Sure enough, ahead of them twinkled
the pretty ornamental light that Aunt Polly had lighted
on dark nights to show where the driveway went through
“We’re in back of the
house!” cried Meg. “See, that’s
the kitchen window where the white curtain is.
Don’t things look different at night?”
“Hello! Hello!” came
Jud’s clear call. “Bobby, Meg, is
Then as Bobby answered him, they heard Jud shouting:
“All right, folks, they’ve come.
I told you they were all right.”
Peter and Jud and a neighbor’s
boy came running toward the children, swinging lanterns,
and followed by Mrs. Peter Apgar and Aunt Polly and
Linda. Such a time as there was, and such a hugging
and kissing and explaining!
“When you didn’t come
home to supper, I began to worry,” said dear
Aunt Polly, carrying Dot, big girl as she was.
Peter had picked up Meg, and Jud had shouldered Twaddles,
while Bobby kept running beside them.
“You must be starved,”
was Linda’s greeting. “We’ve
got fried chicken and currant jelly, too.”
And though it was late, Aunt Polly
was sure that fried chicken would hurt no one, and
while the hungry Blossoms ate, she sat by and listened
to what had happened to them in the woods.
“Why, darlings,” she cried
over and over, “Auntie will buy you other books
and toys, but I couldn’t possibly buy your mother
other children if anything happened to you. Look
at Dot’s feet; the poor child must have walked
miles. And her face and hands are terribly scratched.”
Directly after supper the tired children
were ready for bed, and Linda and Aunt Polly undressed
them and bathed the sore little feet and put soothing
cold cream on sunburned, scratched little faces.
The summer weeks flew merrily by,
and when a rainy afternoon came and Aunt Polly suggested
that the children should write to their father and
mother, the Blossoms discovered that they really had
a good deal to tell.
“I’ll begin, ’cause
I’m the oldest and I can write in pencil,”
said Bobby. “Then Meg can print, and I’ll
write what Dot and Twaddles tell me to. I guess
they will like that kind of letter.”
Aunt Polly thought so, too, and she
gave Bobby her own pretty mahogany “secretary”
that was ever so old a desk, to write at.
Bobby put his tongue in his cheek
and worked hard for fifteen minutes. Then he
was ready to read aloud.
“‘Dear Daddy and Mother:’”
he read. “’We thought you would like to
hear from us. Last week Peter was haying and Meg
and I helped him make loads. Meg drove into the
barn all by herself. It is fun to see them unload
the hay, because they have a thing they call a hayfork
that comes down and takes up big handfuls and carries
it up to the mow. I can almost milk. The
twins are very good most of the time. Your loving
son, Robert Hayward Blossom.’”
“Will they know that’s
from you?” asked Meg doubtfully, slipping into
the chair at the desk and taking up the pencil to print
her letter. “You never call yourself Robert.”
“I guess I know how to write
a letter,” Bobby informed her with dignity.
“You always sign your real names to letters,
don’t you, Aunt Polly?”
“Yes, indeed, dear,” said
Aunt Polly, who was doing something to a pair of overalls.
Meg printed slowly and carefully,
and soon her letter was ready to be read aloud.
“‘Dear Daddy and Mother,’”
she began proudly. “’We hope you are well.
We are. Dot most wasn’t, but I took care
of her. She went out to the barn to hunt for
eggs, and the turkey gobbler saw her. He thought
she was carrying corn in the basket. He chased
her and she ran. I heard her crying and I ran
down to the barn. She was backed up into a corner
and he was making noises at her. He is awful big,
but I am not afraid of him. I grabbed the broom
Jud keeps to sweep the barn floor with and I chased
that old gobbler clear into the orchard. We are
going to pick berries to-morrow.’”
The twins had kept still as long as
they could, and now it was their turn.
“Tell Mother ’bout the
snake I saw this morning,” said Twaddles.
“Jud says it was a black snake after baby robins.
It was on the grape arbor where there is a robin’s
nest. Jud killed it.”
“Tell Daddy I weeded a whole
onion row for Aunt Polly,” begged Dot.
“Wait a minute, I have to sign
my name,” interrupted Meg.
And she signed it, “Margaret
Alice Blossom,” right in among the words of
the twins’ letters that Bobby was patiently writing.
The next day was very warm, and Aunt
Polly thought they had better play in the orchard
instead of picking berries, so they trooped out soon
after breakfast, to find the orchard cool and shady.
“I wish I had my book that was
drowned,” mourned Meg. “I love to
sit up in a tree and read.”
“Well, I loved Geraldine better
than Tottie-Fay,” said Dot, giving the old doll
a shake as she spoke.
“No use fussing,” advised
the sensible Bobby. “They’re lost,
and we mustn’t let Aunt Polly hear us, ’cause
she’ll think she ought to go right off and buy
us some more. I’m going to climb this tree.
Who wants a ripe apple?”
“I do,” and Meg jumped
up. “Let me hold my apron and you throw
’em down, Bobby. Twaddles, stop teasing
“I aren’t teasing him,”
declared Twaddles indignantly. “I’m
going to teach him to carry bundles.”
Twaddles’ method of teaching
the patient Spotty was to sit down on him with feet
spread wide apart and wait for the dog to shake him
Dot sat down quietly in the grass
and began to make a bouquet of wild-flowers.
It was Dot who always helped Aunt Polly weed and water
her flower garden, and Dot who liked to see fresh flowers
on the dining-room table.
When Meg had her apron full of apples
she sat down near Dot, and the four ate as many sweet
summer apples as four small people could who had eaten
breakfast less than an hour before.
said Meg suddenly, glancing up and seeing the black
cat picking her way through the grass. “Do
you suppose she is hunting birds?”
Poots blinked her green eyes innocently.
If she were after birds, she had no intention of catching
any before an audience. She sat down and began
to wash her face.
A mischievous idea seized Twaddles.
“Rats, Spotty!” he shouted. “Rats!”
Now rats sounds pretty much like “cats,”
and the excited and startled Spotty did not stop to
question which word Twaddles had used. He jumped
up, his ears pointing forward.
“Rats, sic ’em!” said bad little
Twaddles. “Rats, Spotty!”
Spotty barked twice sharply.
Poots arose, her fur bristling. Spotty leaped
at her, barking playfully. Away ran Poots, her
black tail sticking straight up in the air. And
after them raced the four little Blossoms, shouting
and calling frantically.
Poots ran straight for the front wall
and scrambled up it, leaving Spotty to bark wildly
on the ground and make futile rushes at the solid
wall he couldn’t hope to climb. Some of
the masonry was loose, and Poots, digging with her
sharp claws, sent down a shower of dust into the dog’s
eyes. He whined, and dug at his eyes with both
forepaws. Then he sneezed several times.
“You will chase me, will you?”
Poots seemed to say, gazing down at him from her safe
position. “The idea!”
“Well, we might as well pick
up some of this stuff,” said Twaddles, knowing
that the fun was over.
“It’s cooler just
feel that breeze!” exclaimed Meg. “Let’s
ask Aunt Polly if we can’t go berrying after
Aunt Polly obligingly said they could,
and after dinner the four little Blossoms scrambled
into overalls Aunt Polly had bought and shortened
to fit them.
“I wish your mother could see
you,” she said, as she gave them each a bright
tin pail. “No need to worry about your dress
now, is there, Dot?”
“Going berrying?” asked
Jud, as they passed him, clipping the green hedge
around the kitchen garden. “Better keep
out of the sun.”
The children walked down the road
and turned into another field. They knew where
the blackberry bushes grew, and they meant to fill
“Let’s start here by this
fence,” suggested Bobby. “What’s
that over in Mr. Simmond’s field?”
“It’s a bull,” answered
Meg who knew all the animals at Brookside and on the
neighboring farms by this time. “He’s
as cross as can be, but he took three prizes at the
Twaddles ate the first dozen berries
he picked and then he picked another dozen for Dot’s
pail. He decided that larger and better berries
grew on the other side of the fence. He crawled
under and his shout of delight brought the others.
“You never saw such big ones!”
cried Twaddles gleefully. “Meg, look!”
“They are big,” agreed
Meg. “Come on, Bobby, let’s go on
the other side. Mr. Simmonds won’t care.”
Dot was already under the fence, and
Meg and Bobby stooped down and crawled under after
The four little figures in blue overalls
began to pick industriously. The berries were
thick and juicy, and the bottoms of the tin pails
were covered in a few minutes. Meg had just stopped
to pull a briar from her thumb when she heard a bellow
There stood the bull, in the middle
of the field, his head down between his knees, his
feet pawing the ground, and his angry eyes glaring
at the berry pickers.
“Oh, Bobby! The bull!”
gasped Meg. “Run, Dot and Twaddles!”