The Gordons had several cords of square cut wood in their back yard, and this inspired Julia and Beth to a great undertaking. They built a house, piling two sticks lengthways and two crossways, one above the other, and so on until they had laid the walls for three rooms. They worked like beavers, and Mrs. Gordon, amused by this new scheme of the two indefatigables, and thinking to herself that the children would probably be tired of the house by the time the wood was needed, allowed one of the servants to help. He used the top of the box in which the piano came for a roof, boarded the floors, and, in the middle room, helped to make an alcove. In this Julia and Beth piled up wood for a bed, saying that they did not mind if it was hard.
When completed, the girls took out to their new paradise everything they dared lay hands on, and asked Mrs. Gordon to inspect their work.
“‘Walk into my house,’ said the spider to the fly. ’It’s the beautifulest house you ever did spy,’” quoted Julia, purposely changing parlor to house. “Just walk in. You can stand up—well, almost—if you stoop a little bit. This is the kitchen,” she continued, for she had taken her mother in the back way with a purpose in view. “Oh, mamma, we do so want a stove. No family can keep house without one. We don’t know what to do. Please, please help us.”
“How would a Dutch oven do?” suggested Mrs. Gordon.
“What’s that? How’s it made?”
Mrs. Gordon explained: “It’s made of brick, and——”
“How good you are. Who’ll make it?”
Mrs. Gordon could not find it in her heart to disappoint the girls, so she furnished the materials, and had a darky make the oven. When done, it was somewhat clumsy, but it looked serviceable.
“Beth,” said Julia, “we can’t be just you and me. We must be man and wife. Our names will be Mr. and Mrs. Newbeginner. I’m John Newbeginner, and——”
“I’d rather be the man, because he’s the head of the family and he doesn’t work so hard. Besides, I don’t want a little bit of a man like you. I’m the taller.”
“Well, but I’m the elder, and the elder is always the man.”
“All right, but you have to help about the house. You can’t go away to business.”
“Let’s stay here all night, to-night.”
Away they ran to beg permission.
The two mothers, however, seriously objected. Finally the young couple were pacified by Mrs. Newbeginner being allowed to spend the night with her spouse at the Gordon homestead which adjoined the Newbeginner mansion.
The next morning, Mrs. Newbeginner awakened at peep of day. She gave Mr. Newbeginner a poke and then jumped out of bed.
“Jul—John, I mean, it’s time to get up and build the fire.”
“Leave me alone,” snapped Mr. Newbeginner in a truly masculine style.