"I HOPE it's like this to-morrow!"

Brother stood on the front porch, flattening his nose against the screen door and sniffing the fragrant June sunshine.

Ever since his unsuccessful attempt to find out from Grandma Hastings what Ralph's present was to be, it had rained. That was three days ago, so you may be sure the whole Morrison. family were very glad to see the sun again. Especially as the very next day was Brother's birthday.

"Brother, I'm going down town to buy the favors for your party," announced Louise, who sat in the porch hammock crocheting a sweater. "Wouldn't you like to go with me?"

Brother thought he would.

"Take me?" begged Sister, falling over the small broom she carried, in her eagerness to be one of the party. "It's my turn, Louise, honestly it is."

"Well, you see, I can't very well take you both," explained Louise kindly. "Mrs. Adams is going to call for me with her car, and it wouldn't be polite to ask her to take two children; and as it is Brother's birthday, he ought to be the one to go—don't you think so?"

Sister nodded, though her lower lip trembled suspiciously. And when Mrs. Adams drove her shiny automobile up to the curb, and Louise and Brother were whisked away in it, two big tears rolled down Sister's round cheeks.

"Why, honey!" Grace, the other twin sister, swinging her tennis racquet, came through the hall and saw the tears. "What you crying for?" she asked. "Everyone gone and left you? I'll tell you what to do—you go out in the kitchen and take a peep at what is on the table and you won't feel like crying another moment."

"What is it?" asked Sister cautiously.

She wasn't going to stop crying and then find out she had been cheated.

"You go look," answered Grace mysteriously.

So sister started for the kitchen and Grace ran off to her game of tennis with Jimmie.

The kitchen was in perfect order and very quiet. Molly was upstairs making the beds, and Mother Morrison was planning the party with Grandmother Hastings.

"Oh!" said Sister softly as she saw what was on the table. "Oh, my!"

For right in the center of the white-topped table, on a large pink plate, perched Brother's birthday cake! It was a beautiful cake, perfectly round and very smooth and brown.

"But the icing!" said Sister aloud. "There's no icing! I s'pose Molly didn't have time."

If Sister had stopped to think, she would have remembered that all the birthday cakes Molly made—and she made seven every year for the Morrisons, and one for Grandmother Hastings —were always iced with pink or white or chocolate icing.

But, you see, she didn't stop to think, and when she discovered a bowl of lovely creamy white stuff on the small table between the windows, this small girl decided that she would ice the cake and save Molly the trouble.

There was a little film of water over the top of the bowl, but Sister took a wooden spoon and stirred it carefully, and the water mixed nicely with the white stuff, so that she had a bowl filled with the smoothest, whitest "icing" any cook could ask for.

"I'll get a silver knife to spread it with," said Sister, who had often watched Molly, and knew what to do.

She brought the knife from the dining-room and had just put one broad streak of white across the top of the cake when Molly came down the back stairs and saw her. .

"Sister!" cried Molly. "What are you doing with my cold starch?"

"I'm icing the cake," answered Sister calmly. "You forgot it, I guess."

Poor Molly grabbed the bowl from Sister's hands.

"Can't I leave the kitchen one minute that you don't get into mischief?" she scolded.

"This isn't icing—it's starch for Mr. Jimmie's collars. I'm going to make a beautiful chocolate icing for the cake this afternoon and write Brother's name on it in white frosting."

"Oh !" said Sister meekly.

"Go on upstairs, do," Molly urged her. "I've my hands full today getting ready for the party; can't you find something nice to do upstairs?"

Thus sped on her way, Sister reluctantly mounted the stairs to the second floor.

"I could play jacks with Nellie Yarrow," she said to herself. "Only she's lost her jackstones and I can't find mine. What's that on Dick's bureau?"

Ralph and Jimmie roomed together, but Dick had a room of his own, and though Sister was strictly forbidden to meddle with his things, they had a great attraction for her. She could just see the top of Dick's chiffonier from the floor and now she dragged a chair up to it and climbed up to see what the shining thing was that had caught her eye.

It was a gold collar button, and Dick, she found, had a box of pearl and gold buttons that Sister was sure she had never seen before. She played with them, tossing them up and down and watching them glitter, until a sudden thought struck her.

"They'd make lovely jackstones," she whispered. "I could use 'em and put them right back. I know Nellie has a ball."

Dick had several new ties, and Sister had to admire these before she could leave the chiffonier. Finally she slipped the box of pretty buttons in her pocket and jumped down. She put the chair where she had found it, and ran downstairs and through the hedge that separated the Morrison house from that of Dr. Yarrow's.

"Nellie, oh, Nellie!" called Sister. "Come on, let's play jackstones."

"Haven't any," answered Nellie Yarrow, a little girl a year or so older than Sister. "All I have left is my ball."

"Well, get that and we can play," Sister told her. "I've found something we can use—see!"

Nellie admired the collar buttons immensely and thought it would be great fun to play with them. She ran and got her ball and the two little friends sat down on the concrete walk to play jackstones, heedless of the hot morning sun.

Sister had won one game and Nellie two, when they heard Louise calling.

"Sister! Sister! Where are you? If you want to help fix the fishpond, you'll have to come right away."

Sister stuffed the buttons in her pocket and ran home, eager to see what Louise and Brother had bought

On to chapter 4

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