When the boys and girls had brought a number of the long, thin poles to him, Uncle Toby took the poles, one at a time, and laid them carefully across the tops of the white walls. Each end of the pole rested on the wall, and when all were in place, laid close together, there was the beginning of the roof.
"But it's full of holes," objected Ted, as he went in through the doorway that had been left, and, looking up, could see the sky in between the spaces of the poles.
"Yes, of course it's full of holes," laughed Uncle Toby. "All you have to do is to plaster some snow in the cracks, and then cover the poles with more snow and you'll have a roof to your house that won't fall in on you."
"Why, how easy!" cried Tom. "It's a wonder we didn't think of that ourselves."
"You'll know how next time," replied Uncle Toby. "Bring a few more poles."
This the children did, even Trouble dragging over some of the smallest ones from the pile. Then the roof was ready for its coating of snow, and the children began tossing it on with their hands and from shovels.
At first the snow dropped through some of the larger cracks between the poles, but these were soon filled, and then a solid mass of white was spread over the roof of the snow house.
"I'm going to see if I can't plaster some snow over the poles from inside, so they won't show," decided Ted, when the outside top of the roof was finished. "Then it will look like a solid snow roof."
The other boys helped with this, but it was not as easy as they had thought it would be. For often after they had stuck a handful of snow on the ceiling inside, it would fall down, once or twice right in their faces.
But at last they had the inside poles pretty well plastered over with snow, and the house was finished. There was a doorway, and two windows, and over the door a blanket was hung. Uncle Toby put some sheets of ice in the windows, and they looked just like glass.
"Oh, this is the nicest snow house I ever saw!" cried Janet.
"It's like a fairy one!" exclaimed Mary. "I never dreamed of one so nice as this."
"It's the best one we ever made," said Ted, and the other boys agreed with him.
But the fun was only beginning. The girls had been promised, if they helped with the making of the snow house, that they could have a play party in it for themselves and, if they chose, their dolls.
"We'll ask Aunt Sallie for something to eat and have the play party now," decided Janet, when some boxes had been put in the snow house to serve as tables and chairs.
"Will the dolls eat everything?" asked Tom, with a smile.
"What do you mean—eat everything?" his sister wanted to know.
"I mean will there be anything left for us?" and Tom winked at the other boys.
"Oh, I guess Aunt Sallie will give enough for everybody," said Janet, and Aunt Sallie did.
As she was getting ready for Thanksgiving, there was plenty to eat in Uncle Toby's bungalow, and soon sandwiches and cake, and a tin pail full of hot chocolate were carried out to the snow house.
"It's a regular picnic in the snow!" cried Mary, in delight. "I never knew anything as nice as this."
The girls took their dolls out to the snow house, Mary having brought hers from home with her, and though it was not as well dressed or as costly as the dolls of Janet or Lola, still Mary loved hers just as much.
Janet wanted to make Trouble a rag doll to play with, but he insisted that he was not going to be a doll.
For two or three days the children played in the snow house, the weather being mild, so that it was quite comfortable in the white "igloo," as Uncle Toby called it. The children wanted to know where that name came from, and he told them it was what the Eskimos of the Polar regions called their egg-shape huts of ice and snow.
The pole roof was a great success, for it did not fall in on the heads of the boys and girls. And there is nothing worse, when you are having fun in a snow house, than to have the roof cave in on you.
Of course there were little accidents, caused by the snow which the boys had plastered to the inside of the poles. More than once little chunks of snow fell, but they were so light they did no harm, even when they hit Janet or Lola on the head.
Once, however, just as Ted was lifting a cup of chocolate to his mouth, a chunk of snow fell right into the cup, splashing the chocolate all over the lad. Luckily it was not hot.
The other children laughed, and so did Ted, after his first surprise.
"Tomorrow will be Thanksgiving!" exclaimed Lola one night, as they hurried in from a long day of fun.
"And you ought to see the big pile of good things there are to eat!" exclaimed Tom. "Oh, boys!"
"Aunt Sallie sure has cooked a lot!" cried Ted.
"The most I ever saw," added Harry. "And such a turkey!"
"And such cranberry sauce!" sighed his sister.
"An' there's candy an' nuts an'—an' lots of things!" added Trouble. "It's mos' like Ch'is'mus!"
"Yes, it surely is," agreed Janet. "Only I hope by Christmas we'll have daddy and mother here." A letter had come from Mr. and Mrs. Martin from the distant city where they had gone to see about the money. In the letter the parents of the Curlytops said they hoped to be with them at Christmas.
The father and mother of Tom and Lola had also written, wishing the children the joys of a happy Thanksgiving, and saying they would come up at Christmas with Mr. and Mrs. Martin.
There was also a letter from Mrs. Benton, in which the poor woman said that she had been operated on, and was much better, but added that she would have to be under the doctor's care and in the hospital some time yet.
"Anyhow, it's something to be thankful for," said Mary. Her brother agreed with her. And if in their hearts there was a little sadness because they had no father to share the joys of the holidays with them, they kept it to themselves.
"We all have lots to be thankful for," said Aunt Sallie, when the feast day came. "Yes, and you shall have something, too," she added to Skyrocket, who was sniffing hungrily at the kitchen door.
After breakfast Uncle Toby took them all to the village church in the automobile, though of course Skyrocket was left at the cabin. He did not like it very much, either, and howled dismally after the Curlytops.
Home they drove, through the crisp air of the woods, to take part in the bountiful feast that was ready all but the "finishing touches," as Aunt Sallie called them.
And such a feast as it was! Never was there such a browned turkey! Never such jolly red mounds of cranberry sauce, almost like jelly! Never such crisp celery! And the gravy that covered the heaping plates that the children had passed to them! Surely never was such gravy made!
"Oh, I don't believe I can ever eat another thing!" exclaimed Mary, when Uncle Toby asked her to have another slice of turkey.
"Hasn't you got any room left?" asked Trouble, patting his own little stomach. "I got some room. I saved it for the ice-cream!" he added, hoarsely whispering the last word.
"Oh, is there ice-cream?" asked Janet. "I didn't know you'd made any, Aunt Sallie."
"It isn't exactly ice-cream," answered Uncle Toby's housekeeper. "It's a sort of snow-cream I made, but maybe you children will like it."
"Sure we will!" cried the boys.
"Will you have it now, or the plum pudding?" Aunt Sallie wanted to know.
"Oh, is there plum pudding, too?" Janet asked, in surprise.
"Yes," nodded Aunt Sallie. "Nice, hot plum pudding!"
"Let's have the pudding last," suggested Lola. "The snow-cream will make us cold and the plum pudding will make us warm again."
"A good idea," said Uncle Toby, with a laugh.
Aunt Sallie served the snow-cream. It was rather like a frozen pudding, being made of clean snow beaten up with milk, eggs, sugar, and flavoring extract.
The children made away with this, and then Aunt Sallie went to the kitchen to get the hot plum pudding. She was gone a few minutes when she came hurrying back into the dining room, a strange look on her face.
"It's gone!" she cried to Uncle Toby.
"What?" he asked.
"The plum pudding! Someone has taken it!"