House-Building And Repairs.

A poem by Juliana Horatia Ewing

Father is building a new house, but I've had one given to me for my own;
Brick red, with a white window, and black where it ought to be glass, and the chimney yellow, like stone.
Brother Bill made me the shelves with his tool-box, and the table I had before, and the pestle-and-mortar;
And Mother gave me the jam-pot when it was empty; it's rather big, but it's the only pot we have that will really hold water.
We--that is I and Jemima, my doll. (For it's a Doll's House, you know,
Though some of the things are real, like the nutmeg-grater, but not the wooden plates that stand in a row.
They came out of a box of toy tea-things, and I can't think what became of the others;
But one never can tell what becomes of anything when one has brothers.)
Jemima is much smaller than I am, and, being made of wood, she is thin;
She takes up too much room inside, but she can lie outside on the roof without breaking it in.
I wish I had a drawing-room to put her in when I want to really cook;
I have to have the kitchen-table outside as it is, and the pestle-and-mortar is rather too heavy for it, and everybody can look.
There's no front door to the house, because there's no front to have a door in, and beside,
If there were, I couldn't play with anything, for I shouldn't know how to get inside.
I never heard of a house with only one room, except the cobbler's, and his was a stall.
I don't quite know what that is; but it isn't a house, and it served him for parlour and kitchen and all.
Father says that whilst he is about it, he thinks he shall add on a wing;
And brother Bill says he'll nail my Doll's House on the top of an old tea-chest, which will come to the same thing.

* * * * *

Father's house is not finished, though the wing is; for now the builder says it will be all wrong if there isn't another to match;
And my house isn't done either, though it's nailed on, for Bill took off the roof to make a new one of thatch.
The paint is very much scratched, but he says that's nothing, for it must have had a new coat;
And he means to paint it for me, inside and out, when he paints his own boat.
There's a sad hole in the floor, but Bill says the wood is as rotten as rotten can be:
Which was why he made such a mess of the side with trying to put real glass in the window, through which one can see.
Bill says he believes that the shortest plan would be to make a new Doll's House with proper rooms, in the regular way;
Which was what the builder said to Father when he wanted to build in the old front; and to-day
I heard him tell him the old materials were no good to use and weren't worth the expense of carting away.
I don't know when I shall be able to play at dolls again, for all the things are put away in a box;
Except Jemima and the pestle-and-mortar, and they're in the bottom drawer with my Sunday frocks.
I almost wish I had kept the house as it was before;
We managed very well with a painted window and without a front door.
I don't know what Father means to do with his house, but if ever mine is finished, I'll never have it altered any more.

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