Bobbsey Twins in Washington by Laura Lee Hope
Chapter XII. Washington Monument
Down the White House driveway rolled the carriage, drawn by the prancing horses. It was coming toward the iron gate near which, on the sidewalk, stood the Bobbsey twins, with their new friends, Billy and Nell Martin.
On the front seat of the carriage, which was an open one, in spite of the fact that the day was cool, though not very cold, sat two men. One drove the horses and the other sat up very straight and still.
"I should think he'd have an automobile," remarked Bert.
"He has," answered Billy. "He has an auto--two of 'em, I guess. But lots of times he rides around Washington in a carriage just as he's doing now."
"That's right," chimed in Nell. "Sometimes we see the President and his wife in a carriage, like now, and sometimes in a big auto."
By this time the carriage, containing the President of the United States, was passing through the gate. A crowd of curious persons, who had seen what was going on, as had the Bobbsey twins, came hurrying up to catch a glimpse of the head of the nation. The police officers and the men from the White House ground kept the crowd from coming too close to the President's carriage.
The Chief Executive, as he is often called, saw the crowd of people waiting to watch him pass. Some of the ladies in the crowd waved their hands, and others their handkerchiefs, while the men raised their hats.
Billy put his hand to his cap, saluting as the soldiers do, and Bert, seeing this, did the same thing. Nell and Nan, being girls, were not, of course, expected to salute. As for Flossie and Freddie they were too small to do anything but just stare with all their eyes.
As the President's carriage drove along he smiled, bowed, and raised his hat to those who stood there to greet him. The President's wife also smiled and bowed. And then something in the eager faces of the Bobbsey twins and their friends, Nell and Billy, attracted the notice of the President's wife.
She smiled at the eager, happy-looking children, waved her hand to them, and spoke to her husband. He turned to look at the Bobbseys and their friends, and he waved his hand, He seemed to like to have the children watching him.
And then Flossie, with a quick little motion kissed the tips of her chubby, rosy fingers and fluttered them eagerly toward the President's wife.
"I threw her a kiss!" exclaimed Flossie with a laugh.
"I'm gin' to throw one too," exclaimed Freddie. And he did.
The President's wife saw what the little Bobbsey twins had done, and, as quick as a flash, she kissed her hand back to Flossie and Freddie.
"Oh, isn't that sweet!" exclaimed a woman in the throng, and when, afterward, Nan told her mother what had happened, Mrs. Bobbsey said that when Flossie and Freddie grew up they would long remember their first sight of a President of the United States.
"Well, I guess that's all we can see now," remarked Billy, as the President's carriage rolled off down the street and the crowd that had gathered at the White House gate began moving on. The gates were closed, the policemen and guards turned away, and now the Bobbsey twins and their friends were ready for something else.
"Where do you want to go?" asked Billy of Bert.
"Oh, I don't know. 'Most anywhere, I guess."
"Could we go to see the Washington Monument?" asked Nan. "I've always wanted to see that, ever since I saw the picture of it in one of daddy's books at home."
"I don't believe we'd better go out there alone," said Nell. "It's quite a way from here. We'd better have our mothers or our fathers with us. But we can walk along the streets, and go in the big market, I guess."
"Let's do that!" agreed Billy. "There's heaps of good things to eat in the market," he added to Bert. "It makes you hungry to go through it."
"Then I don't want to go!" laughed Bert. "I'm hungry now."
"I know where we can get some nice hot chocolate," said Nell. "It's in a drug store, and mother lets Billy and me go there sometimes when we have enough money from our allowance."
"Oh, I'm going to treat!" cried Bert. "I have fifty cents, and mother said I could spend it any way I pleased. Come on and we'll have chocolate. It's my treat!"
"We may go, Mayn't we, Jane?" asked Nell, of the maid who had accompanied them.
"Oh, yes," was the smiling answer. "If you go to Parson's it will be all right."
And a little later six smiling, happy children, and a rosy, smiling maid were seated before a soda counter sipping sweet chocolate, and eating crisp crackers.
After that Billy and Nell took the Bobbsey twins to the market, which is really quite a wonderful place in Washington, and where, as Billy said, it really makes one hungry to see the many good things spread about and displayed on the stands.
"I think we've been gone long enough now," said the maid at last. "We had better go back."
So, after looking around a little longer at the part of the market where flowers were sold and where old negro women sold queer roots, barks, and herbs, the Bobbsey twins and their friends started slowly back toward the Martin house.
On the way they passed a store where china and glass dishes were sold, and there were many cups, saucers and plates in one of the windows.
"Wait a minute!" cried Bert, as Billy was about to pass on. "I want to look here!"
"What for?" Billy asked. "You don't need any dishes!"
"I want to see if Miss Pompret's sugar bowl and cream pitcher are here," Bert answered. "If Nan or I can find them we'll get a lot of money, and I could spend my part while I was here."
"Why Bert Bobbsey!" cried Nan, "you couldn't find Miss Pompret's things here--in a store like this. They only sell new china, and hers would be secondhand!"
"I know it," admitted Bert. "But there might be a sugar bowl and pitcher just like hers here, even if they were new."
"Oh, no!" exclaimed Nan. "There couldn't be any dishes like Miss Pompret's. She said there wasn't another set in this whole country."
"Well, I don't see 'em here, anyhow!" exclaimed Bert, after he had looked over the china in the window. "I guess her things will never be found."
"No, I guess not," agreed Billy, to whom, and his sister, Nan told the story of the reward of one hundred dollars offered by Miss Pompret for the return of her wonderful sugar bowl and cream pitcher, while Bert was looking at the window display.
"Well, did you have a good time?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey, when her twins came trooping back.
"Yes. And we saw the President!" cried Nan.
And then they told all about it.
The Bobbseys spent the rest of the day visiting their friends, the Martins, and returned to their hotel in the evening. They planned to have other pleasure going about the city to see the sights the next day and the day following.
"Could we ever go into the house where the President lives?" asked Nan of her father that night.
"Yes, we can visit the White House or, rather, one room in it," said Mr. Bobbsey. "What they call the 'East Room' is the one in which visitors are allowed. Perhaps we may go there tomorrow, if Mr. Martin and I can finish some business we are working on."
After breakfast the next morning the Bobbsey twins were glad to hear their father say that he would take them to the White House; and, a little later, in company with other visitors, they were allowed to enter the home of the President, and walk about the big room on the east side of the White House.
"I'm going to sit down on one of the chairs," said Nan. "Maybe it will be one that the President once sat on."
"Very likely it will be," laughed Mrs. Bobbsey, as Nan picked out a place into which she "wiggled." From the chair she smiled at her brothers and sister, and they, too, took turns sitting in the same chair.
Bert found a pin on the thick green carpet in the room. The carpet was almost as thick and green as the moss in the woods, and how Bert ever saw the tiny pin I don't know. But he had very sharp eyes.
"What are you going to do with it?" asked his father.
"Just keep it," the boy answered. "Maybe it's a pin the President's wife once used in her clothes."
"Oh, you think it's a souvenir!" laughed Mrs. Bobbsey, as Bert stuck the pin in the edge of his coat. And for a long time he kept that common, ordinary pin, and he used to show it to his boy friends, and tell them where he found it.
"The White House President's pin," he used to call it.
"And now," said Mr. Bobbsey, as they came from the White House, "I think we'll have time to see the Monument before lunch."
"That's good!" exclaimed Nan. "And shall we go up inside it?"
"I think so," her father replied.
Washington Monument, as a good many of you know, is not a solid shaft of stone. It is built of great granite blocks, as a building is built, and is, in fact, a building, for it has several little rooms in the base; rooms where men can stay who watch the big pointed shaft of stone, and other rooms where are kept the engines that run the elevator.
The bottom part of Washington Monument is square, and on one side is a doorway. Above the base the shaft itself stretches up over five hundred feet in height, and the top part is pointed, like the pyramids of the desert. The monument shaft is hollow, and there is a stairway inside, winding around the elevator shaft. Some people walk up the stairs to get to the top of the monument, where they can look out of small windows over the city of Washington and the Potomac River. But most persons prefer to go up and down in the elevator, though it is slow and, if there are many visitors they have to await their turns.
If the Bobbseys had walked up inside the monument they would have seen the stones contributed by the different states and territories. Each state sent on a certain kind of stone when the monument was being built, and these stones are built into the great shaft.
As it happened, there was not a very large crowd visiting the monument the day the Bobbseys were there, so they did not have long to wait for their turn in the elevator.
"This isn't fast like the Woolworth Building elevators were," remarked Bert as they felt themselves being hoisted up.
"No," agreed his father. "But this does very well. This is not a business building, and there is no special hurry in getting to the top."
But at last they reached the end of their journey and stepped out of the elevator cage into a little room. There were windows on the sides, and from there the children could look out.
"It's awful high up," said Nan, as she peeped out.
"Not as high as the Woolworth Building," stated Bert, who had jotted down the figures in a little book he carried.
Flossie and Freddie had gone around to the other side of the elevator shaft with their mother, to look from the windows nearest the river, and, a moment later, Mr. Bobbsey, Nan and Bert heard a cry of:
"Oh, Flossie! Flossie! Look out! There it goes!"