It was a peaceful Sunday evening. The past week was the best that Plumfield had in a while. Jack stayed out of mischief, Tommy didn’t get hurt besides falling into the brook a couple time. Dan tried extra hard in school, and Demi was out playing in the field all week instead of just reading. The other boys stayed out of trouble and were well behaved all week. The girls had been playing with their dolls peacefully all week.
Mrs. Bhaer was proud of her boys and girls, and decided to allow a pillow fight that night. Pillow fights were only allowed of Saturday nights if the boys were good all week, this week they were especially good, earning them another pillow fight!
When Mrs. Bhaer told the children that tonight they were allowed to have a pillow fight they were overjoyed. The noise that they made almost made her take it back. The boys tumbled up to the nursery to bathe. The Bhaers had never seen them bathe so quickly before!
While the older boys were bathing Nat remembered that he left his fiddle downstairs, shuddering at the thought of leaving his precious fiddle out overnight he wanted to go down to retrieve it. But it was night, after bath no one was downstairs except Mr. Bhaer in his study. Nat wanted to get his fiddle but didn’t want to go down himself, so he asked the bravest of the boys to accompany him, Tommy. Nat would have asked Dan, but he was still bathing, so he chose the second bravest boy.
“Tommy?” Nat asked meekly from the doorframe of Tommy’s bedroom.
“Yea?” Tommy replied, looking up from Dan’s bug collection.
“Will you come down with me to get my fiddle please?”
“Why can’t you go yourself?
“Um…I don’t wanna get eaten by monsters. And you’re the bravest boy at Plumfield! Besides Dan.” Nat said anxiously.
“Okay.” Tommy groaned getting up from his bed. “You really think I’m the bravest?”
“Besides Dan.” Nat nodded.
The two boys went down the stairs and into the schoolroom as quietly as possible so the monsters wouldn’t hear them. Nat was always open about his fears. Unlike Tommy, he always said that he didn’t believe in monsters, but being alone in the dark with nothing but shadows creeped him out.
“Quickly get your fiddle so we can go back upstairs!” Tommy whispered anxiously.
“Thomas Bangs, are you scared?” asked Nat in a mocking tone.
“No! Of course not! Only sissys are scared of the dark!” Tommy said hurriedly.
“I never said anything about the dark.” Nat said grabbing his fiddle from the couch.
Tommy was going to respond, but a loud knock from the front door interrupted him. It was so loud that the whole house heard it, setting all its young inhabitants into panic. Nat dropped his fiddle on the ground making it splinter to pieces. Tommy bolted up the stairs, remembering that he left his companion downstairs in the dark went back down to bring Nat up. Meanwhile upstairs Mrs. Bhaer was busy comforting Daisy and Rob who were so startled they started crying.
Mr. Bhaer who heard the knock, Nat dropping his fiddle, and the crying children knew that the peace that had reigned all week just ended. The knock came again, Mr. Bhaer came out of the study just to see his wife come down the stairs.
“Who could be about at this hour?” asked Mrs. Bhaer slightly annoyed. “The children were so calm. This much excitement at this hour isn’t good for growing bodies.”
Mr. Bhaer opened the door to see a large man in a big black trench coat with a tall black top hat. In his arms he had a small bundle covered up with lots of blankets and quilts.
“What can I do for you at this hour, good sir?” asked Mr. Bhaer. The man at the door looked past Mr. Bhaer to see a small gathering of children at the foot of the stairs.
“Here.” He said briefly and handed over the bundle in his arms over to Mr. Bhaer. Looking closer at the bundle Mr. Bhaer saw the small face of a sleeping newborn. Mrs. Bhaer who saw this too, took the small child as her husband ran after the man.
“Sir!” Mr. Bhaer called out to the man. He turned around and looked at Mr. Bhaer very seriously. “Please take your child back. This isn’t an orphanage.”
“He’s not my child.” The man replied gruffly. “He showed up at my doorstep with a note. It’s in the blankets.” After this brief explanation the man walked off hurriedly hoping Mr. Bhaer wouldn’t chase after him again.
Stunned by what had just happened, Mr. Bhaer walked back to Plumfield. When he got back he saw Mrs. Bhaer cuddling the small boy while reading the note in the blankets.
This is what it said :
Dear whoever this may concern,
Please take care of my dear Henry. I will come find him when I have the resources to take care of my boy.
Heartbroken by reading these words Mrs. Bhaer showed her husband the letter. He sighed deeply after reading the short letter. In all the excitement the children forgot all about their pillow fight, now they wanted to see the little baby.
“Father? What’s wrong?” asked Rob, Mr. and Mrs. Bhaers’ eldest son.
“Nothing my boy.” His father replied, smiling at the little face so deeply concerned. “It is late children, time for bed, tomorrow we shall be working on more arithmetic.”
There was a collective groan at hearing the word arithmetic, but the children obeyed and trudged upstairs to bed.
Mr. and Mrs. Bhaer headed to their private study to look over the matter.
“What are we going to do Fritz?” asked Mrs. Bhaer anxiously. Mr. Bhaer smiled slightly, he knew that his wife wanted to keep the child, but there was just no more room at Plumfield for another boy! They were already hitting capacity when Dan came along, now another child!
“My dear, I know you want to keep the child, but we haven’t got room. We don’t know where this child came from and if the mother will come looking for him.” Mr. Bhaer reasoned.
“Oh but Fritz this is a young child! He hasn’t been affected by the world yet! We could raise him from the start, as if he was Rob or Teddy! It’s a new boy who we can raise!” Mrs. Bhaer was practically begging. She saw something in the child, and she wouldn’t back down until she got her way.
“I understand what you mean my dear, but this is raising another child! Teddy isn’t even five yet, are you sure we are ready to take on another child?”
“Yes.” Mrs. Bhaer said firmly, and that was the end of it.
The next morning at breakfast Mr. and Mrs. Bhaer had a very important announcement to make.
“As you all remember last night we received a special little bundle.” Mr. Bhaer began. “This special bundle has joined out family! Children, say hello to Henry Bhaer.”
The children practically went into an uproar with excitement shouting out questions about this new addition to the family. Mr. Bhaer smiled, he was glad his boys were excited about the new addition.
“Before last night Mother and I didn’t know about Henry. But we have decided to adopt him and take him in as our own!” This announcement caused such uproar that people passing by on the street could hear it.
Everyone at Plumfield was overjoyed by the new baby. Except Teddy, this new child had his last name. That meant that Henry was his new brother, but that also meant that Teddy wasn’t the baby of the family anymore. Thinking this Teddy started bawling, it was so loud that all the children stopped yelling. The only noise in the room was Teddy’s crying.
“Teddy, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?” Mrs. Bhaer asked.
“I not baby anymore!” Teddy sobbed. The school almost went into another uproar of laughter, but they all felt bad for Teddy and kept their laugh in. Mrs. Bhaer was going to console Teddy, but Rob beat his mother to it. Rob took Teddy into the empty schoolroom and sat him down on one of the chairs.
“Teddy, don’t be a baby!” Rob said. This comment made Teddy cry even louder. So Rob tried a different way to talk to him. He wanted to console his little brother but didn’t know how to start. “Teddy, I understand.”
“No you don!” Teddy sniffled.
“Actually I do. I was your age when you were born. I was sad that I wasn’t the baby anymore.” Teddy looked into Rob’s eyes and sniffled.
“You dwid?” Teddy asked in his squeaky voice. Rob nodded earnestly.
“But then I met you, and I learned to love you. You were the cutest little baby. I was told I had to look after and protect you! It’s a lot of responsibility, but it means you’re a big boy now!” Rob knew that he got his brother. Teddy was always trying to convince the others that he was a big boy now.
Teddy stopped crying and sniffled a little. “I get to be a big boy?”
“Yup! Then all the boys will know that you’re a big boy now!” Rob said. He was glad that he got Teddy to stop crying.
“I want to be a big bwotha!” Teddy exclaimed excitedly.
Rob smiled, he had consoled his brother without his parents help! Out in the hallway Mr. and Mrs. Bhaer was listening to the boys inside. They smiled, Rob had been raised well.
“Are you ready to be a big brother Teddy?” Mrs. Bhaer asked walking in. Teddy nodded and his mother carefully laid Henry into his arms.
“You’re a natural big brother!” Mr. Bhaer exclaimed watching how Teddy instinctively supported Henry’s head.
The rest of the day went on well. From that day on the children became quiet and calm so baby Henry wouldn’t get startled. The girls were always anxious to help take care of him, developing their housewife skills, and Plumfield had never been more orderly or quiet.
As an adult Teddy always loved telling the story of how his parents took in a baby that had been left on their doorstep and raised him as their own. Teddy loved saying how his mother saw something in Henry and how his brother comforted him. The Bhaers always enjoyed looking back on the night they gained a new addition to their big family at Plumfield.