I climbed off the bed and crossed the room to the wardrobe while Annie, Georgia, and Pat watched my every move. Sure enough, I found within the wardrobe doors a selection of outfits, as well as a huge black bag of clothes which nearly toppled me as I caught it.
"Wot's that?" asked Georgia, as the three girls gathered around to share my discovery.
"Let's find out." I grunted as I hauled the bag into the middle of the floor.
I tore through the knot and let the bag's contents spill onto the floor. Children's clothing of every size and color fell around me. I fingered through the articles, a huge smile steadily growing on my face.
"Yes," I breathed, "YES!"
I laughed aloud and threw bundles of clothing into the air. I don't believe I've ever been so deliriously happy before in my life! The urchins smiled with me, unsure of why I was so happy, but glad to join in.
"Wot are they, Mithy?" Annie lisped.
"They're for you! " I squealed, "From... oh I don't know. Eerie? The principal? The Scarlet Man? Who knows! All that matters is you have new, wonderful things to wear for your new, wonderful life! All six of you!"
I laughed until I cried as the girls and I looked through the pieces. Soon, our racket woke Spring, Billy, and Kit. Kit screamed her presence as soon as she awoke, but what did I care? I swept her up in my arms and danced about the dorm.
"First, however," I noted as the urchins examined our wonderful gift, "All of you need to wash up."
"'Ow do we do that?" asked Spring, laying aside a skirt she was examining.
"That, we shall discover together." I smiled.
Upon farther poking about our dorm, I found it included a good-sized bathroom with a tub. Truth be known, I didn't know how to use it... I'd seen one in Eerie's house before, but... I was truly clueless as to how it worked... Billy cocked his head at it as I stared in bewilderment. Without a second thought, he strode up to the intimidating machine, climbed inside, and began messing with it until water came out of the pipe.
"Wonderful!" I commended him, "Well done, Billy!"
He flashed a cheesy smile and continued to mess around with the various handles. From what we gathered, the left one dispensed hot water while the right one dispensed cold. However, we had a terrible time trying to get the water to stay in the tub. It kept running through a hole! Why would anyone put a hole in something meant to hold water? Billy's solution was to remove his sock and shove it so firmly down the hole that no water could escape down it. Problem solved! What a wonderful fellow.
"So all we need ta du ta wash up is sit in 'ere till we're clean?" Billy asked, climbing out of the tub.
"I suppose," I shrugged, "It's worth a try at least. So long as the dirt comes off."
So that's what they did. One by one, the urchins, fully clothed, climbed into the tub of water, scrubbed off all visible grime, and climbed out. By the time they were finished, each of them were cold, wet, and miserable. Thankfully, the bathroom closet had an abundance of soft, dry rags that absorbed water pretty well. When it was my turn for the tub, the water was brown and murky. That wasn't exactly a new experience for me; however, I never wanted to submerge myself in water back in the Grotto, and didn't want to now. Well, if this is what it takes to be considered clean...
Oh it was terrible! Strangely enough, the water was still warm after holding six kids before me. However, it was such an unnatural warmth. Something I can barely describe and hated with all of my being. The way the water absorbed into my skin was unnerving... something I'd never really noticed in my experiences with water before. However, I scrubbed at the layer of grime coating my skin all the same. Finally, I was free to drip upon the slippery tile and scrub myself equally hard with a rag from the closet. Did I feel clean? Perhaps, judging by the fact that I've never been considered clean before in my life. Oh, it was disgusting.
However, now we got to fool around with the new clothing! Each of the urchins claimed their outfits and rushed off to try them on. I chose a nice little dress for Kit and helped her into it. She seemed to like it enough; it was better than the patched overalls she was wearing before that Annie grew out of.
"Whena we goin' ta eat?" Pat asked shyly.
"Soon enough," I replied, opening the wardrobe once again, "Silence and I have to find new clothes first."
Silence, dripping wet from her own dorm bathroom experience, crossed her arms indignantly. I smirked at my friend, "I'm sure you'll scare me one of these days."
She arched an eyebrow and shook her head, a slight smile forming on her chocolate brown face.
There were a good many outfits in the wardrobe for us to choose from. However, as wonderful as they were, I couldn't decide on one. So I took a brown jacket from one, a white button-up from another, a blue vest, a black pair of pants, a brown cap, some striped long-socks that were so obnoxious I just had to wear them, some short boots... and before I knew it, I had my urchins patchwork again. With this, I was satisfied.
Silence took the cheaters way out and went with a black and white city runner's outfit. She did steal a black jacket from another outfit to finish it off though.
All of us, wet as we were, felt wonderful in our new clothes and strode out the dorm door to breakfast! All except Silence, who sneaked away to her dorm and shut the door.