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   Chapter 12 FRECKLES AND TAN.

Vacation with the Tucker Twins By Nell Speed Characters: 7792

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03

The next day we were lazy after the excitement of the sail to Cape Henry. All of us slept late and when we did wake, we seemed to be not able to get dressed.

"Let's have a kimono day," yawned Dee. "Zebedee and Miss Cox have gone to Norfolk and there is not a piece of a hemale or grown-up around, so s'pose we just loaf all day."

"That will be fine, not to dress at all until time to go to the hop!" we exclaimed in chorus. There was to be a hop that night at the hotel, to which we were looking forward with great enthusiasm. Zebedee was to meet Harvie Price and Thomas Hawkins (alias Shorty) in Norfolk and bring them back to Willoughby, where they expected to stay for several days. These were the two boys we had liked so much at Hill Top, the boys' school near Gresham, and Zebedee had taken a great fancy to both of them.

"I do wish my hateful, little, old nose wasn't so freckled," I moaned. "I know I got a dozen new ones yesterday,-freckles, not noses. I'd like to get a new nose, all right."

"Me, too!" chimed in Dee. "What are we going to look like at a ball with these noses and necks?"

"Thank goodness, my freckles all run together," laughed Mary, "and the more freckled I get the more beautiful I am," and she made such a comical face that we burst out laughing.

"But look how I am peeling!" said Dum, examining her countenance in a hand mirror. "Now freckles look healthy but these great peelings streaming from my nose make me look as though I were just recovering from scarlet fever. I do wish I could pull them all off before night."

Annie was the only one of us neither tanned nor freckled. Miss Cox had taken on a healthy brown, which was rather becoming to her.

"If you young ladies is begrievin' over the condition of yo' cutlecles, I is in a persition to reform you of a simple remedy that will instore yo' complictions to they prinstine frishness," said Blanche who, coming upstairs with the mail, had overheard our jeremiads on the subject of our appearances.

"What is it! What is it!"

"You must first bedizen yo' count'nances in buttermilk, which will be most soothing to the imbrasions, an' then you must have some nice dough, made of the best flour an' lard, with yeast and seas'ning same as for light rolls; an' this must be rolled out thin like, with holes cut fer the nostrums fer the purpose of exiling. Then you must lie down fer several hours and whin you remove this masquerade, you will find the yeast is done drawed the freckles an' sun burn, an' all of you will be as beautiful as the dawning."

"Oh, Blanche, please mix us up some dough right off! And is there any buttermilk here?" asked Dum.

"Yes, Miss Dum, we've been gittin' it reg'lar fer waffles an' sich. I'll bring up a little bucket of it fer yo' absolutions an' then I'll mix up the dough."

"Be sure and make plenty, Blanche! I want to put it on my neck, too," said Dee.

"Well, we is mos' out er flour but I'll stretch it bes' I kin. The impersonal 'pearance of female ladies is of more importation than economics, an' I'm sure yo' paw will not be the one to infuse to buy another bag of flour for the beautyfaction of his twinses an' they lady guests."

Well, we washed and washed in buttermilk until we smelled like old churns. Then we lay down while Blanche placed tenderly on each burning countenance a dough mask. Annie did not need it, but she must have one, too, even though it was in a measure "gilding the lily."

"Let me have a mouth hole instead of one for my nostrils," I demanded. "I can breathe through my mouth for a while and I don't want to do anything to keep the dough from doing its perfect work on my poor nose."

We must have presented a ridiculous appearance, lying stretched out on our cots, each girl with her countenance supporting what looked like a great hoe cake.

"Well, I tell you, one has to suffer to be beautiful!"

exclaimed Mary.

"I don't mind it as much on my face as my neck," declared Dee. "It feels like a great boa constrictor throttling me, but it would never do to have my face as fair as a lily and my neck as red as a rose."

The air was fresh and soothing and we were tired anyhow; our masks were not conducive to conversation, so one by one we dropped off to sleep while the dough was getting in its perfect work. We slept for hours I think, and while the dough was busy, the yeast was not idle but responded readily to the warmth occasioned by our poor faces. The air-holes, seemingly too large in the beginning, gradually began to close in as the little leaven leavened the whole lump. Lying on your back is sure to make you snore at any rate, and lying on your back with almost all air cut off from you will cause stertorious breathing fearful to hear.

I do not know how long we had been lying there, but I know I was having a terrible dream. I dreamed I was under water, and the water was hot. I was trying to get to the top, knowing I could float if I could only get to the top, but every time I would come to the surface Mabel Binks would sit on my face and down I would sink again. I was struggling and clutching wildly at the air and trying to call Zebedee, and then Zebedee pulled Mabel off me and I floated into the pure air. Incidentally I opened my eyes to find the real Zebedee bending over me simply convulsed with laughter, while Miss Cox pulled the mask off of Mary, who was making a noise like a little tug trying to get a great steamer out of harbour. Dum and Dee were sitting up rubbing their eyes and Annie was blinking at the light and wondering where she was and what it was all about.

"Well, it is a good thing we came home when we did or our whole house party would have broken up in asphyxiation. When we opened the door down stairs there was no sign of Blanche, but such noise as was issuing from this sleeping porch! Sawing gourds was sweet music compared to it What on earth do you mean by this peculiar performance?" and Zebedee burst out into renewed peals of laughter and Miss Cox sank helpless on the foot of my cot.

"If you could have seen yourselves!" she gasped. "Five girls in kimonos, lying prone, and each one, in the place of a head, sporting a great dumpling."

We looked woefully at our prized masks and to be sure each one had risen to three times its original bulk. Little wonder breathing had been difficult.

Dee still had the remedy around her neck, puffed out like an enormous goitre, her chin resting comfortably on it. All of us felt as foolish as we looked and that was saying a good deal.

"You certainly smell like a dairy lunch up here," sniffed Zebedee. "Please tell me if you were assisting poor, dear Blanche and raising her dough for her. Is this the method you housekeepers have employed all summer to have such good bread? I wondered how you did it. But don't I smell buttermilk, too?" We knew we were in for a good teasing and we got it, although Miss Cox did her best to make Zebedee call a halt. "Is all of this beautifying for the benefit of Harvie and Shorty, who by the way are coming out in about an hour? I feel sad that you did not think I was worth making yourselves pretty for, but maybe you knew that I like freckles. If you did, I feel sadder than ever that you should have taken away what I consider so charming."

I don't believe one single freckle was removed by our torture; but our skin felt soft and satiny, and Dum's peelings all came off with her mask. Then the long sleep had rested all of us so, after all, there was no harm done except that all the flour was used up. That night we had no bread but batter bread for supper, but since Blanche had mastered the mixing of that dish, dear to the heart of all Virginians, we none of us minded, just so she made enough of it, which she did.

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