Dick and Dolly - Carolyn Wells - ebook

Dick and Dolly ebook

Carolyn Wells

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Dick and Dolly” was published in 1909 and told in a manner which makes the story really true to young readers. It is the story of nine-year old orphan twins (brother and sister) who have to move from one aunt’s home to live with some other aunt in Connecticut. This transfer of their dwelling-place didn’t bother Dick and Dolly much, for they were philosophical little people and took things just as they happened, and, moreover, they were so fond of each other, that so long as they were together, it didn’t matter to them where they were. But to the two people who lived in the old Dana place, and who were about to receive the twin charges, it mattered a great deal. Although written over 100 years ago, the issues facing orphaned children and those who care for them are as timely today as they were then.

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Liczba stron: 254

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Contents

CHAPTER I

CHAPTER II

CHAPTER III

CHAPTER IV

CHAPTER V

CHAPTER VI

CHAPTER VII

CHAPTER VIII

CHAPTER IX

CHAPTER X

CHAPTER XI

CHAPTER XII

CHAPTER XIII

CHAPTER XIV

CHAPTER XV

CHAPTER XVI

CHAPTER XVII

CHAPTER XVIII

CHAPTER XIX

CHAPTER XX

CHAPTER I

THE BROOK

Dick and Dolly were twins and had been twins for nine years.

Most of these years had been spent with Grandma Banks and Aunt Helen, for Dick and Dolly were orphaned when they were tiny tots, and Aunt Helen Banks was their mother’s sister.

Then, about two years ago, Grandma Banks had died, and now Aunt Helen was to be married and go far away across the sea to live.

So their Chicago home was broken up, and the twins were sent to the old Dana homestead in Connecticut, to live with their father’s people.

This transfer of their dwelling-place didn’t bother Dick and Dolly much, for they were philosophical little people and took things just as they happened, and, moreover, they were so fond of each other, that so long as they were together, it didn’t matter to them where they were.

But to the two people who lived in the old Dana place, and who were about to receive the twin charges, it mattered a great deal.

Miss Rachel and Miss Abbie Dana were maiden ladies of precise and methodical habits, and to have their quiet home invaded by two unknown children was, to say the least, disturbing.

But then Dick and Dolly were the children of their own brother, and so, of course they were welcome, still the aunts felt sure it would make a great difference in the household.

And indeed it did.

From the moment of the twins’ arrival,–but I may as well tell you about that moment.

You see, Aunt Helen was so busy with her wedding preparations that she didn’t want to take the time to bring Dick and Dolly all the way from Chicago to Heatherton, Connecticut, so she sent them East in charge of some friends of hers who chanced to be coming. Mr. and Mrs. Halkett were good-natured people, and agreed to see the twins safely to Dana Dene, the home of the waiting aunts.

And the aunts were waiting somewhat anxiously.

They had never seen Dick and Dolly since they were tiny babies, and as they had heard vague reports of mischievous tendencies, they feared for the peace and quiet of their uneventful lives.

“But,” said Miss Abbie to Miss Rachel, “we can’t expect children to act like grown people. If they’re only tidy and fairly good-mannered, I shall be thankful.”

“Perhaps we can train them to be,” responded Miss Rachel, hopefully; “nine is not very old, to begin with. I think they will be tractable at that age.”

“Let us hope so,” said Miss Abbie.

The Dana ladies were not really old,–even the family Bible didn’t credit them with quite half a century apiece,–but they were of a quiet, sedate type, and were disturbed by the least invasion of their daily routine.

Life at Dana Dene was of the clock-work variety, and mistresses and servants fell into step and trooped through each day, without a variation from the pre-arranged line of march.

But, to their honest souls, duty was pre-eminent, even over routine, and now, as it was clearly their duty to take their brother’s children into their household, there was no hesitation, but there was apprehension.

For who could say what two nine-year-olds would be like?

But in accordance with their sense of duty, the Misses Dana accepted the situation and went to work to prepare rooms for the new-comers.

Two large sunny bedrooms, Dolly’s sweet and dainty, Dick’s more boyish, were made ready, and another large room was planned to be used as a study or rainy-day playroom for them both. Surely, the aunts were doing the right thing,–if the children would only respond to the gentle treatment, and not be perfect little savages, all might yet be well.

Now it happened that when Mr. and Mrs. Halkett reached New York with their young charges, the trip from Chicago had made Mrs. Halkett so weary and indisposed that she preferred to remain in New York while her husband took the twins to Heatherton. It was not a long trip, perhaps three hours or less on the train, so Mr. Halkett started off to fulfil his trust and present Dick and Dolly at the door of their new home, assuring his wife that he would return on the first train possible after accomplishing his errand. Mrs. Halkett took pride in seeing that the children were very spick and span, and prettily arrayed, and gave them many injunctions to keep themselves so.

Sturdy Dick looked fine in his grey Norfolk jacket and knickerbockers, with wide white collar and correct tie. Pretty little Dolly was in white piqué, very stiff and clean, with a tan-coloured coat and flower-trimmed hat.

The twins looked alike, and had the same big, dark eyes, but Dick’s hair was a dark mass of close-cropped curls, while Dolly’s was a tangle of fluffy golden ringlets. This striking effect of fair hair and dark eyes made her an unusually attractive-looking child, and though they had never thought of it themselves, the twins were a very beautiful pair of children. Docilely obedient to Mrs. Halkett’s injunctions, they sat quietly in the train, and did nothing that could by any possibility be termed naughty.

Truth to tell, they were a little awed at the thought of the two aunts, whom they did not yet know, but had every reason to believe were not at all like Auntie Helen. They chatted together, as they looked out of the window at the landscape and stations, and Mr. Halkett read his paper, and then looked over his timetable to see how soon he could get back to New York.

There was a train that left Heatherton for New York about half an hour after their own arrival, so he hoped he could leave the twins at Dana Dene and return to the metropolis on that train. But owing to a delay of some sort they did not reach the Heatherton station until about twenty minutes after schedule time.

After the train Mr. Halkett desired to take back to New York, there was no other for two hours, and greatly annoyed was that gentleman. When they stood at last on the station platform, a pleasant-faced Irishman approached and informed Mr. Halkett that he was from Dana Dene, and had been sent to meet Master Dick and Miss Dolly. As the man appeared so capable and responsible, Mr. Halkett was tempted to put the children in his care, and return himself at once to New York.

He explained about the trains, and told of his wife’s illness, and the intelligent Michael said at once:

“Shure, sor, do yez go back to New York. I’ll be afther takin’ the childher safe to the house. Don’t yez moind, sor, but go right along. Lave all to me, sor.”

Impressed with the man’s decisive words, and sure of his trustworthiness, Mr. Halkett assisted the children into the carriage, and bidding them good-bye turned back to the station.

Dolly looked a little wistful as he turned away, for though no relative, he had been a kind friend, and now she felt like a stranger in a strange land.

But Dick was with her, so nothing else really mattered. She slipped her hand in her brother’s, and then Michael picked up his reins and they started off.

It was early May, and it chanced to be warm and pleasant. The carriage was an open one, a sort of landau, and the twins gazed around with eager interest.

“Great, isn’t it, Dolly?” exclaimed Dick, as they drove along a winding road, with tall trees and budding shrubs on either side.

“Oh, yes!” returned Dolly. “It’s beautiful. I love the country a whole heap better than Chicago. Oh, Dick, there’s woods,–real woods!”

“So it is, and a brook in it! I say, Michael, can’t we get out here a minute?”

“I think not,” said the good-natured coachman. “The leddies is forninst, lookin’ for yez, and by the same token, we’re afther bein’ late as it is.”

“Yes, I know,” said Dick, “but we won’t stay a minute. Just let us run in and see that brook. It’s such a dandy! I never saw a brook but once or twice in all my life.”

“Yez didn’t! The saints presarve us! Wherever have yez lived?”

“In the city,–in Chicago. Do stop a minute, please, Michael.”

“Please, Michael,” added Dolly, and her sweet voice and coaxing glance were too much for Michael’s soft heart.

Grumbling a little under his breath, he pulled up his horses, and let the children get out.

“Just a minute, now,” he said, warningly. “I’ll bring yez back here some other day. Can yez get under the brush there?”

“We’ll go over,” cried Dick, as he climbed and scrambled over a low thicket of brush.

Dolly scrambled through, somehow, and the two children that emerged on the other side of the brush were quite different in appearance from the two sedate-looking ones that Mr. Halkett had left behind him.

Dick’s white collar had received a smudge, his stocking was badly torn, and his cheek showed a long scratch.

Dolly’s white frock was a sight! Her pretty tan coat had lost a button or two, and her hat was still in the bushes.

“Hey, Doddy, hey, for the brook!” shouted Dick, and grasping each other’s hands, they ran for the rippling water.

“Oh!” cried Dolly, her eyes shining. “Did you ever!”

To the very edge of the brook they went, dabbling their fingers in the clear stream, and merrily splashing water on each other.

All this would have been a harmless performance enough if they had been in play clothes, but the effect on their travelling costumes was most disastrous.

Leaning over the mossy bank to reach the water caused fearful green stains on white piqué and on light-grey knickerbockers. Hands became grimy, and faces hot and smudgy. But blissfully careless of all this, the children frolicked and capered about, rejoiced to find the delightful country spot and quite oblivious to the fact that they were on their way to their new home.

“Let’s wade,” said Dick, and like a flash, off came four muddy shoes, and four grass-greened stockings. Oh, how good the cool ripply water did feel! and how they chuckled with glee as they felt the wavelets plashing round their ankles.

Across the brook were the dearest wild flowers,–pink, yellow, and white.

“We must gather some,” said Dolly. “Can we wade across?”

“Yep; I guess so. It doesn’t look deep. Come on.”

Taking hands again, they stepped cautiously, and succeeded in crossing the shallow brook, though, incidentally, well dampening the piqué skirt, and the grey knickerbockers.

Sitting down on the mossy bank, they picked handfuls of the flowers and wondered what they were.

“Hollo! Hollo!” called Michael’s voice from the road, where he sat holding his horses.

“All right, Michael! In a minute,” shrilled back the childish voices.

And they really meant to go in a minute, but the fascination of the place held them, and they kept on picking flowers, and grubbing among the roots and stones at the edge of the water.

“We really ought to go,” said Dolly. “Come on, Dick. Oh, look at the birds!”

A large flock of birds flew low through the sky, and as they circled and wheeled, the children watched them eagerly.

“They’re birds coming North for the summer,” said Dick. “See those falling behind! They don’t like the way the flock is going, and they’re going to turn back.”

“So they are! We must watch them. There, now they’ve decided to go on, after all! Aren’t they queer?”

“Hollo! Hollo! Come back, yez bad childher! Come back, I say!”

“Yes, Michael, in a minute,” rang out Dolly’s sweet, bird-like voice.

“In a minute, nothin’! Come now, roight sthraight away! Do yez hear?”

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