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List Of Contents | Contents of The Dutch Twins, by Lucy Fitch Perkins
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away the breakfast things.

Father Vedder was lighting his pipe with a coal from the fire. He
had on his black Sunday clothes, all ready for church. Father
Vedder did not look at Kit and Kat at all. He just puffed away at
his pipe and said to himself,

"If there are any Twins anywhere that want to go to church with
me, they'd better get dressed and eat their breakfasts."

Kit and Kat tumbled out of the cupboard at once.

Vrouw Vedder came to help them dress.

I can't tell you how many petticoats she put on Kat, but it was
ever so many. And. over them all she put a skirt of plaid. There
was a waist of a different color, and over that a kerchief with
bright red roses on it. And over the skirt she put a new, clean
apron.

Kit was dressed very splendidly too. He had full baggy trousers
of velveteen that reached to his ankles, and a jacket that
buttoned with big silver buttons. His trousers had pockets in
them.

Kit and Kat both wore stockings, which Vrouw Vedder had knit, and
their best shoes of stout leather.

When they were all dressed, Vrouw Vedder stood them up side by
side and had them turn around slowly to be sure they were all
right.

"Now see that you behave well in meeting," she said. "Sit up
straight. Look at the Dominie, and do not whisper."

"Yes, Mother," said Kit and Kat.

Then she tied a big apron over each of them and gave them each a
bowl of bread and milk. While they were eating it, Father Vedder
went out and looked at the pigs, and chickens, and ducks, and
geese, and smoked his pipe.

When he came in, Kit and Kat were quite ready. Vrouw Vedder had
tied on Kat's little white-winged cap, and put Kit's hat on. She
kissed them good-bye, and they were off, one on each side of
Father Vedder, holding tight to his hands.

Mother Vedder looked after them proudly, from the doorway. She
did not go to church that day.

They walked slowly along the roadway in the bright sunshine. Many
of their neighbors and friends, all dressed in their best, were
walking to church, too.

Father Vedder and Kit and Kat went a little out of their way, in
order to pass a large windmill that was swinging its arms around
and creaking out a kind of sleepy windmill song. This is the song
it seemed to sing:

    Around, and around, and around, I go,
    Sometimes fast and sometimes slow.
    I pump the water and grind the grain,
    The marshy fields of the Lowlands, drain.
    I harness the wind to turn my mill,
    Around, and around, and around with a will!

Perhaps it was listening to the windmill song that made Kat say,

"Why do we have windmills, father?"

Kit and Kat said "Why?" every few steps on that walk. You see,
they didn't often have their father all to themselves, to ask
questions of.

"Why, what a little Dutch girl," said Father Vedder, "not to know
what windmills are for! They pump the water out of the fields, to
be sure! Don't you know how wet the fields are sometimes? If we
didn't keep pumping the water out, they would be so wet we could
not make gardens at all."

"Does the wind pump the water?" asked Kat.

"Of course it does, goosie girl! and grinds the grain too. The
wind blows against the great arms and turns them round and round.
That works the pumps; and the pumps suck the water out of the
fields, and it is poured out into the canals. If it weren't for
the good old windmills working away, who knows but the water
would get the best of us some day and cover up all our land!"

"Wouldn't the dykes keep out the sea?" asked Kit.

"Suppose the dykes should break!" said Father Vedder. "Even one
little break can let in lots of water. The dykes have to be
watched day and night all the time, and the least bit of a hole
stopped up right away, so it can't grow any bigger and let in the
sea."

"Oh dear," Kat said, "what a leaky country!"

She ran near the mill and let the wind from the fans blow her
hair and the white wings on her cap.

As the great fans swung near the ground, Kit jumped up and caught
hold of one. It lifted him right off the ground as it swung
around, and in a minute he was dangling high in the air.

"Jump, jump, quick," shouted Father Vedder.

Kit let go and dropped to the ground just in time. In another
minute he would have been carried clear over.

As it was, he sat down very hard on the ground, and had to have
the dirt brushed off of his Sunday clothes.

"I am surprised at you," Father Vedder said, while he brushed
him. "You are too small to swing on windmills, and besides it is
the Sabbath day. Don't you ever do it again until you are big
enough to be called Christopher!"

Sitting down so hard in the dirt had hurt Kit a little bit, and
scared him a good deal, so he said, "No, father."

Then they walked all around the mill. They peeped inside a door
which was open, and saw the pumps working away.

"Yes," said Father Vedder, "it is nip and tuck between wind and
water in Holland. Let us sit down here on the canal bank, in the
sunshine, and I will tell you what hard work has to be done to
keep this good land of ours. And it is a good land! We should be
thankful for it! Just see the rich green meadows over there, with
the cows grazing in them!" Father Vedder pointed to the
beautiful fields across the canal. "The grass is so rich and
fresh, that the cows here give more milk than any other cows in
the whole world!"

"That's what Mother says," said Kat.

"The Holland butter and cheese are famous everywhere," went on
Father Vedder; "and we have all the good milk we want to drink,
besides. The Dutch gardens, too, are the finest in the world."

"And ours is one of the best of Dutch gardens, isn't it, Father?"
said Kit.

"It's a very good garden," said Father Vedder, proudly. "No one
can raise better onions and cabbage and carrots than I can. And
the Dutch bulbs! Our tulips and hyacinths make the whole world
bloom!"

"Holland is really the greatest country there is; isn't it?" said
Kit.

"Well, not in point of size, perhaps," Father Vedder admitted;
"but in pluck, my boy, it is! Did you know that sometimes people
call Holland the Land of Pluck?"

"I don't see why," said Kat. "I'm Dutch, but I'm afraid of lots
of things! I'm afraid of spiders and of cross geese, and of
falling into the water!"

"You're a girl, if you are Dutch," said Kit. "Boys are always
pluckier than girls; aren't they, Father?"

"Really plucky people never boast," said Father Vedder.

Kit looked the other way and dug the toe of his shoe into the
dirt. Kat snuggled up to her Father and sniffed at Kit.

"So there, Kit!" was all she said.

"There's pluck enough to go round," said Father Vedder mildly,
"and we all need it boys and girls, and men and women too. It
was pluck that made Holland, and it's pluck that keeps her from
slipping back into the sea."

"How did pluck make Holland?" asked Kit.

"There wasn't any Holland in the first place," Father Vedder
answered. "There were only some marshes and some lands under
water. But people built a wall of earth around these flats; and
then they pumped out the water from the space inside the wall,
and made canals through the land, and drained it. And after all
that work, we have our rich fields."

"How does pluck keep them?" asked Kat.

"The dykes have to be watched and mended all the time," said
Father Vedder. "And the windmills have to work and work, to keep
the fields drained. No one can be lazy in Holland. Each one has
to work well for what he gets. If Holland should grow lazy, she
would soon be back again in the Zuyder Zee! So, my children, you
see you must learn well and work hard. And that is all my sermon
to-day."

"It is a better sermon than the Dominic will preach, I know,"
said Kat.

"Tut, tut! You must never say such things," said Father Vedder.
He got up and held out his hands to the Twins.

"Come! we must walk along, or we shall be late for church," he
said. "Here comes the Dominie now."

There indeed was the Dominie! Kit and Kat knew him well. No one
else dressed as he did. He wore a high silk hat, and long, black
coat and trousers, such as city people wear.

As he came along the road, all the people bowed respectfully; the
little boys took off their caps, and the little girls bobbed a
courtesy. Kit and Kat bobbed and courtesied too, and the Dominie
smiled at them and laid his hand on Kit's head.

"I wish he'd come to see us again," said Kit, after the Dominie
had passed by.

Father Vedder was pleased.

"I am glad to see that you love your pastor, my son," he said.

"Well," said Kit, "I don't really like him so very much, because
we have to be washed, and recite the catechism, and mind all our
manners when he comes. But Mother always has such good things to
eat when the Dominie comes--doesn't she, Kat?--cake and preserves
and everything!"

"If it weren't for the catechism and such things, it would be
something like St. Nicholas day!" sighed Kat. "But the Dominie
never forgets! And last time I couldn't tell what saving grace
was! The cakes are good, but..."

"Good Dutch boys and girls always learn their catechism well,"
said Father Vedder; "then they are glad to see the good Dominie
as well as the cakes. Now no more chatter! Here is a penny for
each of you to put in the bag when it is passed."

He gave them each a penny. Kit put his in his pocket. Kat didn't
have a pocket, so she held hers tight in her hand.

At the church door they met Grandfather and Grandmother.

Grandfather looked very fine indeed, in his black clothes; and
Grandmother was all dressed up in her best black dress, with a
fresh white cap, and a shawl over her shoulders. She carried a
large psalm book with golden clasps in one hand, and a scent
bottle in the other. She had some peppermints too. Kit and Kat
smelled them.

They all went into the church together, and an old woman led them
to their seats. Kit and Kat sat one each side of Grandmother.
Grandfather and Father Vedder sat on the other side of the church
with all the rest of the men.

"You must sit very still and look straight before you," said
Grandmother.

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