The Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope
The Bobbsey Twins at Home
The Bobbsey twins were busy that morning. They were all seated
around the dining-room table, making houses and furnishing them.
The houses were made out of pasteboard shoe boxes and had
square holes cut in them for doors and other long holes for windows
and had pasteboard chairs and tables, pieces of dress goods for
carpets and rugs, and bits of tissue paper stuck to the windows for
lace curtains. Three of the houses were long and low, but Bert had
placed his box on one end and divided it into five stories, and Flossie
said it looked exactly like a "department" house in New York.
There were four of the twins. Now that sounds funny, doesn't it? But,
you see, there were two sets. Bert and Nan, age eight, and Freddie
and Flossie, age four.
Nan was a tall and slender girl, with a dark face and red cheeks. Her
eyes were a deep brown and so were the curls that clustered around
Bert was indeed a twin, not only because he was the same age as
Nan, but because he was so very much like her. To be sure, he
looked like a boy, while she looked like a girl, but he had the same
dark complexion, the same brown eyes and hair, and his voice was
very much the same, only stronger.
Freddie and Flossie were just the opposite of their larger brother and
sister. Each was short and stout, with a fair, round face, light-blue
eyes and fluffy golden hair. Sometimes Papa Bobbsey called
Flossie his little Fat Fairy, which always made her laugh. But Freddie
didn't want to be called a fairy, so his papa called him the Fat Fireman,
which pleased him very much, and made him rush around the house
shouting: "Fire! Fire! Clear the track for Number Two! Play away,
boys, play away!" in a manner that seemed very life like. During the
past year Freddie had seen two fires, and the work of the firemen had interested him deeply.
The Bobbsey family lived in the large town of Lakeport, situated at the
head of Lake Metoka, a clear and beautiful sheet of water upon which
the twins loved to go boating. Mr. Richard Bobbsey was a lumber
merchant, with a large yard and dock on the lake shore and a saw
and planing mill close by. The house was a quarter of a mile away on
a fashionable street and had a small but nice garden around it and a
barn in the rear, in which the children loved at times to play.
"I'm going to cut out a fancy tablecloth for my table," said Nan. "It's
going to be the finest tablecloth that ever was."
"Nice as Aunt Emily's?" questioned Bert. "She's got a -- a dandy,
all printed in roses."
"This is going to be white like the lace window curtains," replied Nan.
While Freddie and Flossie watched her with deep interest, she took
a small square of tissue paper and folded it up several times. Then
she cut curious-looking holes in the folded piece with a sharp pair of
scissors. When the paper was unfolded once more a truely beautiful
"Oh, how lubby!" screamed Flossie. "Make me one, Nan!"
"And me, too," put in Freddie. "I want a real red one," and he brought
forth a bit of red paper he had been saving.
"Oh, Freddie, let me have the red paper for my stairs," cried Bert, who
had had his eyes on the sheet for some time.
"No, I want a tablecloth like Nanny. You take the white paper."
"Whoever saw white paper on a stairs -- I mean white carpet?"
"I'll give you a marble for the paper, Freddie," continued Bert.
But Freddie shook his head. "Want a tablecloth, nice as Aunt
Em'ly," he answered. "Going to set a flower on the table, too!" he
added and ran out of the room. When he came back, he had a
flowerpot in his hand half the size of his house, with a duster feather
stuck in the dirt, for a flower.
"Well, I declare!" cried Nan and burst out laughing. "Oh, Freddie,
how will we ever set that on such a little pasteboard table?"
"Can set it there!" declared the little fellow, and before Nan could stop
him the flowerpot went up and the pasteboard table came down and
was smashed flat.
"Hullo! Freddie's breaking up housekeeping!" cried Bert, laughing
heartily. "Oh, Freddie, do take the flowerpot away!" came from Flossie.
"It's too big to go into the house."
Freddie looked perplexed for a moment. "Going to play garden around
the house. This is a -- a lilac tree!" And he set the flowerpot down
close to Bert's elbow. Bert was now busy trying to put a pasteboard
chimney on his house and did not notice. A moment later Bert's
elbow hit the flowerpot and down it went on the floor, breaking into
several pieces and scattering the dirt over the rug.
"Oh, Bert! What have you done?" cried Nan in alarm. "Get the broom
and the dustpan before Dinah comes."
"It was Freddie's fault."
"Oh, my lilac tree is all gone!" cried the little boy. "And the boiler to my
engine, too," he added, referring to the flowerpot, which he had used
only the day before when playing fireman around the house.
At that moment, Dinah, the cook, came in from the kitchen.
"Well, I declar' to gracious!" she exclaimed. "If yo' chillun ain't gone
an' mussed up de floah ag'in!"
"Bert broke my boiler!" said Freddie and began to cry.
"Oh, never mind, Freddie, there are plenty of others in the cellar,"
declared Nan. "It was an accident, Dinah," she added to the cook.
"Eberyt'ing in dis house wot happens is an accident," grumbled the
cook and went off to get the dustpan and broom. As soon as the
muss had been cleared away, Nan cut out the red table cover for
Freddie, which made him forget the loss of the "lilac tree" and the
"Let us make a row of houses," suggested Flossie. "Bert's big house
can be at the head of the street." And this suggestion was carried out. Fortunately, more pasteboard boxes were to be had, and from these
they made shade trees and some benches, and Bert cut out a
pasteboard horse and cart. To be sure, the horse did not look very
lifelike, but they all played it was a horse and that was enough.
When the work was complete, they called Dinah in to admire it,
which she did standing near the doorway with her fat hands resting
on her hips.
"I do declar', it looks most tremend'us real," said the cook. "It's a
wonder to me yo' chillun can make sech t'ings."
"We learned it in the kindergarten class at school," answered Nan.
"Yes, in the kindergarten," put in Flossie.
"But we don't make fire engines there," came from Freddie.
At this Dinah began to laugh, shaking from head to foot.
"Fire enjuns, am it, Freddie? Reckon yo' is gwine to be a fireman
when yo' is a man, hey?"
"Yes, I'm going to be a real fireman," was the ready answer.
"An' what am yo' gwine to be, Master Bert?"
"Oh, I'm going to be a soldier," said Bert.
"I want to be a soldier, too," put in Freddie. "A soldier and a fireman."
"Oh, dear, I wouldn't want to be a soldier and kill folks," said Nan.
"Girls can't be soldiers," answered Freddie. "They have to get married
or be dressmakers or sten'graphers or something like that."
"You mean stenographers, Freddie. I'm going to be a stenographer
when I get big."
"I don't want to be any stenogerer," put in Flossie. "I'm going to keep
a candy store and have all the candy I want, and ice-cream--"
"Me, too!" burst in Freddie. "I'm going to have a real candy store an'
be an fireman an' a soldier, all together!"
"Dear! Dear!" laughed Dinah. "Jes to heah dat now! It's wonderful
wot yo' is gwine to do when yo' is big."
At that moment, the front doorbell rang, and all rushed to the hallway
to greet their mother, who had been downtown on a shopping tour.
We hope you have enjoyed this month's book review titled: Chapter
One: The Bobbsey Twins at Home
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