THE JINKS CLUB
Saturday was hailed with delight by the four Maynards.
Now that school had begun, a whole playday meant more than it did in vacation time, when all days were playdays.
It was a glorious September day, and as it was an early autumn, many leaves had fallen and lay thick upon the ground.
"I know what to do," said Marjorie, as directly after breakfast they put on hats and coats for outdoor play of some sort. "Let's make leaf-houses."
"All right," said Kingdon, "and let's telephone for the others."
"The others" always meant the two Fultons and Kitty's friend, Dorothy Adams.
Rosy Posy was too little to have a special chum, so Boffin was her companion.
Leaf-houses was a favorite game with all of them, and soon the three guests came skipping through the gate.
The leaves had been raked from the lawn, but down in the orchard they were on the ground like a thick carpet. The orchard had many maples and elms, as well as fruit trees, so there were leaves of all sorts.
"Isn't it fun to scuffle through 'em!" said Marjorie, as she led the way, shuffling along, almost knee-deep in the brown, dry leaves.
"More fun to roll!" cried Dick, tumbling down and floundering about.
Down went Rosy Posy in imitation of Dick's performance, and then they all fell into the leaves, and burrowed about like rabbits.
Presently Marjorie's head emerged like a bright-eyed turtle poking out from its shell, and shaking the dead leaves out of her curls, she said: "Come on, let's make houses. King, won't you and Dick get some rakes?"
The boys ran off to the toolhouse, and came back with several rakes, both wood and iron ones.
"Here's all we can find," said King. "Some of us can rake, and some can build things."
They all set to work and soon two houses were in process of construction.
These houses were, of course, merely a ground plan, and long, low piles of leaves divided the rooms. Openings in these partitions made doors, and the furniture was also formed of heaps of leaves. A long heap was a sofa, and a smaller heap a chair, while a round, flat heap was a table.
King, Gladys, and Dorothy were one family, while Dick, Marjorie, and Kitty were the other.
Rosy Posy was supposed to be an orphan child, who lived with one family or the other in turn, as suited her somewhat fickle fancy.
In each family the children represented father, mother, and daughter, and they were pleasantly neighborly, or at odds with each other, as occasion required.
Today the spirit of adventure was strong in Marjorie, and she decreed they should play robbers.
This was always a good game, so they all agreed.
"First, King's family must be robbed," said Midget; "and then, after you catch us, you rob us."
The burglaries were thus amicably planned, and Kingdon and his family, lying on leaf-couches, fell into a deep, but somewhat noisy slumber. Indeed, their snoring was loud enough to frighten away most robbers.
Rosy Posy didn't count in this game, so she was allowed to wander in and out of either house.
When the Kingdon family were very sound asleep, the Dick family crept softly in through the open doors, and endeavored to steal certain valuable silver from the sideboard. This silver was admirably represented by chips and sticks.
Dick and Marjorie had secured their booty and were carefully sneaking away when King awoke, and with a howl pounced upon Kitty, who was still industriously stealing silver.
This, of course, was part of the game, and Dick and Midget wrung their hands in despair as they saw their daughter forcibly detained by the master of the house.
Then Gladys and Dorothy were awakened by the noise, and added their frightened screams to the general hullaballoo.
Kitty was bound hand and foot in the very dining-room where the silver had been, and King went valiantly out to hunt the other marauders. Then the game was for King and his family to try to catch Dick and Midget, or for Kitty's parents to release her from her bondage.
At last, as King and Gladys were both engaged in chasing Dick, Marjorie found an opportunity to free Kitty, and then the game began again, the other way round.
At last they tired of hostilities and agreed to rebuild their houses, combining them in one, and calling it a big hotel.
"Or a clubhouse," said King, who had recently visited one with his father, and had been much impressed.
"Clubhouses are grand," he said. "They have porches, and swimming-pools, and gyms, and dining-rooms, and everything!"
So the architecture was changed, and soon a fine clubhouse was outlined in leafy relief.
"Then if this is a clubhouse, we're a club," said Kitty, thoughtfully.
"Oh, let's be a club!" exclaimed Marjorie. "Clubs are lots of fun. I mean children's clubs—not big ones like father's."
"What do clubs do?" asked Dorothy, who had a wholesome fear of some of the Maynards' escapades.
"Why, we can do anything we want to, if we're a club," said Dick. "I think it would be fun. What shall we do?"
"Let's cut up jinks," said Marjorie, who was especially energetic that day.
"And let's call it the Jinks Club," suggested Gladys.
"Goody! Goody!!" cried Midge. "Just the thing, Glad! And then we can cut up any jinks we want to,—as long as they're good jinks," she added, thoughtfully.
"What do you mean by that?" demanded King.
"Well, you see, last summer at Grandma's, she told me there were good jinks and bad jinks. She meant just plain fun, or real mischief. And I promised I'd cut up only good jinks."
"All right," said Dick, "I'll agree to that. We just want to have fun, you know; not get into mischief."
So, as they were all agreed on this, the Jinks Club was started.
"I'll be president," volunteered Marjorie.
"Does somebody have to be president?" asked Gladys. "And does the president have all the say?"
"Let's all be presidents," said King. "I know clubs usually have only one; but who cares? We'll be different."
"All right," said Marjorie. "And, anyway, we won't need a secretary and treasurer and such things, so we'll each be president. I think that will be more fun, too."
"Me be president," announced Rosy Posy, "an' Boffin be a president, too."
"Yes," said King, smiling at his baby sister, "you and Boff and all the rest of us. Then, you see, we can all make rules, if we want to."
"We don't need many rules," said Dick. "Just a few about meetings and things. When shall we meet?"
"Every day after school, and every Saturday," said Marjorie, who was of a whole-souled nature.
"Oh, no!" said Gladys. "I know Mother won't let me come as often as that."
"Don't let's have special times," said King. "Just whenever we're all together, we'll have a meeting."
This was agreed to, but Marjorie didn't seem quite satisfied.
"It doesn't seem like a real club," she said, "unless we have dues and badges and things like that."
"Huh, dues!" said King. "I want to spend my money for other things besides dues to an old club! What would we do with the dues, anyway?"
"Oh, save them up in the treasury," said Marjorie, "until we had enough to go to the circus, or something nice like that."
This sounded attractive, and King reconsidered.
"Well, I don't mind," he said. "But I won't give all my money. I have fifty cents a week. I'll give ten."
"So will I," said Dick, and the others all agreed to do the same.
Of course, Rosy Posy didn't count, so this made sixty cents a week, and furthermore it necessitated a treasurer.
"Let's each be treasurer," said King, remembering how well his presidential plan had succeeded.
"No," said Midget; "that's silly. I'll be treasurer, and I'll keep all the money safely, until we want to use it for something nice."
"Yes, let's do that," said Gladys. "Mopsy's awfully careful about such things, and she'll keep the money better than any of us. I haven't mine here now; I'll bring it over this afternoon."
"I don't care much about the money part," said King. "I want to cut up jinks. When do we begin?"
"Right now!" said Marjorie, jumping up. "The first jink is to bury King in leaves!"
The rest caught the idea, and in a moment the luckless Kingdon was on his back and held down by Dick, while the girls piled leaves all over him. They left his face uncovered, so he could breathe, but they heaped leaves over the rest of him, and packed them down firmly, so he couldn't move.
When he was thoroughly buried, Marjorie said: "Now we'll hide. Don't start to hunt till you count fifty, King."
"One, two, three," began the boy, and the others flew off in all directions.
All except Rosy Posy. She remained, and, patting King's cheek with her fat little hand, said: "Me'll take care of you, Budder. Don't ky."
"All right, Baby,—thirty-six, thirty-seven, thirty-eight,—take that leaf out of my eye! thirty-nine, forty—thank you, Posy."
A minute more, and King shouted "Fifty! Coming, ready or not!" and, shaking himself out of his leaf-heap, he ran in search of the others. Rosy Posy, used to being thus unceremoniously left, tumbled herself and Boffin into the demolished leaf-heap, and played there contentedly.
King hunted for some minutes without finding anybody. Then a voice right over his head said, "Oo-ee!"
He looked up quickly, but saw only a tree which had not yet shed its foliage, and who was up there he could not guess from the voice.
If he guessed wrong, he must be "It" over again, so he peered cautiously up into the branches.
"Who are you?" he called.
"Oo-ee!" said a voice again, but this time it sounded different.
"Here goes, then," said King, and he swung himself up into the lower branches, keeping sharp watch lest his quarry elude him, and slip down the other side.
But once fairly up in the tree, he found the whole five there awaiting him, and as they all dropped quickly to the ground, and ran for "home" he had to jump and follow, to get there first himself.
The jolly game of Hide-and-Seek lasted the rest of the morning, and then the little guests went home, promising to come back in the afternoon and bring their contributions to the treasury of the "Jinks Club."
The afternoon meeting found the Maynards in spandy-clean clothes, sitting on the side veranda.
"Mother says we're not to romp this afternoon," explained Marjorie. "She says we may swing, or play in the hammock, or on the lawn, but we can't go to the orchard."
"All right," said good-natured Dick; "and, say, I've been thinking over our club, and I think we ought to be more like a real club. Why not have regular meetings, and have programmes and things?"
"Oh!" groaned King. "Speak pieces, do you mean?"
"No; not that. We get enough of speaking pieces, Friday afternoons, in school. I mean,—oh, pshaw, I don't know what I mean!"
"You mean read minutes, and things like that," suggested Marjorie, helpfully.
"Yes," said Dick, eagerly, "that's just what I mean."
"All right," said Marjorie, "I'll be secretary, and write them."
"Now, look here, Midge," said Kingdon, "you can't be everything! You want to be president and treasurer and secretary and all. Perhaps you'd like to be all the members!"
"Fiddlesticks, King!" said Marjorie; "nobody else seems to want to be anything. Now, I'll tell you what, let's have six things to be,—officers, you know, and then we'll each be one."
"That's a good way," said Gladys. "You be treasurer, Marjorie, 'cause you're so good at arithmetic, and you can take care of our money. Dick can be secretary, 'cause he writes so well."
"I will," said Dick, "if King will be president. He's best for that,—and then, Gladys, you can be vice-president."
"What can Dorothy and I be?" asked Kitty, who didn't see many offices left.
Marjorie considered. "You can be the committee," she said, at last. "They always have a committee to decide things."
This sounded pleasing, and now all were satisfied.
"Well, if I'm treasurer," said Marjorie, "I'll take up the collection now."
Promptly five dimes were handed to her, and, adding one of her own, she put them all into a little knitted silk purse she had brought for the purpose.
"Is there any further business to come before this meeting?" asked the President, rolling out his words with great dignity, as befitted his position.
"No, sir," said Kitty; "I'm the committee to decide things, and I say there isn't any more business. So what do we do next?"
"I'll tell you!" cried Midget, in a sudden burst of inspiration; "let's go down to Mr. Simmons' and all have ice-cream with our money in the treasury. I'll ask Mother if we may."
"But, Mopsy!" cried King, in surprise. "I thought we were to save that to go to the circus."
"Oh, pshaw! Father'll take us to the circus. Or we can save next week's money for that. But, truly, I feel like cutting up jinks, and we can't play in the orchard, and it would be lots of fun to go for ice-cream, all together."
"It would be fun," said Dick; and then they all agreed to Marjorie's plan.
Mrs. Maynard listened with amusement to the story, and then said they might go if they would behave like little ladies and gentlemen and return home inside of an hour.
Off they started, and a more decorous-looking crowd than the Jinks Club one would not wish to see!
Mr. Simmons' Ice-Cream Garden was a most attractive place.
It was a small grove, by the side of a small stream, and the tables were in a sort of pavilion that overlooked the water.
The children were welcomed by the good-natured old proprietor, who had served his ice-cream to their parents when they were children.
"And what kind will you have?" asked Mr. Simmons, after they were seated around a table.
This required thought, but each finally chose a favorite mixture, and soon they were enjoying the pink or white pyramids that were brought them.
"I do think the Jinks Club is lovely," said Kitty, as she gazed out over the water and contentedly ate her ice-cream.
"So do I," said Dorothy, who always agreed with her adored chum, but was, moreover, happy on her own account.
"I shall write all this up in the minutes!" declared Dick. "And when shall we have our next meeting?"
"Next Saturday," said Kitty. "I'm the committee, and I decide things."
"So do I," said Dorothy, and they all agreed to meet the next Saturday morning.