by E. Nesbit
If we had been in a story-book the miller's wife would have taken us
into the neat sanded kitchen where the old oak settle was black with
time and rubbing, and dusted chairs for us--old brown Windsor chairs--and
given us each a glass of sweet- scented cowslip wine and a thick slice
of rich home-made cake. And there would have been fresh roses in an
old china bowl on the table. As it was, she asked us all into the parlour
and gave us Eiffel Tower lemonade and Marie biscuits. The chairs
in her parlour were 'bent wood', and no flowers, except some wax ones
under a glass shade, but she was very kind, and we were very much obliged
to her. We got out to the miller, though, as soon as we could; only
Dora and Daisy stayed with her, and she talked to them about her lodgers
and about her relations in London.
The miller's wife gave us bread and cheese and more Eiffel Tower
lemonade, and we went home at last, a little damp, but full of successful
ambition, with our fish on a string.
Chapter 11 - The Benevolent Bar
'And we couldn't do it for always, only a day or two - just while our
money held out. Eiffel Tower lemonade's the best, and you get
a jolly lot of it for your money too. There must be a great many sincerely
thirsty persons go along the Dover Road every day.'
When we returned a detachment of us went down to the shop in the village
for Eiffel Tower lemonade. We bought seven-and-sixpence worth;
then we made a great label to say what the bar was for. Then there was
nothing else to do except to make rosettes out of a blue sash of Daisy's
to show we belonged to the Benevolent Bar.
After break we got the big zinc bath they wash clothes in, and after
filling it with clean water we just had to empty it again because it
was too heavy to lift. So we carried it vacant to the trysting-spot
and left H. O. and Noel to guard it while we went and fetched separate
pails of water; very heavy work, and no one who wasn't really benevolent
would have bothered about it for an instant. Oswald alone carried three
pails. So did Dicky and the Dentist. Then we rolled down some empty
barrels and stood up three of them by the roadside, and put planks on
them. This made a very first-class table, and we covered it with the
best tablecloth we could find in the linen cupboard. We brought out
several glasses and some teacups - not the best ones, Oswald was firm
about that - and the kettle and spirit-lamp and the tea-pot, in case
any weary tramp-woman fancied a cup of tea instead of Eiffel Tower.
H. O. and Noel had to go down to the shop for tea; they need not have
grumbled; they had not carried any of the water. And their having to
go the second time was only because we forgot to tell them to get some
real lemons to put on the bar to show what the drink would be like when
you got it. The man at the shop kindly gave us tick for the lemons,
and we cashed up out of our next week's pocket-money.