“Merry Christmas to everybody!”
“Oh, Christmas is here! I wonder what I got?”
“I’m going to get up and see!”
The Bobbsey twins were calling to one another from their rooms, and papa and mamma Bobbsey were replying to their children’s happy greetings. It was Flossie who had made the exclamation about wondering what Santa Claus had brought her, and it was Freddie who declared he was going to get up to see.
Soon the patter of bare feet announced that the two younger twins were scampering downstairs.
“You must put on your dressing gowns and slippers, my dears!” called Mrs. Bobbsey. “You’ll take cold. Nan, look after them; will you?”
“Yes, mother, in just a minute. As soon as I can find my own things,” and Nan got out of bed. She and Bert were not in so much of a hurry as Flossie and Freddie for they were getting older, and though Christmas was still a source of great joy to them they were not so anxious to see what gifts they had. Still Nan was eager to know if her camera had come.
From the parlor below came cries, shouts and peals of delighted and surprised laughter as Flossie and Freddie discovered their different gifts.
“Look at my book!” cried Flossie. “And a doll–a doll that you can wind up, and she walks and says ‘mamma.’ Look, Freddie!” and the little girl started the doll off across the room.
“Pooh! Look at what I got!” cried Freddie. “It’s a fire engine, and it squirts real water. I’m going to put some in it, and play fire.”
He started for the kitchen with his toy, but Nan caught him.
“Not just yet, little fat fireman,” she said with a laugh, as she took him up in her arms. “You can’t splash in the cold water until you have more clothes on. Get dressed and then you may play with your toys.”
“All right!” answered Freddie. “Oh, look, I’ve got a wind-up steamboat, too. Oh! let me down so I can look at it, Nan! Now please do!”
Nan saw a pile of her own gifts, so she set Freddie down for a moment, intending to carry him up stairs a little later. She had wrapped a robe about Flossie, who was contentedly playing with her newest doll, and looking at her other presents. Santa Claus had been kind to the Bobbsey twins that Christmas.
Bert, big boy though he thought himself getting to be, could no longer resist the temptation to come down in his bath robe to see what he had received, and a little later fat Dinah, roused earlier than usual by the joyous shouts of the children, came lumbering in.
“Oh, Dinah! Dinah! Look what you got!” cried Flossie. “Your things are all here on this chair,” and the little girl led the cook over toward it.
“Things fo’ me? What yo’-all talkin’ ’bout child? Ol’ Dinah don’t get no Christmas!” protested the jolly woman, laughing so that she shook all over.
“Yes, you do get a Christmas, Dinah. Look here!” and Flossie showed where there were some useful presents for the cook,–large aprons, warm shoes, an umbrella, and a bright shawl that Dinah had been wanting for a long time.
“What? All them for me?” asked the surprised cook. “Good land of mercy! I guess ol’ Santa Claus done gone and made a mistake this time, sure!”
“No, there’s no mistake! See, they’ve got your name on!” insisted Flossie. “See, Dinah!” and she led the cook over to the chair where the presents were piled. There was no doubt of it, they were for Dinah, and near them was another chair containing gifts for her husband, Sam. He would not be in until later, however. But Dinah saw a pair of rubber boots that would be very useful in the deep snow, and there were other fine presents for Sam.
Bert and Nan were now looking at their things, and Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey could be heard moving around upstairs, having decided that it was useless to lie abed longer now that the children were up.
“Come, come, Flossie and Freddie!” called Mrs. Bobbsey. “You must get dressed and then you can play as much as you like. I don’t want you to get cold. If you do you can’t go to Snow Lodge, remember!”
This was enough to cause the small Bobbseys to scamper upstairs. Flossie carried her doll with her, and Freddie took along his fire engine, for that was the gift he had most wanted, and for which he had begged and pleaded for weeks before Christmas.
Feeling that a little liberty might be allowed on this day, Mrs. Bobbsey did not insist on the younger children dressing completely until after breakfast, so in their warm robes and slippers Flossie and Freddie were soon again examining their toys, discovering new delights every few minutes.
Nan was busy inspecting her camera, while Bert was looking at a new postage stamp album he had long wanted, when from the kitchen where Dinah was getting breakfast came a series of excited cries, mingled with laughter and shouts of:
“Fire! Fire! Fire!”
“Mercy! What’s that?” screamed Mrs. Bobbsey, turning pale.
Mr. Bobbsey made a rush for the kitchen. Nan and Bert, with Flossie, gathered about their mother. Then they heard Dinah calling:
“Stop it, Freddie! Stop it I done tell you! Does yo’-all want me to get soaked? And yo’-all will sure spoil them pancakes! Oh, now yo’ have done it! Yo’ squirted right in my mouth! Oh my goodness sakes alive!”
Mrs. Bobbsey looked relieved.
“Freddie must be up to some prank,” she said.
“Freddie, stop it!” commanded Mr. Bobbsey, and then he was heard to laugh. The others all went out to the kitchen and there they saw a curious sight.