The Sleepy-Time Story, by Gertrude Smith

two girls playing with flowers in the garden, near a cute, white fenceOne night Arabella and Araminta’s mamma was sewing, and their papa was reading his newspaper. And there was a fire in the grate – a warm, bright fire in the grate.

And Arabella sat on the rug before the fire, and Araminta sat on the rug before the fire.

And Arabella was playing with her little white kitty, and Araminta was playing with her little black kitty.

And Arabella’s little white kitty’s name was Annabel, and Araminta’s little black kitty’s name was Lillabel.

Arabella had a little red ball fastened to a long string, and Araminta had a little blue ball fastened to a long string. Arabella would roll her ball, and her little white kitty would run and jump for it. And Araminta would roll her ball, and her little black kitty would run and jump for it.

The kittens were so cunning and funny, and they were having such a splendid time.

Sometimes when Arabella’s kitty would run very fast, or jump very high, Arabella would laugh until she tumbled right over on the floor.

And sometimes when Araminta’s kitty would run very fast, or jump very high, Araminta would laugh until she would tumble right over on the floor.

Oh, they were having a splendid time.

But all at once their mamma looked up from her sewing, and said, “Good-night, Arabella. Good-night, Araminta. The clock is on the stroke of eight.”

And their papa looked up from his paper, and said, “Yes, good-night, Arabella. Good-night, Araminta. The clock is on the stroke of eight.”

And Arabella said, “Oh, must we go to bed right now?”

And Araminta said, “Oh, must we go to bed right now?”

And their papa said, “Yes, indeed; yes, indeed. Good-night, Arabella. Good-night, Araminta. The clock is on the stroke of eight.”

Always, when it was bedtime, their papa and mamma would say, “Good-night, Arabella. Good-night, Araminta.”

And sometimes they were good, and sometimes they were bad; but they always ran away to bed.

And their dear mamma always went with them and tucked them in and kissed them, and then came away downstairs and left them. And sometimes they were good, and sometimes they were bad; but they always went to sleep.

But to-night their mamma said,

“Run and get your nighties, dears,
And get each a flannel gown,
And we’ll sit and rock you here,
Till you go to sleepy-town.”

And Arabella ran upstairs and got her nighty and her little flannel gown. And Araminta ran upstairs and got her nighty and her little flannel gown. And their mamma undressed Arabella, and their papa undressed Araminta.

Arabella’s little flannel gown was red, and Araminta’s little flannel gown was pink. When they had put them on over their nighties they were just as warm as toast.

Arabella’s kitty was playing with Araminta’s kitty on the rug before the fire. They were rolling and tumbling and chasing each other, and they looked so cunning and sweet.

And Arabella’s mamma took Arabella on her lap, and Araminta’s papa took Araminta on his lap.

Arabella said, “Oh, I want my kitty in my lap, mamma!”

And Araminta said, “Oh, I want my kitty in my lap, papa!”

So they jumped down and caught the kitties.

Their mamma rocked Arabella, and their papa rocked Araminta; and they sang to them,

“Now a nice little rock,
And never mind the clock,
Now a nice little rock,
And never mind the clock!”

And they sang it over, and over, and over.

“Now a nice little rock,
And never mind the clock,
Now a nice little rock,
And never mind the clock!”

And Arabella cuddled in her mamma’s arms, and hugged her little kitty close; and Araminta cuddled in her papa’s arms, and hugged her little kitty close.

And their mamma sang, and their papa sang;

“Now she goes to sleepy-town, sleepy-town, sleepy-town;
Cuddled in her little gown, here she goes to sleepy-town.”

And they sang it over, and over, and over.

“Now she goes to sleepy-town, sleepy-town, sleepy-town;
Cuddled in her little gown, here she goes to sleepy-town.”

And very soon Arabella could only just hear her mamma singing, and very soon Araminta could only just hear her papa singing, “Sleepy-town, sleepy-town.” And soon they couldn’t hear them at all. They were sound asleep!

And their mamma looked at their papa, and said, “Our precious little dears are both sound asleep.”

And their papa said, “Yes, our little pets have both reached sleepy-town.”

And Arabella’s mamma carried her upstairs and put her in her little bed, and Araminta’s papa carried her upstairs and put her in her little bed. And Arabella was hugging her white kitty up close in her arms and Araminta was hugging her black kitty up close in her arms. And the kitties were both sound asleep, too.

But Arabella’s kitty and Araminta’s kitty did not sleep with them all night—oh, no indeed! They had a nice little, warm little, soft little bed down in the basement, close to the furnace.

And their papa took the kitties out of their arms, and carried them down to their bed.

And Arabella slept, and slept, and slept, and slept, and slept. And Araminta slept, and slept, and slept, and slept, and slept.

And the little kitties in their soft little bed slept, and slept, too. All through the long, dark, beautiful night they slept.

And the sun came, and the morning came, and it was another day!
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From “Arabella and Araminta Stories.”