Dick and DollyŮÍŗųŗÚŁ ÍŪŤ„ů ŠŚŮÔŽŗÚŪÓ
ďNow, children,Ē said Aunt Rachel, as they all went into the library, after breakfast, ďyou may play around as you choose, but I donít want you to go off the premises without permission. No more wading in the brook, and coming home looking disreputable. You may go to our wood, or anywhere on the place, and stay as long as you like, provided you are here and properly tidy at meal-times But outside the gates, without permission, you must not go: Can I trust you?Ē
ďYes, indeed, Aunt Rachel,Ē said Dick; ďIím sure we donít want to go anywhere else, with all this beautiful place to play in. Why, we havenít half explored it yet. Pat says there are thirty acres! Think of that!Ē
ďYes, itís a fine old place,Ē said Miss Rachel, with justifiable pride in her ancestral home. ďAnd Iím glad to have you young people in it, if youíll only behave yourselves, and not keep us everlastingly in hot water.Ē
ďWe do want to be good, Auntie,Ē said Dolly, in her sweet way; ďand if weíre bad a few times, just till we learn your ways, you know, youíll forgive us, wonít you?Ē
Pretty little Dolly had a wheedlesome voice, and a winning smile, and Miss Rachel found it difficult to speak sternly, when the big, dark eyes looked into her face so lovingly.
ďYes, Iím sure you want to be good, my dears, and also, we want to do the right thing by you. So weíll learn each otherís ways, and Iím sure weíll get along beautifully.Ē
Miss Rachel was not used to children, and she talked to them as if they were as grown-up as herself, but Dick and Dolly understood, and sat patiently while she talked, though, in truth, they were impatient to get away, and run outdoors again.
ďI shall send you to school,Ē went on Miss Rachel, ďbut not for a week or two yet. I want to learn you myself a little better first.Ē
ďYesím,Ē said Dolly, who was equally well pleased to go to school or to stay at home. But Dick wanted to go.
ďLet us go pretty soon, wonít you, Auntie?Ē he said; ďfor I want to get acquainted with the Heatherton fellows.Ē
ďBoys, Dick,Ē corrected Aunt Abbie, who was beginning to think the twins rather careless of their diction.
ďYesím, I mean boys. Are there any who live near here?Ē
Miss Rachel pursed her lips together.
ďThe Middletons live in the place next to this,Ē she began, and Dolly broke in:
ďOh, that pretty place, with the stone pillars at the gate?Ē
ďYes,Ē went on her aunt. ďBut Mrs. Middleton and we are not Ė that is Ė Ē
ďOh, youíre not good friends, is that it?Ē volunteered Dick.
ďWell, yes; I suppose that is it. You children are too young to understand, but let it be enough for you that I prefer you should not play with the little Middletons. There are other neighbours equally pleasant for your acquaintance.Ē
ďAll right, Auntie,Ē agreed Dick. ďCut out the Middletons. And now maynít we run out to play?Ē
ďFirst, Iíll take you up and show you your playroom.
Itís more for rainy days, as you seem to like to be out of doors in fine weather. But come and see it, anyway.Ē
The two aunts led the way, and the children followed to a large, delightful room in the third story.
There was a big table in the middle, and smaller tables and chairs about. There was a pleasant little writing-desk for each, well furnished with pretty writing materials. Low bookshelves ran round two sides of the room, and the other side showed a jolly big fireplace, and pleasant windows with deep seats.
A roomy, comfortable old sofa and a chest of drawers completed the furnishing.
ďIt isnít finished,Ē said Miss Abbie, ďbecause we donít yet know your tastes.Ē
ďItís lovely, Aunties!Ē cried Dolly, flinging her arms round the neck of one after the other, and finally embracing Dick in her enthusiasm.
ďOh, itís just gay!Ē Dick cried. ďIíve always wanted a big playroom, and now weíve got one. Can I whittle and jigsaw up here?Ē
ďYes, you may do just exactly as you please. You may bring your young friends up here, and entertain them whenever you choose.Ē
ďThat is, after we get the friends,Ē supplemented Dolly.
ďYes, but youíll soon get acquainted. There are many nice children in Heatherton. Do you play dolls, Dolly?Ē
ďYes, I do, when I have any little girls to play with. But, you see, I play with Dick so much, I get out of the habit of dolls. But I do love íem. When our big box of things comes, Iíve lots of dolls in it, and Dickís tool-chest and jigsaw Ė oh, it will be splendid to fix them all up here!Ē
ďYes, Michael will help you. Heíll fix a good workbench, for you, Dick, if youíre fond of fussing with tools. Do you cut your fingers much?Ē
ďSometimes, Aunt Rachel, but not always. Say, youíre awful good to us. Weíre ever so much obliged.Ē
Dick was more awkward at expressing his appreciation than Dolly, but the honest joy on the boyís face showed his admiration of the room, and Aunt Rachelís heart warmed toward him, for she too was sometimes unable to express herself aptly.
ďNow weíll skiddoo,Ē said Dolly, as she patted Miss Abbieís hand by way of farewell. ďWe want to see Pat feed the chickens.Ē
ďYes, dearie, run along, but,†Ė would you mind if I ask you not to use those Ė those unusual words?Ē
ďSkiddoo? Oh, thatís an awful useful word, Aunt Abbie. I donít see how I could get along without it, but Iíll try if you say so.Ē
ďYes, do try, Dolly; I want my niece to be a refined, ladylike little girl, not a slangy one.Ē
ďYesím.Ē Dolly drew a little sigh. ďI want to do what you want me to do. But Iím pretty forgetful, Aunt Abbie, so donít be íscouraged, will you, if I donít get good all at once?Ē
Dolly had a childish trick of omitting the first syllable of a word, but Aunt Abbie kissed the earnest little face, and assured her that she wouldnít get íscouraged.
So away the twins scampered, down the stairs, and out into the sweet, clear morning air.
Dana Dene stood high on an elevation that looked down on the small town of Heatherton. The view from the terrace in front of the house was beautiful, and as Dick and Dolly looked down at the clustered buildings they tried to guess what they were.
ďThatís the church,Ē said Dick, triumphantly pointing to an unmistakable spire.
ďOne of íem,Ē corrected Dolly; ďthereís another, and I wonder what that big stone building is; probíly the school where weíll go.Ē
ďPíraps. Is it, Patrick?Ē
ďWell, no, Master Dick; that isnít exactly the school fer ye children. Thatís the jail,†Ė the county jail, so it is.Ē
ďOh,Ē cried Dolly, in dismay; ďI donít want to go to school to a jail! Where is the school-house, Patrick?Ē
ďThereís three of íem, Miss Dolly. But the grandest is that white house ferninst, aní Iím thinkiní yeíll go there.Ē
ďAre my aunts very grand, Patrick?Ē
ďOh, yes, miss. Weíre the quality of the hull place. Thereís nobody like the Danas.Ē
ďThatís nice,Ē said Dolly, with a little air of satisfaction.
ďHuh,Ē said Dick; ďwhat sort of a country do you think this is, Dolly? Everybody is as good as everybody else. Why do you talk that way, Pat?Ē
ďWell, sor, it may be. But everybody in Heatherton, they thinks Miss Rachel and Miss Abbie is top oí the heap, you see.Ē
ďAll right,Ē returned Dick. ďI donít mind if we are. But what about the Middletons? Arenít they nice people?Ē
Patís face clouded. ďDonít be askiní me about the Middletons,Ē he said; ďIíve nothiní to say for or agin íem. Now, if so beís you want to see them chickens, come ahead.Ē
They went ahead or, rather, they followed Pat to the chicken yard, and spent a blissful half-hour among the feathered wonders.
They learned the names of the various kinds of chickens, and Dolly declared she should never tire of watching the little yellow fledglings patter around and peep.
ďTheyíre not still a minute,Ē she said. ďCan I try to catch one?Ē
Pat showed her how to lift one gently, without hurting the little soft ball of down, and as it was such a pretty little yellow one, Dolly named it Buttercup, and Pat said it should always be her own chicken.
Then Dick picked one out for his very own, and he chose a black one, and called it Cherry, because, he said, some cherries are black.
This made Pat laugh, and then he told the twins to run away and play by themselves, as he had to go to work in earnest.
ďWhatís your work, Pat?Ē asked Dolly, who liked to stay with the good-natured Irishman.
ďI have to do the gardens, Miss Dolly. Aní itís rale work, it is, not play. So do ye run away, now.Ē
ďOh, Pat, let us see you garden,Ē begged Dolly.
ďPlease do,Ē said Dick. ďWe never saw anybody garden in our life.Ē
ďYe didnít! Fer the love of green corn, where was ye brung up?Ē
ďIn the city; and summers we had to go to hotels, and we never even saw a garden dug.Ē
ďCome on, then; but ye mustnít bother.Ē
ďNo, we wonít bother,Ē and with a hop, skip, and jump, they followed Pat to the toolhouse. There was such an array of spades, hoes, rakes, and other implements, that Dick cried out: ďOh, let us garden, too! Pat, canít we each have a little garden,†Ė just a square patch, you know, and plant things in it?Ē
ďArrah, a garden, is it? Aní whoíd be afther weediní it, aní keepiní it in order fer ye?Ē
ďWhy, weíd do it ourselves,Ē declared Dolly, fixing her eyes on Pat with her most coaxing smile. ďDo let us, Pat, dear.Ē
ďWell, ye must ask yer aunties. I cuddenít give no such permission of myself.Ē
Away flew the twins to the house, in search of the aunties, and when the twins ran, it was a swift performance indeed. They held hands, and their feet flew up and down so fast that they looked like some queer sort of windmill rolling along.
Bang! in at the front door they went, and almost upset Miss Rachel, who was serenely crossing the hall.
ďOh, Auntie, may we have a garden?Ē shouted Dick, seizing his auntís hand, and leaning up against her to steady himself after his exhausting run.
ďOh, Auntie, may we? Do say yes,Ē cried Dolly, who had flung her arms round Miss Rachelís waist, and who was dancing up and down to the imminent danger of the good ladyís toes.
ďWhat? Oh, my, how you do fluster me! What is it?Ē
Miss Rachel shook off the two, and seated herself in a hall chair, to regain her equilibrium, both physical and mental, but the twins made another wild dash at her. ďPlease,Ē they coaxed, patting her arm and her face and occasionally each otherís hands in their excitement. ďPlease, Auntie, a garden for our very own.Ē
ďTwo,†Ė one for each of us. May we? Oh, please say yes! Do, Auntie, do, say yes.Ē
Miss Rachel found her voice at last.
ďIf you want anything,Ē she said, ďstop jumping around like a pair of wild savages. Sit down on that settee, and tell me quietly, and one at a time, what itís all about.Ē
ďLet me tell, Dick,Ē said Dolly, and knowing his sisterís talent for persuasion, Dick willingly kept quiet while Dolly told.
They sat side by side on the hall settee, opposite their aunt, and scarcely dared move, while Dolly made her plea.
ďYou see, Auntie,Ē she began, ďweíve never had a garden; never even seen one made. And so, we thought, perhaps, maybe, as thereís so much spare ground lying around, we hoped maybe youíd let us each have a little garden of our own. Just a little tiny one, you know.Ē
ďFor pityís sake,Ē exclaimed Miss Rachel, ďis all this fuss about a garden? Why, you can have a dozen, if you like.Ē
ďOh, thank you, Auntie,Ē cried Dolly, repressing her inclination to fly over and hug her aunt, lest it be considered a ďfuss.Ē ďOneís enough,†Ė one apiece, I mean. And what can we plant?Ē
ďWhy, plant anything you choose. Pat will give you seeds, and if he hasnít what you want, weíll buy some when we go driving this afternoon.Ē
Dick was overcome by his auntís kindness and whole-souled generosity. But he had no intention of making a fuss,†Ė not he. He rose and quietly crossed the hall, and bowing low in front of the lady, said:
ďAunt Rachel, I do think youíre the very best person in the whole world!Ē
ďSo do I!Ē said Dolly. ďSeems ís if I must squeeze you!Ē
ďNot now,Ē said Miss Rachel, smiling; ďyou nearly squeezed the breath out of me a few moments ago. Iíll take your enthusiasm for granted. Now, run out, and make your gardens. Tell Pat I said youíre to have whatever you want for them.Ē
ďHurray! Hooroo!Ē cried Dick, unable to repress himself longer, and throwing his cap up in the air, without having had the least intention of doing so.
It landed on the high chandelier, and Hannah had to bring the long-handled feather duster to get it down.
ďPlease íscuse Dick, Aunt Rachel,Ē said loyal little Dolly, seeing her brotherís regretful look. ďHe didnít mean to fling that cap till he got outdoors, but somehow Ė Ē
ďSomehow, it flung itself,Ē cried Dick; ďícause Iím so glad about the garden!Ē
Away they went, banging the door behind them, and Miss Rachel sat a few minutes, seriously considering whether or not she could keep such little cyclones in her hitherto quiet and well-ordered home.
ďIt isnít so much what theyíve done,Ē she said, as she went and talked it over with Miss Abbie, ďas what they may do. Theyíre liable to fling caps anywhere, and break all the bric-?-brac, and bang all the furniture Ė well, if there were any place to send them, they should go to-day.Ē
ďYou donít mean that, Rachel,Ē said Miss Abbie. ďThey are noisy, I know, but I think we can train them to better manners; and they have dear, loving little hearts.Ē
ďToo loving,Ē said the elder sister, ruefully. ďThey nearly felled me to the floor, the way they rushed at me. Iím not over the shock yet!Ē
ďWell,Ē sighed Miss Abbie, ďI suppose itís because weíre not used to children; but they do seem especially sudden in their ways.Ē
ďSudden in their ways,Ē just described Dick and Dolly. After getting their auntís sanction, they flew back to the toolhouse, and tumbling in at the door, nearly upset Pat by their sudden dash for spades and hoes.
ďShe says we can!Ē cried Dolly; ďhow do you begin, Pat? What do we do first?Ē
ďDig, of course,Ē declared Dick, seizing the biggest spade he could find.
ďAll right; where shall we dig?Ē
Dolly grabbed another spade, and skipping out of the toolhouse, began to dig frantically in the path that led from the doorstep.
ďWhisht! now! Miss Dolly, donít be fer spíiliní me good path!Ē
Pat was amiable, but the vigorous enthusiasm of these children began to appal him. He was always deferential to his employers, and he looked upon the twins as members of his employersí family, and so he considered himself under their orders. But he also began to see that he must direct matters himself, if these impetuous youngsters were to have a real garden.
ďWell,Ē he said, ďif so beís yer aunts has give permission, we must make the gardens fer ye. But we must do ít dacint aní proper. Donít begin by digginí up me tidy paths.Ē
ďI wonít, Pat; Iím sorry!Ē and Dolly carefully smoothed away the clefts she had dug with her spade.
ďNow, weíll consider,Ē said Pat, greatly interested in the plan. ďFirst of all, where will ye be selectiní the place?Ē
The twins gazed around, at the various gardens, terrace, woodland, and water, and then Dolly said, decidedly:
ďIn the woods; thatís the prettiest place.Ē
ďOh, ho!Ē laughed Pat. ďWhy, little miss, ye canít grow things in the woods! Leastwise, only ferns aní moss! Donít ye want flowers, now?Ē
ďOh, yes; of course we do! And I forgot they have to have sunshine.Ē
ďGoosie!Ē cried Dick. ďNow, I think a place near the pond would be nice, and then we can fetch water easily,†Ė for I sípose we have to water our flowers every day, donít we, Pat?Ē
ďYes; onless it rains fer ye, which it sometimes do. Now, sípose ye let me sílect yer place, aní then do ye pick out yer own choice oí flowers.Ē
ďDo,Ē cried Dolly. ďYou know so much better than we do where a garden ought to be.Ē
Pat considered carefully for a few moments, casting his eye thoughtfully toward various parts of the estate.
ďCome on,Ē he said, at last, and the children followed him, as he strode off.
Just beyond the beautifully kept terrace was a stretch of lawn, entirely open to the sunlight, save for a big horse-chestnut tree in one corner.
Here Pat paused, and indicating by a sweep of his arm a section about seventy-five feet square, he said:
ďIím thinkiní, instead of only a garden, by itself, itíd be foine for ye to make yersilves a rale playground.Ē
Dollyís quick mind jumped to the possibilities.
ďOh, Pat, a playground, all for ourselves, with our two gardens in it!Ē
ďYes, miss; and an arbour, and seats, aní a table, aní Ė Ē
But he got no further, for Dick and Dolly seized him by either hand, and jumped up and down, fairly shouting with delight.
ďOh, Pat, Pat, I never heard of anything so lovely!Ē
ďHow could you think of it? Letís begin at once!Ē
ďBut ye must behave!Ē cried Pat, shaking his hands loose from their grasp, and waiting for them to stop their antics.
ďYes, yes; weíll behave!Ē said Dolly, suddenly standing stock-still, and looking very; demure. ďWhat do we do first, dig?Ē
ďIím thinkiní yez better dig a whole acre,†Ė aní see if ye canít work off some of yer animile sperrits! Such rampageous beinís I niver saw!Ē
ďWeíll be quiet, Pat,Ē said Dick, earnestly; ďnow letís begin.Ē
ďWell, thin,†Ė first, we must plan it, sure. Suppose we drive a shtake here fer wan corner; and thin the big tree will be the opposite corner. Now ye see the size av it.Ē
ďYes,Ē agreed Dolly, ďitís a lovely size.Ē
ďThin, supposiní we plan to set out a little low hedge all around the four sides, wid an openiní or two Ė Ē
ďAnd an arched gateway!Ē cried Dolly, with sparkling eyes.
ďYes, miss, say an arched gateway or two. Aní then, inside ye can have three or four garden-beds,†Ė fer sepírate plants, ye know,†Ė aní yer arbour, aní whativer else ye like.Ē
ďOh!Ē said Dolly, sitting plump down on the ground from sheer inability to bear up under these wonderful anticipations.
ďNow, whatís to do first?Ē said Dick, eager to get to work.
ďWell, first weíll lay out our flower beds. Now I donít sípose ye know the difference between seeds aní plants, do ye?Ē
ďOh, yes! Plants grow from seeds.Ē
ďWell, av coorse they do. But I donít mean that. Ye see, some flowers ye set out as plants; aní some ye raise from seeds.Ē
ďOh, I think seeds will be most fun,Ē said Dolly: ďYou just stuff íem in the ground and then they grow, donít they, Pat?Ē
ďWell, yes, miss; if yer seeds is right, aní yer groundís right, aní if ye stuff íem in right, aní take care of íem right, afterward.Ē
ďOh, we can do all that,Ē Dick assured him, grandly, and Patís eyes twinkled, as he replied:
ďAv coorse ye can!Ē
Then Pat called Michael to help him, and they drove stakes and tied twine to them, until they had the playground distinctly marked out.
ďNow, weíll consider yer flower-beds, aní lave the other considerations till later,Ē announced Pat. ďYe see, yer seed-beds must be in the morniní sun, aní have the shade of an afthernoon. So, wid the big tree ferninst, we can aisy manage that.Ē
ďSeeds seem to be pretty particular,Ē observed Dolly.
ďThey be that, Miss; but so likewise is the plants. Some wants sun aní some wants shade, aní if they donít get what they wants, they jist lies down aní dies!Ē
Then Pat and Michael selected the best spots, and marked out two oval flower-beds of goodly size, and two straight, narrow seed-beds somewhat smaller.
ďMiss Dollyís, weíll say, will be on this side, aní Master Dickís on that. Now, if so beís ye childhern wants to dig, fer mercyís sake dig! Ye canít hurt the ground.Ē
Pat well knew that his own strong arms would spade up the beds later, and he would fill them with the right sort of soil, and get them in perfect order for planting; but the twins were delighted at the idea of doing their own digging, and went to work with their usual enthusiasm.
It was hard work, but they enjoyed it, and though not very scientifically done, they did manage to dislodge the soft turf, and riddle up the dirt beneath.
ďI sípose it wonít be such hard work after the digging is dug,Ē said Dolly, looking at her blistered little palms.
ďWhy, Dolly Dana!Ē exclaimed Aunt Abbie, who came out just then, to see how the gardens progressed; ďdonít you dig another bit! You poor, dear child, your hands are in a dreadful state! Go in and ask Aunt Rachel for some salve.Ē
ďNo, indeedy!Ē declared the valiant Dolly. ďIím going to plant my seeds now!Ē
ďOh, no, miss,Ē said Pat. ďThem beds isnít ready yet. Nor ye havenít got yer seeds.Ē
ďDonít be too impetuous, Dolly,Ē said Aunt Abbie. ďThis afternoon, weíll plan out what is best to plant and then by to-morrow, if Patrick has the beds ready, you can do your planting.Ē
Dick was still digging away, manfully, quite unwilling to admit there were blisters on his own hands.
But Aunt Abbie made him stop, for though the digging was good fun, there was no use in causing himself needless pain, and Patrick would do the beds all over, anyway. So Aunt Abbie persuaded the children to turn their attention to planning their playground.
She quite approved of Patís suggestions, and sent for Miss Rachel to come out and assist with the plans.
Both ladies were very fond of gardening, and entered enthusiastically into the idea of the pretty playground. Miss Rachel instructed Pat to buy and set out a low hedge of privet all round the inclosure; and they decided on two entrances, front and back, each to be adorned by an arch covered with a flowering vine.ŮÍŗųŗÚŁ ÍŪŤ„ů ŠŚŮÔŽŗÚŪÓ
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