Back In The Attic | The Doll Coloring Book

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The Popovers were on their way back to the attic and Mrs. Popover was glad of it.
“It is not good for children to live in the basement,” she said privately to Mr. Popover. Watch how Loo-Loo lost his head. It can’t be good for any child. And Velvetina has repeatedly asked for a new dress, instead of contenting herself with her pretty pink velveteen, as she should have. It’s all because she’s seen Elaine’s dresses and wants a new one just like hers.
‘When do we move? Have you heard?’ asked Mr. Popover.
He loved it downstairs and was happy to stay in it. But, of course, he does not want to do anything that is not in the best interests of his children.
“We’ll move in tomorrow,” answered Mrs. Popover. “I heard Aunt Amelia tell Eileen that.”
And I think the reason we moved is because Elaine is coming home.
At this time the Popovers both seemed sober, for they had grown fond of Aunt Amelia’s little visitor.
“We knew she should be home sometime,” said Mrs. Popover wisely, after a moment of reflection, “and I think the kids are better off upstairs.” “
Mr. Popover did not answer.
He was thinking to himself, ‘Maybe it’s not all. Elaine probably won’t come home.
But it was correct. Not only was Eileen going home, but Aunt Amelia was going with her.
“Before I go away,” said Aunt Amelia, “I mean to clear the attic, and we’ll move the Popovers in there, too, until Ellen comes again.”
So the next morning, bright and early, Aunt Amelia, Ellen, and Caroline went up into the attic with brooms, buckets, brushes, and mops. It was autumn now, and a little quick breeze was blowing about the long, low room, stirring up the summer dust that lurked in the corners here and there.
“Caroline will sweep the floor,” said Aunt Amelia, looking carefully around the room, “while you and I, Eileen, will go down and clear the dollhouse so it can be moved.”
You may be sure if Aunt Amelia has anything to do with moving the doll house, it will be done in the best way. The moment Mrs. Popover saw Aunt Amelia enter the playroom, with Ellen behind her as she pulled a clothes basket on her heels, she knew she no longer needed to worry about moving her furniture. This time there will be no tipping and tilting of the doll house with furniture and dishes flipping and crashing inside.
“Velvetina’s bed is broken,” Elaine said, looking at the dollhouse. “I think she’s getting a little too heavy for this little bed.”
Aunt Amelia replied, “I can fix it with glue.” Put it on the nightstand in my room and I’ll fix it over and over again. Now help me pack this basket.
In the clothes basket were the furniture—chairs, tables, beds, a Loo-Loo cradle, a bookcase, a piano, and Mrs. Popover’s sewing machine with a little wheel that would really spin and spin. The sewing machine was new. Aunt Amelia had brought it to Eileen the day she slept in the reserve closet with a jar of cherry jam. Next came the images of the walls, decorations, and dishes. Finally, the Popovers themselves sit on top of the basket, which is just as comfortable as any family might expect them to be on moving-in day.
Ellen took one handle of the basket, Aunt Amelia took the other, and they carried her very carefully up the attic stairs. Caroline, who had finished cleaning, followed with her doll house, empty and light, in her arms.
Then Caroline mopped the interior of the doll house, and Aunt Amelia and Ellen shook the carpets and dusted the furniture well. At last they sat down on the floor in front of the little house and put everything in order, as neatly, smoothly, and expansively as anyone’s house.
“Now, Eileen,” said Aunt Amelia, “I put the popovers in the house, while I open and open chests and chests.”
Aunt Amelia and Caroline worked together. They took off the winter clothes that had lay in their trunks all summer, and folded and carefully packed the summer clothes away.
Finally their work was done. The attic was clean from end to end. It smelled sweet and soapy, a scent that Popovers loved because it meant spring and fall house cleaning for their little four noses.
Eileen finished her work, too. Popovers have arranged nicely in their little house. Mr. Popover stood in front of the bookcase studying his books. Mrs. Popover was busy with her pots by the kitchen stove. Velvetina was looking out the window, while Baby Popover, as usual, lay smiling in his little wooden cradle.
Now Eileen had to say goodbye to the Popovers because she was going home the next morning and probably won’t see them again for a very long time. She kissed them from all over, hugged them close, and whispered tender goodbyes.
Then down the stairs, Aunt Amelia, Ellen, and Caroline came down, with their brooms and buckets and brushes and mops, and left the Popovers alone in the attic.
Single? Oh no!
No sooner had the sound of footsteps died away on the staircase than a familiar scratch, scratch, scratch in the wall and a rolling peanut came out, come to spend the evening, and glad as a King that the Popovers be safe in the house again.
How they all spoke! How their little tongues flew! They had no fear now of being disturbed by Uncle Henry’s throbbing in the hall, by evil little Blinky who was ready to pounce on them with his sharpest teeth and sharpest claws.
They talked again of the clean, soapy smell in the attic. They smelled the oven smell that started that very day. Mr. Popover even warmed his toes against the chimney, as they did every year in the bitter winter weather. Tonight Mr. Popover roasted his toes just for old times’ sake, for the loft was comfortable, if not a little warm.
Then they talked over the summer. Talk about Ellen, Blinky, and Jack in the Box. They talked of the blunt clothespins and Mr. Popover wished he would never see them again. They talked about Aunt Mary Jane and he wished she hadn’t come to visit Aunt Amelia for too long.
“If I do, I’ll scratch the wall the very first night,” Peanut promised with a serious quiver of his mustaches.
Then the Popovers told the peanuts again the story of their night out under the apple tree and all about the fairies and how they looked and what they said and did. Mrs. Popover has Velvetina come upstairs and dance to the Peanut all she remembers of the fairy dance.
Mr. Popover then spoke of his call to Dr. Frog, and how his legs trembled as he climbed up and down the honeysuckle vine.
Mr. Popover added proudly, “Doctor Frog said to me that Mrs. Popover’s Floating Island was the best candy he had ever had.” “It’s much better, he said, than pudding, which his wife usually gives him for tea.”
Peanut told how lonely he felt, how he tried to make friends with a fat spider in the attic and with a field mouse who lived in the garden near the lilac bush. But he had never met anyone who loved him as much as the Popovers, which made the Popovers feel really comfortable and happy.
Now it’s time to sleep. Peanut said goodnight and slid away.
And then, even then, Velvetina discovered that her bed was not in its usual place beside her mother’s and father’s gilded bed.
“Don’t you remember breaking your leg?” said Ms. Popover. Aunt Amelia will fix that for you. You will no doubt bring it up to us tomorrow. You can sleep at the foot of our bed tonight, Velvetina. This is what you can do
But Velvetina was tired and excited, both at coming home and at seeing Peanuts again. She was too tired to act like herself.
“I will not go to bed at all,” cried Velvetina, “unless I can sleep in my own bed. I will not go to bed at all!”
‘What are you going to do next?’ asked Mr. Popover impatiently. “You mean to sit all night?”
‘Yes!’ Stamping her foot, Velvetina replied, “I mean to sit all night.”
Mrs. Popover realized that this was complete nonsense. Not while Velvetina’s mother sat Velvetina all night. She was wondering what she would say or do next when up the attic stairs Aunt Amelia came up, with Velvetina’s little bed, well repaired, in her hand.
Aunt Amelia caught the light. I put the little bed in the bedroom near Mr. and Mrs. Popover’s large gilded bed. Then I picked up Velvetina and put her to bed as comfortably as possible.
Aunt Amelia stood looking at the little dollhouse. I looked at her for a very long time.
Finally Aunt Amelia spoke.
“Good night, little Popovers,” said Aunt Amelia in a soft voice.
And then, to Mr. and Mrs. Popover’s amazement and horror, they heard Velvetina, tired and asleep, completely forgetting for a moment that she was just a doll, they heard Velvetina speak out loud!
“Good night,” replied Velvetina, in a low, sleepy voice. ‘Good afternoon.
Mr. and Mrs. Popover simply don’t know what to do. Such a thing had never happened in their family before. So, it makes perfect sense that they did absolutely nothing.
As for Aunt Amelia, she, of course, heard the soft sound, but thought it was a creaking wave. It is true that Velvetina’s voice was soft and shrill.
“What old boards creak!” said Aunt Amelia. I suppose I could have had a carpenter attach them quickly. But I’d rather use creaky panels in the attic, I guess.
Although it was fine, Mrs. Popover got worried.
“I must speak firmly to Velvetina the moment Aunt Amelia comes down,” I thought. But at that time, poor little Velvetina was fast asleep.
Mrs. Popover decided that morning would do the trick. But in the morning they were all so busy looking about the attic that nothing at all was said to Velvetina.

The previous chapter and the follow-up…

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