Carolyn Wells.

Dick and Dolly





An arbour was planned for the centre, but Dolly chose to call it a playhouse. For it was to be big enough to have seats and a table inside.

It was to be built tent-shape; that is, very long, slender poles would be set up in pairs, meeting at the top, like the letter A. There would be about a dozen pairs of these poles, each pair about two feet apart, and thus they would have a long arbour on which to train vines and flowers.

A ridge-pole along the top would keep it all firm and steady, and quickly growing vines should be chosen, which would soon cover the whole frame.

Michael, who was clever at carpenter work, volunteered to make a table and benches, and Dick, who was also fond of tools, felt sure he could help.

Aunt Abbie said she would give a garden swing as her contribution to the playground, and Aunt Rachel said she, too, would give something nice, but what it would be, was a secret as yet.

Then it was nearly dinner-time, so they went back to the house, and the four sorry-looking little hands were carefully washed and anointed with a soothing lotion.

Heatherton people approved of midday dinners, and so the hungry children sat down to an ample and satisfying meal, to which they were fully prepared to do justice.

You know, said Aunt Rachel, as they chatted at table, you are to take care of these gardens yourselves. Pat and Michael have all they can do, already; and though they have helpers in the busy seasons, I expect you two to weed and water your own flower-beds.

Of course, Auntie, said Dolly; thats what we want to do.

Else they wouldnt be ours, chimed in Dick. There are lots of flower-beds around the place, but these are to be our very own. And how can they be, if we dont do all the work on em?

Thats right, said Aunt Rachel, approvingly. Patrick will superintend your work, and he or Michael will keep the grass and the paths in order, but the rest is for you to do. Do you know anything about flowers?

Not a thing! declared Dolly. But I want to raise violets and carnation pinks.

That proves you dont know much, said Aunt Abbie, laughing. Why, those are the very things you couldnt possibly raise!

Why? said Dolly, looking surprised.

Because they are too difficult. They require hothouses, or, at least cold frames. You must content yourself with simpler blossoms; nasturtiums, phlox, asters, peonies

Oh, those are just as good, said Dolly. I dont care much what flowers they are, if theyll grow.

I like big plants, said Dick. Could I have sunflowers and hollyhocks, Aunt Rachel?

Yes, my boy; Im sure you can manage those. Have a hedge at the back of your playground of those flowers, and also cosmos and goldenglow.

After dinner they went to the library, and made lists of the flowers they would have. Aunt Abbie drew diagrams of their gardens, and advised the right kinds of flowers to grow together.

I want you to grow up to love gardening, said Miss Rachel, but as you are now quite young, and very ignorant on the subject, you must begin with the simplest and easiest sorts of plants.

Then the aunts explained how the children must plant seeds in their seed-beds, and after the tiny shoots sprang up, how they must be separated and thinned out.

And throw away some of them! exclaimed Dolly in dismay.

Yes; thats to make the others stronger and healthier plants.

What do we plant in our big gardens? asked Dick.

Well, there you can have such plants as you want.

Roses, geraniums, and Canterbury Bells are good ones. And then, you transplant to those beds your seedlings that you have already started yourselves.

And cant we plant any seeds in the flower beds?

Oh, yes; such as do not need transplanting. You can have borders of portulacca, candytuft, sweet alyssum, and such things.

My! it sounds grand! said Dolly, to whom nearly all these names were new.

Now suppose we go out there again, said Aunt Rachel, and see what seeds Pat has on hand. Then well know what to buy for you.

So back went the quartette, and found the playground had assumed quite a definite air.

A narrow strip of upturned earth showed the line of the hedge that was to be set out. The flower-beds and seed-beds were neatly cut in shape and properly spaded. Little stakes marked the places for the arbor poles, and white cords outlined paths that were yet to be cut.

It doesnt seem possible its ours! said Dolly, drawing a blissful sigh of contentment.

Now heres some seeds as I already have, said Pat, offering a box of packets to the children.

Oh, can we plant some now, right away? asked Dick.

Yes; let us do so, said Aunt Abbie, who was nearly as eager as the children to get the garden started.

So they selected nasturtiums, poppies, marigolds, and morning glories from Pats box, and all went to work at the planting.

The aunts showed Dick and Dolly how to poke a little hole in the ground, about three inches deep, and then drop in a nasturtium seed. Then they covered it over with dirt, pressed it down lightly, and watered it.

This was an enthralling occupation, and the children worked carefully and did just as they were told. Poppies came next, and these seeds were planted quite differently. The ground was made quite smooth, and then slightly watered. Then Pat showed them how to sprinkle the fine seed scantily over the top of the ground, and not put any dirt over it at all. A thin layer of cut grass was scattered over them to keep the seeds from too much sunlight.

How do you know that some seeds must be planted one way and some another? asked Dick, looking at Patrick with a new interest.

Thats me business, Masther Dick. We all has to know our business av coorse.

The morning-glory seeds could not be planted just then, as they had to soak in water for two hours, so next they set out some pansy plants. These Pat had expected to use elsewhere, but at Miss Rachels direction, he handed them over to the twins.

This was a new sort of work, and even more fascinating than seed-planting. The tiny plants were fragile and had to be handled very carefully. Then a hole must be dug with a trowel, the plant set in, and the soil gently filled in about it.

The twins each had a half-dozen pansy plants, and Dick set his in a group, but Dolly arranged hers in a border. Then Miss Rachel said they had done enough for one day, and she marched them off to the house to get rested.

But did Dick and Dolly rest? Not they! They didnt seem to know what the word meant. They went up to their playroom, and sitting together at the table, they drew diagrams and plans for their playground until the aunties called them downstairs again.

CHAPTER VI
A SOCIAL CALL

The twins gladly obeyed their aunts summons, for it meant to get ready to go to town to buy their flower seeds. Long before the ladies were ready, Dick and Dolly, in trim attire, and with pretty spring coats and hats, sat in the library waiting.

I like this home a lot, dont you, Dollums? said Dick, as he thoughtfully looked about him.

Love it! responded his twin promptly. Chicago was nice, too, and Auntie Helen was gay and pretty, but this is so country and all. And oh, Dick, wont our playground be splendiferous! Do you spose the arbor will ever get built and grown over with flowers and things?

Course it will! And, Dolly, Im going to make some rustic seats and things myself. It tells how in my Handy Book, and Im sure I can do it.

Im sure you can too. And cant you make some little seats for my dolls?

Dick had just agreed to do this when the two aunties came downstairs, and they all went out to the carriage. Somehow it seemed very formal. Aunt Rachel and Aunt Abbie, all dressed up in calling costume, with gloves and parasols, didnt seem so chummy as when they were all out planting seeds together. And Michael, in his coachmans livery, looked so straight and unintelligent that it was hard to believe he was the same man.

They all got into the big, open carriage, and the twins sat backward, facing their aunts.

First, said Miss Rachel, who sat up very stiff and prim, we will go and buy the seeds and plants, and then we will pay some calls.

This seemed very strange to Dick and Dolly, for they had never been taken calling with Auntie Helen in Chicago; but they made no comment, as none seemed to be expected.

The carriage stopped at a small shop, and the proprietor hurried out to greet the ladies. He bowed with great deference, and asked what he might show them.

Miss Rachel had a list of the seeds and plants they had decided on for the childrens gardens, and the shopman said he would send them all the next day.

And have you some small garden implements? asked Miss Abbie. Some little rakes and hoes, suitable for childrens use.

The shopman said he would bring some out to show them.

Oh, Auntie, cried Dolly, impulsively, cant we go in the shop and look at them?

No, indeed, said Miss Rachel, as if Dolly had asked something highly improper. Stay where you are and make your selections.

Dolly wondered why they couldnt hop out, but it didnt much matter, as the man returned, followed by a youth who brought a lot of spades and rakes and garden tools of many sorts.

The children were allowed to select all they wanted, and, guided by Aunt Rachels advice, they chose quite a great many.

Youre awful good to us, exclaimed Dick as, after giving the order, they drove away.

Then you must be good to us, said Aunt Rachel, smiling. Now we are going to call at Mrs. Fullers. She has a son Jack, about ten years old, and I hope you will be good friends with him. There are no little girls here, but, Dolly, we will find some girl friends for you later on.

Oh, I like boys, said Dolly, agreeably. I like Dick better than any girl, so, of course, I like other boys too.

At Mrs. Fullers they were ushered into a stiff, formal-looking parlour, which had the effect of being rarely used. The half-drawn blinds gave but a dim light, and the four guests took their seats in silence.

Dick and Dolly felt depressed without knowing just why. They secretly wished they could clasp hands and make a dash for the door and run away, but Aunt Rachel had asked them to be good, so they sat still, wondering what would be expected of them.

After what seemed a long time, Mrs. Fuller came into the room. She was a lady of very precise manners, and wore a rustling silk gown.

The ladies all shook hands quite stiffly, and inquired for each others health, and then Miss Rachel presented the twins to Mrs. Fuller.

How do you do, my dears? said the lady, offering her finger-tips to each in turn.

Im very well, thank you; how are you? said Dolly, heartily, as she cordially gave her hostesss hand a vigorous shake. But the chagrin on the Dana ladies faces, and the surprised glance of Mrs. Fuller, proved at once that this wasnt the right thing to do.

Quick to catch the hint, Dick offered his hand hesitatingly, so much so indeed, that it lay in Mrs. Fullers like a little limp fish, and as she finally dropped it, it fell loosely to Dicks side.

How d do? he murmured, uncertain what to say, and then, feeling very uncomfortable, the two children sat down again.

For a time no attention was paid to them, and the ladies conversed in short, elegant sentences, and high-pitched voices.

Then Mrs. Fuller turned again to the twins:

How do you like Heatherton? she asked.

The suddenness of the question took Dick unawares, and he said enthusiastically:

Out o sight!

Immediately he realised that he should have expressed himself more formally, and the look of annoyance on Aunt Rachels face made him red and embarrassed.

Loyal little Dolly tried, as always, to come to his rescue, and she said politely:

Yes, indeed, Mrs. Fuller; we like it awfully well so far, but of course we havent been here very long yet.

And you think you wont like it when youve been here longer! Is that it?

Mrs. Fuller meant only to be jocose, but Dolly didnt understand, and tried hard to explain.

No m; I dont mean that. I mean I think well like it better after we live here a while.

I trust you will, said Mrs. Fuller. You must be hard to please if you dont.

Poor Dolly felt herself misunderstood, but she could think of nothing to say, so she sat silent, but, it seemed, this was not the right thing to do either.

Speak up, child, said Aunt Rachel, half playfully and half sharply; didnt you hear Mrs. Fullers remark?

Yes m, said Dolly, but, but I dont know what to answer.

Strange child, murmured Mrs. Fuller. Is the boy any more civil?

Dick, though embarrassed himself, was still more annoyed at Dollys discomfiture, and spoke up decidedly:

We dont mean to be uncivil, Mrs. Fuller. But weve never made fashionable calls before, and we dont know quite how to talk. Its so different in Chicago.

Different in Chicago! I should hope so. My dear Miss Dana and Miss Abbie, youll have your hands full with these little ones, wont you?

At first, said Miss Rachel with dignity. But we hope to teach them.

And we want to learn, put in Dolly, with an instinctive desire to stand by her aunt against this disagreeable lady.

Then therell be no trouble, Im sure, said Mrs. Fuller, but though her words were all right, her tone was a little bit sarcastic, and the twins were conscious of a feeling of defeat, which was far from comfortable.

Then Jack Fuller came into the room.

He was a boy of ten, with fair hair, and a pale, girlish face. He, apparently, had irreproachable manners, and gave his hand to the Dana ladies with just the right degree of cordiality. Then, being introduced to Dick and Dolly, he came and sat on the sofa between them.

Instinctively, Dick felt that he never could like that boy. Jack had scarcely opened his mouth before Dick had dubbed him a Miss Nancy. He didnt believe Jack could run or jump, or do anything that a boy ought to do.

Do you like to live here? said Jack at last, by way of opening conversation.

Yes, we do, said Dolly; were going to have splendid gardens, weve been digging all day. Dont you love to do that?

Jack looked at her with apparent surprise that a girl should care for such vigorous pursuits.

I never dig, he answered. Mamma thinks it isnt good for me.

How funny! said Dolly. I should think it would do you good.

Do you like to run and jump? asked Dick, for there had been a pause, and he considered it his turn to make talk.

Oh, not very much. I like quiet games. I play mostly by myself. Mamma wont let me associate with many children. But Im to be allowed to play with you. I know that, because youre Danas.

This was gratifying in a way, but somehow Dick wasnt over-enchanted at the prospect.

I hope you will, he said; but Im afraid, when were playing, were rather, rather rampageous.

Rough, do you mean? asked Jack, looking horrified.

Well, we dont mean to be rough exactly; but were sort of noisy and lively.

Well, I shall visit you all the same, said Jack, with a resigned air, for mamma said I should. I think Im to go see you to-morrow afternoon at four.

This specified date amused the Dana children, but Dolly said politely:

That will be very nice, and Im sure well have a good time.

And then the aunties rose to take leave, and they all went home again.

You children must learn better manners, said Aunt Rachel, as they drove homeward. You horrified me to-day by your manner of speaking.

I saw we did, said Dolly, humbly, but I dont see what we did that was wrong. Im sure we didnt mean to be bad.

You werent bad, said Abbie, smiling at them, but we want you to acquire a little more grace and elegance. You spoke, in Mrs. Fullers parlour, just as you would at home.

Oh, said Dick, I begin to see; you want us to put on society airs.

Aunt Rachel considered a moment.

While I shouldnt express it in just that way, she said, that is about what I mean.

Well, said Dick pleasantly, well try. But Aunty Helen always taught us to be just as polite when alone at home as when we were visiting or had company.

Auntie Helen isnt teaching you now, said Miss Rachel, grimly; and I trust youll consider my wishes in the matter.

We will, Aunt Rachel, we truly will, broke in Dolly, whose r?le was often that of pacificator. Youre terribly good to us, and we want to do zackly as you want us to, but, you see, fashionable calls are new to us. Well do better next time.

Dollys cheerful smile was infectious, and Aunt Rachel smiled back, and dropped the subject of manners for the present.

The next afternoon, promptly at four oclock, Jack Fuller came to see Dick and Dolly. The twins had been grubbing in their gardens all day, and had been radiantly happy.

They loved flowers and learned quickly the elements of gardening that Pat taught them. And with their new garden tools of suitable size, they did real work after the most approved fashion. But at three oclock they were called in to get ready for the expected guest. Dick grumbled a little, for it seemed hard to leave the gardens to get all dressed up just because a boy was coming!

But you want to make friends in Heatherton, dont you? asked Aunt Rachel.

Yes m; but I like boys who come over and play in every-day clothes; not rig up like a party.

As for Dolly, she didnt see why she had to leave the garden at all. Jack Fuller wasnt her company.

But the aunts decreed that both twins should receive the guest properly, and so at quarter to four, two spick and span, but not very merry children sat in the library, waiting.

Jack came in, at last, and greeted the twins with the same formality he had shown in his own home. He responded politely to the elder ladies remarks and Dick and Dolly tried to be polite and do exactly as the others did.

After nearly half an hour of this stiff and uncomfortable conversation, Miss Rachel proposed that the twins take Jack out and show him their gardens. Glad to get out of doors, Dick and Dolly ran for their hats and the three children started out.

To the twins astonishment, as soon as he was out of the presence of the elder ladies, Jack turned into quite a different boy. His formal manner fell away, and he was chummy and full of fun.

Lets throw stones, he cried. See me hit that stone bird on the fountain.

He flung a pebble with such true aim that it hit the stone bird on the wing, and roused Dicks exceeding admiration, for he was not himself a superior marksman.

Want to play knife? asked Jack, pulling a new knife from his pocket; or no, lets go see your gardens first. Must be gay ones, from the fuss you make over em.

But when he saw the playground that was planned, he was appreciative enough to satisfy the twins love of enthusiasm.

Its great! he cried; thats what it is, great! I wish I had one like it.

Yes, wont it be fine! agreed Dick; therell be a table in the arbour, and chairs, or benches, and we can have tea-parties, and everything.

Plant gourds on your arbour, advised Jack. All kinds are good, but the dipper and cucumber gourd grow the fastest. Theyll cover your arbour in a few weeks, I guess. Hercules club is a good fellow for that, too. Patll know about em.

Dick and Dolly felt their admiration rising for this boy, who knew so much about climbing gourds and flowers of all sorts. It was strange that he could throw stones so straight, and also have such fine parlour manners. So very strange indeed that Dick felt he must inquire into it.

Say, he began; youre awful different out here from what you are in the parlour.

Sure, returned Jack. In parlours, with ladies, a fellow has to be polite and proper. You dont want me to be like that out here with you, do you?

Jacks face expressed such a willingness to do what was required of him that Dick exclaimed hastily:

Not on your life! But I dont see how you manage those fine airs when you have to.

Pooh, its dead easy. Anyway, Ive always done it. Mamma wouldnt like it if I didnt.

I spose well have to learn, said Dolly, sighing a little; but dont lets bother about it now.

As the afternoon wore on, and they became better acquainted, they both began to like Jack very much. He was not a strong boy, and couldnt run or jump as they could, but he was clever at games, and could beat them easily at knife, or hop-scotch, or almost any game of muscular skill that did not call for violent exercise.

Hes all right, said Dick to Dolly as they sat on the veranda steps a few minutes after Jack went home. But I hope we wont always have to dress up, and sit in the parlour at first every time he comes.

Lets ask Aunt Rachel, said Dolly.

Why, no, said Miss Rachel in surprise. Of course you wont. To-day was his first visit, as you called on him yesterday. After this, you can go to play with each other in your every-day clothes, whenever you like.

Dick and Dolly were satisfied with this, and gave up trying to fathom the strange requirements of etiquette at Heatherton.





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