Dick and Dolly
ñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
The doll family in Dana Cottage were giving a very grand party. As there were no other dolls to invite, Pinkie and Dolly had made a lot of paper dolls for the guests. These were not elaborate, being hastily cut from brown paper, but they wanted a lot of guests, so they chopped out a multitude of dolls, and stood them around in the various rooms of the doll house.
“I wish we’d made them prettier,” said Dolly, regretfully, for her artistic sense was jarred upon by the crude brown paper guests in the dainty, pretty rooms.
“So do I,” agreed Pinkie. “Let’s dress them up a little, somehow.”
So they found colored tissue paper, and bedecked the dolls with floating sashes and scarfs and head-dresses, until they presented a much more festive appearance.
“That’s lots better,” declared Dolly, as they placed the improved ladies and gentlemen at the party. So many did they have, that the parlour was filled with dancers, and the dining-room with supper guests at the same time.
Pinkie was of a realistic turn of mind, and insisted on having bits of real cracker or cake or apple in the dishes on the table, and real water in the pitchers and coffee pots on the sideboard.
Dolly was quite content to have scraps of paper for cakes, or even empty dishes filled merely with imagination, but when Pinkie played with her they usually had real things wherever possible.
The china dolls of the family, and the paper guests kept up a continuous conversation, and the voices were either Pinkie’s or Dolly’s as occasion required. A deep, gruff voice represented a gentleman talking, and a high, squeaky voice, a lady.
“What a beautiful party we’re having,” said a brown paper man in Dolly’s deepest chest tones.
“Yes,” squeaked a lovely lady, in light blue crinkled tissue paper. “Please get me a glass of lemonade.”
The brown gentleman deftly poured about two drops of water from a tiny pitcher into a tinier cup, and gallantly offered it to the lady.
It accidentally soaked her tissue paper scarf, as she drank it, but two drops wouldn’t hurt anybody’s costume seriously, so the incident was overlooked, and the gay chatter went on.
“Are you going to opera to-morrow night?” asked one bewitching belle of another.
“Oh, yes,” was the reply. “I’m so fond of music. I practise an hour every day.”
“So do I. I’m learning to sing, too. That’s why I wear this boa, I have to take such care of my throat.”
“Are you warm enough here?” inquired the china hostess, who overheard her paper guests’ conversation; “because, if you aren’t, we can light a fire for you.”
“I do feel a little chilly,” began the paper belle, and then Pinkie’s voice suddenly resumed its natural tones:
“Oh, Dolly, let’s make a fire in the little stove, – a real fire. You said your aunt used to do it.”
“Yes, she did,” said Dolly. “Do you know how?”
“Why, yes; you only put in snips of paper and light ’em.The smoke goes out through the pipe.”
Carefully, the girls put crumpled bits of paper into the little iron stove, and then Dolly brought a match.
“You light it,” she said, and Pinkie struck the match, and touched off the paper.
They shut the tiny stove door, and the paper blazed away merrily. Some smoke came out through the tin pipe, but there wasn’t much of it, and as the windows of the playroom were all wide open, the smoke soon drifted away.
This was a great game indeed, and the guests from the parlour all crowded down into the dining-room to get warm.
There was much laughing and chatter, as the paper dolls came down to the dining-room, and packed themselves in groups against the walls.
“Oh, how good that fire feels,” exclaimed a lady in pink paper. “Why, it’s all gone out!”
It was astonishing how fast the paper in the stove burned itself out, and the girls had to renew it repeatedly, and light it afresh each time.
“I’m ’bout tired of playing this,” said Pinkie; “let’s make one more fire and that’ll be the last. It’s getting awful hot.”
“Yes, make one more,” said Dolly, “for Mrs. Obbercrombie has just come down to get warm.”
“All right; stand her up by the stove.”
Pinkie touched off the newly-laid fire, and Dolly stood paper Mrs. Obbercrombie up near the stove; so near, in fact, that the lady fell over against it.
Dolly reached out to pick her up, but her finger touched the hot stove, and she drew it back with an “Ouch!” The little stove, from the burning of much paper, was nearly red-hot, and when the paper doll fell over against it, she blazed up immediately.
Then the paper dolls nearest her caught fire at once, and in two seconds the paper dolls were all ablaze. The tissue paper scarfs communicated the flames like tinder; the thicker paper of the dolls themselves burned steadily, and in a few moments the curtains caught, then the wooden house itself, and as the breeze from the open windows fanned it, a real conflagration of Dana Cottage ensued!
Soon the paper grass in the cottage yard caught fire, and the wooden animals served as further fuel.
Dolly, her smarting finger still in her mouth, was too frightened even to scream, but Pinkie showed real presence of mind.
She grasped a pitcher of water from the table, and dashed it into the burning house. This was good as far as it went, but it merely checked the flames in one room, and there was no more water about. Then Pinkie seized the big rug from the floor, with intent to throw it over the house. But it was so anchored with heavy tables and other furniture that, of course, she could not budge it.
“Oh!” she gasped at last. “Do something, Dolly! Yell, can’t you? I don’t seem to have any voice!”
Sure enough, poor little Pinkie was so frightened that her voice had failed her, and Dolly was so frightened, she couldn’t think what to do.
So, at Pinkie’s suggestion, she yelled, and Dolly’s yell was that of a young, sound pair of lungs.
“Auntie!” she screamed. “Michael!” But as the playroom was on the third floor, and the aunts were down in the library, they did not hear her. Nor were the servants within ear-shot, so poor Dolly screamed in vain.
But as the flames grew bigger and threatened the window curtains of the playroom, Dolly shouted again, and this time a wild, despairing shriek of “Dick!” seemed to be her last resort.
And, by chance, the boys, with their kites, were not far from the house, and they heard the cry ring out of the playroom window.
“Hello, Dolly!” shouted Dick, back again, not thinking of danger, but merely supposing Dolly was calling to him.
His voice reached Dolly’s ears like a promise of hope, and flying to the window, where the curtains were already scorching, she screamed, “Fire, Dick! Call Michael! Pat! Bring water! Fire! Fire!”
Even as Dolly shouted, Dick and Jack saw the flames, and Dick cried out, “I’ll go for Michael; you go upstairs, Jack, and screech for Aunt Rachel as you go.”
So the two Dana ladies were startled from their quiet reading, by seeing Jack Fuller dash madly in at the front door, and whipping off his cap by instinct, almost pause, as he said politely, but hastily, “Please, Miss Rachel, – good-afternoon. Your house is on fire! Excuse me!” and he ran breathlessly by the library door and up the stairs.
He couldn’t do a thing when he reached the playroom, for the flames were beyond the efforts of a ten-year-old boy.
But Dolly, who had found her wits, cried, “Pull down the curtains,” and she and Jack bravely pulled down a pair of light muslin curtains that had already begun to burn. They stamped on these, and so extinguished their flames, and Pinkie, in her excitement, pulled down another pair and stamped on them, although they had not caught fire at all, and, indeed, were in no danger of it.
But by that time, Michael and Pat had arrived. Passing the trembling aunties on the lower landing, they tore upstairs, and Dick followed closely at their heels.
Michael took in the situation at one glance.
“Take holt av the table,” he said to Pat, and the two strong men hustled the big table off the rug. Then they flung aside the chairs and other furniture that held the rug down, and, picking up the big carpet, flung it over the burning playhouse. The house toppled over with a crash, and the men trampled on the whole pile.
They smashed everything belonging to Dana Cottage, but it was the only way to conquer the flames, and Michael did not hesitate.
“Keep it up!” he said to Pat, and as Pat obediently stamped his big feet about, Michael turned to other parts of the room.
He stepped on a few smouldering papers, he pinched out a tiny flame in a curtain ruffle, and he threw a small rug over an already blazing waste-basket.
He unceremoniously pushed aside any children who got in his way, for Michael was very much in earnest. And he had reason to be. His prompt and speedy action had probably saved the whole house from burning down, and after he was sure there was no lurking flame left anywhere, he turned to the two ladies, who stood white-faced and trembling on the threshold.
“All right, Miss Rachel,” he said, cheerily; “the baby-house is done for, but we’ve saved Dana Dene from burnin’ up intirely.”
“Is everybody safe?” asked Miss Rachel, bewildered with the suddenness and terror of it all.
“Safe an’ sound, ma’am. Now, don’t dishturb yersilves further, but you an’ Miss Abbie an’ the childher go back downstairs, an’ me an’ Pat’ll be afther cleanin’ up some here.”
“But Dolly is burned!” cried Miss Abbie, seeing Dolly still holding out her blistered finger, and screwing her face in pain.
“No,” said Dolly, “I did that before the fire. It’s nothing.”
“It’s an awful blister,” said Dick, looking at it. “But how did the fire start, Dollums? Did you do it?”
“Yes,” said Dolly, “but I didn’t mean to burn up the cottage.” And then, as Michael and Pat were removing the big rug, and she saw the dreadful devastation of the beautiful dolls’ house, she burst into paroxysms of weeping.
Pinkie did the same, and as the aunts were both softly crying, too, Dick and Jack had to be very careful lest they join the majority.
“Go downstairs, all of yez,” said Michael, again, who had, by reason of his common sense, assumed dictatorship. “Oh, are ye there, Hannah? Take the ladies down, and mend up Miss Dolly’s finger. Boys, ye can shtay, if ye like, but the rest of yez must go.”
Obediently, the aunties followed Hannah, who led the weeping Dolly, and with Pinkie trailing along behind, they went downstairs.
“Now, boys,” said Michael, “ye can help if ye like, an’ ye needn’t, if ye don’t like. Pat an’ me, we’ll clear out this burnt shtuff, but Mashter Dick, suppose ye look about now, an’ see if anny of the toys is worth savin’.”
So Dick and Jack picked out some few things that the flames hadn’t destroyed. But only china or metal toys escaped utter destruction, and these were so smoked and charred, that they weren’t much good. Pinkie’s hat and jacket were scorched, but Jack laid them aside, and the work of salvage went on.
“There now, ye’d betther go,” said Michael; “ye’re good boys, an’ ye’ve helped a lot, but now, me’n Pat, we’ll cart this shtuff down oursilves. An’ be the same token, I’m thinkin’ we’ll dump it out the windy, – that bein’ the quickest way.”
So Dick and Jack ran downstairs, really anxious to join the girls and find out how it all came about.