Four Little Blossoms at Brookside Farm/Chapter 2

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THE Blossoms all went back to the garage and found Sam bending over the sick dog.

"He's a cute little fellow, Mr. Blossom," said Sam. "Just a pup, too. Shouldn't wonder if he turned out to be a good ratter when his leg gets well."

That was the highest praise Sam could give a dog, and Meg and Bobby were delighted.

"May we keep him, Mother?" they urged. "He can live in the garage. Please, Mother."

Mother Blossom looked at Father.

"Well, Ralph?" she said.

"Why, keep him, of course," counseled Father Blossom, laughter-twinkles in his kind eyes. "Norah is the sole objector in the family, and if you can pacify her there's no reason why we shouldn't have as many dogs as we want. Named him yet, Meg?"

"I want to think about a name for him," replied Meg. "You can't change names, you know, and I wouldn't want him to have a silly name."

"That's my cautious daughter," said Father Blossom. "And now it seems to me that some one said we were going to have supper early tonight."

"We are," declared Mother Blossom. "Children, you have several things to do before you are ready for the table. Your faces and hands are a sight. Bobby, didn't you go to the post-office? Was there any mail?"

"I forgot, Mother—there was one letter for you," answered Bobby, pulling a crumpled envelope from his pocket. "The dog kind of took my attention," he added.

Mother Blossom went into the house to read her letter, and the four children scampered upstairs to wash their faces and hands. Meg and Dot shared the same room, and Bobby and Twaddles slept in the room adjoining. Each child had a little white bed and a separate bureau.

"I s'pose I'd better put on another dress," said Dot doubtfully. "Mother didn't say to, though. Shall I, Meg?"

"Well, I would," advised Meg. "Not a spandy clean one, 'cause you mussed up two yesterday. Put on the green one again, can't you?"

"I tore that," objected Dot, who certainly had bad luck with her clothes. "Oh, dear, I don't see why I wasn't a bird with a dress all glued on."

"'Most ready?" asked Mother Blossom, who had come upstairs while the little girls were talking. "Let Mother tie your ribbon, Meg. What's the matter with Dot?"

Meg bubbled into a gay little laugh.

"She was wishing she was a bird with a dress glued on," she said. "Wouldn't that be funny?"

"Yes, it would," agreed Mother Blossom. "But bring me the white piqué, dear, and let me help you into it. Daddy is waiting for us."

Dot was buttoned into a clean dress in a minute, and then Mother Blossom had to call Twaddles away from the basin in the bathroom where he was playing in the water instead of washing his hands, and she had to find a clean handkerchief for Bobby, and then, at last, they could all go downstairs.

Father Blossom was playing the mechanical piano, but he stopped as soon as he saw them.

"Everybody here to-night?" he asked. "Well, that is fine! Come on, Dottie-mine, and Daddy will tie your bib for you."

The twins did not always have supper with Mother and Father Blossom. Sometimes they had their bread and milk at five o'clock and went to bed at half-past six. It was a treat for them to eat supper with their father.

Mother Blossom smiled at the eager faces.

"We've company coming," she announced. "Some one you love to have visit us."

"When are they coming?" asked Meg.

"To-morrow," answered Mother Blossom. "If I hadn't asked Bobby for the mail, we might have been in a great pickle. She's coming on the nine-fifty-six to-morrow morning."

"Aunt Polly!" shouted the four little Blossoms.

"Is it Aunt Polly, Mother?"

"How long will she stay?"

"Can we go to meet her?"

"Will she bring a trunk?"

Mother Blossom put her hands over her ears.

"Don't all talk at once," she begged. "Yes, Aunt Polly is coming. She can't stay long, not even a week——"

"But what do you think?" interrupted Father Blossom. "She wants the four Blossoms to go home with her!"

"Ralph, you're not a bit better than Bobby," scolded Mother Blossom. "I didn't want to tell them to-night. However, there's no use trying to keep a secret in this family. Aunt Polly has invited you all to spend the summer at Brookside Farm."

Well, of course, the children could talk of nothing else after that. Aunt Polly Hayward was Mother Blossom's eldest sister. She was a widow and lived on a fine farm many miles distant from the town of Oak Hill. She came often to visit Mother Blossom, and the children thought there was no one like her. To go to see Aunt Polly was a wonderful treat, and even Bobby, who, as the oldest of the four little Blossoms, had had more experiences than the others, had never been away from home in his life to stay.

They were all up early the next morning, and Sam and the car took Father Blossom to the foundry immediately after breakfast so as to be back in time to meet Aunt Polly.

"Aunt Polly's coming, Norah," said Meg, happily, as Norah was clearing the table.

"Sure, and I've heard nothing else since last night," rejoined Norah. "How is the dog, your poor patient, this bright morning?"

Bobby and Twaddles and Dot looked at each other.

"The dog?" repeated Bobby. "My goodness, we forgot him!"

"I didn't forget him," Meg said. "At least, I remembered him after I was in bed. I came down to feed him, and Daddy heard me and wouldn't let me go out in my nightgown. He took him some bread and milk. And this morning I fed him before breakfast."

"How's he feel?" asked Twaddles sympathetically.

"He's ever so much better," Meg informed him. "He can wag his leg some."

"His tail, you mean," corrected Bobby. "Dogs don't wag their legs."

"They do, too," argued Meg. "Anyway this one does, so that shows he is better. And I've thought up a name for him. I'm going to call him Philip."

Bobby stared.

"What do you want to call him that for?" he said curiously.

"I read it in a book," answered Meg. "He looks as if he ought to be named Philip."

Bobby was too surprised to argue, and just then Mother Blossom called to them that Sam was coming back with the car and they hurried out to see who could go to the station.

"Aunt Polly will like to see us," declared Dot confidently. "And this dress is just as clean, Mother. There's only a tiny speck of egg on a tuck—it doesn't show a bit."

Mother Blossom sat down on the top step and pulled Dot into her lap.

"It's a duck of a clean frock," she assured her small daughter, kissing her. "And do you know there's just one way to avoid disappointment, and we'll take it; we'll all go to meet Aunt Polly. If she has any bundles, she'll just have to leave them, or Sam can tie them on behind."

Sam grinned.

When they reached the station Mother Blossom announced that the children were to stay quietly in the car while she went around to the front platform to meet Aunt Polly.

"Do you suppose she'll bring us anything?" asked Twaddles hopefully, as Mother Blossom disappeared around the corner of the ticket window.

"That isn't polite," reproved Meg quickly. "You must be glad to see company whether they bring you things or not."

"There she is!" Dot stood up in the car and pointed. "Aunt Polly!"

"Aunt Polly!" shouted the three other little Blossoms loudly.