A Visit to Mr. Carford
“Freddie, what in the world are you doing?”
“Flossie! Oh dear! You children! You have the place all upset!”
Mrs. Bobbsey, who had come into the big living room, to see the two younger twins engaged in some strange proceedings, paused at the doorway to look on. Indeed the place was upset, for the chairs had been dragged out from against the walls and from corners to be placed in a row before a large sofa. From one corner of this to a side wall was stretched a sheet, and in another corner, in a pen made of chairs, could be seen the wagging tail of Snap, the trick dog.
“What in the world are you doing?” asked Mrs. Bobbsey. “Oh, dear, how I do dread a rainy day!” for it was pouring outside, and the older, as well as the younger twins had to stay in doors.
“We’re playing circus,” explained Freddie gravely, as he peered between the “bars” of the cage made of chairs. “Snap is a lion,” went on the little fellow. “Growl, Snap!”
And Snap, always ready to have fun, growled and barked to satisfy the most exacting circus lover.
“Oh dear!” cried Mrs. Bobbsey. “I’ll never get this room straightened out again.”
“Oh, we’ll fix it, mamma, after the circus,” said Flossie sweetly. “Sit down and see the show. I’ll make Snoop do some of the tricks the fat circus lady taught her,” and Flossie lifting up one corner of the sheet, showed the black cat curled up on a cushion, while back of her, tied by one leg, was Downy the pet duck.
“This was going to be the happy family cage,” explained Flossie, “only when we had Snap in here he kept playing with Downy, and Downy quacked and that made Snoop nervous so we couldn’t do it very well.”
“So we made Snap the lion, and part of the time he’s going to be the tiger,” said Freddie. “Dinah is going to give us some blueing that she uses on the clothes, and I’m going to paint stripes on Snap.”
“Don’t you dare do it,” said Mrs. Bobbsey, “The idea of painting blue stripes on poor Snap! Whoever heard of a blue-striped tiger?” and she tried hard not to laugh.
“Well, this is a new kind,” said Freddie. “Sit down, mamma, and we’ll make Snoop do a trick for you. Make her chase her tail, Flossie.”
“No, I’ll make her walk a tight rope,” said the little girl. “That’s more of a trick.”
Flossie got her jumping rope, which she had little use for now, and tied it from the back of one chair to the back of another, placed some distance away. Then she pulled the rope tight between them, and, taking Snoop up in her arms, placed the cat carefully on the stretched rope.
Snoop stood still for a minute, meowing a little and waving her tail back and forth. Poor Snoop! The black cat did not like to do tricks as well as did Snap. No cats do. But Snap, when he saw what was going on, was eager to show off what he could do.
He leaped about in his chair “cage,” barking loudly, much to the delight of Freddie who liked to hear the “lion” roar.
“Go on, Snoop!” called the twins, and gave the cat a gentle shove. Then Snoop did really walk across the rope, for it was almost as easy as walking the back fence, which Snoop had often done. Only the rope was not as steady as the fence. But the fat circus lady had trained the black cat well, and Snoop performed the trick to the delight of the children.
“That is very good,” said Mrs. Bobbsey. “Oh, see! Snap is turning a somersault in his cage. Poor dog, let him out, Freddie; won’t you?”
“He isn’t a dog–he’s a lion,” insisted the little boy. “I dassen’t let out a lion, or he might bite you.”
But Snap had no idea of playing the lion all the while. Suddenly Downy, the duck, with a loud quack, got her leg loose from the string and flew out across the room. This so surprised Snoop, who had started back over the tight rope, that he fell off with a cry of alarm.
This was too much for Snap, who evidently did not think he was having his share of the fun. With a loud bark and a rush he burst from his cage of chairs, intent on playing with Snoop, for he and the cat were great friends.
Just at that moment fat Dinah, the Black cook, came into the room to ask Mrs. Bobbsey something. Snoop, seeing the open door, and being tired of doing tricks for the children, made a dash to get out, darting under Dinah’s skirts.
Snap, thinking this was part of the game, rushed after his friend the cat, but when he tried to dive underneath Dinah’s dress there was an accident.
He knocked the feet from under the fat cook, and she sat down on the floor with a force that jarred the whole house, just missing sitting on Snap.
“Fo’ the love of goodness what is the matter?” cried Dinah. “Is it an earthquake Mrs. Bobbsey?”
“I don’t know, Dinah!” exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey, wanting to laugh, and yet not wishing to hurt Dinah’s feelings. “The children said it was a circus, I believe. Here, Snap!” she called, as the dog rushed on after Snoop.
Just then Downy, the duck, sailed back across the room, and lighted squarely on Dinah’s head, where the fowl perched “honking” loudly,
“Good land of mercy!” murmured Dinah over and over again. “Mo’ trouble!”
Flossie and Freddie were so surprised at the sudden ending of their circus that they did not know what to do. Then they both raced to capture the duck.
“One of the dining-room windows is open!” called Freddie. “If Downy flies out he’ll freeze. Grab him, Dinah!”
“Child!” cried the cook slowly, “I ain’t got breath enough left to catch even a mosquito. But yo’-all don’t need to worry none about this here duck gettin’ loose. His feet all tangled up in my wool, an’ I guess you’ll have to help get ’em loose, children!”
It was indeed so. Downy’s webbed feet were fast in Dinah’s hair, and it took some time to disentangle them. Then the cook could get up, which she did with many a sigh and groan.
“Are you hurt, Dinah?” asked Flossie. “If you are you can come to our circus for nothing; can’t she, Freddie?”
“Yes,” he answered, “only we haven’t got a circus now. It’s all gone except Downy.”
“Well, I think you have played enough circus for today,” said Mrs. Bobbsey. “Straighten up the room now, and have some other kind of fun.”