The Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope
Chapter XIV. Christmas
AS the time for Christmas drew shorter all of the Bobbsey children wondered what Santa Claus would bring them and what they would receive from their relatives at a distance.
Freddie and Flossie had made out long lists of the things they hoped to get. Freddie wished a fireman's suit with a real trumpet, a railroad track with a locomotive that could go, and some building blocks and picture hooks. Flossie craved more dolls and dolls' dresses, a real trunk with a lock, fancy slippers, a pair of rubber boots, and some big card games.
"All I want is a set of furs," said Nan, not once but many times. "A beautiful brown set, just like mamma's."
"And all I want is some good story books, some games, a new pocket-knife, a big wagon, and some money," said Bert.
"Mercy, you don't want much, Bert," cried Nan. "How much money--a thousand dollars?"
"I want money, too," piped in Freddie, "Want to start a bank account just like papa's."
By dint of hard saving Bert and Nan had accumulated two dollars and ten cents between them, while Freddie and Flossie had each thirty-five cents. There was a wonderful lot of planning between the twins, and all put their money together, to buy papa and mamma and Dinah and Sam some Christmas presents. Freddie and Flossie had not yet purchased the cologne and handkerchief before mentioned, and now it was decided to get Mr. Bobbsey a new cravat, Mrs. Bobbsey a flower in a pot, Dinah a fancy apron, and Sam a pair of gloves. Nan and Bert made the purchases which, after being duly inspected by all, were hidden away in the garret storeroom.
As the time for Christmas came on Flossie and Freddie grew very anxious, wanting to know if Santa Claus would be sure to come. Flossie inspected the chimney several times.
"It's a dreadfully small place and very dirty," said she. "I am afraid Santa Claus won't be able to get down with a very big load. And some of his things will get all mussed up."
"Santa Claus can spirit himself wherever he wants to, dear," said Mrs. Bobbsey, with a quiet smile.
"What do you mean by spirit himself, mamma?"
"Never mind now, Flossie; you'll understand that when you grow older."
"Does mamma mean a ghost?" asked Flossie, later on, of Nan.
"No, Flossie; she means that part of a person that lives but can't be seen."
"Oh, I know," cried the child, brightening. "It's just like when a person is good. Then they say it's the spirit of goodness within him. I guess it's the good spirit of Santa Claus that can't be seen. But we can feel it, can't we? and that's what's best."
Freddie and Flossie were very impatient as the time for Christmas came closer. Many times they whispered together about the presents and once Bert caught them looking over the things that had been bought.
"You mustn't do that," said the older Bobbsey boy. "Somebody might see you and that would spoil everything."
"Can't see us," said Freddie. "We comed up all alone."
"Mamma's gone to the store," chimed in his twin sister.
"But Dinah or Sam might come up here."
"Sam went out for papa."
"An' Dinah is in the cellar fixin' the glasses of jelly."
Just then the children heard a noise below followed by the slamming of a door.
"It's Sam coming in!" cried Bert.
Then came voices and presently they heard Dinah call out:
"Chillun! Where am yo'?"
"Oh, she'll find us, sure!" exclaimed Bert. "Put those presents away, quick!"
He and the others caught up the presents. But the bundle containing the gloves for Sam rolled from Freddie's hands out of sight under an old stand.
"Oh, Sam's gloves are lost!" wailed the little boy.
"Quick, get them," said Bert hoarsely. "We are coming, Dinah!" he called down the stairs.
Freddie made a dive under the stand and came up with his nose full of dust but with the precious bundle in his fat hands. Quickly the gloves were put away. Then the children trooped down the stairs.
"Here we are, Dinah," said Bert. "What do you want of us?"
"Wanted to know if you was in de house," said the colored cook.
"Oh," returned Bert, and winked at the smaller twins--and Freddie tried to wink in return while Flossie giggled.
On the day before Christmas the sitting-room door was closed and locked, so that none of the children might enter the room. Freddie was very anxious to look through the keyhole, but Bert told him that wouldn't be fair, so he stayed away.
"We are to hang up our stockings tonight," said Nan. "And mamma says we must go to bed early, too."
"That's to give Santa Claus a chance to get around," said Freddie. "Papa said so. He said Santa Claus had his hands more than full, with so many boys and girls all over the world to take care of."
"Santa Claus must be a twin, just like you and me," said Flossie. "Maybe he's a twin a hundred times over."
At this Freddie roared. "What a funny twin that would be--with each one having the same name!"
The stockings were hung up with great care, and Freddie and Flossie made up their minds to stay awake and watch Santa Claus at his work.
"Won't say a word when he comes," said the little boy. "Just peek out at him from under the covers." But alas! long before Santa Claus paid his visit that Christmas Eve both Freddie and Flossie were in dreamland, and so were Bert and Nan.
It was Flossie who was the first awake in the morning. For the moment after she opened her eyes and sat up she could not remember why she had awakened thus early. But it was for some reason, she was sure of that.
"Merry Christmas!" she burst out, all at once, and the cry awoke Freddie. "Merry Christmas," he repeated. "Merry Christmas, ev'rybody!" he roared out, at the top of his lungs.
The last call awoke Nan and Bert, and before long all were scrambling out to see what the stockings might contain.
"Oh, I've got a doll!" shrieked Flossie, and brought forth a wonderful affair of paper.
"I have a jumping-jack!" came from Freddie, and he began to work the toy up and down in a most comical fashion.
There was some small gift for everybody and several apples and oranges besides, and quantities of nuts in the stockings.
"We must get the presents for the others," whispered Nan to Bert and the smaller twins and soon all were dressed and bringing the things down from the storeroom.
It was a happy party that gathered in the dining room. "Merry Christmas!" said everybody to everybody else, and then Mr. Bobbsey, who was in the sitting room, blew a horn and opened the folding doors.
There, on a large side stand, rested a beautiful Christmas tree, loaded down with pretty ornaments and apples and candies, and with many prettily colored candles. Around the bottom of the tree were four heaps of presents, one for each of the children.
"Oh, look at the big doll!" screamed Flossie, and caught the present up in her, arms and kissed it.
"And look at my fireman's suit!" roared Freddie, and then, seeing a trumpet, he took it up and followed: "Bring up the engine! Play away lively there!" just like a real fireman.
Bert had his books and other things, and under them was hidden a real bank book, showing that there had been deposited to his credit ten dollars in the Lakeport Savings Bank. Nan had a similar bank book, and of these the twins were very, very proud. Bert felt as if he was truly getting to be quite a business man.
"Oh! oh!" cried Nan, as she opened a big box that was at the bottom of her pile of presents, and then the tears of joy stood in her eyes as she brought forth the hoped-for set of furs. They were beautiful, and so soft she could not resist brushing them against her cheek over and over again.
"Oh, mamma, I think they are too lovely for anything!" she said, rushing up and kissing her parent. "I am sure no girl ever had such a nice set of furs before!"
"You must try to keep them nice, Nan," answered the mother.
"I shall take the very best of care of them," said Nan, and my readers may be sure that she did.
"And now we have something for you, too," said Bert, and brought out the various articles. Flossie gave their mamma her present, and Freddie gave papa what was coming to him. Then Nan gave Dinah the fancy apron and Bert took Sam the new gloves.
"Well this is truly a surprise!" cried Mr. Bobbsey, as he inspected the cravat. "It is just what I need."
"And this flower is beautiful," said Mrs. Bobbsey as she smelt of the potted plant. "It will bloom a long while, I am sure."
Dinah was tickled over the apron and Sam with his gloves.
"Yo' chillun am the sweetest in de world," said the cook.
"Dem globes am de werry t'ing I needed to keep ma hands warm," came from Sam.
It was fully an hour before the children felt like sitting down to breakfast. Before they began the repast Mr. Bobbsey brought forth the family Bible and read the wonderful story of Christ's birth to them, and asked the blessing. All were almost too excited to eat.
After breakfast all must go out and show their presents to their friends and see what the friends had received. It was truly a happy time. Then all went coasting until lunch.
"The expressman is coming!" cried Bert a little later, and sure enough he drove up to the Bobbsey house with two boxes. One was from their Uncle Daniel Bobbsey, who lived at Meadow Brook, and the other from their Uncle William Minturn, who lived at Ocean Cliff.
"More presents!" cried Nan, and she was right. Uncles and aunts had sent each something; and the twins were made happier than ever.
"Oh, but Christmas is just the best day in the whole year," said Bert that evening, after the eventful day was over.
"Wish Christmas would come ev'ry week," said Freddie. "Wouldn't it be beautiful ?"
"If it did I'm afraid the presents wouldn't reach," said Mrs. Bobbsey, and then took him and Flossie off to bed.