The Bobbsey Twins/chapter7
FREDDIE AND FLOSSIE'S SNOW HOUSE
"Freddie! Freddie!" shrieked Flossie, when she saw her twin brother disappear. "Do come out!"
But Freddie could not come out, and when, after a few seconds he did not show himself, she ran toward the kitchen door, screaming at the top of her breath.
"Oh, Dinah! Dinah! Freddie is buried! Freddie is buried!"
"Wot's dat yo' say, Flossie?" demanded the cook, coming to the door.
"Freddie is buried. The ceiling of the snow house came down on him!"
"Gracious sakes alive, chile!" burst out Dinah, and without waiting to put anything on her head she rushed forth into the garden. "Gib me dat shovel quick! He'll be stuffocated fo' yo' know it."
She began to dig away at the pile of snow, and presently uncovered one of Freddie's lower limbs. Then she dropped the shovel and tugged away at the limb and presently brought Freddie to view, just as Mrs. Bobbsey and Nan appeared on the scene.
"What in the world is the matter?" questioned Mrs. Bobbsey, in alarm.
"Dat chile dun gwine an' buried himself alive," responded the colored cook. "De roof of de snow house cabed in on him, pooh dear! He's 'most stuffocated!"
In the meantime Freddie was gasping for breath. Then he looked at the wreck of the snow house and set up a tremendous roar of dismay.
"Oh, Flossie, it's all spoilt! The bay window an' all!"
"Never mind, Freddie dear," said his mother, taking him. "Be thankful that you were not suffocated, as Dinah says."
"Yes, but Flossie and me were makin' an ev'rything house, with a parlor, an' a bay window, an' ev'rything. I didn't want it to fall down." Freddie was still gasping, but now he struggled to the ground. "Want to build it up again," he added.
"I am afraid you'll get into trouble again, Freddie."
"No, I won't, mamma. Do let us build it up again," pleaded the little fellow.
"I kin watch dem from de doah," suggested Dinah.
"Let me help them, mamma," put in Nan. "Bert is reading a book, so he won't want me for a while."
"Very well. Nan, you may stay with them. But all of you be careful," said Mrs. Bobbsey.
After that the building of the snow house was started all over again. The pile of snow was packed down as hard as possible, and Nan made Flossie and Freddie do the outside work while she crept inside, and cut around the ceiling and the bay window just as the others wanted. It was great sport, and when the snow house was finished it was large enough and strong enough for all of them to enter with safety.
"To-night I'll poah some water ober dat house," said Sam, "Dat will make de snow as hard as ice." This was done, and the house remained in the garden until spring came. Later on Bert built an addition to it, which he called the library, and in this he put a bench and a shelf on which he placed some old magazines and story papers. In the main part of the snow house Freddie and Flossie at first placed an old rug and two blocks of wood for chairs, and a small bench for a table. Then, when Flossie grew tired of the house, Freddie turned it into a stable, in which he placed his rocking-horse. Then he brought out his iron fire engine, and used the place for a fire-house, tying an old dinner bell on a stick, stuck over the doorway. Dong! dong! would go the bell, and out he would rush with his little engine and up the garden path, looking for a fire.
"Let us play you are a reg'lar fireman," said Flossie, on seeing this. "You must live in the fire-house, and I must be your wife and come to see you with the baby." And she dressed up in a long skirt and paid him a visit, with her best doll on her arm. Freddie pretended to be very glad to see her, and embraced the baby. But a moment later he made the bell ring, and throwing the baby to her rushed off again with his engine.
"That wasn't very nice," pouted Flossie. "Dorothy might have fallen in the snow."
"Can't help it," answered Freddie. "A fireman can't stop for anything."
"But—but—he doesn't have to throw his baby away, does he?" questioned Flossie, with wide open eyes.
"Yes, he does,—ev'rything."
"But—but supposing he is—is eating his dinner?"
"He has to throw it away, Flossie. Oh, it's awful hard to be a real fireman."
"Would he have to throw his jam away, and his pie?"
"Then I wouldn't be a fireman, not for a—a house full of gold!" said Flossie, and marched back into the house with her doll.
Flossie's dolls were five in number. Dorothy was her pride, and had light hair and blue eyes, and three dresses, one of real lace. The next was Gertrude, a short doll with black eyes and hair and a traveling dress that was very cute. Then came Lucy, who had lost one arm, and Polly, who had lost both an arm and a leg. The fifth doll was Jujube, a colored boy, dressed in a fiery suit of red, with a blue cap and real rubber boots. This doll had come from Sam and Dinah and had been much admired at first, but was now taken out only when all the others went too.
"He doesn't really belong to the family, you know," Flossie would explain to her friends. "But I have to keep him, for mamma says there is no colored orphan asylum for dolls. Besides, I don't think Sam and Dinah would like to see their doll child in an asylum." The dolls were all kept in a row in a big bureau drawer at the top of the house, but Flossie always took pains to separate Jujube from the rest by placing the cover of a pasteboard box between them.
With so much snow on the ground it was decided by the boys of that neighborhood to build a snow fort, and this work was undertaken early on the following Saturday morning. Luckily, Bert was by that time well enough to go out and he did his fair share of the labor, although being careful not to injure the sore ankle.
The fort was built at the top of a small hill in a large open lot. It was made about twenty feet square and the wall was as high as the boys' heads and over a foot thick. In the middle was gathered a big pile of snow, and into this was stuck a flag-pole from which floated a nice flag loaned by a boy named Ralph Blake.
"Let us divide into two parties of soldiers," said Ralph. "One can defend the fort and the others can attack it."
"Hurrah! just the thing!" cried Bert. "When shall the battle begin?"
The boys talked it over, and it was decided to have the battle come off after lunch.
The boys went home full of enthusiasm, and soon the news spread that a real soldiers' battle was to take place at the lot.
"Oh, Bert, can't I go and look on?" asked Nan.
"I want to go, too," put in Flossie.
"Can't I be a soldier?" asked Freddie. "I can make snowballs, and throw 'em, too."
"No, Freddie, you are too little to be a soldier," answered Bert. "But you can all come and look on, if you wish."
After lunch the boys began to gather quickly, until over twenty were present. Many girls and a few grown folks were also there, who took places out of harm's way.
"Now, remember," said a gentleman who was placed in charge. "No icy snowballs and no stones."
"We'll remember, Mr. Potter," cried the young soldiers.
The boys were speedily divided into two parties, one to attack and one to defend the fort. It fell to Bert's lot to be one of the attacking party. Without loss of time each party began to make all the snowballs it could. The boys who remained in the fort kept out of sight behind the walls, while the attacking party moved to the back of the barn at the corner of the big lot.
"Are you all ready?" shouted Mr. Potter presently.
A yell of assent came from nearly all of the young soldiers.
"Very well, then; the battle may begin."
Some of the boys had brought horns along, and now a rousing blast came from behind the barn and then from the snow fort.
"Come on and capture the fort!" cried Bert, and led the way, with his arms full of snowballs.
There was a grand cheer and up the hill rushed the young soldiers, ready to capture the snow fort no matter what the cost.