Carolyn Wells.

Dick and Dolly





CHAPTER IV
GARDENS

Now, children, said Aunt Rachel, as they all went into the library, after breakfast, you may play around as you choose, but I dont 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?

Yes, indeed, Aunt Rachel, said Dick; Im sure we dont want to go anywhere else, with all this beautiful place to play in. Why, we havent half explored it yet. Pat says there are thirty acres! Think of that!

Yes, its a fine old place, said Miss Rachel, with justifiable pride in her ancestral home. And Im glad to have you young people in it, if youll only behave yourselves, and not keep us everlastingly in hot water.

We do want to be good, Auntie, said Dolly, in her sweet way; and if were bad a few times, just till we learn your ways, you know, youll forgive us, wont you?

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.

Yes, Im sure you want to be good, my dears, and also, we want to do the right thing by you. So well learn each others ways, and Im sure well get along beautifully.

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.

I shall send you to school, went on Miss Rachel, but not for a week or two yet. I want to learn you myself a little better first.

Yesm, said Dolly, who was equally well pleased to go to school or to stay at home. But Dick wanted to go.

Let us go pretty soon, wont you, Auntie? he said; for I want to get acquainted with the Heatherton fellows.

Boys, Dick, corrected Aunt Abbie, who was beginning to think the twins rather careless of their diction.

Yesm, I mean boys. Are there any who live near here?

Miss Rachel pursed her lips together.

The Middletons live in the place next to this, she began, and Dolly broke in:

Oh, that pretty place, with the stone pillars at the gate?

Yes, went on her aunt. But Mrs. Middleton and we are not that is

Oh, youre not good friends, is that it? volunteered Dick.

Well, 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.

All right, Auntie, agreed Dick. Cut out the Middletons. And now maynt we run out to play?

First, Ill take you up and show you your playroom.

Its more for rainy days, as you seem to like to be out of doors in fine weather. But come and see it, anyway.

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.

It isnt finished, said Miss Abbie, because we dont yet know your tastes.

Its lovely, Aunties! cried Dolly, flinging her arms round the neck of one after the other, and finally embracing Dick in her enthusiasm.

Oh, its just gay! Dick cried. Ive always wanted a big playroom, and now weve got one. Can I whittle and jigsaw up here?

Yes, you may do just exactly as you please. You may bring your young friends up here, and entertain them whenever you choose.

That is, after we get the friends, supplemented Dolly.

Yes, but youll soon get acquainted. There are many nice children in Heatherton. Do you play dolls, Dolly?

Yes, 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 em. When our big box of things comes, Ive lots of dolls in it, and Dicks tool-chest and jigsaw oh, it will be splendid to fix them all up here!

Yes, Michael will help you. Hell fix a good workbench, for you, Dick, if youre fond of fussing with tools. Do you cut your fingers much?

Sometimes, Aunt Rachel, but not always. Say, youre awful good to us. Were ever so much obliged.

Dick was more awkward at expressing his appreciation than Dolly, but the honest joy on the boys face showed his admiration of the room, and Aunt Rachels heart warmed toward him, for she too was sometimes unable to express herself aptly.

Now well skiddoo, said Dolly, as she patted Miss Abbies hand by way of farewell. We want to see Pat feed the chickens.

Yes, dearie, run along, but, would you mind if I ask you not to use those those unusual words?

Skiddoo? Oh, thats an awful useful word, Aunt Abbie. I dont see how I could get along without it, but Ill try if you say so.

Yes, do try, Dolly; I want my niece to be a refined, ladylike little girl, not a slangy one.

Yesm. Dolly drew a little sigh. I want to do what you want me to do. But Im pretty forgetful, Aunt Abbie, so dont be scouraged, will you, if I dont get good all at once?

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 wouldnt get scouraged.

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.

Thats the church, said Dick, triumphantly pointing to an unmistakable spire.

One of em, corrected Dolly; theres another, and I wonder what that big stone building is; probly the school where well go.

Praps. Is it, Patrick?

Well, no, Master Dick; that isnt exactly the school fer ye children. Thats the jail, the county jail, so it is.

Oh, cried Dolly, in dismay; I dont want to go to school to a jail! Where is the school-house, Patrick?

Theres three of em, Miss Dolly. But the grandest is that white house ferninst, an Im thinkin yell go there.

Are my aunts very grand, Patrick?

Oh, yes, miss. Were the quality of the hull place. Theres nobody like the Danas.

Thats nice, said Dolly, with a little air of satisfaction.

Huh, said Dick; what sort of a country do you think this is, Dolly? Everybody is as good as everybody else. Why do you talk that way, Pat?

Well, sor, it may be. But everybody in Heatherton, they thinks Miss Rachel and Miss Abbie is top o the heap, you see.

All right, returned Dick. I dont mind if we are. But what about the Middletons? Arent they nice people?

Pats face clouded. Dont be askin me about the Middletons, he said; Ive nothin to say for or agin em. Now, if so bes you want to see them chickens, come ahead.

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.

Theyre not still a minute, she said. Can I try to catch one?

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.

Whats your work, Pat? asked Dolly, who liked to stay with the good-natured Irishman.

I have to do the gardens, Miss Dolly. An its rale work, it is, not play. So do ye run away, now.

Oh, Pat, let us see you garden, begged Dolly.

Please do, said Dick. We never saw anybody garden in our life.

Ye didnt! Fer the love of green corn, where was ye brung up?

In the city; and summers we had to go to hotels, and we never even saw a garden dug.

Come on, then; but ye mustnt bother.

No, we wont bother, 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: Oh, let us garden, too! Pat, cant we each have a little garden, just a square patch, you know, and plant things in it?

Arrah, a garden, is it? An whod be afther weedin it, an keepin it in order fer ye?

Why, wed do it ourselves, declared Dolly, fixing her eyes on Pat with her most coaxing smile. Do let us, Pat, dear.

Well, ye must ask yer aunties. I cuddent give no such permission of myself.

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.

Oh, Auntie, may we have a garden? shouted Dick, seizing his aunts hand, and leaning up against her to steady himself after his exhausting run.

Oh, Auntie, may we? Do say yes, cried Dolly, who had flung her arms round Miss Rachels waist, and who was dancing up and down to the imminent danger of the good ladys toes.

What? Oh, my, how you do fluster me! What is it?

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. Please, they coaxed, patting her arm and her face and occasionally each others hands in their excitement. Please, Auntie, a garden for our very own.

Two, one for each of us. May we? Oh, please say yes! Do, Auntie, do, say yes.

Miss Rachel found her voice at last.

If you want anything, she said, stop jumping around like a pair of wild savages. Sit down on that settee, and tell me quietly, and one at a time, what its all about.

Let me tell, Dick, said Dolly, and knowing his sisters 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.

You see, Auntie, she began, weve never had a garden; never even seen one made. And so, we thought, perhaps, maybe, as theres so much spare ground lying around, we hoped maybe youd let us each have a little garden of our own. Just a little tiny one, you know.

For pitys sake, exclaimed Miss Rachel, is all this fuss about a garden? Why, you can have a dozen, if you like.

Oh, thank you, Auntie, cried Dolly, repressing her inclination to fly over and hug her aunt, lest it be considered a fuss. Ones enough, one apiece, I mean. And what can we plant?

Why, plant anything you choose. Pat will give you seeds, and if he hasnt what you want, well buy some when we go driving this afternoon.

Dick was overcome by his aunts kindness and whole-souled generosity. But he had no intention of making a fuss, not he. He rose and quietly crossed the hall, and bowing low in front of the lady, said:

Aunt Rachel, I do think youre the very best person in the whole world!

So do I! said Dolly. Seems s if I must squeeze you!

Not now, said Miss Rachel, smiling; you nearly squeezed the breath out of me a few moments ago. Ill take your enthusiasm for granted. Now, run out, and make your gardens. Tell Pat I said youre to have whatever you want for them.

Hurray! Hooroo! 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.

Please scuse Dick, Aunt Rachel, said loyal little Dolly, seeing her brothers regretful look. He didnt mean to fling that cap till he got outdoors, but somehow

Somehow, it flung itself, cried Dick; cause Im so glad about the garden!

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.

It isnt so much what theyve done, she said, as she went and talked it over with Miss Abbie, as what they may do. Theyre liable to fling caps anywhere, and break all the bric-?-brac, and bang all the furniture well, if there were any place to send them, they should go to-day.

You dont mean that, Rachel, said Miss Abbie. They are noisy, I know, but I think we can train them to better manners; and they have dear, loving little hearts.

Too loving, said the elder sister, ruefully. They nearly felled me to the floor, the way they rushed at me. Im not over the shock yet!

Well, sighed Miss Abbie, I suppose its because were not used to children; but they do seem especially sudden in their ways.

CHAPTER V
A PLAYGROUND

Sudden in their ways, just described Dick and Dolly. After getting their aunts sanction, they flew back to the toolhouse, and tumbling in at the door, nearly upset Pat by their sudden dash for spades and hoes.

She says we can! cried Dolly; how do you begin, Pat? What do we do first?

Dig, of course, declared Dick, seizing the biggest spade he could find.

All right; where shall we dig?

Dolly grabbed another spade, and skipping out of the toolhouse, began to dig frantically in the path that led from the doorstep.

Whisht! now! Miss Dolly, dont be fer spilin me good path!

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 employers 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.

Well, he said, if so bes yer aunts has give permission, we must make the gardens fer ye. But we must do t dacint an proper. Dont begin by diggin up me tidy paths.

I wont, Pat; Im sorry! and Dolly carefully smoothed away the clefts she had dug with her spade.

Now, well consider, said Pat, greatly interested in the plan. First of all, where will ye be selectin the place?

The twins gazed around, at the various gardens, terrace, woodland, and water, and then Dolly said, decidedly:

In the woods; thats the prettiest place.

Oh, ho! laughed Pat. Why, little miss, ye cant grow things in the woods! Leastwise, only ferns an moss! Dont ye want flowers, now?

Oh, yes; of course we do! And I forgot they have to have sunshine.

Goosie! cried Dick. Now, I think a place near the pond would be nice, and then we can fetch water easily, for I spose we have to water our flowers every day, dont we, Pat?

Yes; onless it rains fer ye, which it sometimes do. Now, spose ye let me slect yer place, an then do ye pick out yer own choice o flowers.

Do, cried Dolly. You know so much better than we do where a garden ought to be.

Pat considered carefully for a few moments, casting his eye thoughtfully toward various parts of the estate.

Come on, 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:

Im thinkin, instead of only a garden, by itself, itd be foine for ye to make yersilves a rale playground.

Dollys quick mind jumped to the possibilities.

Oh, Pat, a playground, all for ourselves, with our two gardens in it!

Yes, miss; and an arbour, and seats, an a table, an

But he got no further, for Dick and Dolly seized him by either hand, and jumped up and down, fairly shouting with delight.

Oh, Pat, Pat, I never heard of anything so lovely!

How could you think of it? Lets begin at once!

But ye must behave! cried Pat, shaking his hands loose from their grasp, and waiting for them to stop their antics.

Yes, yes; well behave! said Dolly, suddenly standing stock-still, and looking very; demure. What do we do first, dig?

Im thinkin yez better dig a whole acre, an see if ye cant work off some of yer animile sperrits! Such rampageous beins I niver saw!

Well be quiet, Pat, said Dick, earnestly; now lets begin.

Well, thin, 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.

Yes, agreed Dolly, its a lovely size.

Thin, supposin we plan to set out a little low hedge all around the four sides, wid an openin or two

And an arched gateway! cried Dolly, with sparkling eyes.

Yes, miss, say an arched gateway or two. An then, inside ye can have three or four garden-beds, fer seprate plants, ye know, an yer arbour, an whativer else ye like.

Oh! said Dolly, sitting plump down on the ground from sheer inability to bear up under these wonderful anticipations.

Now, whats to do first? said Dick, eager to get to work.

Well, first well lay out our flower beds. Now I dont spose ye know the difference between seeds an plants, do ye?

Oh, yes! Plants grow from seeds.

Well, av coorse they do. But I dont mean that. Ye see, some flowers ye set out as plants; an some ye raise from seeds.

Oh, I think seeds will be most fun, said Dolly: You just stuff em in the ground and then they grow, dont they, Pat?

Well, yes, miss; if yer seeds is right, an yer grounds right, an if ye stuff em in right, an take care of em right, afterward.

Oh, we can do all that, Dick assured him, grandly, and Pats eyes twinkled, as he replied:

Av coorse ye can!

Then Pat called Michael to help him, and they drove stakes and tied twine to them, until they had the playground distinctly marked out.

Now, well consider yer flower-beds, an lave the other considerations till later, announced Pat. Ye see, yer seed-beds must be in the mornin sun, an have the shade of an afthernoon. So, wid the big tree ferninst, we can aisy manage that.

Seeds seem to be pretty particular, observed Dolly.

They be that, Miss; but so likewise is the plants. Some wants sun an some wants shade, an if they dont get what they wants, they jist lies down an dies!

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.

Miss Dollys, well say, will be on this side, an Master Dicks on that. Now, if so bes ye childhern wants to dig, fer mercys sake dig! Ye cant hurt the ground.

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.

I spose it wont be such hard work after the digging is dug, said Dolly, looking at her blistered little palms.

Why, Dolly Dana! exclaimed Aunt Abbie, who came out just then, to see how the gardens progressed; dont you dig another bit! You poor, dear child, your hands are in a dreadful state! Go in and ask Aunt Rachel for some salve.

No, indeedy! declared the valiant Dolly. Im going to plant my seeds now!

Oh, no, miss, said Pat. Them beds isnt ready yet. Nor ye havent got yer seeds.

Dont be too impetuous, Dolly, said Aunt Abbie. This afternoon, well plan out what is best to plant and then by to-morrow, if Patrick has the beds ready, you can do your planting.

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 Pats 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.





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