The B D S
: Nearly Bedtime
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
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
Pattie. "Don't let's tell each other how we'll do our rooms until
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
"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
"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
"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!"