. Wood. I'm hoping it isn't bad news."
"We'll all hope so," said Mr. Morgan cheerfully. "No, I cannot stay"-as Annie would have taken his coat-"I think Elizabeth Ann had better go right to bed. She has had a tiring day. Say to Mrs. Wood, please, that Mr. Morgan will call to see her in the morning. She will be anxious to know about the little girl's experiences. I wish-"
The sound of a key in the door made them all start. Before anyone could say a word, the door was flung open and a gentleman carrying a tan leather travelling bag walked in.
"Uncle Ralph!" cried Elizabeth Ann, rushing forward. ' "Uncle Ralph, look! Here's Mr. Robert!"
Uncle Ralph put down his bag and caught her in his arms. He gave her a hug and three kisses before he put her down.
"How do you do, Mr. Robert?" he said, holding out his hand. ' ' I 'm very glad to know you; I have heard my little niece speak so often of you."
They shook hands warmly, and then Uncle Ralph turned again to Elizabeth Ann.
"Where is Aunt Isabel?" he asked. "And isn't it rather late for you to be out of bed? I didn't expect to find you up."
Annie and Esther had disappeared. Uncle Ralph sat down on the sofa, and took Elizabeth Ann on his lap. Mr. Morgan, his eyes twinkling, sat in one of the big stuffed chairs.
"I guess Aunt Isabel didn't know you were coming," said Elizabeth Ann. "She went out to dinner, Annie said. And Mr. Robert isn't his name, Uncle Ralph; he didn't want the people on the train to know him. His name is Stanley Robert Morgan, but he wants me to call him Uncle Robert."
Uncle Ralph smiled at Mr. Morgan, who was smiling at him.
"I thought your face was familiar," said Uncle Ralph. "Of course I have often seen it on the literature of the Transcontinental road. But, Elizabeth Ann, what do you mean about Aunt Isabel ? I sent a telegram saying to expect me to-night."
"I guess that is it on the table," suggested Mr. Morgan. "The servants say it is directed to Mrs. Wood."
"Aunt Isabel went to the matinee and maybe Mrs. Ellis asked her to come to her house for dinner," said Elizabeth Ann wisely. ĞMr.-1 mean Uncle-Robert brought me home when I was almost lost; Aunt Isabel doesn't know about that yet, either."
"I don't know what you call almost lost," chuckled Mr. Morgan. "I think you were a pretty small girl to be adrift in a large city without an idea of where to find 'home.' " Uncle Ralph looked grave.
"How did you come to get lost, dear?" he asked. "Where was Rosa? Doesn't she go out with you?"
"Why Rosa isn't here any more-didn't you know that?" said Elizabeth Ann in great surprise. "Aunt Isabel says she stole your elephant-but she didn't, I know she didn't, Uncle Ralph."
Uncle Ralph stared first at her, then at Mr. Morgan.
"What is the child talking about?" he said blankly. "I have the ivory elephant right here in my vest pocket."
Elizabeth Ann slipped, to the floor and clapped her hands in delight.
PLANS FOR ROSA
"I knew it! I knew it!" cried. Elizabeth Ann. "Rosa didn't take it. I'm. so glad!"
' 'Ralph! Elizabeth Ann! When did you- why isn't this child in bed?" cried a gay voice, and there stood Aunt Isabel in the doorway.
She had let herself in with her key, and the soft, thick rugs in the hall had made her foot- steps noiseless.
"Oh, Aunt Isabel!" shrieked the little girl quite wild with excitement. "Rosa didn't take the elephant!"
The two men had risen, and now Uncle Ralph spoke.
"Isabel, my dear," he said, "this is Mr. Morgan, who was so very kind to Elizabeth Ann on her trip East."
There were so many explanations to be made then that Elizabeth Ann found herself growing sleepy again. Aunt Isabel had to hear about the telegram and why Mr. Morgan had been called Mr. Robert, and why he was there, and Elizabeth Ann not in bed at half-past eight. By the time all these questions were straightened out, the center of disturbance was asleep on the sofa cushions. She wakened, though, as someone lifted her.
"I want to hear 'bout the elephant," she insisted, struggling to get down. "Can't I go; tell Rosa?"
"I think you've had enough travelling for to-day, ' ' said Uncle Ralph decidedly, who, she discovered, was holding her. "You can't keep your eyes open now. Mr. Morgan is coming to see us in the morning, and then we'll talk about what is to be done for Rosa."
Elizabeth Ann slept late the next morning and, as no one called her (Aunt Isabel had told Annie and Esther that she was to be allowed to sleep as long as she pleased) when she woke it was too late to go to school.
She did not mind that, you may be sure. She was too eager to hear how Uncle Ralph had happened to have the elephant in his vest pocket.
When she was dressed Elizabeth Ann went to look for Uncle Ralph. She found him and Aunt Isabel just finishing their breakfast. Aunt Isabel looked as though she had been crying.
"Do you feel rested, dear?" she asked, kissing her affectionately. "Whatever should I have done if anything had happened to you yesterday? I'm afraid I've been a careless auntie."
Uncle Ralph pulled out a chair for Elizabeth Ann and stopped for a moment, his hand resting on his wife's shoulder.
"Elizabeth Ann will not do such a thing again," he assured her. "Next time she will tell someone where she is going, and ask if it is right to go; won't you, dear?"
Elizabeth Ann nodded.
"I didn't mean to scare Annie and Esther, " she said.
Aunt Isabel waited until Esther had brought Elizabeth Ann her oatmeal.
"What do you think," she said then. "Elizabeth Ann, I found my diamond and sapphire ring this morning."
The little girl stared.
"It had slipped down under the lining in my jewel-case," continued Aunt Isabel. "I thought I had looked thoroughly, but I went over the case again this morning, and I found it."
"Then Rosa didn't take anything," said Elizabeth Ann.
"No, of course not," replied Aunt Isabel. "I'm very sorry this has happened, but perhaps Rosa will forgive me. It was just a wretched mistake."
"I knew she didn't steal," said Elizabeth Ann quietly.
Uncle Ralph was telling them that he had taken the carved elephant with him because he expected to meet a man who was interested in such things, and that he had not thought to mention it to Aunt Isabel, because he did not know she ever looked in the cabinet, when the bell rang.
Esther answered it and said that Mr. Morgan had come. Uncle Ralph and Aunt Isabel and Elizabeth Ann went into the living-room to see him.
He looked a little grave, though he smiled at the little girl and kissed her.
"Wouldn't Rosa come?" asked Aunt Isabel.
While Elizabeth Ann was asleep the night before, she had asked Mr. Morgan to persuade Rosa to come to the apartment that morning. This was after Mr. Morgan had declared that he was going to see Rosa and her family before he came to see Aunt Isabel. The president of the Transcontinental Railroad was always interesting himself in affairs like this- he could be very short and gruff to people whom he did not like or trust, but he gave freely of his time and money to many people whom other folks passed by.
"Rosa is naturally hurt," said Mr. Morgan slowly. ' ' She seems to feel that after so many years of faithful service she should have gained your trust. However, I think in time she will see your side. I wouldn't try to see her now if I were you. But she sent her love to Elizabeth Ann."
Aunt Isabel sighed, and Elizabeth Ann voiced a wish that had been long in her heart.
"I wish I had something to give Rosa," she declared. "I don't believe she likes Japanese stamps."
Mr. Morgan glanced at Uncle Ralph. "I think you have something to give Rosa, something that will help her very much," he said. "You see, since leaving here, Rosa has had a pretty hard time. She loaned her savings to a relative in California and had. nothing to fall back on. She and her sister Katie, I understand, have been taking home washings-Rosa tells me she couldn't get another city place because she had no reference from her last employer."
Aunt Isabel looked ready to cry.
"I didn't think it would be like that," she said, much distressed.
"The boys were out to work at odd jobs after school," went on Mr. Morgan, "and Ruth and. Elsie earn a little picking out nut-meats; Ruth, you know, is lame and can't do much. The rent is overdue now."
"What can I give her?" asked Elizabeth Ann eagerly. "I have two dollars-will that help?"
"It will take a good many dollars," answered Mr. Morgan soberly. "Would you like to give her your elephant, my dear?"
"My elephant?" repeated Elizabeth Ann. "Would she like it? The elephant you gave me?"
"You see, dear, it is this way," explained Uncle Ralph. "Rosa will not let Aunt Isabel help her-she is hurt and a little angry, but we hope she will forgive us in time; she is fond of you and will take your gift. Now Mr. Morgan has kindly suggested that you give her your elephant, which is worth a good deal of money, and I will buy it from her. I really want it for my collection."
"I'll give you something just as nice to take its place," promised Mr. Morgan, but Elizabeth Ann needed no bribe.
"I like it because you gave it to me," she said, looking bravely at him. "But I can't wear it on my chain, 'cause I have the locket, so it really isn't any use. I'd love to give it to Rosa. Will you buy it right away, Uncle Ralph?'
"Right away," Uncle Ralph assured her. ' ' Then Ruth can stop being lame-will there be enough for the operation?" she asked anxiously.
"Well, I'll tell you a little secret," said Mr. Morgan. "Not even your uncle and aunt know of this yet." And he smiled at Uncle Ralph and Aunt Isabel. "I find that Rosa is 'crazy' as she would say, to go to California. She thinks, and so do I, that the boys need the outdoor life and that she can bring them up more easily away from the city. The little lame girl, too, needs flowers and sunshine. If they could get to this relative, who is her mother's brother and their only living relation, Rosa says they would be all right. He is a widower and has a small ranch."
"I'll be glad to add enough to the elephant purchase price-" began Uncle Ralph, but Mr. Morgan had not finished.
"When Rosa told me this," he went on as though Uncle Ralph had not spoken, "I was glad to be able to tell her that nothing was easier. I can readily arrange for their transportation-it won't be charity, I explained, because it will not cost me a cent. What is the use of being a railroad president if it doesn't allow a fellow to help along now and then?"
"And you will let them ride on the train for nothing?" said Elizabeth Ann, who under- stood at once. "How lovely!"
"Will you come and see them off?" asked Mr. Morgan. "I think they will be starting within a month, and you may see some old friends of yours at the station."
"Oh, oh!" Elizabeth Ann cried, jumping up and down with joyful excitement. "Are they going on Mr. Hobart's train? Does that go to California?"
"Almost to California," replied Mr. Morgan, smiling at the little girl's delight. "I think they will travel on that train part of the way at least. "
"You must go to see Rosa, dear," said Aunt Isabel, who had been very silent. "Perhaps Mr. Morgan will take you to-morrow."
NO MORE TANGLES
Mr. Morgan did take Elizabeth Ann to see Rosa the very next day. Not only Rosa, who was thinner than Elizabeth Ann remembered her but the same dear Rosa still, but Katie, Ruth, Elsie, Mary, and the boys were glad to see the little girl. Rosa came down to the door to see them go away-for a wonder none of the children followed her and perhaps Mr. Morgan and Katie had something to do with that- and Elizabeth Ann had a chance to give her the elephant.
"I'd rather not take it, it is too valuable," hesitated Rosa. "I don't need presents to remember you by, dear."
"Take it to please her," suggested Mr. Morgan. "It is a good luck elephant, isn't it, chicken?"
Finally, together they persuaded Rosa to take the elephant, and. on their walk to the bus Elizabeth Ann asked Mr. Morgan why he had asked her not to say anything about her uncle's plan to buy the carving. He had told her, before they started for Rosa's house, to say nothing of this.
"Rosa is poor and proud," explained Mr. Morgan, holding fast to the little hand in his, as though he loved to feel it there. "If you gave her the' elephant and your uncle bought it back immediately, she might feel as though you were giving her the money. And everyone, dearest, wants to give something for something. You'll understand better when you are older."
' ' But won't Uncle Ralph buy the elephant ? ' ' Elizabeth Ann asked quickly.
"I think he intends to have his lawyer write to Rosa," was the answer.
Sure enough, in a few days there came a letter directed to "Miss Elizabeth Ann Loring" from Rosa. In it she said that a lawyer, whose name she gave, had written to her saying that he had heard she had a carved ivory elephant, supposed to be several hundred years old. He had a client who collected carvings, the lawyer wrote, and if it were for sale might he call to see it and offer a price ?
"I don't know what you think of me," wrote poor Rosa, "but the man has offered me so much money for that little elephant that I can't decide what to do; it would be enough to take us all to California. But I don't like to sell a gift, especially something you gave me, and besides Peter says the money should go to you, if the elephant is sold. Could you speak to Mr. Morgan, dear, and ask him what he thinks?"
The lawyer was, of course, Uncle Ralph's legal adviser and it was really Uncle Ralph who, unknown to Rosa, bought the carving at last, paying more than it was worth, though it was a rare and valuable piece of old ivory. Elizabeth Ann succeeded with a little trouble in convincing Rosa that it was all right for her to sell her gift, and as soon as the money was in her hands, Rosa began to get her family ready for the trip to California.
Mr. Morgan promised to see about the tickets, and he managed to make Rosa think that for a family of eight to travel to California without having to pay for their transportation was an ordinary occurrence. The railroad president also took time to ask Mr. Hobart to look after Rosa and her brothers and sisters, so he knew their journey would be as pleasant as possible.
"You must get something nice for Rosa, dear," said Aunt Isabel one morning at the breakfast table. "I have been thinking that a travelling bag fitted with toilet articles would be useful. We'll have her initials put on the bag and on the brushes-would you like that ?"
Before Elizabeth Ann could answer, Uncle Ralph looked up from his mail.
"You'd better buy two bags while you are about it," he remarked. "You and I sail for London on the twentieth."
"Ralph!" cried Aunt Isabel. "Why didn't you tell me before? Goodness, that is short notice! Here is Elizabeth Ann to be taken care of, and the apartment closed, and I had planned a dinner party for the twenty-first."
"Am I going to London?" asked Elizabeth Ann, round-eyed.
"No, dear, you couldn't take that long voyage," said Aunt Isabel gently. "You're to visit Aunt Hester. I must write to her to come into the city and get you, the week before we sail."
"You'll like visiting Aunt Hester," said Uncle Ralph. "She lives in the real country -I suspect she has a cow and chickens, too."
"Has she any little girls'?" asked Elizabeth Ann hopefully.
"No, Aunt Hester isn't married," replied Aunt Isabel. "She is your father's aunt, you know. I'm sure you'll be happy with her, and she will teach you many useful things."
Elizabeth Ann thought a good deal about Aunt Hester through the busy days that followed. She wondered whether she liked little girls, and whether there would be other pets than the cow and chickens. She had cows and chickens of her own at home. They weren't very wonderful.
But we cannot tell you about her next adventures now. If you are interested to know about her visit to Aunt Hester, you must read the next book called "Elizabeth Ann at Maple Spring." That book will tell you of her experiences in the country and the new friends she made there.
There was time, before Rosa and her family went to California, for several visits, and Elizabeth Ann took Peter the Japanese stamps, and told him that Aunt Isabel had promised to save him all the foreign stamps she could get while travelling abroad.
"They may go to Japan and see my daddy and mother, ' ' she said happily. ' ' Why, what 's the matter, Peter ? "
Peter was hastily tearing the stamps from his precious album.
"Take 'em back," he said crossly. "I didn't know your aunt gave 'em to you. I don't want any stamps from her-you can tell her that. She said my sister stole her old elephant and ring."
"My mother sent me these stamps," said Elizabeth Ann, almost crying. "Aunt Isabel didn't give them to me; and anyway, she didn't mean to tell fibs about Rosa. She made a mistake, and she's said over and over that she's sorry. And my daddy says when you say you're sorry, folks should forgive you, else they're making mistakes themselves-so there!"
Rosa had overheard and stopped on her way to answer the doorbell to pat Elizabeth Ann on her brown head.
"Don't be angry at poor Peter, dear," she said. "I'm the one you should scold; I've been foolishly proud, perhaps, but I'll see your aunt before we go, and everything will be all right."
"I'll paste the stamps back," whispered Peter. ' 'You 're not mad, are you '?"
"No, I guess not," Elizabeth Ann admitted. "Who's that? Why, Peter, it's Aunt Isabel! She must have come for me."
Beautiful, smiling Aunt Isabel, a great bunch of trailing arbutus in her hands, followed Rosa into the room.
"I couldn't let you go, Rosa," she was saying, "without asking you to forgive my dreadful mistake. I have missed you so, too; Esther never took her place, did she, Elizabeth Ann?"
Well, a few minutes later they were all laughing and talking as though there was nothing unpleasant between them, as indeed there was not. Aunt Isabel had persuaded Mr. Morgan to let her come in his place for Elizabeth Ann, and the children thought she was the loveliest lady they had ever seen. Her clothes and her smile and her twinkly rings were topics of conversation among them for many days afterward.
She gave the arbutus to Ruth, as she and Elizabeth Ann left, and at the door she kissed Rosa.
"I do love you, Aunt Isabel," cried Elizabeth Ann, stopping her aunt on the stair landing to give her a hug.
A few days later, Aunt Isabel, Uncle Ralph, Mr. Morgan, and Elizabeth Ann all went to see Rosa and her family off for California. Ordinarily friends who come to see other friends on the train are not permitted inside the iron gates, but Mr. Morgan merely glanced at the uniformed man who punched Rosa's tickets, and he let them through without a word.
"Where's Mr. Hobart?" asked Elizabeth Ann as they walked along the train hunting for the coach Rosa was to be in.
"Right here, young lady !" cried a deep voice, and she was picked up in a pair of strong arms and found herself looking down into Mr. Hobart's kind face under his blue hat.
"Look in the window," he directed her. Caroline and Fred and the brakeman, too, all stood there waving their hands to her. Caroline put up the window, and Elizabeth Ann had a chance to shake hands with them before they had to go and help the people who were hunting for their seats, and getting excited over their bags and boxes.
Presently it was time to say good-bye to Rosa and the children, and Mr. Morgan and Uncle Ralph went into the train to see that they were comfortably settled, and to give Peter the large basket of fruit they had ordered as a surprise. Rosa had her bag with her, and she was very pleased and proud to have such a nice one to carry.
The train began to move slowly as Mr. Morgan and Uncle Ralph stepped off, and Elizabeth Ann and Aunt Isabel waved to Rosa, and she and the children waved back, until a curve in the tracks hid them from view.
"Everyone's going away," sighed Elizabeth Ann, walking back to the gate beside Mr. Morgan. "Rosa's gone to California, and Aunt Isabel is going to London. And I'm going to see Aunt Hester next week. I wonder what her house will be like. I guess it won't be like New York!"
' ' I guess not, ' ' laughed Uncle Ralph. ' ' But you will be able to play outdoors and perhaps there will be other little girls to play with you. Won't that be fine!"
Elizabeth Ann smiled and put her small hand in that of the gray-haired man by her side.
"Where are you going, Uncle Robert?" she asked.
"Home with you, sweetheart," he said, laughing. "I'm invited to dinner."
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