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.

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'House-Building And Repairs.' by Juliana Horatia Ewing

comments powered by Disqus