Dick and Dolly
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A row of seats had been placed for Lady Eliza’s guests, and the fairy was the first to be seated there. Jack Fuller came next, and he brought a funny creature, which his mother had fashioned for him out of a feather bolster. She had tied a string about it to form a head, and this, covered with a pillowcase, had features worked in it with colored embroidery cotton. Then the doll was dressed in a white dress of Mrs. Fuller’s, and a huge frilled sunbonnet adorned its head. Jack came, lugging his somewhat unwieldy guest, and the bolster lady was made to bow politely to Lady Eliza.
“Why! who’s that?” exclaimed Jack, looking with admiration at the wooden Indian.
“That’s Big Chief Saskatchewan,” announced Dick, proudly. “He’s ours. Aunt Nine sent him to us. Isn’t he great?”
“Gorgeous!” assented Jack. “How do you like Betty Bolster?”
“Oh, she’s just lovely,” declared Dolly, kissing Betty’s soft, white cheek. “Set her down there, next to Pinkie’s fairy.” Then the other children began to flock in.
Maddy Lester brought a big Teddy bear, with a huge ribbon tied round his neck, and a bunch of flowers held in his paw. He made profound obeisance to Lady Eliza and her friend, and then he was seated next to Betty Bolster.
Clifford Lester had a fine personage to introduce as his guest. He had taken his father’s clothes-tree, and on the top had fastened a smiling mask and a wig made of curled hair. This he had dressed up in some nondescript garments, and though the strange-looking lady could not sit down, she stood beautifully, and seemed quite worthy of Lady Eliza’s approval.
One boy brought a rocking-horse, and one a ’possum.
Roguish Lily Craig brought a Jack-in-the-box, which she sprang in the very face of Lady Eliza and the Big Chief, without, however, scaring them a mite.
The Punch and Judy, too, created great amusement, and Spencer Nash raised shouts of laughter, when he arrived, proudly carrying a scarecrow from his father’s cornfield.
This scarecrow was of the conventional type, with flapping coat tails, and old, soft felt hat, jammed down over his face.
When all had arrived, the fourteen children were in gales of merriment at the strange collection of creatures that made up Lady Eliza’s part of the party, and they made a procession to march round the grounds.
Saskatchewan was too heavy to travel, so they left him standing guard, but took lovely Lady Eliza, who was easily carried by two of the boys.
The reviewing stand was the front veranda, where the two aunties sat, and greatly did they enjoy the parade that came rollicking, frolicking by.
Then the guests, both animate and inanimate, went into the big parlour for a dance. Aunt Abbie played the piano, and though some of the children had been to dancing school, many had not, and the dance was really more of a frolic.
The scarecrow, carried by Spencer Nash, politely asked Lady Eliza to be his partner, and Dolly, in behalf of the lady, consented.So these two, assisted by Spencer and Dolly, took their places, and opposite them were the clothes-tree lady and the big Teddy bear, each guided in their steps by their laughing owners.
Bolster Betty was partner to Jack-in-the-box, and the fairy danced with the ’possum.
Aunt Rachel guided the uncertain figures of this quadrille, and the others all danced round as they chose. Then, fearing the new member of the Dana family would be lonesome, they all trooped back to the playground, where Saskatchewan stood, meekly holding his basket of flowers.
“You dear old thing!” cried Dolly, throwing her arms round him. “Did we leave you all alone? Well, here we are back again, and now we’ll play with you.”
So they played “Copenhagen,” and “Oats, Peas, Beans, and Barley Grows,” and as Lady Eliza’s guests were chosen to step inside the ring, their absurd appearance made uproarious fun and laughter.
Then, by way of quieting them down, Aunt Abbie suggested that all the dolls and bears be set aside, while the children played some games by themselves.
So, ranged in a semicircle, the queer guests sat or stood on either side of Lady Eliza’s bower, and the children grouped themselves on the rugs on the ground.
First, Aunt Abbie read them one or two lovely stories, and then she proposed some guessing games and some forfeit games, and it was six o’clock before they knew it.
So then it was time for the feast, and, leaving Lady Eliza and the Big Chief to entertain their guests, Dick and Dolly led their own guests to the house.
The dining-room table, extended to its full length, was a gay and festive sight. In the centre was a big pyramid, built of macaroons and fancy cakes and bonbons, and surmounted by a sugar Cupid holding a big red balloon by its string.
At every plate was a little sugar figure, bird or animal, holding the string of a red balloon, and the balloons, themselves bobbing above the table, made a jolly effect.
The two aunties assisted Delia and Hannah to wait on the guests, whose appetites proved to be of the normal nine-year-old variety. Sandwiches disappeared as if by magic; chicken croquettes seemed to meet with general approval, and lemonade was willingly accepted.
Then the ice cream came, in the various shapes that Dick and Dolly had selected, – a different design for each one. Pinkie had a fairy, of course. Jack Fuller, an automobile, because he was so anxious for his father to get one.
Spencer Nash had a fish, because he liked to go fishing, and Maddy Lester a boat, because she loved the water. Each had some appropriate joke or allusion, and, as the fun was appreciated, the ices were all the more enjoyed.
Cakes and bonbons followed, and, last of all, the snapping German crackers.
These each held a tissue paper cap, which was donned by its owner, and Dolly’s little Dutch bonnet proved becoming to her rosy face and sunny curls.
Pinkie’s was a crown, and after it was put in place, Aunt Rachel declared she looked like a fairy herself. The boys had sailor caps, and soldier caps, and Scotch caps, and when all were be-hatted, they adjourned to the parlour for a final game.
This proved to be “Stick and Ball.”
From the middle of the wide arched doorway hung, suspended by a single cord, a large ball, apparently of white paper. A long, light stick or wand, was supplied by Aunt Abbie, who then blindfolded one of the little girls, and asked her to take the wand, turn round three times, and then hit at the ball.
Geraldine did so, but by the time she had turned three times, she was standing almost with her back toward the ball, though she didn’t know it.
So, when she struck, she hit only empty air.
A shout of laughter arose, but the children were surprised to find, as one after another tried it, that it was far from easy, to turn three times, and then stand facing in the right direction.
So it was not until nearly all had attempted it, that at last one of the boys hit the ball a smart, sharp, whack! which burst the paper, and down tumbled a lot of neat white paper parcels tied with red ribbons.
A name was written on each, and as the children scrambled for them, they were quickly exchanged until each had his or her own. The parcels contained pretty little gifts which were souvenirs of the party to take home.
Though not of great value, they were all attractive presents, and the young guests were greatly pleased.
The party was over now, except for one last visit to the playground to recover their dolls and strange creatures who still waited out there. But as they neared the spot, a delighted “Oh!” burst from the children.
Michael had lighted the Japanese lanterns and turned the place into what looked like fairy-land.
It was dark now, and the lanterns cast shadows of Lady Eliza and her guests, as well as of the trees and hedges.
“Isn’t it beautiful!” whispered Pinkie to Dolly. “I wish we could stay here awhile.”
“We can’t,” returned Dolly. “Aunt Rachel says it’s too damp to stay out here in the evening. So she just let us have the lanterns lighted for a few minutes to see how pretty it is.”
“It’s lovely!” declared everybody.
And Dick said, “Perhaps in summer, when it’s real warm, we can stay out here after dark, and have the lanterns again.”
The twins put this question to Aunt Rachel, after all the party guests had gone home.
“Perhaps,” she replied, “when it’s really warm weather. But now, you must scurry to bed, and we’ll discuss the subject some other time.”
“But we must bring in Lady Eliza,” said Dick, and with Michael’s help, Lady Eliza, with her pretty pink frock and ribbons quite unharmed, came smilingly in at the front door.
But Big Chief Saskatchewan stood grimly on guard, all through the night, looking steadily ahead at the stars just above the horizon, and holding firmly his Indian basket of gay blossoms.
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