Meg rushed into the house.
“Dot Blossom, you’re not
to touch my books,” she scolded. “The
idea! Why don’t you fuss with your own
Dot looked vexed.
“I’m helping you,”
she explained. “Don’t you want to
take your books to Aunt Polly’s to read rainy
days? Well, then, I’ll pack ’em for
Mother Blossom had followed Meg, and
now she intervened.
“No one is to pack anything
to-day,” she said firmly. “I want
Dot to go into town with a message for Miss Florence.
And Meg must practice on the piano half an hour at
least. This afternoon we’re going to take
Aunt Polly driving. After she goes home there
will be plenty for all of us to do to get ready.”
Miss Florence Davis was the dressmaker
who often came to the house to make clothes for the
Blossom children, and Dot set off presently for her
house, carrying a note to her. Miss Florence had
no telephone. She said she wasn’t home
long enough to answer it. But she always left
a slip of paper pinned to her door to tell people
at whose house she was sewing, and her customers were
used to going about the town till they found her.
“She says she can come,”
reported Dot when she returned from her errand.
“She can give you four days, Mother. Where
are the boys?”
Mother Blossom looked at her small daughter and sighed.
“I thought you knew Sam painted
the fence last night,” she said mildly.
“I did, but I forgot,”
explained Dot, trying to fold over a pleat so that
the vivid streaks of green paint would not show.
“I guess I kind of brushed up against it, Mother.”
Usually when Aunt Polly went home
the four little Blossoms were disconsolate, but the
next morning they saw her to the station quite cheerfully.
Were they not going to Brookside themselves exactly
one week from that day?
“Now we must fly around and
get ready,” announced Bobby, when they returned
to the house. Bobby had a great trick of remembering
speeches he had heard older folk make.
“Indeed then and you must,”
agreed Norah, who was sweeping the porch. “Your
mother wants Dot in the sewing room. Miss Florence
is ready to try on. And, Bobby, it’s sorry
I am, but we’re out of soap.”
It was rather a long walk to the grocery
store, and Bobby didn’t think that going for
soap promised one bit of excitement. Neither did
Meg want to practice the piano scales that one day
were to make her a good musician. Norah knew
something of what they were thinking.
“You’ll both be helping
your mother to get ready to go,” she said earnestly
and kindly. “I’ve got extra washing
to do, for all your clothes must be clean. And
if Meg’s going to stop learning music every
time a new plan comes up, she’ll grow up to be
terrible ignorant of lots of things.”
“All right, I’m going,”
said Bobby quickly. “An’ you’ll
be through by the time I get back, Meg. Then
I guess we can pack the toys.”
Twaddles, left alone, wandered up to the sewing room.
“Hello, Twaddles,” said
Miss Florence pleasantly. “Have you come
up to see what pretty dresses Dot is going to have?
And what is this I hear about every one going to Brookside?”
“We’re going to see Aunt
Polly,” explained Twaddles. “And,
Mother, can we take toys? Bobby’s all ready
to pack ’em as soon as he gets back.”
“If you don’t pack something
pretty soon, the house won’t hold you,”
observed Mother Blossom, smiling. “You see,
Twaddles dear, Mother doesn’t believe you will
need many toys at Brookside. There will be so
many wonderful new out-of-door things for you to play
with. Suppose we say that each of you may choose
the two things you are fondest of. That won’t
make so much to carry.”
So that was settled, and when Bobby
came back from town and Meg had finished practicing
scales and Dot’s three new dresses had all been
tried on, the children went upstairs to their playroom
to select the toys they thought they would want to
take with them.
“I think we ought to take the
things Aunt Polly gave us,” announced Meg.
“They’re new, and we haven’t played
with them much. She might think we didn’t
like ’em if we left them at home.”
“All right, we will,”
decided Bobby. “And I’ll take my ball
and bat. Guess I won’t break Aunt Polly’s
windows. There must be lots of room on a farm.”
“I’m going to take the
paper dolls,” said Meg. “I’m
pretty sure Aunt Polly will have books to read, so
that’s all right. What you going to take,
“Geraldine and Tottie-Fay and
the trunk,” was the prompt response.
Meg reminded her. “Mother said we could
each have two. I tell you you don’t
need the trunk; just take Geraldine’s new clothes.”
“All right,” acquiesced Dot briefly.
Tottie-Fay was an old dollie, but
dearly loved, and, as Father Blossom said when he
heard that she was going to Brookside, no one could
need a change of air more.
“I’m going to carry my
kiddie-car,” declared Twaddles serenely.
The others protested that the kiddie-car
wouldn’t go in the trunk; that there would be
no pavement on which to ride it; that Twaddles should
take a smaller toy.
Twaddles listened politely and set
his obstinate little chin firmly. He meant to
take the kiddie-car.
“We’ll express it,”
said Father Blossom kindly that night. “I’m
going to send a porch swing up and a Oh,
my goodness, I almost told you. And it is a surprise !”
“What is it?” cried the
four little Blossoms eagerly. “Tell us,
Daddy! Ah, do! Please!”
“It can be a surprise for Aunt
Polly,” suggested Meg artfully. “Won’t
you tell us, Daddy?”
“No. I like surprises that
are surprises,” asserted Father Blossom.
“Now, not another word does any one get out of
me on this subject. Not a word.”
The next few days were very busy ones;
but at last two trunks were brought down and placed
in the hall, and Mother Blossom made lists and packed
and explained her plans to Meg and Bobby, who, as the
oldest, could be expected to remember.
“All the stockings are here,
dear, right in this tray,” Mother Blossom would
say. “And I’m putting Bobby’s
blouses in this trunk. You are sure you will
remember so that Aunt Polly needn’t be bothered
in case I don’t get both trunks unpacked for
Meg was sure she could remember.
asked Mother Blossom the last afternoon, when she
was putting in the very final things. “I
haven’t seen him since lunch time. Dot,
do you know where he went?”
“I think he’s watching
Sam give Philip a bath,” volunteered Bobby.
“He likes the smell of that dog soap, Mother.”
“I can’t say I do,”
said Mother Blossom frankly. “It is strongly
carbolic. Go and call him in, will you, Bobby?”
Bobby found Twaddles blissfully watching
the shivering Philip enduring a last rinsing after
his bath. Sam liked to keep him clean, and he
said that because a dog had a broken leg was no reason
why he shouldn’t be washed.
“Mother says for you to come
in,” Bobby told his brother. “It’s
time to get ready for supper. Gee, that soap
does smell, doesn’t it?”
“I like it,” Twaddles
affirmed, sniffing luxuriously. “I wish
we took baths with that kind.”
Mother Blossom sent him to the bathroom
to wash his face and hands and she brushed his hair
for him herself.
“What is that I keep smelling?”
she asked once or twice, “Oh, the carbolic dog-soap.
Twaddles, I do wish you wouldn’t handle it so
“Who’s been to the drug
store?” said Father Blossom, when they sat down
to supper. “Phew! I smell carbolic,
“Philip had a bath,” explained
Twaddles uneasily. “Perhaps you smell it,
“Twaddles means the soap,”
giggled Meg. “You can’t smell a bath,
Father Blossom laid down his carving knife and fork.
“I can’t stand that,”
he declared positively. “Twaddles, you needn’t
tell me just handling a soapy dog is responsible for
the whiffs of carbolic I’m getting. What
is that in your pocket?”
A dark wet stain was slowly spreading
in the square little pocket of the blouse Twaddles
“I I saved a piece,”
he stammered. “I thought Spotty, Aunt Polly’s
dog, ought to have some. It’s awful healthy
for dogs, Daddy. Sam says so.”
Father Blossom had to laugh.
“I don’t doubt it,”
he admitted. “But that’s no reason
why we should have to smell it. Wrap it up and
put it away if you like for Spotty. And then
come back and we’ll see if we can finish supper