Aunt Polly was short and stout with
merry blue eyes and curly dark hair that, where it
showed under her pretty hat brim, was just touched
“Hello, Blessings!” she
greeted the children, as they spilled out of the car
to meet her. “Every one of you here?
That’s fine. How do you do, Sam? I’ve
two bags there on the platform, if you will get them.”
When they were all stowed away in
the car, Sam put the bags in the front where he and
Bobby sat, and backed the car out of the station driveway.
“Well, have you decided to come
home with me?” Aunt Polly put the question to
The four little Blossoms glanced uncertainly
at each other.
“Polly Hayward,” said
Mother Blossom gayly, “you know perfectly well
no one could get four children ready to take a journey
in three days. Why, Dot has absolutely nothing
“Oh, I’ll lend her something,” smiled
The children laughed at the idea of
Auntie lending any dress of hers to small Dot.
“We’ll fix it somehow,”
declared Aunt Polly comfortably. “I simply
have to have those youngsters for a visit at Brookside.
We’re all getting so fat and lazy with no one
to stir us up. Even the dog and cat need rousing.”
“We have a dog, Aunt Polly,”
announced Meg, her eyes shining. “His name
Before she had a chance to describe
Philip the car reached the Blossom house and stopped
at the side door.
“Here I am again, Norah,”
said Aunt Polly, as Norah came out to receive her.
“And ’tis glad I am to
see ye, Mrs. Hayward,” responded Norah heartily.
“I’ll take the bags, Sam. The guest
room’s all ready, ma’am.”
The four children went as far as the
guest-room door with Aunt Polly, and then Mother Blossom
waved them back.
“Auntie and I have a great deal
to talk over,” she said. “You run
away and amuse yourselves till lunch time, like good
“Wait till I give them what
I’ve brought them,” hastily interposed
Aunt Polly. “Bobby, you open that black
bag and the four parcels on top are for you children.”
Bobby opened the bag and took out
four packages neatly wrapped in paper and tied with
“How’ll we know which is which?”
“That’s for you to find out,” returned
his aunt, giving him a kiss.
Mother Blossom sat down on the bed
and began talking in a low tone to Aunt Polly and
the four children raced downstairs and out to the
garage to open their presents. They liked the
garage because there was plenty of space to play in,
where, indeed, they had four empty rooms above the
first floor for their own uses.
This morning they rushed upstairs
so fast that they never thought of Philip till, as
they reached the top step, Meg looked back and saw
the little dog painfully hobbling after them on his
three good legs.
“He wants to come, too,”
she said. “Here, Philip, come on up, good
Philip managed to finish his climb
and then lay down on the floor, panting, but satisfied
to be where his friends were.
“I’ll give each one a
package,” Bobby decided. “Then we’ll
open them, one at a time, like Christmas. You
Meg ripped the string off her parcel
with a single motion and pulled off the paper in such
a hurry that she tore it in two. Meg always hurried
to solve mysteries.
“Why, it’s a game!”
she cried, when she had opened the box. “All
in pieces. Look!”
Bobby took a look and shrieked with delight.
“It’s an airplane,”
he announced instantly. “That’s mine,
’cause Aunt Polly knows I like experiments.
What you got, Dot?”
Dot hastily unwrapped her package
and discovered a doll’s trunk.
“With clothes in it for Geraldine,”
she reported, after turning the tiny key and taking
a peep inside. “That’s mine all right.
What’s Twaddles got?”
Twaddles unwrapped his parcel slowly
and importantly. He was sure it was for him,
and he rather enjoyed making the others wait.
“Nothing but a book,”
he said disgustedly. “What kind of a book
is it, Bobby?”
“That’s for Meg,”
Bobby informed him. “‘Black Beauty.’
Aunt Polly knows Meg likes to read and is always fussing
with animals. I must have your present, Twaddles.”
The four Blossoms were more interested
in Twaddles’ gift than in their own because
it was the only one they had not seen. Bobby carefully
untied the string and wound it up in a neat ring; then
he slowly took off the paper and folded that; finally
he opened the flat box.
Twaddles promptly tried to stand on
his head, a habit he had when he was pleased.
He never did succeed in standing on his head, but he
usually turned a very good somersault. He did
“Give it to me,” he shouted,
bobbing right side up again. “See, Dot,
it’s a water pistol!”
“Well, I don’t think that’s
a good thing to give you,” pronounced Meg decisively.
“You’ll be hitting Dot in the eye.”
retorted Twaddles, feeling unjustly accused. “Aunt
Polly asked me what I wanted most last time she was
here and I told her; and she said if I’d promise
not to shoot at people, she’d get me one.
Bobby, the peace-maker, proposed that
they all go in and show their presents to Norah, and
he helped Meg carry Philip downstairs because she
was sure the trip would hurt his leg. Bobby was
never in too much of a hurry to do what Meg wanted
him to do.
In the afternoon, after lunch, all
the Blossoms went for a long ride in the car, stopping
at the foundry office on the way home to pick up Father
Blossom. Still nothing was said about the children
going home with Aunt Polly.
“Do you suppose Mother will
let us?” asked Dot, as Meg was helping her undress
that night. “Maybe she’s afraid I
will use up my clean dresses too fast, and Aunt Polly
won’t have any to put on me. But you could
lend me yours, Meg.”
“No, I don’t believe that’s
the reason,” said Meg slowly. “I tell
you what I think I think Mother and Daddy
have to plan a lot before they know whether we can
go. But you ought to be more careful with your
The next morning Mother Blossom announced
that if the children would come out on the porch she
had something to tell them. There was a general
stampede from the breakfast table Father
Blossom had had an early breakfast and had gone before
the others were down and Aunt Polly in
the swing and Mother Blossom in a huge rocking-chair
were nearly smothered in a shower of kisses.
“Are we going to Brookside?”
“Are we going home with Aunt Polly?”
“Can I learn to milk a cow?”
“Do you have chickens, Aunt
Polly?” Four little voices chorused at once.
“Dear, dear,” chuckled
Aunt Polly. “So you’ve been thinking
about Brookside all this time, have you? And
what makes you think your mother wants to talk about
the farm with you?”
Four pairs of eyes fixed their anxious
gaze upon Mother Blossom.
“Well, dearies,” said
Mother Blossom in answer, “Daddy and Aunt Polly
and I have talked this over, and we’ve come to
a decision. It is impossible for me to get you
ready to go home with Aunt Polly to-morrow.”
“Oh, Mother!” mourned Twaddles.
“Would you want to go and leave
Mother?” that dear lady asked in surprise.
“Not not exactly,”
stammered the little boy. “But I want to
go somewhere awfully.”
“Couldn’t you go, too, Muddie?”
“Listen, and I’ll tell
you what we’ve planned,” said Mother Blossom.
“Aunt Polly has to go back to-morrow. We’ve
tried to persuade her to stay, but it seems the summer
is a very bad time to be away from a farm. But
a week from to-morrow, if you are all very good and
help me as much as you can, I will take you to Brookside
to visit Aunt Polly for a month, or as long as she
can stand four active youngsters in her quiet house.”
“Hurrah!” shouted the four little Blossoms.
“Won’t that be great! Let’s
get the trunk down right away, Mother.”
“Well, I wouldn’t, not
till Daddy comes home,” said Aunt Polly, fanning
herself and smiling. “A week is plenty of
time, and I hear that Dot has to have some new frocks
“Is Daddy coming?” Bobby asked suddenly.
“I wanted him to, for I think
he needs a rest,” said Aunt Polly soberly.
“But the most we could get him to promise was
that he might come up with your mother when it is
time for you to go home.”
“Mother’s going she said so,”
Meg reminded her aunt.
“Only to take you to Brookside,
Daughter,” explained Mother Blossom. “Then
I am coming home again to stay with Daddy. You
see, I couldn’t leave him alone in this house
for a whole month. Think how lonesome he would
Twaddles thought this over for a moment.
“Well, I guess it will be a
change for him, ’thout any children,” he
remarked, with a sunny smile.
Aunt Polly scooped him into her lap and gave him a
“Now where in the world did you get that idea?”
“I found it,” confided Twaddles cheerfully.
Dot had already disappeared.
She thought it time to begin her packing. Presently
they heard her in the house tumbling books out of the
bookcase on to the polished floor.
“Glory be, whatever are ye doing?”
came Norah’s cry. “Haven’t I
enough to be doing, without ye upsetting a room as
fast as I put it in order?”