There was once a little red dollhouse that stood in the attic under the sloping roof. And in the doll house lived a family named Popover. There was Mr. Popover and Mrs. Popover and Velvetina Popover and Baby Popover, whose long name is Loo-Loo.
Mr. Popover was a clothespin, tall, skinny, and brown. His head was small, but his legs were long, of which he was very proud.
Mrs. Popover was a little Chinese doll. Her flaxen hair was thick and curly, and she wore a pretty blue dress that matched her beautiful blue eyes.
Velvetina Popover was a little girl doll. She was wearing a dress made of pretty pink velvet, which is of course the reason why she was called Velvetina. Her yellow hair was long and curled tightly, and her little red mouth and rosy cheeks were the most beautiful to be seen. She wore elegant black painted shoes whose socks had a blue band around the shirts.
The Baby Popover was a plump glass bottle, smooth, tall and round. He was wearing a little white robe and a white pointed hat tied over the cork that made his head. He was lying in a little wooden cradle, as comfortable as possible, and never so good and quiet as when someone rocked him back and forth.
The Popovers lived happily together in the Little Red Doll House. A long time ago there was a little girl named Amelia who played with them every day. Then the dollhouse came downstairs and the Popovers lived a very happy life indeed. Amelia often played so hard with her Popovers that if she hadn’t gone to bed at night and given her dolls a rest, I don’t know what they would have done.
It was Amelia who named it Popover because popovers were her favorite type of cake, plus she thought Popover was one of the most beautiful names she had ever heard.
Amelia loved all the Popover family very much. She thought Mr. Popover was a good-looking father. I liked the way he stood straight and tall. I thought Mrs. Popover was the cutest little mom a doll family could have. I made her aprons with dozens of white cambric. And when Mrs. Popover was put in a clean spot beside the baby’s cradle to rock him to sleep, Amelia was so delighted that she very likely would clap her hands and spin about until she was out of breath. She was that kind of little girl, you see.
As for Velvetina in her pretty pink dress, which was made from scraps of a sofa cushion, when Amelia first thought of Velvetina’a name it was all she could do,
“Oh, how I wish my name was Velvetina Popover instead of Amelia Lamb!”
Baby too, Amelia loved her with all her heart. He was plump and very comfortable to play with and very well fitted in the little cradle which rocked beside Mr. and Mrs. Popover’s large gilded bed.
Amelia never gets tired of playing with the Popovers in their Little Red House.
But with Amelia she grew from a little girl into a lady. Her name was now Mrs. Green. And since the lady has other things to do than play with dolls, no matter how fond she is of them, the little red dollhouse has been moved with the Popover family to the attic.
“But I like to live in the attic,” said the cheerful Mrs. Popover one day when they were talking about things. “Of course I miss Amelia, but she’s quiet and good for the kid here.”
“I like it in the attic, too,” said Manley to Mr. Popover. “There is plenty of room for me to walk and stretch my legs.”
‘I love it in the attic,’ said Velvetina, ‘but sometimes I wish I was downstairs again and there was a little girl there to play with. ”
As for the baby, Loo-Loo, he said absolutely nothing, but lay in his cradle and smiled sweetly as his mother rocked him back and forth.
“You’re not alone in the attic, Velvetina?” asked Mrs. Popover. “Think how nice it is, spring and fall, when the attic is opened and cleaned out.”
Indeed, it was a pleasure, twice a year, when Mrs. Green, who once remembered little Amelia, and the servant Caroline, went up into the attic with brooms, buckets, brushes, and mops, to scrub the room well. The windows were open and the soft spring air or the brisk autumn breeze, whichever it may be, filled every corner of the long, low room. The floor was scrubbed to a shine. Every chest and crate has been opened and aired. At last Mrs. Green sat down on the floor in front of the Little Red Doll House and cleaned it carefully, dusted it, and arranged it neatly like a pin.
Yes, the Popovers enjoyed the hustle and bustle of spring and fall house cleaning. All winter they were looking forward to spring. During the hot summer days they talked about the coming of autumn. But best of all, they loved seeing Mrs. Green again and knowing that she hadn’t forgotten them. No doubt Mrs. Greene was as happy to see the Popovers as they were to see her.
Velvetina’s response to Mrs. Popover’s question was, “No, Mom, I’m not really alone.” And I love him in the attic, too, because of his peanuts. He promised to take me for a ride tonight on his back up to the big stump in the corner and back home again.
Peanut was a little mouse who lived in the attic not far from the Popovers. He was a friendly little friend who spent many evenings in the Popovers’ parlour telling them what had happened downstairs, for of course he could run, as he pleased, about the house.
‘Mr. and Mrs. Green are having a party,” he used to say. “Maybe I can get you a little cake after they’re all asleep.”
‘Mrs. Greene is thinking about cleaning the house,” he’d tell them, too. “I heard her say to Caroline she’s starting in the attic next week.”
In contrast, Mrs. Popover would tell Mrs. Green stories when she was little Amelia, and Mr. Popover would tell tales of what happened when he was a boy.
“Yes, sir,” said Mr. Popover, “I used to hold the clothes on the line when I was a boy. I carried handkerchiefs and dresses and sheets and pillowcases and many other things too. I remember how blue the sky was, and how the wind blew and made the clothes flutter on the line. But I didn’t I never leave her. I carried clothes quickly. I was a good worker when I was a boy, really a very good worker.
That night, Popover was expecting Peanuts to spend the evening. Twilight was in the attic. Outside the gates, the sun has not yet set. They sat waiting for Peanut, listening to the scratching, scratching, scratching in the wall that would tell them he was near.
The attic was quiet at dusk, as quiet as it can be. Mrs. Popover was peacefully rocking Loo-Loo to and fro. Mr. Popover was looking at his legs and thinking how long and straight they were. Velvetina was hoping to have a pleasant trip.
Suddenly there was a loud scratch in the wall that made everyone jump. Then came a rustle and creak, and from behind a box of peanuts jumped out. His black eyes and straight, stiff hair sparkled with excitement. He was so out of breath that he couldn’t speak.
Mrs. Popover caught a fan and quickly waved her back and forth. She asked Velvetina to run quickly to get a glass of water. And after a few sips of water and a minute’s rest, the Peanuts were able to tell them the good news.
“There’s a little girl downstairs,” gasps Peanuts. She came to stay. I brought a box. I called Mrs. Aunt Green Amelia, and before she took off her hat she said,
“Aunt Amelia, where is the doll house you told me you had when you were a little girl?”
And Mrs. Green said, “It’s in the attic, Eileen. Take off your hat and coat and we’ll go up and see.”
“They’re up in the attic now. I can hear their voices. I hear their feet on the stairs. I have to hide.”
Yes, there was the sound of voices and the banging of feet on the stairs. The Popovers could hear the feet getting closer and closer. And before Mrs. Popover could get Loo-Loo’s thumb out of his mouth or move Velvetina’s curls into place, the top of the stairs was reached and a little girl ran into the room.
Right into the Little Red Doll House she came and stood eagerly looking inside with round blue eyes.
Aunt Amelia, Aunt Amelia! “This is the most beautiful dollhouse I have ever seen,” said the little girl, squeezing her hands tightly together for joy.
“I’m glad you like my dollhouse, Eileen,” answered Mrs. Green, smiling at both Eileen and her old friends, Popovers too. We should go to dinner now. But I’ll carry it downstairs for you tomorrow, if you like.
This good news made little girl Eileen, in turn, smile happily on her round, rosy face.
And when she came down the stairs, if she looked back into the attic, Elaine would have seen the Popovers smiling, too.
‘How glad I am to have this little girl! “It will be more pleasant than cleaning the house,” said Mrs. Popover with a nod.
And you will see whether Mrs. Popover is right or not. By Ethel Calvert Phillips