Dick and Dollyñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
Dear Pinkie! She was so pretty and sweet, and Dolly smiled to herself at thought of all the fun they could have playing together. They would always be friends, even after they grew up to be young ladies, and they would never have a foolish quarrel, as Pinkie’s mother and Auntie Rachel had had. And so, fairly revelling in happy anticipations, Dolly fell asleep.
Downstairs, the two sisters talked long and earnestly.
“It’s a blessing those two children ever came here,” said Miss Abbie, at last.
“It is a blessing in some ways,” said Miss Rachel, “but they’re going to be a terrible responsibility. Such overflowing spirits I never saw! They can’t be still a second. And we must stop these fearful tornadoes of affection!”
“Oh, I thought you enjoyed them!”
“I do enjoy their hearty demonstrations and endearments. They’re so real and spontaneous. But we must curb them, for it isn’t good for the children to be allowed such savagery. For it is savagery.”
“It is, indeed!” agreed Aunt Abbie, ruefully. “My arm’s lame yet, from their squeezing.”
“Well, we’ll correct them. But I don’t want to be too harsh, poor little motherless things.”
“Yes, and fatherless, too. We must be very good to them, Rachel, but it isn’t true kindness to be too indulgent, you know.”
“No, of course not. We must be firm, yet gentle.”
And so the two ladies discussed the management of the twins, not realising at all, that on the contrary, the twins were managing them! For though good and obedient children, Dick and Dolly generally succeeded in getting their own sweet way, as witness the case of Phyllis Middleton.
AN AUCTION SALE
Life at Dana Dene settled down into a pleasant routine that was in no sense monotony. Every day the sewing and the practising and the gardening had their appointed hours. But this left hours and hours of play-time, and the twins improved them all.
Phyllis and Dolly were very chummy little companions, and scarcely a day passed without their seeing each other.
Dick and Jack Fuller were chums too, and though the twins became acquainted with many of the other children in Heatherton, they liked these earliest made friends best of all.
Often they went to town, for Dana Dene was about a mile out from the village itself. Sometimes they drove in state with the aunties, or perhaps less formally, on morning errands. Sometimes they rode on the big spring wagon with Pat or Michael, and sometimes on pleasant days, they walked.
One delightful afternoon, the aunties had gone to sewing society, and the twins were holding a consultation as to what would be the most fun for them to do.
“Let’s walk to town and get some soda water,” suggested Dolly.
“All right,” returned Dick; “but we needn’t walk unless we want to. Michael’s going down with the wagon. But he isn’t ready yet.”
“Well, let’s walk on, and then when he comes along we can get in, if we want to.”
“Yes, and we can ride home, anyway.”
So after arranging with Michael to look out for them on the way, Dick and Dolly started off.
They loved to walk to town, for there was so much of interest along the way. The first part, more or less wooded, showed various enticing spots to sit down and rest a while.
Squirrels were apt to come round and be sociable, or birds would sing little songs of greeting from the branches. There were always new wild-flowers, and just now the wild roses were opening, and daisies were in bloom.
And, if they were very cautious, there was always a chance of seeing fairies.
Now that Pinkie was understood, Dolly returned to her original idea of fairies, – tiny, fragile beings, with wings and wands.
Dick had some doubts as to their existence, but was always on the alert to catch sight of them in the woods.
Then, after the woodsy part was passed, came the beginnings of the streets, with houses few and far apart; and then the bridge, – always a fine place to linger, – and then houses closer together, many of which were good stopping-places, and finally the business portion of the little town itself.
Here were fascinating shops, with windows delightfully full of tempting wares, also a caterer’s shop, where one could choose between cakes and ice cream, or candy and soda water.
The twins were allowed fifty cents apiece each week for spending money. With this, they could do exactly as they chose, with the stipulation that not more than ten cents in one day should be spent for edibles. As they conscientiously obeyed this rule, the aunts felt sure they could not seriously harm their digestion. And, besides, they did not buy sweets every time they went to town. Sometimes it was marbles or tops or ribbons for dolls.
On this particular occasion the twins felt specially rich, for they each had an untouched half dollar just given them by Aunt Rachel, and they had also a goodly portion of the previous week’s income still unspent. Not that they expected necessarily to spend it, but it seemed pleasant to have their fund with them, and if they should see anything very desirable they might purchase it.
So they trudged along, with open minds, ready to accommodate anything that offered in the way of interest or pleasure.
As they reached the main street they saw a great crowd of people in front of one of the shops, and wondered what the reason might be. Coming nearer, they saw a red flag waving over the door, and Dick exclaimed:
“Why, it’s an auction! I never saw one before; come on, Dolly, let’s go in.”
So in the twins went, and soon became greatly interested in the proceedings.
They edged through the crowd, until they were quite near the auctioneer, and then they listened, spellbound, to his discourse. Never having seen an auction sale before, the manner of conducting it appealed to them, and they breathlessly watched and listened as one lot after another was sold to the bidders.
The stock was that of a clothing emporium, and consisted of ready-made suits for both men and women.
“I’d like to buy something that way,” said Dick to his sister, “but they’re only grown-ups’ clothes, and anyway, they cost too much. If they put up anything small I’m going to bid.”
“Maybe they’ll have handkerchiefs or something like that,” suggested Dolly, eager also to join the game of bidding.
But there were no small articles for sale, nothing but men’s suits and ladies’ costumes, so Dick and Dolly lost hope of being able to bid for anything.
They wandered round the place, meeting several people whom they knew, and who spoke pleasantly to them. But they were all grown-ups, – there were no children there but the twins, so hand in hand they wandered about, always drifting back to hear the auctioneer crying out:
“Ten, – ten, – do I hear eleven?” or “Going, going – gone!”
They listened carefully to his phraseology, for they well knew “auction” would be one of their favourite games in the near future, and Dick wanted to learn the lingo, so that he could play auctioneer after the most approved fashion. At last the sale was about over, and the audience began to go away. Only a few men remained, and the fixtures of the shop were then put up. Office furniture, show-cases and such things were sold quickly, and then was put up a lot of wax tailors’ dummies. These wax figures, both men and women, were so comical that Dick and Dolly laughed aloud to see them put up for sale. It was almost like selling people. But the man who bought them didn’t seem to think it funny at all. He bid them in, like any other merchandise, but he refused to take one of them, saying it was too badly damaged.
This unfortunate one was a wax-faced lady whose cheek was badly dented and marred, thus making her undesirable as a window attraction. She was carelessly set aside, and the twins looked at her with curiosity.
“Dick,” whispered Dolly, “I’d love to have her! She’d be more fun than a big doll. Do you s’pose we could get her?”
“I dunno. It would be fun! We could rig her up, and set her up in the playground. How much money have you?”
“Just seventy-seven cents.”
“And I have eighty-six. Let’s ask the man.”
So Dick stepped up to the auctioneer, and said:
“Could you auction up that other wax lady, sir?”
“That one, kid? Why, she’s no good.”
“Not for a shopman, I know, but – if she didn’t cost so much, we’d like to have her.”
“You would! Well, you’re two pretty nice little children, suppose I give her to you?”
Dick hesitated. It seemed too great a favour, and beside he wanted the fun of bidding.
“Well, you see,” he said, “I think we’d rather pay, if it isn’t too much, because, – you see, – we want to do that calling out.”
“Oho! You want the real auctioneering game, do you? Well, I’ll have her put up.”
The auctioneer was a jolly, good-natured man, and as his task was about over, he felt inclined to humour the children.
“Here,” he called to his assistant, “put up that golden-haired goddess.”
Appreciating the situation, the man set the wax dummy upon the platform.
“Here you are!” cried the auctioneer. “What am I bid for this lovely lady? Though slightly marred in the face, she has a good heart, and is warranted good-tempered and kind. What am I bid?”
Dick hesitated; now that the time had come he felt suddenly shy, and felt uncertain how much to offer.
“Ten cents!” came a voice from another part of the room. Then Dick felt that he was really in the business at last, and he called out sturdily:
“Fifteen,” echoed the auctioneer. “Fifteen! do I hear any more? Only fifteen cents for this beautiful work of art?”
“Twenty!” called the other voice, and for some reason the auctioneer scowled.
“Twenty!” he cried; “twenty? Do I hear twenty-five?”
“Twenty-five!” cried Dick, his face all aglow with the excitement of the moment.
“Twenty-five!” sang out the auctioneer. “Twenty-five! Is there another bid?”
But the menacing face he turned toward the other bidder must have silenced him, for he said no more.
“Twenty-five!” went on the auctioneer, quite gaily now. “Twenty-five! That seems too cheap for this Prize Beauty. Twenty-five! Is that all?”
It did seem too cheap, and Dick suddenly felt that it ought to bring more. Besides, the auctioneer’s voice was persuasive, and so, still in the spirit of the game, Dick cried out, “Thirty!”
The auctioneer suddenly choked, and the man in the back of the room burst into shouts of laughter, but Dick didn’t mind now. With shining eyes, he awaited the auctioneer’s next move, and seeing this, the smiling gentleman went on:
“Thirty! Thirty cents for this Darling Dame. She looks like that! Do I hear any more? Thirty – going – going – ”
“Thirty-five!” said Dolly, timidly, but in clear tones.
Dick looked at her admiringly. Dolly was a trump. He was glad she had a part in the great game too.
“Thirty-five!” called the auctioneer, red in the face, but preserving his gravity. “Thirty-five!”
“Forty!” cried Dick.
“Forty-five!” said Dolly.
“Fifty!” yelled Dick, smiling at his sister.
“Fifty-five,” she cried, smiling back.
“Stop!” cried the auctioneer, “you two mustn’t bid against each other!”
“Why not?” asked Dick. “We have the money. We’ve more ’n a dollar ’n’ a half, together.”
“Yes, but one of you can buy this thing if you really want it. So stop bidding, and take it for fifty cents.”
“All right,” agreed Dick, “we’ll each pay twenty-five.”
This plan suited Dolly, and the money was paid at once.
“You have to take your goods with you, you know,” said the auctioneer, not unkindly, as he watched the two delighted children.
“Yes, we will,” said Dolly. “Michael’s outside somewhere, with the big wagon. He’ll take us all home.”
“You stay here with the lady, Dolly,” said Dick, “and I’ll run out and hunt Michael.”
“Go on,” said the auctioneer, “I’ll look after Miss Dolly and her new friend both.”
The auctioneer had children of his own, and was greatly interested in his two young customers.
“What do you want of this affair?” he asked Dolly, after Dick had gone.
“To play with,” she returned. “I know we can dress her up and have lots of fun with her.”
“Perhaps I can find you some clothes for her here,” he offered; “she ought to have a hat and shawl.”
“Oh, never mind,” said Dolly, easily; “we’ll take her home, and I think Aunt Rachel’s clothes will fit her. If not, we’ll try Hannah’s.”
The wax lady was simply robed in a drab muslin slip, whose plainness contrasted strangely with the bright pink of her complexion, the large mop of yellow hair, and the waxen forearms – except for her head, neck, and forearms the lady was a sort of wire frame, more or less bent.
But Dolly saw wondrous possibilities, and cared not at all that her ladyship was so imperfectly arrayed at present.
Dick soon returned, and announced that Michael was outside in the wagon.
The auctioneer’s obliging assistant carried the wax lady to the door, and then the twins took it.
“The saints preserve us!” cried Michael; “whativer have ye rascally babies been up to now?”
“We’ve bought a lady, Michael,” explained Dolly, “and we want to take her home.”
“Well, if so be as she’s your lady, home with us she must go.”
Michael climbed down from his seat, and assisted the “lady” into the wagon.
“It’s lyin’ down in the wagon she must ride,” he said. “I’ll have no waxen image a-settin’ up on the seat, an’ me, like as not, arristed fer kid-nappin’ her! In she goes, and covered up wid these potaty-sacks she’ll be, till yez gets her home.”
“All right,” said Dolly, gleefully, “I don’t care. Put her in back, if you want to. But be careful, don’t muss up her hair too much!”
At last the “lady” was arranged, and Dick and Dolly clambered up to the seat beside Michael, and home they went.
“You see,” Dolly confided to Michael, who was her devoted adorer, “we went to an auction, and we bought the lady.”
“An auction! Yez childher! My soul! what will yez be afther doin’ next?”
“It isn’t hard to go to an auction,” said Dick, meditatively. “You just find what you want to buy; and then you see how much money you’ve got, and then you bid till you get up to it.”
“Yis, that’s a foine way!” said Michael, appreciatively. “An’ yez chose the wax scarecrow, did yez? Well, give it to me fer my cornfield, it’ll be foine to kape the burrds off!”
“You bad Michael,” said Dolly. “You’re just teasing us. Scarecrow! Why, she’s my new doll. I’m going to call her, – what shall we call her, Dick?”
“Lady Eliza Dusenbury,” said Dick, promptly, for he was always quick at choosing names. “And I say, Dolly, let’s rig her up, hat and all, you know, and stand her up in front of the front door, and ring the bell, and then hide, and see what Hannah’ll do!”
“All right; don’t you tell, Michael.”
“No, Miss Dolly, I’ll not tell.”
“And you help us, Michael, to get her out and get her fixed up, will you?”
“Yis, I’ll help yez, ye good-fer-nothin’ shcamps.”
When Michael indulged in calling them names, the twins knew he was very good-natured indeed, so they anticipated great fun.
When they reached Dana Dene, the two children jumped down from the wagon and ran into the house. It was easy enough to get in unnoticed, and they went straight to Aunt Rachel’s room for clothing for the new friend.
Dolly selected a pretty street suit of dark-blue pongee, made with a coat and skirt. She found also a white waist, and a blue hat trimmed with cornflowers. This was really enough, but she added a veil and a small shopping bag. With these things, the twins hurried to the barn, where Michael had the Lady Eliza waiting for them in the carriage house.
Dolly dressed her, and it was surprising how distinguished she looked in Aunt Rachel’s costume. It seemed a very good fit, and the flower-trimmed hat was most becoming to the frizzled yellow hair.
On account of the scar on her cheek, Dolly put on the thin lace veil, which really added to her modish effect. Her arms, which were movable, were adjusted at an elegant angle, and the shopping bag was hung on her left wrist.
Pat had been taken into confidence, and when all was ready the children ran ahead to make sure that the coast was clear.
Discovering that Hannah and Delia were both in the back part of the house, they signalled to Michael, and he and Pat assisted Lady Eliza to the front door. Then Dolly adjusted her hands, and in the right one, which was extended, she placed a visiting card, taken at random from the basket in the hall. Then Michael and Pat went away, Dolly hid in some nearby bushes, and Dick, after a loud ring at the doorbell, flew, to join Dolly in her hiding-place.
FUN WITH LADY ELIZA
Hannah, in her white cap and apron, came at once and opened the door. Being a well-trained maid, she stepped back, and held the door open for the lady to enter, but as the caller did not seem inclined to do so, but persistently held out her card, Hannah took it, saying, “The ladies are not at home, madam.”
Still the caller stood motionless, and Hannah looked at her with some curiosity. The lace veil so shrouded her features that they were not very discernible, but when Hannah’s glance fell on the rigid, pale hand, she gave a scream:
“My sakes, ma’am! is it dead ye are, or fainted?”
Not being able to grasp at once the truth of the matter, Hannah took the two cold hands in her own, and shook the lady slightly.
Lady Eliza toppled over, and would have fallen to the floor, but that Hannah caught her in her arms, and dragged her into the hall, where she dropped her on a large sofa.
“Delia!” she called, flying to the kitchen, “fetch some water. There’s a lady fainted!”
Dick and Dolly, unable to restrain themselves longer, came running in, and met Hannah, who returned, followed by Delia with a bowl of water.
“Hurry up, Hannah,” cried Dick. “She’s in an awful faint! Can’t you bring her to?”
Dolly was dancing around the prostrate form of the visitor, and Michael and Pat were peeping in at the front door.
“Ah, ye scallywags!” cried Delia, realising that some mischief was up. “What are ye up to, now? Who’s this leddy?”
So lifelike was the whole effect of the figure, that Delia could not at first take in the fraud. But when she did, she went off in peals of laughter, and Hannah joined in heartily.
“Aren’t ye the smart scamps, now!” cried Delia, proud of the latest exploit of the children. “An’ will ye look now, Hannah? That’s Miss Rachel’s best blue dress! I’m wonderin’ ye didn’t recognise it!”
“I never thought,” said Hannah, still gazing half-fearfully at the figure on the sofa. “I took it for granted it was a friendly visitor.”
Whereupon Dick outspread Lady Eliza’s arms in such a comical way, that Delia went off again in fresh bursts of laughter.
“Now to fool the aunties,” said Dick, after the servants had returned to their work and Dick and Dolly were left alone with their new possession. “How shall we fix it up, Dollums?”
Dolly considered. She was more ingenious than Dick in arranging dramatic effects, and at last she said:
“I think we’ll just have her seated in a corner of the veranda, and then, when the aunties come home, I’ll tell them there’s a lady waiting to see them.”
“Yes, that’ll be fine; let’s fix her now.”
So Lady Eliza Dusenbury was gracefully seated in a piazza chair. Upon her knees lay an open magazine, held in place with one slender pink hand.
“Those hands give her away, Dolly,” said Dick. “They don’t look a bit real.”
“Neither they don’t,” agreed Dolly; “I’ll get gloves.”
She ran upstairs and down again, bringing a pair of light kid gloves from Aunt Rachel’s room, which she succeeded in getting on the Lady Eliza’s hands.
“That’s a heap better,” said Dick; “now, with the veil, and as its getting sort of darkish, I don’t see how they’ll suspect at all.”
Quietly the Lady Eliza sat waiting. Not quite so quietly, Dick and Dolly sat on the top step of the veranda, waiting also, and at last Michael, who had gone after the Dana ladies, drove them up to the steps.
He had been charged by the twins not to mention their new acquisition, so, of course, had not done so.
Dick and Dolly met their aunts, with a smiling welcome, and then Dolly said:
“There’s a lady to see you, Aunt Rachel; as you weren’t home when she came, she sat down, over there to wait.”
In her pleasant, dignified way, Miss Rachel crossed the veranda, followed by Miss Abbie.
Though the ladies had slightly relaxed their “society” manner when greeting the twins, they instantly assumed it again as they went to meet their visitor.
“Good-afternoon,” said Miss Rachel as she neared the lady reading the magazine.
But the stranger did not look up, and Miss Rachel assumed she had not heard.
“How do you do?” she said, in louder tones, and held out her hand.
Miss Abbie also approached, and said “Good-afternoon,” and extended her hand, but apparently the visitor had no intention of stopping her reading.
With no thought other than that the lady was deaf or exceedingly preoccupied, Miss Rachel stepped nearer, and said very loudly:
Still no response, and now Miss Rachel became frightened.
“She has had a stroke or something,” she exclaimed, and, stooping, she peered into the stranger’s face.
“Oh, Abbie! her cheek is hurt! Somebody has struck her, or thrown a stone at her. How dreadful!”ñêà÷àòü êíèãó áåñïëàòíî
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