Blue Frocks and Pink Frocks
by Mrs. Molesworth
Rosalind and Pauline Wyvill were not twins, though at first sight
nearly every one thought they were. Rosy was eleven and Paula only
nine-and-a-half, but Paula was very tall for her age, and Rosy, if
anything, small for eleven, so they were almost exactly the same
height. And though Paula was much fairer than her sister, who had
brown hair and rather dark grey eyes, still there was a good deal of
likeness between them, and they were generally dressed exactly the
same, which made them seem still more like twins.
Their mother was particular about their dressing the same, but now and
then it was a little difficult to manage, for somehow Paula's frocks
and hats and jackets generally got shabby long before Rosy's, and if
an accident—such as tearing or burning or staining—was to happen,
it was perfectly sure to come to Paula's clothes, and not to her
sister's. In such cases, however, the misfortune had often to be
endured, for their mother could not of course afford to get new things
every time Paula's came to grief, though now and then she had to get
an extra frock or jacket of some stronger or stouter material for the
little girl to wear, if those the same as her sister's had been spoilt
It came to pass, one Christmas holiday, that the two children were
invited to spend a week with an aunt by themselves. It was the first
visit they had ever paid on their own account, and they were both
pleased and excited about it.
This aunt was their father's elder sister. She was very kind, but not
very much accustomed to young people, and in some of her ideas she
was perhaps extra particular and what people now-a-days call rather
"You must show your aunt that I have taught you to be very neat and
tidy," said their mother, a few days before the little girls were to
go, "for she is rather strict about such things; it may be a little
difficult for you, as you will have no maid of your own with you.
Whatever you do, be sure always to be dressed exactly alike, that is
one of the things that your aunt will notice the most."
"Which of us must fix what we are to wear?" said Paula; "mayn't we
take it in turns?"
"I don't think there should be any difficulty about it," said their
mother. "I should think it would be the nicest to consult together,
without any fixed rule."
"Oh, I daresay it will be all right," said Rosy, thinking to herself
that, as she was older than her sister, it would be only fair for her
generally to have the first choice. "Do you think we shall have the
same room, mamma?"
"No," their mother replied. "I was forgetting to tell you that you are
to have two small separate rooms, as there will be other people
staying in the house, and the larger rooms will be needed for them, so
I have told Ann to pack up your things in two small boxes instead of
together, but remember you have everything exactly alike, so that
there will be no excuse for your not always being dressed the same.
And, Paula, I do hope you will manage not to spoil anything during
these few days."
"No, mamma, I'll try not," Paula replied, but she spoke rather
absently, for she was not really attending to her mother's last words.
"What a lot of settling it will take, every time we dress," she was
thinking to herself. "I hope we shan't quarrel about it." For it must
be owned that though Rosy was a very kind elder sister, she was
sometimes rather masterful, and that, though Paula would give in
readily enough when spoken to gently, she could sometimes be very
obstinate, if not taken exactly in the right way.
This is not a story, as you might expect, of Paula's misfortunes in
the way of accidents to her clothes during their week's visit. More by
luck than good management, probably, no very important disaster of the
kind occured, and the first two or three days at their aunt's passed
prosperously. Paula gave in to Rosy's wishes as to what frocks they
were to wear, and indeed during the daytime there was not much chance
of difference of opinion, as, being winter, they had only two each,
Sunday and every-day ones. But their kind mother had given them some
new and pretty evening dresses, prettier than they had ever had
before, and the little girls were very much pleased with them.
Unluckily, however, they had a disagreement of taste about them, Rosy
preferring the pink ones and Paula the blue.
On the third evening of their visit, an hour or so before it was time
to dress, they began talking about what they should put on, for coming
into the drawing-room before dinner.
"It is the turn for our pink frocks to-night," said Rosy, in the very
decided way that always rather roused Paula's spirit of contradiction.
"And I'm very glad of it, for I like them ever so much the best."
"I don't," replied Paula, rather crossly, "I think the blues twenty
times prettier, and we never fixed that we were to wear them in
"Perhaps the blue suits you best," said Rosy, "but the pink suits me;
I heard somebody say so the night we came, and to-night is rather
particular, for you know it's uncle's birthday, and we are to go in to
dessert and sit up an hour later. It is only fair that I should have
what I like best, as I'm the eldest, besides it's the turn of the
"Nonsense about turns," said Paula, more crossly than before, "why
shouldn't I look nice too, on uncle's birthday? I'll wear the blue."
"And I'll wear the pink," said Rosy, with the most determined air.
"You'll be punished for it if you do," said Paula, "just think how
vexed aunt will be if we're different, particularly to-night, when it
is going to be a regular dinner-party."
"I shan't be punished worse than you," was Rosy's reply, "and I shan't
deserve it, and you will."
It was not often the little sisters' quarrels went so far as this.
Paula felt herself getting so angry that she was afraid what she
mightn't be tempted to say next.
She ran out of the room, banging the door behind her I am afraid, and
rushed upstairs, where she burst into tears; for anger makes children
cry quite as often as sorrow. But before she had been many minutes in
her own room, her tears grew gentler, for she was a kind-hearted and
loving little girl, and when she had bathed her face, to take away the
redness from her eyes, she ran downstairs again to look for Rosy and
make friends. But Rosy was not to be found anywhere—her aunt had
called her into the conservatory to help her with some flowers she was
arranging there, and after searching for her sister everywhere she
could think of, Paula had to go upstairs to dress, as the first gong
"As soon as I have done my hair, I'll run to Rosy's room," she thought
to herself, but then another idea struck her, she would give Rosy a
pleasant surprise. "I'll put on the pink frock without telling her,"
she thought, "she will be pleased when she sees me with it on." And
she made haste with her dressing so that Rosy might find her already
in the drawing-room when she came down.
Thus it was that when Rosy, who was a little late of being ready,
looked into Paula's room on her way downstairs, she found her sister
gone. And what do you think happened? there was Paula smiling and
pleased in the pink frock, as Rosy, also smiling and pleased with
herself, walked in in the blue!
But Aunt Margaret, when she caught sight of them, looked neither
smiling nor pleased.
"My dear children," she said, in a tone of vexation, "why are you not
dressed alike? On your uncle's birthday too."
The little girls' faces fell.
"Oh, auntie," said Rosy, "it's all my fault, but I meant to please
Paula, by putting on the blue."
"And I meant to please Rosy," said Paula, "by wearing the pink."
And then the whole story was explained to their aunt, who could not
help smiling at the odd result of their wish to make up their quarrel.
"Change your frocks," she said, "while we're at dinner, so that you
may be the same at dessert, that will put it all right."
She made rather a mistake, for of course only one frock needed to be
changed; which it was I cannot tell you. I only know that they came
into dessert and took their place one on each side of their uncle,
dressed alike—in blue or pink!