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PAGES: 169

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Laughing Last

By Jane Abbott

“That’s kind of you. What would you do with it, anyway, kid?” interrupted Vicky, quite unimpressed by her sister’s seriousness. She let a chuckle in her voice denote how amused she was.

Sidney flashed a withering look in Vicky’s direction.

“I wouldn’t spend it all on one party that’s over in a minute and nothing to show for it!” she retorted. Then: “And what I’d do with it is my affair!” She swallowed to control a sob that rose in her throat.

“Tut! Tut!” breathed the tormenting Vicky.

“Why, Sid, dear!” cried Trude, astonished. She put a tray of dishes that she was carrying to the kitchen down upon the old sideboard and turned to face Sid. At the tone of her voice, Sidney flew to her and flung her arms about her.

“I don’t care—I don’t care! You can laugh at me but I’m sick of being different. I—I want to do things like—other girls do. H-have fun—”

Over her head, Trude’s eyes implored the others to be gentle. She was greatly disturbed. Even Vicky grew sober. In a twinkling, this lanky, pigtailed little sister seemed to have become an individual with whom they must reckon. They had never suspected but that she was as contented with her happy-go-lucky way as any petted kitten.

Isolde, the oldest sister, frowned perplexedly.

“Sidney, stop crying and tell us what you want. As far as fun is concerned I don’t think you have any complaints. Certainly, you do not have anything to worry about!” Isolde’s tone conveyed that she did.

“If it’s just the Egg that’s bothering you, why, take it!” cried Vicky, magnanimously.

Only Trude sensed that the cause of Sidney’s rebellion lay deeper than any desire for fun. She was not unaware of certain dissatisfactions that smoldered in her breast. The knowledge of them helped her to understand Sidney’s mood. She patted the girl’s head sympathetically.

“I guess we haven’t realized you’re growing up, Sid,” she laughed softly. “Now brace up and tell us what’s wrong with everything.”

Trude’s quiet words poured balm on Sidney’s soul. At last—at last, these three sisters realized she was fifteen. It hadn’t been the Egg itself she had wanted—it had been to have them reckon her in on their absurd family cogitations. She drew the sleeve of her blouse across her eyes and faced them.

“I want to go somewhere, to live somewhere where I won’t be Joseph Romley’s daughter! I want to wear clothes like the other girls who go to a boarding school and never set eyes on a book of poetry. I want adventure and to do exciting things.

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Jane Abbott

Jane Ludlow Drake Abbott (July 10, 1881 – December 13, 1962) was an American writer who published more than 35 books. She started writing children’s books when her children were small and later went on to write adult novels. Many of her books were written primarily for girls but had broad appeal for the whole family.


Jane Ludlow Drake was born on July 10, 1881, in Buffalo, New York, to Captain Marcus Motier Drake and his second wife, Mary A. Ludlow. Her family was involved in shipbuilding and sailing, and Jane spent much of her childhood on and near the Great Lakes.

She attended Cornell University from 1899 to 1902, working for two years as part of the editorial staff of the graduate newspaper.

On December 21, 1902, Jane married Frank Addison Abbott, a former Cornell student and lawyer from Buffalo who later served as District Attorney of Erie County (1906-1908). They had three children.

Jane Abbott began writing books for children, and later writing fiction for adults. She published about twenty books for boys and girls, and about fifteen novels for adults. Many of her books were written primarily for girls, but had broad appeal, combining “fun, family life, adventure, and mystery in just the right proportions”. They were praised as being “natural”, “good, wholesome books”, and “brimming with life, but clean in their conception and their language”.

“I don’t think my husband and children ever felt neglected,” Mrs. Abbott has said. “I tried out on them everything I wrote, shared their interests, and took my writing time mostly from the time I did not spend on teas, bridge parties, women’s clubs, department stores, and crowded streets.”

Main works

  • Keineth, 1918
  • Larkspur, 1919
  • Highacres, 1920
  • Happy House, 1920
  • Aprilly, 1921
  • Red-Robin, 1922
  • Fidelis, 1923
  • Minglestreams, 1923
  • Laughing Last, 1924
  • Juliet Is Twenty, 1926
  • Heyday, 1928
  • Beggarman, 1930
  • Merridy Road, 1930
  • Kitty Frew, 1931
  • Bouquet Hill, 1931
  • The Young Dalfreys, 1932
  • Silver Fountain, 1932
  • Miss Jolley’s Family, 1933
  • Dicket: A Story Of Friendships, 1933
  • Fiddler’s Coin, 1934
  • Folly Farm, 1934
  • Low Bridge, 1935
  • Strangers In The House, 1935
  • Benefit Street, 1936
  • Angels May Weep, 1937
  • A Row Of Starts, 1937
  • Singing Shadows, 1938
  • To Have, To Keep, 1939
  • Clo, 1940
  • Lorrie, 1941
  • Yours For The Asking, 1943
  • Mary Patten’s Daughters, 1945
  • The Outsiders, 1948
  • River’s Rim, 1950
  • The Neighbors, 1952
  • The Inheritors, 1953
  • The Open Way, 1955

Jane Abbott

Jane Abbott