Dot ran off to the Apgar house as
fast as her short legs would carry her, to find Jud
and ask him if he had taken their toys in out of the
rain. The other children followed Bobby along
“Because our feet are as wet
as they can be, now,” he said, “and if
Aunt Polly is going to scold, getting them wetter won’t
make her scold any more.”
“It looks like more rain,”
worried Meg, scanning the clouds. “Why
don’t we go back, Bobby, and come out after dinner?
If the raft floated as far as the woods, the trees
will keep it dry.”
Bobby was very damp and very hungry,
and he, too, thought that after dinner would be a
better time to hunt for the toys.
“Come on, Twaddles,” he shouted.
“We’re going back.”
Twaddles was some distance ahead,
and he turned so quickly that one foot slipped.
Meg and Bobby saw him tumble into the brook with a
It wasn’t very deep, but it
was very wet, and though Bobby reached him in a second,
poor Twaddles was frightened.
“I’m so co-old!” he wept loudly.
“I want Mother!”
“Well, don’t stand here
all day,” said Bobby practically. “Take
hold of Meg’s hand, and we’ll run to the
house. Linda was making soup this morning, Twaddles.
Think how good nice, hot soup will taste!”
Meg took his hand, and, Bobby on the
other side, Twaddles ran with all his might toward
dry clothes and hot soup. It was raining hard
“Why, children!” Aunt
Polly met them at the door, for she had long ago come
back from taking Mother Blossom to town. “Has
anything happened? I found Dot in the hammock
crying for her doll and But Twaddles
“He fell in the brook,” explained Bobby
“Poor lamb!” comforted
Aunt Polly. “Come upstairs, dear, and Auntie
will see that you’re rubbed dry. And Bobby
and Meg, don’t stand around in those wet shoes
one minute. Change them immediately.”
Half an hour later four clean, dry
little Blossoms were at the table enjoying Linda’s
delicious soup and other good things. The day
had turned to a cold, rainy, dismal one, very different
from the promise of the sunny summer morning.
Aunt Polly said they would have to manufacture their
own sunshine that afternoon.
“You mustn’t think of
going to hunt for the toys till to-morrow, and only
then if it’s clear,” she announced firmly.
“Likely as not the raft sank, and you mustn’t
feel too bad about the toys. You’ll find
plenty of other things to play with on the farm.”
All that afternoon it poured, and
all that afternoon the four little Blossoms spent
in Linda’s kitchen cooking and pulling molasses
candy. They had the sweetiest, stickiest time
you ever heard of, and when about six o’clock
the rain stopped and the sun came out pure yellow
gold, they had a plate of beautiful cream-colored candy
to take to Mrs. Peter Apgar.
“Who wants to help me milk?”
asked Jud, passing the kitchen door as they were talking
to his mother.
“Oh, Jud, I do!” begged
Meg. “You promised to show me how.”
“We’ll all come,”
said Bobby. “Aunt Polly isn’t going
to have supper till seven o’clock to-night,
’cause the minister is coming. We’ve
got oceans of time.”
“Dot looks dressed up to me,”
announced Jud. “Keep her out of the mud,
“This is my prettiest dress,”
said Dot serenely, smoothing down the folds of her
white dotted swiss under her coral-colored sweater.
Mrs. Sally Sweet looked mildly interested
when she saw such a number of people coming into her
comfortable barnyard, and when Jud drove her into
the barn and fastened her in the stanchion, all the
children stood around to watch.
When Jud had the pail nearly full
of milk, he rose carefully.
“Now, Meg,” he said, “you
sit here. Easy now; don’t be nervous.
Don’t you know a cow won’t give milk if
she knows you’re nervous? Now work your
fingers like this ”
Meg sat on the three-legged stool
and tried to do exactly as Jud told her. Bobby
and Dot and Twaddles stared at her open-mouthed.
She was actually milking a live cow!
“Keep right on; that’s
fine,” encouraged Jud. “You’re
doing first rate.”
His father called him just then, and
he ran to the door to see what was wanted. Meg,
beaming, kept on milking. All would have been
well if Mrs. Sally Sweet hadn’t remembered her
calf, Buttercup, and opened her mouth to give a tremendous
and unexpected, “ Moo! ”
The four little Blossoms were sadly
startled. Meg jumped up, upsetting the pail of
milk over herself and Bobby, who stood nearest, and
knocking down Twaddles and Dot who were close behind
her. As luck would have it, both twins pitched
into a heap of soft hay and were not hurt at all.
But when they scrambled to their feet, alas! streams
of yellow, bright yellow, decorated Dot’s sweater
and dress and splashed Twaddles’ middy blouse.
“For goodness’ sake!”
cried Jud, coming back in time to view this wholesale
damage. “What have you been up to now?”
“There must have been eggs in that hay,”
said Twaddles disapprovingly.
“Some hen stole her nest, and
you’ve finished her hopes,” sighed Jud.
“I must say you’re a sweet looking mess.
Wonder what Miss Polly will say?”
“My! and the minister’s
coming to supper,” announced Bobby, remembering
this for the first time.
“I thought you looked dressed
up,” Jud groaned. “I suppose I ought
to have paid more attention. Well, come on, we’ll
go up the back way and I’ll tell Miss Polly
most of it was my fault.”
The four little Blossoms, eggy and
milky, followed Jud up to the house. He meant
to take them in through the kitchen in case the minister
should be on the front porch and so spare Aunt Polly’s
company the sight of such a forlorn procession.
But, just as they rounded the back of the house, they
met Aunt Polly showing the minister and his wife her
“Twaddles!” gasped poor
Aunt Polly, for Twaddles was ahead.
“We we we
were learning to milk,” said Meg apologetically.
The minister and his wife took one
look at the four, and then they sat down on the back
doorstep and laughed and laughed. After a minute
Aunt Polly joined them, and then the children and
Jud began to giggle.
“Hurry and get into something
clean,” commanded Aunt Polly, wiping her eyes.
“Linda is just putting supper on the table.
I don’t care what you put on, as long as it
is clean. I spent an hour dressing you, and now
see the result.”
The four little Blossoms made haste
to scurry into clean suits and dresses, and in a short
time were ready to come downstairs and meet the minister
and his wife properly.
“To-morrow morning,” said
Bobby, as Aunt Polly put out the light and kissed
them good-night, “we must go and hunt for the
But in the morning Peter Apgar rattled
up to the door while they were still at the breakfast
table, with Jerry and Terry harnessed to an empty
“Anybody here want to go over
to the mill with me?” he called loudly.
Of course the four children were wild
to go, and Aunt Polly said that she was sure Peter
had room for every one.
“Take good care of them, Peter,”
she said, following them down to the gate.
“I will,” promised Peter.
“I’ve got an old quilt spread down in the
bottom for them to sit on. If the jolting tires
’em two can sit up with me, taking turns.”
Spotty wagged his tail as they drove
off, but he would not follow the wagon. He knew
it was his place to stay and take care of Aunt Polly.
The mill was about four miles from
Brookside, and the children enjoyed the drive intensely.
Good-natured Peter allowed each one to “drive,”
holding the reins carefully as he told them, “Because,”
said Peter seriously, “even if you’re
only learning, you might as well begin right.”
When they reached the mill, Jerry
and Terry were tied to a post and Peter and the children
went inside. Bobby was rather disappointed with
the outside of the mill; he had expected it to look
like the mills he saw in pictures, with great wide
sails flattened against the sky.
“Electric power runs this mill,”
Peter explained when Bobby asked where the sails were.
“You’ll find plenty to see inside.”
A short, stout man in a dusty white
coat met them, and Peter gave him his order.
“I’ve some little folks
from down the state a way with me,” Peter told
the man. “Guess you can show ’em round
the mill a bit this morning?”
“I should say so!” was
the hearty answer. “Come along, everybody,
and we’ll see just how grain is milled.”
It was not a real flour mill.
That is, not one of the great mills that turn millions
of bushels of wheat into flour; but it did grind buckwheat
for the farmers and made coarse flour and feed for
their stock, cracked corn for poultry and so on.
The four little Blossoms saw much to interest them,
but the great round stones that ground the grains
and the arrangements for sifting the dust and chaff
from the grain interested them the most.
“It must be fun to be a miller!”
said Bobby, when they were ready to go and the noon
whistle blew and the big stones stopped turning as
the power was shut off. “Maybe when I grow
up I’ll run a mill.”
Rattling home in the big wagon with
two sacks of “middlings” in the back with
them, Twaddles and Dot decided that they, too, would
have a mill some day.