The Bobbsey Twins at School by Laura Lee Hope
Chapter XIII. An Unpleasant Surprise
Quickly, after the first guests had arrived came the others. Nellie Parks, Grace Lavine friends of Nan, and Willie Porter and his sister Sadie, came first, and Freddie and Flossie let them in, the Porter children being some of their bestliked playmates.
All the children wore their best clothes, and for a time they were a bit stiff and unnatural, standing shyly about in corners, against the walls, or sitting on chairs.
The boys seemed to all crowd together in one part of the room, and the girls in another. Flossie and Freddie, Nan and Bert, were so busy answering the door that they did not notice this at first.
But Aunt Sarah, their mother's sister, who had come over to help Mrs. Bobbsey, looking in the parlor and library, saw what the trouble was.
"My!" she cried, with a goodnatured laugh, as she noticed how "stiff" the children were. "This will never do. You're not that way at school, I don't believe. Come, be lively. Mix up - play games. Pretend this is recess at school, and make as much noise as you like."
For a moment the boys and girls did not know what to think of this invitation. But just then Snap, the circus dog, came in the room, and, with a bark of welcome, he turned a somersault, and then marched around on his hind legs, carrying a broomstick like a gun - pretending he was a soldier. Bert had given it to him.
Then how the children laughed and clapped their hands! And Snap barked so loudly - for he liked applause that there was noise enough for even jolly Aunt Sarah. After that there was no trouble. The boys and girls talked together and soon they were playing games, and having the best kind of fun.
For some of the games simple prizes had been offered and it was quite exciting toward the end to see who would win. Flossie and Freddie thought they had never had such a good time in all their lives. Nan and Bert were enjoying themselves, too, with their friends, who were slightly older than those who had been asked for the younger Bobbsey twins.
"Going to Jerusalem," was one game that created lots of enjoyment. A number of chairs were placed in the centre of the room, and the boys and girls marched around them while Mrs. Bobbsey played the piano. But there was one less chair than there were players, so that when the music would suddenly stop, which was a signal for each one who could, to sit down, someone was sure to be left. Then this one had to stay out of the game.
Then a chair would be taken away, so as always to have one less than the number of players, and the game went on. It was great fun, scrambling to see who would get a seat, and not be left without one, and finally there was but one chair left, while Grace Lavine and John Blake marched about. Mrs. Bobbsey kept playing quite some time, as the two went around and around that one chair. Everyone was laughing, wondering who would get a seat and so win the game, when, all at once, Mrs. Bobbsey stopped the music. She had her back turned so it would be perfectly fair.
Grace and John made a rush for the one chair, but Grace got to it first, and so she won.
"Well, I'm glad you did, anyhow," said John, politely.
Other games were "peanut races" and "potato scrambles." In the first each player had a certain number of peanuts and they had to start at one end of the room, and lay the nuts at equal distances apart across to the other side, coming back each time to their pile of peanuts to get one.
Sometimes a boy would slip, he was in such a hurry, or a girl would drop her peanuts, and this made fun and confusion.
Nan won this race easily.
In the potato scramble several rows of potatoes were made across the room. Each player was given a large spoon, and whoever first took up all his or her potatoes in the spoons one at a time, and piled them up at the far end of the room, won the game. In this Charley Mason was successful, and won the prize - a pretty little pin for his tie.
The afternoon wore on, and, almost before the children realized it the hour for supper had arrived. They were not sorry, either, for they all had good appetites.
"Come into the dining room, children," invited Mrs. Bobbsey.
And Oh! such gasps of pleased surprise as were heard when the children saw what had been prepared for them! For Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey, while not going to any great expense, and not making the children's party too fanciful, had made it beautiful and simple.
The long table was set with dishes and pretty glasses. There were flowers in the centre, and at each end, and also blooms in vases about the room. Then, from the centre chandelier to the four corners of the table, were strings of green smilax in which had been entwined carnations of various colors.
The lights were softly glowing on the pretty scene, and there were prettily shaded candles to add to the effect. But what caught the eyes of all the children more than anything else were two large cakes - one at either end of the table.
On each cake burned five candles, and on one cake was the name "Flossie," while the other was marked "Freddie." The names were in pink icing on top of the white frosting that covered the birthday cakes.
"Oh! Oh! Oh!" could be heard all about the room. "Isn't that too sweet for anything!"
"I guess they are sweet!" piped up Freddie in his shrill little voice, "'cause Dinah put lots of sugar in 'em; didn't you, Dinah?" and he looked at Dinah, who had thrust her laughing, black, goodnatured face into the dining room door.
"Dat's what I did, honey! Dat's what I did!" she exclaimed. "If anybody's got a toofache he'd better not eat any ob dem cakes, 'cause dey suah am sweet."
How the children laughed at that!
"All ready, now, children, sit down," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "Your names are at your plates."
There was a little confusion getting them all seated, as those on one side of the table found that their name cards were on the other side. But Flossie and Freddie, and Nan and Bert, helped the guests to find their proper places and soon everyone was in his or her chair.
"Can't Snap sit with us, too?" asked Freddie, looking about for his pet, who had done all his tricks well that evening.
"No, dear," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "Snap is a good dog, but we don't want him in the dining room when we are eating. It gives him bad habits."
"Then can't I send him out some cakes?" asked Flossie, for Snap had almost as large a "sweet tooth" as the children themselves.
"Yes, as it is your birthday, I suppose you can give him some of your good things," said Mamma Bobbsey.
"Here, Dinah!" called Freddie to the cook, as he piled a plate full of cakes. "Please give these to Snap."
"Land sakes goodness me alive!" cried Dinah. "Dat suah am queer. Feedin' a dog jest laik a human at a party. I can't bring mahself to it, nohow."
"I'll take 'em out to him," said her husband.
Then the feast began, and such a feast as it was! Mrs. Bobbsey, knowing how easily the delicate stomachs of children can be upset, had wisely selected the food and sweets, and she saw to it that no one ate too much, though she was gently suggestive about it instead of ordering.
"Don't eat too much," advised Freddie to some of the friends who sat near him. "We've got a lot of ice cream coming. Save room for that."
"That's so - I almost forgot," spoke Jimmie Black.
A little later Mrs. Bobbsey said to Dinah:
"I think you may bring in the cream now, and I will help you serve it."
"Oh, goodie!" cried Freddie. "Ice cream's coming!" and he waved his spoon above his head.
"Freddie - Freddie!" said his mother, in gentle reproof.
Dinah went out on the back stoop, looked around and came running back to the dining room, where Mrs. Bobbsey was. Dinah's eyes were big with wonder and surprise.
"Mrs. Bobbsey! Mrs. Bobbsey!" she cried. "Suffin's done gone an' happened!"
"What is it?" asked Mamma Bobbsey, quickly. "Is anyone hurt?"
"No'm, but dat ice cream freezer hate jest gone and walked right off de back stoop, an' it ain't dere at all, nohow! De ice cream is all gone!"
The children looked at one another with pained surprise showing on their faces.
The ice cream was gone!