Dick and Dollyñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
So, after reasoning round and round in a circle, Dolly fell asleep, and dreamed that she was a fairy herself, with a pink linen dress, and a pair of wings and a golden wand.
The next afternoon Jack Fuller was again at Dana Dene to play with Dick, and again Dolly trotted off to the woods. She found Pinkie sitting on a flat stone, waiting for her. The same pink linen frock, the same straw hat, with pink rosettes on it, and the same sweet-faced, curly-haired Pinkie. Dolly was so glad to see her, and fairy or mortal, she already loved her better than any little girl she had ever known.
But Pinkie was not so gay and merry as yesterday. She looked troubled, and Dolly’s sensitive little heart knew it at once.
“Come on,” she said, taking hold of Pinkie’s hand; “let’s play.”
“All right,” said Pinkie, “I’ve brought my own dolls, this time.”
And sure enough, there were two dolls as big and beautiful as Arabella and Araminta. Pinkie said her dolls’ names were Baby Belle and Baby Bess, and, as it seemed the most natural thing to do, they began to play tea-party at once.
But Dolly wanted, first, to settle the matter of the secret.
“Pinkie,” she said, “you’re a really, truly little girl, aren’t you?”
“’Course I am,” said Pinkie, smiling. “I just said I was a fairy for fun.”
“Yes; I know it. But I want you to let me tell about you at home. It’s silly to make a secret of it.”
“Well, tell ’em, I don’t care. I’m not coming here to play any more, anyway.”
Now Dolly looked dismayed. “Why not?” she asked, and went on without waiting for an answer. “I won’t tell my aunts, if you don’t want me to, but I must tell my brother Dick. He’s my twin, and we never have secrets from each other. Why, here he comes now!”
Running toward them across the field, they saw the two boys.
“Is that your brother with Jack Fuller?” asked Pinkie, and with this recognition of Jack, Dolly’s last faint hope that Pinkie might be a fairy, vanished.
“Yes; I wonder what they want.”
The boys had really come in search of Dolly.
Dick had felt himself rather selfish to play with Jack, while Dolly had only her dolls for company, so he had proposed that they go and find her, and then all play together some games that she would like. Jack had agreed willingly enough, so they made for the woods, whither Dick had seen Dolly go, wheeling her two big dolls.
“Hello, Phyllis Middleton,” cried Jack, as he spied Pinkie. “What are you doing here?”
The secret was out!
Dolly felt a blank pall of despair fall over her heart. Pinkie, then, was Phyllis Middleton, the daughter of the Middletons whom Aunt Rachel detested, and would have no dealings with! Indeed, Dolly had been forbidden to speak to any of the Middletons. And then, as Dolly’s thoughts flew rapidly on, she realised that Pinkie had known all this, and that was why she said if Dolly knew her name they couldn’t play together any more!
Poor Dolly! Not only to lose her new-made friend, but to learn that the friend was really a naughty little girl, who had deliberately done wrong.
“Hello, Jack!” said Phyllis.
“I know I ought not to come here, and I’m not coming again.”
“Well,” said Dick, throwing himself down on the ground; “is this your secret, Dollums?”
“Yes,” said Dolly, almost ready to cry. “This is my Pinkie, and I love her, and now she’s the little girl Aunt Rachel said we couldn’t play with.”
“Why not?” cried Dick, who had forgotten the Middleton ban.
Phyllis took up the story.
“I don’t know the beginning of it,” she said; “but my mother, and Miss Rachel Dana don’t like each other, and won’t go to each other’s houses. And when I heard a little girl had come here to live, I wanted to come over, but mother wouldn’t let me.”
“And Aunt Rachel forbade me to go to your house, too,” put in Dolly. “I think it’s awful for grown-up ladies to get mad like that.”
“They’ve been mad for lots of years,” said Jack Fuller. “I’ve heard my mother talk about it to the other ladies. They call it the Dana-Middleton feud.”
“What was it about?” asked Dick.
“Nobody knows,” replied Jack. “At least, none of us children. Of course, when there weren’t any children at the Dana house, we didn’t care anything about it; but now, it’s pretty if you two can’t play with the Middletons! Why, they go to our parties and our school and our Sunday school, and our picnics and everything! I guess Miss Dana and Mrs. Middleton’ll have to make up now.”
“They won’t,” said Phyllis, mournfully. “I heard mother and father talking about it. And they said I mustn’t come over here, or speak to Dolly or anything. And then, yesterday, I did come over here to the wood, – it’s right next to our last orchard, – and Dolly and I had such fun, I thought I’d come every day, and not tell anybody. But after I went to bed last night, I thought about it, and I know it’s wrong; so I’m not going to do it any more. I just came to-day to tell Dolly so. And after I go home, I’m going to confess to mother about it.”
Phyllis’s eyes were full of tears, and as she finished speaking, and Dolly’s arms went round her, both girls cried in their mutual affliction.
The boys were highly indignant at the whole situation.
“It’s a shame!” cried Dick. “If Aunt Rachel wants to be mad at Mrs. Middleton, let her; but I don’t see why they shouldn’t let Phyllis and Dolly be friends. Have you got any brothers, Phyllis?”
“Only a little one, six years old,” was the reply. “There’s just the two of us.”
“And you live just next house to us,” went on Dick. “You and Dolly could have lovely times together. I’m going to ask Aunt Rachel myself if you two can’t be friends.”
“It wouldn’t do any good,” said Phyllis, wiping her eyes. “She wouldn’t give in, and, even if she did, my mother wouldn’t.”
“Well, I’m going to try it, anyway,” stoutly persisted Dick. “It can’t do any harm, and if Aunt Rachel should give in, she might persuade your mother, you know.”
Phyllis looked a little hopeful at this, but Dolly said:
“Aunt Rachel won’t let me play with you; I know it. She has said so a dozen times, and she’s awful stubborn. But I’m glad you told, Pinkie, ’cause it wouldn’t have been right for us to play together and not tell.”
“No, I know it,” agreed Phyllis. “I would have told you yesterday, only it was so funny when you thought I was a fairy! I thought I’d pretend I was one, and that would take away the wrong. But it didn’t, and when I thought all about it, I knew we couldn’t keep on that way.”
The Dana twins were conscientious children, and they were both glad when Phyllis talked like this; for it had been a shock to Dolly to discover Pinkie’s deceit, and she felt relieved to learn that it was only impulsive and quickly repented of. But this didn’t alter the sad fact that the two little girls could not be playmates.
“It’s just horrid!” said Dolly, her tears welling up afresh. “We could have such lovely times together! Playing dolls, and tea-parties, and everything. I think Aunt Rachel is mean!”
“I think so, too,” said Jack Fuller, “and I do believe you could coax her into letting you two girls play together, even if the grown-up ladies don’t make up.”
“Maybe we could,” said Dick, hopefully, but Phyllis shook her head.
“Mother wouldn’t, even if Miss Dana did,” she repeated. “I was a naughty girl to come here at all. I wish I hadn’t; then I wouldn’t have known how nice Dolly was.”
Again the little girls wept, and the boys looked at them helplessly.
“Well, anyway,” said Dick, at last, “I’m going home to have a try at it. I’m going straight to Aunt Rachel and tell her all about it. It may make a difference, now that you girls really have met.”
“All right,” said Phyllis, but she showed no hope of Dick’s success.
“I say,” exclaimed Jack, “let’s all go! I mean, let’s take Phyllis, and all go to Miss Rachel and ask her about it. If she sees the two girls crying to beat the band, it may soften her some.”
It seemed a daring proposition, but the twins approved of it.
“Oh, do,” cried Dolly, eagerly. “Come on, Pinkie, let’s go right now.”
“I can’t,” said Pinkie, firmly. “Mother told me never to go to Miss Dana’s house for anything at all.”
No amount of coaxing would prevail, and matters seemed at a deadlock, until Dick exclaimed:
“Then you stay here, and I’ll go get Auntie Rachel and make her come out here right now.”
“It won’t do any good,” moaned Phyllis.
“I know, about your mother. But maybe, if Miss Rachel gives in first, she can persuade your mother.”
“Maybe,” said Phyllis, worn out with the conflict. “Go on if you want to.”
And Dick went.
“Aunt Rachel,” said Dick, marching to the library, “will you do something for me?”
“Probably I will, my boy. What is it?”
“I want you to come and take a walk with me.”
“But it’s nearly supper-time, Dicky; quite time for you to go and brush your hair, and put on a fresh collar. Where’s Dolly?”
“Oh, Aunt Rachel, please come, – it’s very important!”
Noticing the serious expression on Dick’s earnest little face, Aunt Rachel became frightened.
“What is the matter, Dick?” she exclaimed. “Has anything happened to Dolly? Has she hurt herself?”
“No; she hasn’t hurt herself; but come, please, Aunt Rachel, – do!”
Throwing a light shawl round her, Miss Rachel went with Dick, quite sure that some accident had befallen Dolly. It was quite a little walk to the woods, and Dick began to wonder whether Phyllis would have waited, or whether she would have become scared and gone home. She seemed like a timid little thing, and Dick well knew that Miss Rachel’s anger was a formidable thing to brave. He felt far from calm himself.
“Where are you taking me?” said Aunt Rachel, as they crossed the orchard.
“To the woods,” replied Dick, briefly; “Dolly is there.”
And Aunt Rachel said no more, but walked rapidly along by Dick’s side, her mind full of horrible imaginings of Dolly, perhaps fallen from a tree, or in some other dreadful plight. When she reached the wood she saw the two little girls, seated on the flat stone, their arms about each other, and their faces red and tear-stained. Indeed, the big tears even now rolled down Dolly’s cheeks, as she saw the stern expression that came over Aunt Rachel’s face.
“Phyllis Middleton!” exclaimed the angry-looking lady; “what does this mean? You know you are forbidden to step foot on my property!”
“Yes’m,” began Phyllis, timidly, but Dick took the helm.
“Aunt Rachel,” he said, “I asked you to come out here, ’cause Phyllis wouldn’t go to the house. And I want to ask you to let her be Dolly’s friend; they love each other a heap.”
Then Aunt Rachel’s wrath was turned toward her niece.
“Dolly,” she said, severely, “you know I positively forbade you to speak to Phyllis Middleton.”
“Yes, Auntie; b-but I didn’t know it was Phyllis, when I first spoke to her.”
“Well, you know it now. Come away from her at once. Phyllis, go straight home, and don’t ever dare come here again.”
The case was hopeless.
Phyllis withdrew herself from Dolly’s embrace, and rose to go away.
Jack Fuller stood by, unable to help, and very nearly crying himself in sympathy with the two forlorn little girls.
Aunt Rachel, in her surprise and indignation, had seated herself on the edge of a big stone, opposite Dolly and Phyllis, and sat with frowning face, waiting for the unwelcome visitor to depart.
In her extremity of despair, Dolly had an inspiration. With a cry of, “Oh, please, Auntie Rachel!” she sprang at her aunt, and threw her arms around the neck of the irate lady. She squeezed her until she nearly choked her; she showered kisses on her face and neck; she whispered in her ear, “Please, dear Auntie, oh, please let me have her for my little friend; I love her so! Please, Auntie!”
Dick, anxiously watching Miss Rachel’s face, saw a change. Not only did it become warm and red from the strangling hugs she was undergoing, but he felt sure there was a relenting expression in her eyes.
Partly out of gratitude for this, and partly from a desire to further Dolly’s cause, he too rushed at his aunt, and added his affectionate demonstrations to those of his sister. His arms somehow found room, too, round her neck, and he industriously kissed the other side of her face, while he cried, “Please, Auntie Rachel, even if you don’t like the Middletons, please let Phyllis and Dolly be friends! Please, Auntie!”
So cyclonic was the beginning of this performance, and so vigorous its continuance, that Miss Rachel was soon on the verge of physical collapse, and wildly waved her hands, in a futile endeavour to shake off the besiegers.
Phyllis and Jack were appalled at the scene, and were almost uncertain whether the attack was really affectionate or of a hostile nature.
“For gracious’ sake, Dolly, do stop!” cried Miss Rachel, at last, as her glasses flew off, and her carefully arranged coiffure became a wreck. “Dick, let go of me!”
“Yes, Auntie,” he said, kneeling at one side, and possessing himself of one of her hands, while Dolly did the same with the other; “but, Auntie, do say yes, won’t you?”
“Won’t you, Auntie?” echoed Dolly; “won’t you, Auntie? Please, dear Auntie Rachel, won’t you? Please!”
The words, repeated so often, seemed to become meaningless, but not so the beseeching expression on the two upturned, pleading little faces.
Aunt Rachel looked at them, – Dick’s eager hopeful gaze; Dolly’s tearful, despairing eyes, – and her hard heart melted.
She put an arm round each of the quivering little bodies, and said softly:
“Wait a minute, dears, let me think it over.”
If Miss Rachel needed further incentive, the joy that flashed into the twins’ faces must have given it to her, for she went on almost immediately:
“You cannot understand the grown-up part of this; you cannot be told about why Mrs. Middleton and I are not on friendly terms; but this I will grant. If Phyllis’s mother will let her be Dolly’s friend, I shall be glad to have it so. If Phyllis is allowed to come to Dana Dene, Dolly may also visit her and you may play together all you like. There is really no reason why you children should suffer for the sake of your elders, and I see that clearly now. Come here, Phyllis.”
Phyllis rose and went to Miss Rachel, who looked her over with evident interest.
“You are a nice child,” she said, at last, with a nod of approval. “I shall be glad to have you become Dolly’s friend. Do you think your mother will object?”
“I know she will, Miss Dana,” said Phyllis, sadly; “I am sure she won’t let me go to Dana Dene.”
“Then I shall go to see her, myself, and I fancy I can persuade her.”
Miss Rachel said this with a majestic air, yet with a grim smile, and the children felt that though they certainly did not understand the “grown-up part of it,” yet their cause was won, and Dolly and Phyllis would be permitted to play together to their hearts’ content.
“Thank you, Miss Rachel,” said Phyllis, timidly taking her hand, and feeling that she ought to show her gratitude by some demonstration, after the example set her by the twins.
Miss Rachel kissed her gently on the forehead, and then put her hand in Dolly’s; bidding the two little girls seal their friendship with a kiss, and then say good-bye until to-morrow.
“Scamper home, across the orchard, Phyllis,” she went on, “and tell your mother all about it, if you choose; and say I shall call on her this evening.”
Jack went with Phyllis, as that was the way toward his own home, and the three Danas went back to the house.
“Oh, Auntie, you are so good,” said Dolly, as, with her arm round her aunt’s waist, she walked by her side. “It was lovely of you to give up your favourite feud for me!”
Miss Rachel smiled at Dolly’s choice of words, but she only said:
“It is right, dearie. It would be very foolish to keep you two little girls apart because of what happened to your ancestors, twenty years ago.”
“Yes’m; and are you going to keep on feuding with Mrs. Middleton?”
“I don’t know yet,” said Miss Rachel, smiling again; “if I do, it will be because she insists upon it. But I feel sure I can persuade her to feel as I do, about you children.”
“You’re a brick, Auntie,” declared Dick, who walked at her other side. “I was ’most sure you’d cave in when you saw how the girls felt about it.”
“It was really the way you two felt about it, that persuaded me; indeed, if I hadn’t ‘caved in,’ as you call it, I think you would have squeezed me to pieces.”
“Yes, we’re good coaxers,” said Dick, modestly. “We used to coax Auntie Helen that way; but she always got to laughing.”
“It wasn’t a humorous occasion, to-day,” said Aunt Rachel, and then they all went in to supper.
Aunt Abbie, who was wondering what had become of them, was then told the whole story, which greatly interested her.
“And now,” said Dolly, as everything had been explained, “you see why I was asking about fairies last night. I didn’t really think Phyllis was a fairy, but she came so – so unexpected, you know, and she wouldn’t tell me her name, and she told me to keep it all a secret.”
“I think that part of it was a little naughty,” said Aunt Abbie, judicially.
“Yes’m,” agreed Dolly. “But you see she ’pented, and to-day she came to tell me that she had ’cided it was naughty, and she wasn’t coming any more. So that took away the naughtiness, didn’t it, Auntie Rachel?”
“Yes, I think it did, dearie. I feel sure Phyllis is a conscientious little girl, and will be a good friend for you in every way.”
“But I’ll always call her Pinkie,” said Dolly; “’cause I called her that at first, and Phyllis is such a grown-up name. Will you go over and see about it right away, Auntie?”
“After a while, Dolly. But I shall not return until after you’ve gone to bed, so don’t think any more about it till morning.”
Aunt Rachel spoke calmly, but the children little knew what it meant to her to subdue her pride and make the advance toward a truce with Mrs. Middleton. Their quarrel, though it had occurred many years ago, was as bitter as ever, and reconciliation seemed impossible. Neither had ever been willing to suggest such a thing, and though kind-hearted friends had tried to bring it about, their efforts had met with no success. Miss Abbie was, of course, amazed at the way things were going, but her offer to accompany her sister was met with a gentle but decided refusal.
And so, nobody ever knew what passed between the two neighbours that evening. Whatever way she humiliated herself, or whatever arguments she used, Miss Rachel never told; but, at least, her main errand was successful, and Mrs. Middleton agreed to let Phyllis and Dolly play together all they liked, and visit at each other’s homes whenever they chose.
As for the two ladies themselves, they didn’t at once forgive and forget all of their long-standing unpleasantness, but they agreed to be, at least, calling acquaintances, for the children’s sake; and I may as well say here that eventually the breach was healed, and by degrees they became really friendly neighbours.
Dolly was too excited and anxious to sleep, so when she heard Miss Rachel come in, though it was late, she sprang out of bed, and throwing a blue kimono over her little frilled nightgown, she ran out into the hall, and called down over the banisters:
“Is it all right, Auntie Rachel? Is it all right?”
“Yes, it’s all right, Dolly. Go back to bed, you’ll catch cold.”
By this time, Dick had bounced out of his room. A bath-robe was round him, over his pink-striped pajamas, and as he heard Aunt Rachel’s assurance that their cause was won, he whispered to Dolly, “Let’s go down and hug her!”
“Let’s!” replied Dolly, and the two bare-footed, dressing-gowned little figures flew downstairs and precipitated themselves upon the already exhausted lady.
“Don’t, children!” cried Aunt Abbie, as Miss Rachel was almost lost to sight in clouds of eider-down flannel, and four eager, waving arms. “Don’t! you’ll wear Auntie Rachel out, she’s almost collapsed now.”
“No, Abbie; let them be. I like it,” gasped Aunt Rachel, from behind two curly heads that seemed to be devouring her.
So Aunt Abbie only laughed, inwardly rejoicing that the children had brought about an amicable adjustment of the old quarrel, and glad, too, that her reserved and undemonstrative sister enjoyed the wild antics of the two little savages.
“Auntie Abbie next!” shouted Dick, gleefully, and Aunt Rachel received a respite, as the twins’ attentions were showered upon their other aunt.
But she wouldn’t stand quite so much.
“Be off with you!” she cried. “You’re worse than a pair of little bear-cubs!”
“We are bear-cubs,” cried Dick, enchanted with the suggestion. Then he growled, and pawed and clawed at Aunt Abbie, winding up with a hug that nearly cracked her bones.
Dolly, always ready to take her cue, was also a bear-cub, and between them they made Aunt Abbie’s life miserable for a few minutes.
“Scamper now!” she cried, as she emerged, laughing, from the latest onslaught. “Run to bed, both of you. I’ve had enough of this!”
So, with final pats and kisses all round, the twins went upstairs, and were soon snugly in bed once more.
Dolly thought she should never go to sleep, she was so happy in the thoughts of her new friend.ñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
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