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HOME > Children's Novel > The Curlytops in the Woods > CHAPTER VIII FUN IN THE ATTIC
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 With whoops1 of delight that made the old farmhouse2 ring, the Curlytops and Trouble hurried after Mrs. Pitney. She smiled and laughed with them.  
“I’m afraid they’ll make you a lot of work,” said Mrs. Martin.
“Oh, I love children,” was the answer. “I have raised a family of them myself. They won’t do any harm. There’s nothing in the attic3 that can be damaged. And if the older ones will look after their little brother, there will be no trouble.”
“That’s his name,” said Janet, with a laugh.
“Whose name?” asked Mrs. Pitney.
“His,” and Janet pointed4 to William. “He’ll get into trouble if there’s any way at all.”
[86]“He chained the auto6 fast and went to sleep on the hay wagon,” added Ted5, as they climbed the attic stairs.
“Maybe—now—maybe I did,” admitted Trouble, who always got his words a little mixed when he was excited. “But now I didn’t—I—er—now—I didn’t lost ma’s diamond locket like you did, Jan!” he cried.
“Oh, dear!” sighed Janet, for that was an unhappy memory.
“Did your mother lose something on this trip?” asked Mrs. Pitney.
“Not on this trip,” explained Ted. “It was before we started. My sister and I were playing house, and Janet borrowed mother’s small diamond locket to dress up with. But there was an auto accident out in front and we ran to see that, and afterward7 we couldn’t find the locket.”
“It must have dropped down a crack. But we looked everywhere,” said Janet. “Oh, I feel so bad about it.”
“Never mind,” consoled Mrs. Pitney. “Maybe it will be found some day.”
But Janet did not believe it would.
“And Jim is lost, too,” added Trouble.
“Who is Jim? Your dog?” asked the farmer’s wife.
[87]“No. He is a tame crow that does tricks, and he’s worth more than a hundred dollars,” explained Ted. “He can stand on one leg and make a pop like a cork8 coming from a bottle.”
“It’s too bad you lost a crow like that,” said Mrs. Pitney, as she arranged the lamp in a safe place in the attic, where it would not be knocked over if the children raced about as they were sure to do. “One of our neighbors had a tame crow once,” she went on. “It could say a few words, but I never heard it pull corks9.”
“Jim wasn’t our crow,” Janet hastened to explain. “He belongs to Mr. Jenk, the man who lives next door. But he’ll give us ten dollars if we find Jim.”
“Then I hope you’ll find him soon,” said Mrs. Pitney. “Now you may play with anything you find up here,” she went on, “but I am going to ask you to put everything back just where you found it.”
“Oh, we’ll do that,” promised Ted.
“And we’ll put back anything that Trouble leaves out, for sometimes he forgets,” said Janet.
“No, I put back t’ings myself!” insisted Trouble.
[88]“All right,” laughed Ted. “See that you do.”
As Mrs. Pitney had said, there were many old-fashioned things in the attic for the children to have fun with. There were moulds for making candles, which were burned before we had kerosene10 lamps or electric lights. These candle moulds were a number of tin tubes fastened to a frame, and Mrs. Pitney remained up in the attic long enough to tell the children how candles used to be made.
“My grandmother used to make them,” she said. “She would set this mould, which made a dozen candles at once, down in a tub of water to keep it cool. Then she would pour the melted tallow into each tin tube where, before that, some cotton wicks had been hung. The melted tallow flowed around the wick, which was hung just in the centre, by a little stick across the top of the mould. Then when the tallow was cold the candles could be lifted out.”
“Did they make wax candles the same way?” asked Janet.
“Yes, only they used melted beeswax instead of tallow,” said Mrs. Pitney. “Of course the wax candles were a little nicer[89] than those made of tallow, and they didn’t smell up the room so. But I don’t know that the wax ones gave any better light.”
“It must have been fun to use candles,” said Janet.
“Not as much fun as it sounds,” answered the farmer’s wife. “They didn’t give half as good light as a kerosene lamp.”
“We have lickerish lights at our house,” said Trouble.
“Lickerish lights?” exclaimed Mrs. Pitney.
“He means electric lights,” explained Janet. “Oh, what’s that big wheel over there?” she asked, pointing to one in a corner of the attic.
“That’s a spinning wheel,” was the reply. “In the olden days my grandmother spun11 the woolen12 yarn13 that was woven into cloth or knit into socks.”
“May we play with it?” asked Ted.
“Yes. It isn’t all there,” said Mrs. Pitney. “Only the big wheel is left, but you can turn it and have fun, I suppose.”
“We’ll play engine,” decided14 Ted, as he helped Mrs. Pitney move the old-fashioned spinning wheel out into the middle of the attic.
[90]Then Janet saw a smaller wheel somewhat like the larger.
“Was that for little girls to spin yarn on when their mothers spun on the big wheel?” she asked.
“No,” was the answer. “The little wheel is for spinning flax, which is different from wool. Flax is a plant that grows. It has blue flowers. In the olden days our grandmothers took the stalks of the flax plant, wet them, pounded them, and pulled the fine fibers15 into threads. These very fine threads were then spun together by the spindle on the small flax wheel, and from the threads linen16 cloth was woven at the mill.”
“If we could take the big spinning wheel and the flax wheel I could put them together and have a dandy engine!” said Ted, with sparkling eyes.
“You may take them,” said Mrs. Pitney.
With Janet’s help Ted set the two old-fashioned spinning wheels together. The larger one had a rim17 around it over an inch wide, and the smaller, or flax wheel, had two grooves18 around its rim.
“They used to put two belts of string on the small wheel,” said Mrs. Pitney, “and then the string belts ran t............
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