The B D S





The Bill had passed the House of Commons [I mean, you know, that nurse

had approved of it], and much anxiety was felt among the little pleaders

as to its first reading in the Upper House--i. e. would mother say

"Yes!"



They all knew that mother had a clear judgment; but it was just her

far-seeing power that made them tremble. She might see breakers ahead

which they knew nothing about.



And perhaps mother did see a few objections to this new plan. However

that may be, as the little ones presented their petition, she smiled.



This was, indeed, a good sign, and more than that, the smile was

followed by a ready consent as the plan was unfolded.



The Bill was passed. Hurrah!



The B. D. Society was allowed; and mother had actually agreed to be

patroness and prize-giver.



"What a dear, jolly mother she is!"



"She's a duck, and no mistake!"



Rather unbusinesslike language, but very expressive!



Well, but what did it mean, this B. D. S.?



It was only a Bedroom Decorating Society. But it seemed a very beautiful

idea to the four curly headed little girls who sat squeezed up together

in the large nursery armchair.



Pattie, Mollie, Kitty, and Norah. Four little Irish maidens, with this

lovely plan to talk over and make perfect, while a snowstorm kept them

indoors to-day.



Pattie. "Don't let's tell each other how we'll do our rooms until

afterwards."



Norah. "You'll never keep your plans to yourself. You never could

keep anything in."



Mollie (up in arms for her sister). "Don't be nasty, Norah, or

something bad will happen to you!"



Norah (looking a little ashamed of herself and wisely changing the

subject). "Let's begin now. We'll take all the things out of our rooms

first, and then put them back in new places--shall us?"



As you may guess, the B. D. S. was intended to promote a general taste

for artistic style in the children's bedrooms, or as Kitty expressed it,

simply and to the point, "It is to make us put our things illigantly."



Mother determined to let this new idea have a fair trial; though she

could not help feeling a little nervous as she heard the scrimmaging of

the furniture, and thought of possible breakages.



She sat at her needlework, and listened to the distant sounds which

reached her faintly from the rooms above. Then she began to wonder

whether the excitement and interest would last out the fortnight, at

the end of which she had been asked to present a prize.



Suddenly her motherly heart gave a terrible throb.



There was a thud--thud--thud, and that horrid bumping sound, as

something soft tumbled over and over down the stairs.



With a white face she rushed out of the dining-room, to see little Norah

and a large bolster roll on to the floor at her feet!



A breathless scream escaped from the terrified child.



The three other curly heads were peeping through the banisters, and

three pairs of Irish blue eyes were looking horribly scared and unhappy.



But mother did not see them.



She picked up the screaming Norah, and carried her into the dining-room,

while nurse came running from the kitchen and her ironing.



All the time that the sobbing little victim of the B. D. S. was being

soothed into calmness, and the big swelling wheal on her forehead bathed

and tended, Pattie, Mollie, and Kitty--upstairs--looked at one another

in frightened silence. Then Mollie said sadly--



"I knew something would happen to Norah. It always does if she says

nasty things."



"Rubbish, Mollie! That's nonsense! She fell down because her bolster was

so big, and she couldn't see where the stairs came!" cried Pattie.



"I'm going to see where she's hurted herself," announced little Kitty;

and she trudged off, leaving Pattie and Mollie to sort the heap of odds

and ends that lay on the landing.



They went about it in doleful silence at first.



Then Mollie said, "This is my counterpane--isn't it, Pattie?"



"No; that's Norah's. Don't you see the corner all crumpled up which she

holds in her hand when she goes to sleep?"



"Oh dear! oh dear! I don't think, after all, that it's easy having

a B. D. S. It seemed just to spoil it all when Norah went thumping

down--down, like a big ball."



Pattie gave a little sigh, too, and was putting down the chair she was

carrying that she might rest her arms and have room for another deeper

sigh, when mother's voice was heard calling--



"Mollie! Pattie! I want you down here!"



Off they ran, feeling down in their little hearts that mother must

know how to put things happy again.



First of all they looked with interested and pitying eyes at Norah,

whose head had become an odd shape, and whose face was white and patchy.

Then they stood side by side with Kitty, watching mother's face, and

waiting.



"The B. D. S. has had a bad beginning, dears," she said. "I don't think

it was a good plan to pull everything out of your rooms to start with.

But never mind that now."



As mother spoke she kept one hand behind her chair, and she smiled.



She was sorry for her little girls.



"I am going to propose," she went on, "that you should alter your

society a little bit. The letters will be the same. It will still be

the B. D. S.; but the work will be different and easier."



The little faces all brightened as she continued--



"I like my little girls to be tidy and neat in their rooms; but I think

mother knows best how the furniture should stand, and where the things

look nicest. So I suggest that we call our society the Bedroom Dusting

Society. I will give you each a little cloth, and you shall dust your

rooms every morning after nurse has made the beds. And once a week I

will award a prize."



Then mother drew her hand forward and held before their eyes a Japanese

fan, with a long handle, to which was tied a dainty bow of blue ribbon.



"This," she said, "shall be given next Saturday to the tidiest of the

four members of your society. Now, what do you think of my plan?"



"It's just splendid, mother darling!" was the unanimous cry of the

listeners; and a tangle of soft loving arms nearly throttled her in a

sudden embrace.



"And you know," came in a plaintive voice from Norah, "if you always

give us a pretty thing like that for a prize, it will be the Bedroom

Decorating Society, too!"





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