The Bobbsey Twins/chapter15
THE CHILDREN'S PARTY
The little black kitten that Freddie had brought home from the department store was a great friend to everybody in the Bobbsey house and all loved the little creature very much.
At first Freddie started to call the kitten Blackie, but Flossie said that wasn't a very "'ristocratic" name at all.
"I'll tell you what," said Bert jokingly, "let's call him Snoop," and in spite of all efforts to make the name something else Snoop the cat remained from that time to the day of his death.
He grew very fat and just a trifle lazy, nevertheless he learned to do several tricks. He could sit up in a corner on his hind legs, and shake hands, and when told to do so would jump through one's arms, even if the arms were quite high up from the floor.
Snoop had one comical trick that always made both Flossie and Freddie laugh. There was running water in the kitchen, and Snoop loved to sit on the edge of the sink and play with the drops as they fell from the bottom of the faucet. He would watch until a drop was just falling, then reach out with his paw and give it a claw just as if he was reaching for a mouse.
Another trick he had, but this Mrs. Bobbsey did not think so nice, was to curl himself on the pillow of one of the beds and go sound asleep. Whenever he heard Mrs. Bobbsey coming up one pair of stairs, he would fly off the bed and sneak down the other pair, so that she caught him but rarely.
Snoop was a very clean cat and was continually washing his face and his ears. Around his neck Flossie placed a blue ribbon, and it was amusing to see Snoop try to wash it off. But after a while, having spoilt several ribbons, he found they would not wash off, and so he let them alone, and in the end appeared very proud of them.
One day, when Snoop had been in the house but a few months, he could not be found anywhere.
"Snoop! Snoop!" called Freddie, upstairs and down, but the kitten did not answer, nor did he show himself. Then Flossie called him and made a search, but was equally unsuccessful.
"Perhaps somebody has stolen him," said Freddie soberly.
"Nobody been heah to steal dat kitten," answered Dinah. "He's jess sneaked off, dat's all."
All of the children had been invited to a party that afternoon and Nan was going to wear her new set of furs. After having her hair brushed, and putting on a white dress. Nan went to the closet in which her furs were kept in the big box.
"Well, I never!" she ejaculated. "Oh, Snoop! however could you do it!"
For there, curled up on the set of furs, was the kitten, purring as contentedly as could be. Never before had he found a bed so soft or so to his liking. But Nan made him rouse up in a hurry, and after that when she closed the closet she made quite sure that Snoop was not inside.
The party to be held that afternoon was at the home of Grace Lavine, the little girl who had fainted from so much rope jumping. Grace was over that attack, and was now quite certain that when her mamma told her to do a thing or to leave it alone, it was always for her own good.
"Mamma knows best," she said to Nan, "I didn't think so then, but I do now."
The party was a grand affair and over thirty young people were present, all dressed in their best. They played all sorts of games such as many of my readers must already know, and then some new games which the big boys and girls introduced.
One game was called Hunt the Beans. A handful of dried beans was hidden all over the rooms, in out-of-the-way corners, behind the piano, in vases, and like that, and at the signal to start every girl and boy started to pick up as many as could be found. The search lasted just five minutes, and at the end of that time the one having the most beans won the game.
"Now let us play Three-word Letters," said Nan. And then she explained the game. "I will call out a letter and you must try to think of a sentence of three words, each word starting with that letter. Now then, are you ready?"
"Yes! yes!" the girls and boys cried.
"B," said Nan.
There was a second of silence.
"Boston Baked Beans!" shouted Charley Mason.
"That is right, Charley. Now it is your turn to give a letter."
"F," said Charley.
"Five Fat Fairies!" cried Nellie Parks.
"Four Fresh Fish," put in another of the girls.
"Nellie has it," said Charley. "But I never heard of fat fairies, did you?" and this question made everybody laugh.
"My letter is M," said Nellie, after a pause.
"More Minced Mushrooms," said Bert.
"More Mean Men," said another boy.
"Mind My Mule," said one of the girls.
"Oh, Helen, I didn't know you had a mule," cried Flossie, and this caused a wild shriek of laughter.
"Bert must love mushrooms," said Nellie.
"I do," said Bert, "if they are in a sauce."
And then the game went on, until somebody suggested something else.
At seven o'clock a supper was served. The tables were two in number, with the little girls and boys at one and the big girls and boys at the other. Each was decked out with flowers and with colored streamers, which ran down from the chandelier to each corner of both tables.
There was a host of good things to eat and drink—chicken sandwiches and cake, with cups of sweet chocolate, or lemonade, and then more cake and ice-cream, and fruit, nuts, and candy. The ice-cream was done up into various fancy forms, and Freddie got a fireman with a trumpet under his arm, and Nan a Japanese lady with a real paper parasol over her head. Bert was served with an automobile, and Flossie cried with delight when she received a brown-and-white cow that looked as natural as life, all of the forms were so pleasing that the children did not care to eat them until the heat in the lighted dining room made them begin to melt away.
"I'm going to tell Dinah about the ice-cream cow," said Flossie. "Perhaps she can make them." But when appealed to, the cook said they were beyond her, and must be purchased from the professional ice-cream maker, who had the necessary forms.
There were dishes full of bonbons on the tables, and soon the bonbons were snapping at a lively rate among the big girls and boys, although the younger folks were rather afraid of them. Each bonbon had a motto paper in it and some sort of fancy article made of paper. Bert got an apron, which he promptly pinned on, much to the amusement of the girls. Nan drew a workman's cap and put it on, and this caused another laugh. There were all sorts of caps, hats, and aprons, and one big bonbon, which went to Flossie, had a complete dress in it, of pink and white paper. Another had some artificial flowers, and still another a tiny bottle of cologne.
While the supper was going on, Mr. Lavine had darkened the parlor and stretched a sheet over the folding doors, and as soon as the young people were through eating they were treated to a magic-lantern exhibition by the gentleman of the house and one of the big boys, who assisted him. There were all sorts of scenes, including some which were very funny and made the boys and girls shriek with laughter. One was a boy on a donkey, and another two fat men trying to climb over a fence. Then came a number of pictures made from photograph negatives, showing scenes in and around Lakeport. There were the lake steamer, and the main street, and one picture of the girls and boys rushing out of school at dinner time. The last was voted the best of all, and many present tried to pick themselves out of this picture and did so.
After the exhibition was over one of the largest of the girls sat down to the piano and played. By this time some of the older folks drifted in, and they called for some singing, and all joined in half a dozen songs that were familiar to them. Then the young folks ran off for their coats and caps and wraps, and bid their host and hostess and each other good night.
"Wasn't it splendid?" said Nan, on the way home. "I never had such a good time before."
"Didn't last half long enough," said Freddie. "Want it to last longer next time."
"I wanted my cow to last longer," said Flossie. "Oh, if only I could have kept it from melting!"