Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

Rosemary’s Stepmother
by [?]

In the sunny morning-room there prevailed an atmosphere of business. Rosemary, at the desk, was rapidly writing notes and addressing envelopes. Theodore, a deep wrinkle crossing his forehead, was struggling to reduce to order a confused heap of crumpled and illegible papers. Before him lay little heaps of silver and small gold, which he moved and counted untiringly, referring now and then to various entries in a large, flat ledger. Mrs. Bancroft, stepmother of these two, was in a deep chair, with her lap full of letters. Now and then she quoted aloud from these as she opened and glanced over them. Lastly, Ann Weatherbee, a neighbor, seated on the floor with her back against Mrs. Bancroft’s knee, was sorting a large hamperful of silver spoons and crumpled napkins into various heaps.

“There!” said Ann, presently. “I’ve finished the napkins–or nearly! Tell me, whose are these, Aunt Nell?”

Mrs. Bancroft reached a smooth hand for them and mused over the monograms.

“B–B–B–?” she reflected. “Both are B’s, aren’t they? And different, too. This is Mrs. Bayne’s, anyway–I was with her when she bought these. But these–? Oh, I know now, Ann! That little cousin of the Potters’,–what was her name, Rosemary?”

“Sutter, madam! Guess again.”

“No; but her unmarried name, I mean?”

“Oh, Beatty, of course!” supplied Ann. “Aren’t you clever to remember that! I’ll tie them up. Oh, and should there only be eleven of the Whiteley Greek-borders?” she asked presently.

“One was sent home with a cake, dear,–we had too much cake.”

“We always do, somehow,” commented Rosemary, absently, and there was a silence. The last speaker broke it presently, with a long sigh.

“At your next concert, mamma, I shall insist upon having ‘please omit flowers’ on the tickets,” said Rosemary, severely. “I think I have thanked forty people for ‘your exquisite roses’!”

“Poor, overworked little Rosemary!” laughed her stepmother.

“You can look for a new treasurer, too,” said Theodore. “This sort of thing needs an expert accountant. No ordinary brain…! What with some of these women rubbing every item out three or four times, and others using pale green water for ink, nobody could get a balance.”

Mrs. Bancroft, smiling serenely, leaned back in her chair,

“Aren’t they unkind to me, Ann?” she complained. “They would expect a poor, forlorn old woman–Now, Rosemary!”

For Rosemary had interrupted her. Seating herself upon the arm of her stepmother’s chair, she laid a firm hand over the speaker’s mouth.

“Now she will fish, Ann,” said Rosemary, calmly.

“Fish!” said Ann, indignantly. “After last night she doesn’t have to FISH!”

“You bet she doesn’t,” said Theodore, affectionately. “Not she! She got enough compliments last night to last her a long while.”

I was ashamed of myself,” confessed Rosemary, with her slow smile; “for, after all, WE’RE only her family! But father, Ted, and I went about the whole evening with broad, complacent grins–as if WE’D been doing something.”

“Oh, I was boasting aloud most of the time that I knew her intimately,” Ann added, laughing. “Just being a neighbor and old friend shed a sort of glory even on me!”

“Oh, well, it was the dearest concert ever,” summarized Rosemary, contentedly. “The papers this morning say that the flowers were like an opera first night–though I never saw any opera singer get so many here–and that hundreds were turned away!”

“‘Hundreds’!” repeated Mrs. Bancroft, chuckling at the absurdity of it.

“Well, mamma, the hall WAS packed,” Ted reminded her promptly. He grinned over some amusing memory. “…Old lady Barnes weeping over ‘Nora Creina,'” he added.

“Ann, I didn’t tell you that Dad and I met Herr Muller at the gate this morning,” said Rosemary, “shedding tears over the thought of some of the Franz songs, and blowing his nose on his blue handkerchief!”

“And you certainly did look stunning, mamma,” contributed Ted.

“Children… children!” protested Mrs. Bancroft. But the pleased color flooded her cheeks.

Another busy silence was broken by a triumphant exclamation from Theodore, who turned about from his table to announce: