Bedtime came early for Mama's girls. The children were sent to bed at the same time regardless of age. Mama had found that to be much the best way for all. In the first place, the children had no feeling of separation from each other as they would have had if they went to bed at different times. And it meant that Mama could have a few quiet hours for reading or knitting or even just chatting with Papa without being disturbed by her little ones.
As for the children, bedtime was something to which they looked forward. Bedtime was when Ella and Sarah, who slept together, built their imaginary house and decorated the beautifully rich and colorful make-believe rooms. Bedtime was when Charlotte made up fanciful stories to tell or thought up games to play with her bedfellow, Gertie. Bedtime was when Henny planned some special mischief she could carry on the next day in school or at home. Planned all by herself, because she didn't like sharing a bed with anyone.
They slept, all five of them, in the one room and that made for plenty of company in the dark. And what was the best of all, Mama never minded their talking to each other. "It's early enough and they're resting their bodies anyway," she said. "They'll fall asleep when they get tired."