Stories Worth Rereading: Honey at The Phone

Honey’s mama had gone to market, leaving her home with nurse. Nurse was up-stairs making beds, while little Honey, with hands behind her, was trudging about the sitting-room looking for something to do.

There was a phone in the house, which was a great mystery to Honey when it first came. She could hear voices talking back to mama, yet could not see a person. Was some one hidden away in the horn her mother put to her ear, or was it in the machine itself?

Honey never failed to be on hand when the bell rang, and found that her mother generally talked to her best and dearest friends, ladies who were such frequent callers that Honey knew them all by name.

Her mama wrote down the names of her friends, with the number of their phones, and, because the child was so inquisitive about it, she very carefully explained to her just how the whole thing worked, never thinking that Honey would sometime try it for herself; and, indeed, for a while Honey satisfied herself by playing phone. She would roll up a piece of paper, and call out through it, “Hullo!” asking and answering all the questions herself.

One day, on finding herself alone, she took down the receiver and tried to talk to one of her mama’s friends, but it was a failure. She watched mama still more closely after that. On this particular morning, while mama was at market, she tried again, commencing with the first number on her mama’s list.

Taking down the receiver, she called out, “Hullo!” the answer came back, “Hullo!” “I wants A 215,” said Honey, holding the receiver to her ear.

“Yes,” came the reply.

“Are you Miss Samor?” asked Honey.

“Yes,” was the reply.

“We wants you to come to our house tonight to supper, mama and me.”

“Who’s mama and me?” asked the voice.

“Honey,” was the reply.

“Honey, through the phone, eh?” laughed the voice. “Tell mama I will come with pleasure.”

Honey was not only delighted, but greatly excited. She used every number on her mother’s list, inviting them all to supper.

About four o’clock in the afternoon the guests began to arrive, much to mama’s amazement and consternation, especially when they divested themselves of their wraps, and proceeded to make themselves comfortable. What could it mean? She would think she was having a surprise party if every one had not come empty-handed. Perhaps it was a joke on her. If so, they would find she would take it pleasantly.

There was not enough in the house to feed half that crowd, but she had the phone, and she fairly made the orders fly for a while.

When her husband came home from his office, he was surprised to find the parlors filled with company. While helping the guests, he turned to his wife, saying, “Why, this is a sort of surprise, is it not?”

Mama’s face flamed, and she looked right down to her nose without saying a word.

“Why did you not tell me you were going to invite them, and I would have brought home some flowers?” said Honey’s papa.

Honey, who sat next to her papa, resplendent in a white dress and flowing curls, clutched his sleeve, and said: “It’s my party papa. I ‘wited ’em frew the phone. Honey likes to have c’ean c’o’es on, and have comp’ny.”

It was the visitors’ turn now to blush, but Honey’s papa and mama laughed so heartily it made them feel that it was all right even if Honey had sent out the invitations. And not one went home without extending an invitation to her host and hostess to another dinner or supper, and in every one Honey was included.

“Just what she wanted,” said her papa, as he tossed her up in his arms and kissed her. Then, turning to his wife, he said, “Never mind, mother, she will learn better as she grows older.”

Mrs. A. E. C. Maskell.