THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT HOME
LAURA LEE HOPE
Author of "The Bobbsey Twins."
New York Grosset & Dunlap Publishers
Copyright, 1916, by Grosset & Dunlap. The Bobbsey Twins at Home Printed in the United States of America
CHAPTER PAGE I. TOMMY TODD'S STORY 1
II. A SUDDEN STOP 13
III. SNAP AND SNOOP 24
IV. HOME AGAIN 36
V. TOMMY'S TROUBLES 45
VI. SCHOOL DAYS 57
VII. THE SCHOOL PLAY 67
VIII. SNOOP IN TROUBLE 76
IX. NAN BAKES A CAKE 86
X. IN THE LUMBER YARD 98
XI. A QUEER PLAY-HOUSE 108
XII. TOMMY IS REWARDED 117
XIII. THE FIRST FROST 129
XIV. AFTER CHESTNUTS 139
XV. THE STORM 151
XVI. THE FIRST SNOW 161
XVII. ON THE HILL 171
XVIII. BERT'S SNOWSHOES 181
XIX. THROUGH THE ICE 191
XX. LOST IN A STORM 202
XXI. THE STRANGE MAN 214
XXII. HAPPY DAYS 228
THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT HOME
TOMMY TODD'S STORY
"Mother, how many more stations before we'll be home?"
"Oh, quite a number, dear. Sit back and rest yourself. I thought you liked it on the train."
"I do; but it's so long to sit still."
The little fellow who had asked the question turned to his golden-haired sister, who sat in the seat with him.
"Aren't you tired, Flossie?" he asked.
"Yes, Freddie, I am!" exclaimed Flossie. "And I want a drink of water."
"Dinah will get it for you," said Mother Bobbsey. "My! But you are a thirsty little girl."
"Deed an' dat's whut she am!" exclaimed a fat, good-natured looking colored woman, smiling at the little girl. Dinah was the Bobbsey family cook. She had been with them so long that she used to say, and almost do, just what she pleased. "Dis am de forty-sixteen time I'se done bin down to de end ob de car gittin' Miss Flossie a drink ob watah. An' de train rocks so, laik a cradle, dat I done most upsot ebery time. But I'll git you annuder cup ob watah, Flossie lamb!"
"And if you're going to upset, and fall down, Dinah, please do it where we can see you," begged Freddie. "Nothing has happened since we got on this train. Do upset, Dinah!"
"Yes, I want to see it, too," added Flossie. "Here, Freddie, you can have my place at the window, and I'll take yours on the outside. Then I can see Dinah better when the car upsets her."
"No, I want to sit here myself, Flossie. You wanted the window side, and now you must stay there."
"No, I don't want to. I want to see Dinah upset in the aisle. Mamma, make Freddie let me sit where I can see Dinah fall."
"Well, ob all t'ings!" gasped the fat, colored cook. "If you chilluns t'ink dat I'se gwine t' upsot mahse'f so yo' kin see suffin t' laugh at, den all I'se got t' say is I ain't gwine t' do it! No, sah! Not fo' one minute!" And Dinah sat up very straight in her seat.
"Children, be nice now," begged Mother Bobbsey. "I know you are tired with the long ride, but you'll soon hear the brakeman call out 'Lakeport'; and then we'll be home."
"I wish I were home now," said Freddie. "I want to get my dog Snap out of the baggage car, and have some fun with him. I guess he's lonesome for me."
"And he's lonesome for me, too!" cried Flossie. "He's as much my dog as he is yours, Freddie Bobbsey. Isn't he, Mother?"
"Yes, dear, of course. I don't know what's the matter with you two children. You never used to dispute this way."
"I guess the long train ride is tiring them," said Papa Bobbsey, looking up from the paper he was reading.
"Anyhow, half of Snoop, our black cat, is mine then," said Freddie. "Isn't she, Mother?"
"Yes. And now please don't talk like that any more. Look out of the window and watch the trees shoot past."
"Oh, I'm going to see Snoop!" exclaimed Flossie, suddenly.
"So'm I," added Freddie. And in a moment the two children were bending over a basket which was in the seat with Dinah. In the basket was Snoop, the big black cat. She always traveled that way with the Bobbseys. And she seemed very comfortable, for she was curled up on the blanket in the bottom of the basket. Snoop opened her eyes as Freddie and Flossie put their fingers through cracks and stroked her as well as they could.
"I wish Snap was in here with us," said Freddie, after a bit. "I hope he gets a drink of water."
"Oh, I want a drink of water!" exclaimed Flossie, suddenly. "I forgot I was thirsty. Mother, can't I have a drink?" she went on.
"Oh, yes, dear. I suppose so. I'll get it for you."
"No, let Dinah get it so she'll upset," begged Flossie.
"I'll get it for you, Flossie," offered Freddie. "Dinah might get hurt."
"Dat's de li'l gen'man," said the fat cook, smiling. "He lubs ole Dinah."
"I love you too, Dinah," said Flossie, patting the black hand that had done many kind acts for the twins. "But I do want a drink, and you know you would look funny if you upset here in the car."
"Yes, I spects I would, chile," laughed Dinah.
"May I get Flossie a drink?" asked Freddie.
"You may both go down to the end of the car where the water-cooler is," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "The train is slowing down now, and going to stop, I think, so you won't fall. But be careful."
Flossie and Freddie started toward the end of the long car, but their sister Nan, who with her brother Bert was a few seats away, went with them, to make sure nothing would happen.
"I'm not thirsty any more," Flossie said, after having had two cups of cold water.
"No, but you will be in half an hour, I'm sure," laughed Nan. "Every one seems to get thirsty on a railroad journey. I do myself," and she took some water after Freddie had had enough.
The train now came to a stop, and Flossie and Freddie hurried back to their seat to look out at the station. Hardly were they both crowded close to the window before there was the sound of shouting and laughing, and into the car came rushing a number of children. With them were two ladies who seemed to be in charge. There were boys and girls—about twenty all together—and most of them made rushes for the best seats, while some hurried down to the tank to get drinks of ice-water.
"I had that cup first!" cried one.
"You did not! I had it myself," said another.
"That's my seat by the window!" shouted a third.
"It is not! I had it first, you can see where I left my hat! Oh, my hat's gone!" a boy exclaimed.
"I threw it on the floor, I wanted to sit here myself," said a big girl with red curls.
"Children! Children! You must be quiet!" called one of the ladies.
The train started again, all the other passengers watching the queer children who were making such a confusion.
"Oh, see the cow!" cried a tall boy. "It's the last cow you'll see for a year, fellows, so take a good look at her," he added as the train passed along a field.
"No more good times for a long while," sighed a boy who had a seat near Freddie and Flossie. "I wish I could live in the country always."
Flossie and Freddie looked at him. His clothes were patched here and there, but they were clean. And his face and hands were clean, which could not be said of all the other children, though some of them showed that they had tried to make themselves neat.
"The country is the best place," he said, and he looked at the two smaller Bobbsey twins as though he would like to speak to them. "I'm going to be a farmer when I grow up," he went on, after a pause.
"He—he's a nice boy," whispered Flossie to her brother. "I'm going to speak to him. We can talk about the country."
"Wait a minute," advised Freddie. "Maybe mother wouldn't want us to talk to strangers."
Flossie looked back to where her father and mother were sitting. Mrs. Bobbsey was speaking to one of the ladies who had come in the car with the noisy children.
"Are you taking part of an orphan asylum on an outing?" Flossie heard her mother ask.
"No. These are some 'fresh air' children. They have been out in the country for two weeks, and now we are taking them home. Poor things! I wish we could have kept them longer out in the green fields and woods, but there are others waiting for their chance to go.
"You see," she went on, and Flossie and Freddie listened carefully, "some kind people give us money so that the poor children of the city may have a little time in the country during the hot weather. We board them out at different farmers' houses. This company of children has been on two different farms near Branchville, where we just got on the train. Some of the little ones are from Sanderville." This was a large city not far from Lakeport, a smaller city where the Bobbsey twins lived. "Others are from Lakeport," went on the lady, speaking to Mrs. Bobbsey.
"Indeed!" exclaimed Freddie's mother. "I did not know there was a fresh air society in our city."
"It has only just been formed," said the lady, who was a Miss Carter. "We haven't much money left, I'm sorry to say."
"Then you must let me give you some," said Mr. Bobbsey. "And I will get some friends of mine to give money also. Our own children enjoy it so much in the country that I want to see others have a good time, too."
Then he and Mrs. Bobbsey began to talk about ways of helping poor children, and Flossie and Freddie did not listen any more. Besides, just then the train was passing along a field in which were many horses, some of which raced alongside the cars, and that interested the twins.
"Oh, look at 'em run!" cried the fresh air boy who sat in front of the smaller Bobbsey twins. "Don't they go fast?"
The other fresh air youngsters crowded to their windows to look out, and some tried to push their companions away so they might see better. Then a number all wanted a drink of water at the same time, and the two ladies who were in charge of the children were kept busy making them settle down.
The quiet, neat boy about whom Flossie had whispered to her brother, turned around in his seat and, looking at Freddie, asked:
"Were you ever on a farm?"
"Yes," answered Freddie, "we just came from our uncle Dan's farm, at Meadow Brook. We were there 'most all Summer. Now we're going back home."
"Where do you live, and what's your name?" asked the strange boy.
"My name's Freddie Bobbsey, and this is my sister Flossie," was the answer. "We're twins. Up there, in that other seat, are my brother and sister, Bert and Nan. They're twins too, but they're older'n we are. We live in Lakeport."
"You do?" cried the boy in surprise. "Why, that's where I live! My name is Tommy Todd."
"That's a nice name," put in Flossie politely. "I don't know any one of that name in Lakeport though. Where does your father live?"
Tommy Todd did not answer at once, and Freddie was surprised to see tears in the eyes of the strange boy.
"I—I guess you folks don't ever come down to our part of Lakeport," he said. "We live down near the dumps. It isn't very nice there."
Freddie had heard of the "dumps." It was on the farther side of the city, a long distance from his nice home. Once, when he was very little, he had wandered away and been lost. A policeman who found him had said Freddie was near the "dumps."
Freddie remembered that very well. Afterward, he heard that the "dumps" was a place where the ashes, tin cans, and other things that people threw away were dumped by the scavengers. So Freddie was sure it could not be a very nice place.
"I live out near the dumps, with my grandmother," went on Tommy Todd.
"We've a grandmother too," said Flossie. "We go to see her at Christmas. We've two grandmas. One is my mother's mother, and the other is my father's mother. That's my papa and my mother back there," and Flossie pointed to where Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey were talking to the fresh air lady.
"Doesn't your father live with you and your grandmother?" asked Freddie.
"I—I haven't any father," said Tommy, and once more the tears came into his eyes. "He was lost at sea. He was a captain on a ship, and it was wrecked."
"Oh, please tell us about it!" begged Freddie. "I just love stories about the ocean; don't you, Flossie?"
"Yes, I do."
"I'm going to be a sea captain when I grow up," said Freddie. "Tell us about your father, Tommy."
So while the train rushed on Tommy Todd told his sad little story.
A SUDDEN STOP
"I don't remember my father very well," said Tommy Todd. "I was real little when he went away. That was just after my mother died. My grandmother took care of me. I just remember a big man with black hair and whiskers, taking me up in his arms, and kissing me good-bye. That was my father, my grandmother told me afterward."
"What made him go away from you?" asked Flossie. "Didn't he like to stay at home?"
"I guess maybe he did," said Tommy. "But he couldn't stay. He was a sea captain on a ship, you know."
"Of course!" cried Freddie. "Don't you know, Flossie? A sea captain never stays at home, only a little while. He has to go off to steer the ship across the ocean. That's what I'm going to do."
"I don't want you to," returned Flossie, as she nestled up closer to her brother. "I want you to stay with me. If you have to go so far off to be a sea captain couldn't you be something else and stay at home? Couldn't you be a trolley-car conductor?"
"Well, maybe I could," said Freddie slowly. "But I'd rather be a sea captain. Go on, Tommy. Tell us about your father."
"Well, I don't know much," went on Tommy Todd. "I don't remember him so very well, you know. Then my grandmother and I lived alone. It was in a better house than we have now, and we had more things to eat. I never get enough now when I'm home, though when I was on the fresh air farm I had lots," and, sighing, Tommy seemed sad.
"My father used to write letters to my grandmother—she is his mother," he explained. "When I got so I could understand, my grandmother read them to me. My father wrote about his ship, and how he sailed away up where the whales are. Sometimes he would send us money in the letters, and then grandma would make a little party for me.
"But after a while no more letters came. My grandmother used to ask the postman every day if he didn't have a letter for her from my father, but there wasn't any. Then there was a piece in the paper about a ship that was wrecked. It was my father's ship."
"What's wrecked?" asked Flossie.
"It means the ship is all smashed to pieces; doesn't it?" asked Freddie of Tommy.
"That's it; yes. My father's ship was in a storm and was smashed on the rocks. Everybody on it, and my father too, was drowned in the ocean, the paper said. That's why I like the country better than the ocean."
"I used to like the ocean," said Flossie slowly. "We go down to Ocean Cliff sometimes, where Uncle William and Aunt Emily and Cousin Dorothy live. But I don't like the ocean so much now, if it made your father drown."
"Oh, well, there have to be shipwrecks I s'pose," remarked Tommy. "But, of course, it was awful hard to lose my father." He turned his head away and seemed to be looking out of the window. Then he went on:
"After grandmother read that in the paper about my father's ship sinking she cried, and I cried too. Then she wrote some letters to the company that owned the ship. She thought maybe the papers were wrong, about the ship sinking, but when the answers came back they said the same thing. The men who owned the ship which my father was captain of, said the vessel was lost and no one was saved. No more letters came from my father, and no more money. Then grandmother and I had to move away from the house where we were living, and had to go to a little house down by the dumps. It isn't nice there."
"Does your grandma have any money now?" asked Flossie.
"A little. She sews and I run errands for the groceryman after school, and earn a little. But it isn't much. I was glad when the fresh air folks took me to the farm. I had lots to eat, and my grandmother had more too, for she didn't have to feed me. She is going to the fresh air farm some day, maybe."
"That will be nice," said Flossie. "We're going to Uncle Dan's farm again next year, maybe, and perhaps your grandma can come there."
"I don't believe so," returned Tommie. "But anyhow I had fun, and I weigh two pounds more than 'fore I went away, and I can run errands faster now for Mr. Fitch."
"Why, he's our grocery man!" cried Freddie. "Do you work for him, Tommy?"
"Sometimes, and sometimes I work for Mr. Schmidt, a butcher. But I don't earn much. When I get through school I'll work all the while, and earn lots of money. Then I'm going to hire a ship and go to look for my father."
"I thought you said he was drowned in the ocean!" exclaimed Flossie.
"Well, maybe he is. But sometimes shipwrecked people get picked up by other vessels and carried a long way off. And sometimes they get on an island and have to stay a long time before they are taken off. Maybe that happened to my father."
"Oh, maybe it did!" cried Freddie. "That would be great! Just like Robinson Crusoe, Flossie! Don't you remember?"
"Yes, mother read us that story. I hope your father is on Robinson Crusoe's island," she whispered to Tommy.
"I'll tell you what we'll do," said Freddie to the new boy. "When I get home, I'll take all the money in my bank, and help you buy a ship. Then we'll both go off together, looking for the desert island where your father is; will you?"
"Yes," said Tommy, "I will, and thank you."
"I'm coming, too," said Flossie.
"No. Girls can't be on a ship!" said Freddie.
"Yes they can too! Can't they, Tommy?"
"Well, my mother was once on the ship with my father, I've heard my grandma say."
"There, see!" cried Flossie. "Of course I'm coming! I'll do the cooking for you boys."
"Oh, well, if you want to cook of course that's different," said Freddie, slowly, as he thought about it.
"I'm going to ask my father how much I got saved up," he went on to Tommy. "And how much it costs to buy a ship. He'll know for he sells lumber. You wait here and I'll ask him."
Freddie slipped from the seat into the aisle of the car. Flossie stayed to talk to Tommy. Bert and Nan were looking at a magazine which Mrs. Bobbsey had bought for them, and she and her husband were still talking to the fresh air lady. Scattered about the car, the fresh air children were talking and laughing, telling each other of the good times they had had in the country. All of them were sorry to go back to the city again.
"Papa," began Freddie, as he reached the seat where Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey sat, "how much money have I saved up? And how much does a ship cost? 'Cause Tommy Todd and I are going off to look for his father who is lost on a desert island, and we want to bring him home. Does it take much money?"
Mr. Bobbsey looked at his little boy, wondering what he meant, and he was just going to answer him, and say it took much more money than Freddie had saved to buy a ship, when, all at once, the train came to such a sudden stop that Freddie was nearly thrown off his feet. His father caught him just in time.
"Oh!" cried Mrs. Bobbsey. "I hope there has been no accident!"
"If dey is I'se gwine t' git out quick!" cried Dinah. "Come on, chilluns. I'se got de cat!" and she started to run for the door, carrying the basket holding Snoop.
"Be quiet," said Mr. Bobbsey. "Nothing much seems to have happened. We didn't hit anything, anyhow."
Some of the fresh air children were excited, and the two ladies in charge hurried here and there quieting them.
Bert Bobbsey, who was with his sister Nan, looked out a window.
"Oh, see!" he cried. "A lot of men with guns are standing along the track. They stopped the train, I guess. They must be robbers! I'm going to hide my money!"
Several women heard Bert speak of robbers, and they screamed.
"Bert, don't be foolish!" said Mr. Bobbsey. "I dare say it isn't anything. I'll go out and see what it means."
"I'll come with you," said a man in the seat behind Mr. Bobbsey. Several other passengers also left the train. And while they are out seeking the cause of the sudden stop I'll tell my new readers something about the Bobbsey twins, so that they may feel better acquainted with them.
Those of you who have read the other books in this series, beginning with the first, "The Bobbsey Twins," know enough about the children already. But others do not.
There were two sets of Bobbsey twins. Bert and Nan were about ten years old. Both were tall and slim, with dark hair and eyes. Flossie and Freddie, who were about five years of age, were short and fat, and had light hair and blue eyes.
The Bobbseys lived in an Eastern city called Lakeport, near Lake Metoka, on the shore of which Mr. Bobbsey had a large lumber yard. Once this had caught fire, and Freddie had thought he could put the blaze out with his little toy fire engine. Ever since then Mr. Bobbsey had called the little chap "fireman."
Dinah Johnson was the Bobbsey's cook. She had been with them many years. And Sam, her husband, worked around the house, carrying out ashes, cutting the grass, and such things as that.
Besides these, the Bobbsey family consisted of Snap, the big dog who once had been in a circus and could do tricks, and Snoop, the black cat.
These pets were taken along wherever the Bobbsey twins went on their Summer vacations. For the Bobbseys used to spend each Summer either in the mountains or at the seashore. The second book tells about the good time they had in the country while the third one tells of their adventures at the shore.
"The Bobbsey Twins at School," is the name of the fourth book, and in that I had the pleasure of telling you the many good times they had there. Later on they went to "Snow Lodge" and helped solve a mystery, while on the houseboat, Bluebird, where they spent one vacation, they found a "stowaway," and, if you want to know what that is, I advise you to read the book.
"The Bobbsey Twins at Meadow Brook," is the name of the book just before this present one. On the farm of Uncle Daniel Bobbsey the twins had had a most glorious time, and they were on their way home in the train when the fresh air children got aboard, and Tommy Todd told the story about his lost father. Then had come the sudden stop, and Bert had seen the men with guns outside the train.
"I tell you they are robbers, Nan," Bert whispered to his sister. "Look, one of 'em has a mask on his face."
"That's so," agreed Nan. "Oh, I wonder what it is!"
"Don't be afraid!" exclaimed Bert. "I guess they won't come in this car. Father won't let them."
By this time Flossie and Freddie had also seen the masked men with their guns standing along the track, and Freddie cried:
"Oh, look! It's just like Hallowe'en. They've got false faces on!"
Many in the car laughed at this.
SNAP AND SNOOP
The train on which the Bobbsey twins were coming back from the country had now been stopping for several minutes. There was no sign of a station on either side of the track, as could be told by those who put their heads out of the opened windows. And Mr. Bobbsey had not come back.
"I wonder if anything has happened," remarked Mrs. Bobbsey.
"I'll go and find out, Mother," offered Bert, getting up from his seat.
"No, indeed, I can't let you!" his mother answered. "Your father would not like it. He may be back any moment."
"I don't believe anything much has happened, ma'am," said a man across the aisle from Mrs. Bobbsey. "I can see some men up near the engine, but they are talking and laughing."
"Then they aren't robbers," said Freddie to his older brother Bert, "'cause robbers wouldn't laugh."
"Well, if they're not train robbers why have they guns and false faces on?" asked Bert.
"Maybe they're just making believe—same as when we have pretend-plays," put in Flossie.
"Do you pretend, and make believe?" asked Tommy Todd, of the two younger twins.
"Oh, yes, lots of times," Freddie said. "We have heaps of fun that way; don't you?"
"Sometimes," answered Tommy in a low voice. "Sometimes I pretend I have gone off in a ship, and that I've found my father. I make believe that he and I are sailing together. And oh! how I wish it would come true!"
"Maybe it will—some day," said Flossie softly, as she patted Tommy's hand which was on the back of the seat in front of her.
"I must go out and see what is keeping your father," said Mrs. Bobbsey at last. "Something must have happened. You children stay here with Dinah. Nan and Bert, you look after Flossie and Freddie."
But there was no need for Mrs. Bobbsey to leave the car for, just then, her husband came in. He was smiling, and that seemed to show that nothing very serious was the matter.
"What is it?" asked Bert.
"Are the men playing a game?" Freddie demanded.
"Is the train off the track?" asked one of the fresh air boys. "I hopes it is—that is, if nobody is hurt, 'cause then we won't have to go home, and maybe we can go back to the country."
"No, the train isn't off the track," answered Mr. Bobbsey. "It's a hold-up by masked robbers."
"There! What'd I tell you?" cried Bert to his brother and sisters. "I knew they were masked robbers."
"But only make-believe," went on Mr. Bobbsey, still smiling. "This is a hold-up, or stopping of the train, and a pretend robbery for moving pictures."
"Moving pictures!" cried Mrs. Bobbsey.
"Yes. There is a man up front, near the engine, with a moving picture camera. With him are some men and women, actors and actresses, dressed up—some like passengers, such as we are, and others like robbers, with false faces on. They wanted the train to stop so they could get a picture of that, for it would be a funny movie of a train robbery without a train to be seen."
"And did they actually stop the train?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey.
"Yes. They held up a red flag and the engineer stopped. But it was all right, for he knew it was going to be done. It was all arranged for ahead of time. Now, if you like, you may come out and see them take moving pictures."
"Well, who would have thought that!" cried Bert. "I was sure the men with masks on were robbers. And they're only taking a moving picture."
"I'd like to see it in a theatre afterward," said Nan. "Don't you remember what fun it was when we were in the movies this Summer?"
"Were you in them, really?" asked Tommy as he followed the twins out of the car.
"Yes, we acted a little," said Bert. "There was a make-believe battle being taken near our uncle's farm. We went to watch. They fired cannon and guns, and had horses——"
"And the men and horses were shot!" interrupted Freddie. "Only pretend, of course, but I was there and I was in the movies too. I acted and so did Nan. And I fell in the brook and the man made a moving picture of me doing that!"
"Did they really?" asked one of the fresh air ladies of Mrs. Bobbsey.
"Yes, the children were in the moving pictures a little this Summer," explained Freddie's mother. "It was all unexpected, but we did not mind, for it was all outdoors. It was fun for them." Those of you who have read the book before this one will remember how Freddie and the others really did act before the camera.
"Say, I'd like to do that!" cried Tommy with shining eyes as he heard what the Bobbseys had done. "It must have been great!"
"It was fun," Freddie said.
By this time they were out of the train, walking up toward the engine. About it were men and women, and the children saw a man with a black box on three legs grinding away at a crank.
"He's taking the moving pictures," said Bert.
"Why—why!" exclaimed Flossie as she came closer. "It's the same man who took our pictures at Meadow Brook!"
"So it is," agreed Nan. "It's Mr. Weston."
"Yes, he's the same one," said Mr. Bobbsey. "I told him you children were on the train and he asked me to fetch you up to see him."
When Mr. Weston had finished taking the pictures of the actors and actresses who had to pretend they were being robbed by the masked men, he spoke to the Bobbsey twins.
"Don't you want to act for the movies again?" he asked, laughing.
"Oh, yes!" cried Flossie and Freddie.
"I'm afraid we haven't time now," said Mrs. Bobbsey with a smile. "We shall get home late, as it is. When is the train going to start again?"
"Pretty soon," answered Mr. Weston.
A few more pictures were taken and then the engineer blew the whistle. The moving picture people got in a big automobile to ride away.
"All aboard!" called the conductor, waving his hand to the engineer who was looking from the window of his cab. "All aboard!"
"Come on!" cried Mr. Bobbsey, and he and the twins, as well as the fresh air children, were soon in the car again, speeding on toward Lakeport.
"That's the first time I ever saw moving pictures taken," said Tommy Todd.
"We go to moving picture shows lots of times," said Flossie. "I like 'em, 'specially when they have fairy plays."
"I like 'em too," replied Tommy. "Only I don't get to see 'em very often. There aren't very many nickels lying loose around our house. Sometimes I only make five cents in a whole day."
"Oh, I didn't find out how much money there was in my bank," said Freddie. "I was just doing it when the train stopped. Wait a minute, Tommy, and I'll ask my father."
Back once more the chubby little "fireman" went to where his father sat, and again he asked the question about the money, and about buying a ship to search for the lost sea captain.
"What's all this?" asked Mr. Bobbsey in surprise. "Who is this Tommy Todd?"
"He's one of the fresh air boys," answered Freddie. "There he is in the seat ahead of Flossie."
"He is one of our nicest boys," put in Miss Carter, the fresh air lady. "I was so glad we could send him out to the farm. He lives with his grandmother on the outskirts of the city near the dumps, and, though the home is a very poor one, Mrs. Todd keeps it very neat. She sews for a living."
"Tommy's father was lost at sea, and Tommy and I are going to rescue him from a desert island," cried Freddie eagerly. "How much money have I in my bank, Daddy?"
"Was his father really shipwrecked?" asked Mr. Bobbsey of Miss Carter.
"I believe he was, yes. Before then Tommy and his grandmother lived well. We help them all we can, but there are so many poor."
"Tommy can run errands," put in Freddie. "He works for Mr. Fitch, our grocer, after school. He's strong, Tommy is. He gained two pounds in the country. Maybe you could hire him to run errands for you, Daddy, and pay him money."
"He really is a very good boy," said Miss Carter. "If you could give him any work it would be a charity."
"I'll see about it when we get home," said Mr. Bobbsey.
"And you say the grandmother does sewing?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey. "I must look her up, and perhaps I can give her work. We won't forget the Todds."
"But can I help Tommy buy a ship and go to look on the desert island for his father?" Freddie demanded.
"I'll see about it," promised Mr. Bobbsey, with a smile.
The train rumbled on. Some passengers got off, and others came on board. The fresh air children got drinks of water until there was none left in the tank. Some of them crawled under the seats, and one little fat girl got stuck, and a brakeman had to come in and raise the seat so she could get out. Others raced up and down the aisles until the two ladies in charge of them did not know what to do. Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey helped as much as they could.
"The children don't mean to be troublesome," said Miss Carter, "but they don't very often have a chance to have real fun like this, and they make the most of it. Thank goodness we'll soon be home."
A little later the brakeman called:
"Oh, here we are!" cried the Bobbsey twins.
"Come!" shouted Flossie.
"Hurry!" urged Freddie.
"Don't forget Snoop, Dinah," said Nan.
"I'll hurry up to the baggage car and get Snap," said Bert, for the dog had to ride there.
"Can I help you carry any bundles?" asked Tommy Todd of Mrs. Bobbsey. "I get out here, too."
"Oh, yes, so you do. Well, you might carry that basket if it isn't too heavy for you. But please be careful of it for it has flowers in it."
"Yes'm, I'll be careful," and Tommy slipped the handle of the basket over his arm.
The Bobbseys got out, as did some of the fresh air children, and other passengers. Fat Dinah carried the basket in which lay Snoop, the black cat. She had awakened now, and was stretching out her claws.
"I guess Snoop will be glad to get out," said Flossie, putting her fat little finger in the basket to rub her pet. Snoop purred her thanks.
The baggageman loosed Snap's chain, and let him jump out of the baggage car to Bert, who led him down the platform. There was another dog in the car, and his master came for him, following Bert. And then something happened.
The other dog, who it appeared had been growling at Snap all the while the two were in the car, now made a rush to get at him. Perhaps he only wanted to make friends, but it looked as though he wanted to bite. Snap did not like this so he barked at the other dog. Then the other dog became frightened and ran away, pulling loose from his master.
Straight toward Dinah, who was carrying Snoop in the basket, ran the other dog. His master called him to come back but he would not. Then Snap, seeing his enemy run, naturally ran after him, pulling the chain out of Bert's hand.
"Go 'way! Go 'way!" cried Dinah. But the strange dog ran right into her, upsetting her. Down she fell. The basket slipped from her arm, and the cover flew off, letting out Snoop. The black cat, seeing a strange dog, ran down the platform as fast as she could. So with Snap chasing the other dog, and with the Bobbsey twins yelling, and with men and boys shouting, there was so much excitement that Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey did not know what to do.
"Come back, Snap!" cried Bert. "Come back!"
"Run after him," begged Nan.
"I'll get Snoop!" shouted Freddie.
"And I'll help you," offered Flossie, hurrying along as fast as her fat little legs would take her. Freddie was already half-way down the platform after the black cat.
"Come back, children! Come back!" begged Mother Bobbsey. "Oh, Richard!" she called to her husband, "get the children!"
"All right," he answered, but he could hardly keep from laughing, it was all so funny. Dinah still sat where she had fallen, after being knocked over by the strange dog, and there was a look of wonder on her face, as if she did not quite understand how it had all happened.
"I beg your pardon. I'm sure I'm very sorry for what has happened," said the man whose dog had caused all the trouble by rushing at Snap.
"Oh, you couldn't help it," returned Mrs. Bobbsey. "Richard," she again called to her husband, "do look after Flossie and Freddie. I'm afraid they'll be hurt."
"I'll help get them, and the cat too!" offered Tommy Todd. "I like cats and dogs," he added, and, carefully setting down the basket of flowers, he, too, ran down the platform.
By this time Snap, chasing after the strange dog, was half-way across the street in front of the railroad station, but Snoop, the black cat, was not in sight. Flossie and Freddie, having come to the end of the platform, stopped, for they had been told not to cross a street without looking both ways for wagons or automobiles. And it was while they had thus come to a stop that their father came up to them.
"Don't go any farther," said Mr. Bobbsey.
"But we want to get Snoop!" cried Freddie.
"And Snap will be lost, too," said Flossie, ready to cry.
"That's all right. We'll get them both. Snap won't go far. I'll bring him back. Where's your whistle, Bert?"
Bert had followed his father, while Nan stayed with her mother to help get Dinah up. Dinah was so fat that once she sat down flat on the platform she could hardly get up alone. It was not often, of course, that she sat down that way. This time it was an accident. So while Mrs. Bobbsey and Nan were helping up the fat cook, Bert gave his father a tin whistle he carried for calling Snap when the big dog was far away.
Mr. Bobbsey blew a loud blast on the whistle. Snap, who was now running down the street after the strange dog, turned and looked back. But he did not come toward the station.
"Come here, Snap!" called Mr. Bobbsey. "Come here at once!" And he said it in such a way that Snap knew he must come. Again the whistle was blown and Snap, with a last bark at the dog which had made so much trouble, turned and came running back.
"I wish you could call my dog back as easily as you called yours," said the man who owned the animal Snap had been chasing. "But I guess I had better go after him myself," he added. "Your dog and mine don't seem to get along well together, and I think it's Rover's fault. But he has never traveled in a train before, and perhaps he was frightened."
"Our dog and cat like to ride in a train," said Flossie, patting the head of Snap, who was wagging his tail.
"Oh, but we've got to find Snoop!" cried Freddie, who had, for the moment, forgotten about the black cat. "Come on Flossie."
The two younger Bobbsey twins were about to set off on a search for their pet when they saw Tommy Todd coming toward them, with the black cat in his arms.
"I've found her for you," he said, smiling. "She's all right, only a little scared I guess, 'cause her heart's beating awful fast."
"Thank you, little man," said Mr. Bobbsey.
"Oh, Snoop! Did the bad dog bite you?" asked Flossie, putting her arms around the cat as Tommy held her.
"No, she isn't bitten," said Freddie, as he looked carefully at Snoop. "Where did you find her, Tommy?"
"She was hiding behind some boxes down by the express office. I saw her go that way when the two dogs ran across the street, so I looked there for her. She didn't want to come out but I coaxed her. I like cats and they always come to me."
"That's 'cause you're kind to them," said Flossie. "Come on now, Snoop, you must go back into your basket until we get home."
"And don't run away again, either, Snap!" said Bert to the dog, shaking a finger at him. Snap seemed to understand and to be a bit sorry for what he had done. He drooped his tail, and when a dog does that he is either ashamed or afraid.
"Oh, don't be cross with him," begged Nan, who had come along now, after having helped her mother get Dinah to her feet. "Don't make him feel bad, Bert, after we've had such a nice time in the country."
"All right, I won't," laughed Bert. "It's all right, old fellow," he said to Snap. "I guess you didn't mean it."
This time Snap wagged his tail, which showed that he felt much happier.
"Let me take Snoop," begged Flossie of Tommy, and the "fresh air boy," as the twins called him, handed over the black cat. They all walked back to where Dinah and Mrs. Bobbsey were waiting. Snoop was put in her basket, where she curled up as if glad to be away from the noise and excitement.
The fresh air children had gone their various ways and Tommy set off down the street toward his poor home, which, as he had said, was down near the "dumps."
"Wait a minute!" called Mr. Bobbsey after him. "Give me your address, Tommy. Mrs. Bobbsey wants to come and see your grandmother."
"Oh!" exclaimed Tommy, and he seemed rather surprised. "Well, I live on Lombard Street."
"What number?" asked Mr. Bobbsey, taking out a note book and pencil.
"There isn't any number on our house," said Tommy. "Maybe there was once, but it's gone now. But it's the last house on the street, the left hand side as you go toward the dumps."
"All right," said Mr. Bobbsey. "I guess we can find you. But that's a long way to walk from here. Aren't you going to take a car?"
"No—no, sir," answered Tommy. "I don't mind walking."
"Maybe he hasn't the car fare," whispered Mrs. Bobbsey.
"Just what I was thinking myself," answered her husband. "Here, Tommy," he went on. "Here's a quarter. Use it to ride home, and get yourself an ice cream soda. It's warmer here than out on the fresh air farm," and he held out the money. "The ice cream will cool you off."
"Oh, I—I don't want to take it," said Tommy. "I don't mind the walk."
"Come on, take it!" insisted Mr. Bobbsey. "You can run some errands for me later on, and earn it, if you like that better."
"Yes, I'll do that," said Tommy, and this time he took the money. "I'll run errands for you whenever you want me to," he added, as he started toward the street car.
"All right," said Mr. Bobbsey with a laugh. "And tell your grandmother that we will get her more sewing to do."
"She'll be glad to hear that," Tommy said. He was quite a little man, though no older than Bert.
"And I won't forget about taking my saved-up money to buy a ship, so you and I can go and get your father from the desert island," said Freddie, as Tommy got on the car.
"And I'm coming too," added Flossie. "You said I could cook."
"You ought to take Dinah along to cook," laughed Nan.
"Maybe we will; sha'n't we, Freddie?" asked his little sister.
"Well, if we can get a ship big enough for her and us we will," Freddie decided. "But I haven't got much money, and Dinah needs lots of room."
With Snap and Snoop now safe, the Bobbseys and Dinah got in a carriage and left the station to drive to their home. On the way they saw the man whose dog had barked at Snap. The man had the animal by a chain and was leading him along. Snap growled as he looked out and saw him.
"Be quiet, sir!" ordered Bert.
"Yes, be nice and quiet like Snoop," said Flossie.
"There's our house!" cried Freddie, as they turned a corner. "Why, it's been painted!" he added, in surprise.
"Oh, so it has!" exclaimed Nan.
"Yes, I had it painted while you were at Meadow Brook," returned Mr. Bobbsey. "Do you like it?" he asked his wife.
"Yes, it's a lovely color. But I'd like it anyhow for it's home. It was nice in the country, but I'm glad to be home again."
"So are we!" cried Flossie. "We'll have lots of fun here; sha'n't we, Freddie?"
"That's what we will!"
"Home again! Home again!" gaily sang Nan as her father opened the front door, and they all went in. "We're all at home again!"
"Oh, there's Johnnie Wilson!" cried Freddie Bobbsey. "I'm going to call to him to come into our yard."
"Yes, and there's Alice Boyd," added Flossie. "I'm going to play with her. She's got a new doll. Come on over, Alice!" she called.
"And you come over, too, Johnnie!" shouted Freddie.
A boy and a girl came running across the street to the Bobbsey house. The two smaller twins and their little friends were soon having a good time in the yard. It was the morning after the family had come home from Meadow Brook.
"Did you have a good time in the country?" asked Alice of Flossie.
"Oh, didn't we just though! It was—scrumptious!"
"And false-face robbers stopped the train coming home," added Freddie. "Only it was make-believe."
"I wish I'd been there," said Johnnie, after Freddie had told about it. "We went up to a lake this Summer. Nothing much happened there except I fell in and most drowned."
"I call that something," said Freddie. "I fell in a brook, but it wasn't deep."
"The lake's awful deep," went on Johnnie. "It hasn't any bottom."
"It's got to have a bottom, or all the water would drop out, and then it wouldn't be a lake," said Freddie.
"Well, maybe it has," admitted his friend. "Anyhow, the bottom's awful far down. I didn't get to it and I was in the water a good while. It's a awful deep lake."
"It isn't as deep as the ocean," Freddie said, "and I'm going on the ocean in a ship."
"Are you? When?" asked Johnnie.
"When Tommy Todd and I start to look for his father. His father is lost at sea on a desert island, like Robinson Crusoe, and we're going to find him."
"Take me along!" begged Johnnie. "I'm not afraid of the ocean, even if it's deeper'n the lake. Take me with you."
Freddie thought about it carefully.
"Well, you may come if the ship is big enough," he said. "I promised to let Flossie come. She's going to cook. Oh, no, Dinah's going to cook. I forgot about that. We'll have to get a bigger ship, I guess, so's to make room for Dinah. I guess you may come, Johnnie. I haven't counted how much money I've saved up, but I will soon."
"Is Tommy Dodd going to help buy the ship?" asked Johnnie.
"His name isn't Dodd, it's Todd," explained Freddie. "But he can't put in much money I guess, 'cause he's poor. He's a fresh air boy, but he's nice. He runs errands for Mr. Fitch, the grocer. We met Tommy on the train."
"Then if you put in the most money to buy the ship more'n half of it will be yours," said Johnnie, "and you can take as many as you like."
"No, half of the ship is going to be Tommy's," insisted the little Bobbsey twin, "'Cause it's his father we're going after, you see."
"That's so," admitted Johnnie. "Well, I'm coming anyhow. I'll put in some money to buy things to eat."
"That'll be nice," said Freddie. "I forgot about eating. I'm hungry now. I think Dinah is making cookies. Let's go 'round to the kitchen to see."
Flossie and Alice were up on the side porch, playing with their dolls, when Freddie and Johnnie ran around to the back door. Surely enough, Dinah was making cookies, and she gave the boys some.
"Do you think we'd better save any of these for the time when we go on the ship?" asked Johnnie, as he took a bite out of his second cookie.
"No, I don't guess so," replied Freddie. "We won't go for a week or two anyhow, and the cookies wouldn't keep that long. Anyhow, Dinah will make more. Say, I'll tell you what let's do!"
"Go down to the lake and sail our boats."
"All right. But I don't want to fall in."
"We'll go down to my father's lumber yard, and if we fall in, near the edge, we can yell and some of the men will pull us out. Come on!"
Mrs. Bobbsey said Freddie might go, if he would be sure to be careful. He was often allowed to visit his father's lumber yard, for it was known he would be safe there. And Johnnie's mother said he might go also. So the little fellows trudged away, leaving the girls to play dolls on the porch.
Freddie and Johnnie had fun at the edge of the lake. They each had a small sailboat, and, holding the strings, which were fast to the toy vessels, the boys let the wind blow the boats out a way and then hauled them in again.
After a while, however, they grew tired of this, and Freddie said:
"Let's go up to the office to see my father. He likes me to come to see him, and maybe he'll give us five cents for ice cream cones."
"That'll be nice," said Johnnie.
Mr. Bobbsey was very busy, for he had a great deal of work to do after having spent so much time in the country that Summer. But he was glad to see the boys.
"Well, how's my little fireman this morning?" he asked, catching Freddie up in his arms. "Have you put out any fires yet?"
"Not yet. We've been playing boats."
"And how are you, Johnnie?" went on Mr. Bobbsey, as he patted Freddie's playmate on the back.
"Oh, I'm all right. I'm going in the ship with Freddie to help find Tommy Todd's father who's on a desert island."
"Oh, you are; eh? Well speaking of Tommy, that looks like him out there now."
Mr. Bobbsey pointed to the outside office. There stood the boy Freddie and Flossie had talked to on the train. He was speaking to one of the clerks, who did not seem to want to let him inside the railing.
"That's all right," called Mr. Bobbsey. "He may come in. What is it, Tommy?" he asked kindly, as the clerk stepped aside.
"I've come to do the errands, to earn the quarter you gave me yesterday," said the fresh air boy, as he came in.
"Oh, there's no hurry about that," returned Mr. Bobbsey. "I don't know what errands I want done to-day."
"Well, I'd like to do some," Tommy said. "I'd like to earn that money, and then, maybe, you'd have some more errands for me to run, afterward, so I could earn more money. I need it very much, and Mr. Fitch hasn't any work for me to-day. I want to do all I can before school opens," Tommy went on, "'cause it gets dark early in the afternoon now, and my grandmother doesn't like to have me out too late."
"That's right. How is your grandmother, Tommy?"
"She—she's sick," was the answer, and Tommy's voice sounded as though he had been crying, or was just going to do so.
"Sick? That's too bad!"
"That's why I want some more errands to do, so I can earn money for her. She was hungry when I got home yesterday, and I spent that money you gave me—all but the five cents for car fare—to buy her things to eat. There wasn't anything in the house."
"Oh, come now! That's too bad!" said Mr. Bobbsey. "We must look into this. Here, Freddie, you and Johnnie and Tommie go down to the corner and get some ice cream. It's a hot day," and he held out some money to Tommy. "I'll let you carry it," he said, "as the other boys might lose it. Get three ten cent plates of cream."
Tommy seemed to hang back.
"Could I have this one ten cent piece all for myself?" he asked.
"Why, of course you may. There is a dime for each of you. Don't you like ice cream?"
"Oh, yes indeed. But I'd rather save this for my grandmother. I'm not very warm."
"Now look here!" said Mr. Bobbsey with a laugh. "You spend that money for yourself and for Freddie and Johnnie. I'll see that your grandmother is taken care of. I'm going to telephone to my wife, now, to go down to see her."
"Oh, all right, thank you!" cried Tommy. And then, when he had hurried off down to the ice cream store with Freddie and Johnnie, Mr. Bobbsey called up his wife at home and asked her to see Mrs. Todd.
Mrs. Bobbsey went to the little house on Lombard Street at once. She found Tommy's grandmother to be a nice woman, but quite ill from having worked too hard during the hot weather. She was very feeble.
"But I must keep a home for Tommy," she said to Mrs. Bobbsey. "His father, my son, was lost at sea, and Tommy is all I have now. I don't mind the hard work when I'm well, but I don't feel good now."
"Don't worry," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "We'll get you well and strong again, and then you can keep a home for Tommy."
Mrs. Todd told very much the same story Tommy had told—that her son, Tommy's father, had sailed away to sea, and after many days a passing vessel had sighted the wreck of his. Broken lifeboats were floating about the surface of the ocean, but no one alive was found in them. As there was no trace of Captain Todd or any of the sailors, every one believed they had all been drowned.
"Tommy seems to think his father may be alive," said Mrs. Bobbsey.
Mrs. Todd sighed.
"I sometimes used to think that myself," she said. "But now I have given up hope. It is over five years, and if my son were alive he would have sent me some word before now. I wish he would come back, for then he would look after Tommy and me."
It was not a nice place where Tommy lived with his grandmother, but Mrs. Todd did her best to keep the house neat and clean. Mrs. Bobbsey called in a doctor, and also sent a woman to nurse Mrs. Todd until she grew better, which she did in a few days.
Then she could keep on with her sewing, by which she earned enough for her and Tommy to live on. But it was not a very good living they made, and they often did not have enough to eat.
"I'll give you some of my sewing to do," promised Mrs. Bobbsey, "and so will some ladies I know."
So, for a time at least, Mrs. Todd was to be taken care of. When she grew better she had as much work as she could do.
But this was some time after the day when Tommy called at Mr. Bobbsey's office. That day, after the three boys had eaten their ice cream, Tommy went back to the lumber yard, and Mr. Bobbsey told him that Mrs. Bobbsey had gone to see Mrs. Todd.
"And haven't you any errands I could do for you to-day?" asked Tommy.
"Not to-day, Tommy. But I may have later. Don't worry about working out that twenty-five cents. I won't forget you, and you'll find your grandmother being taken care of when you get home."
"I'll not forget about the ship we're going to buy either," promised Freddie, as he and Johnnie parted company from Tommy.
"All right; and thank you."
Nan and Bert, that day, had gone over to play with Ned Barton and Ellen Moore, children who lived near them, and they had a good time.
"We want to have all the fun we can while we're at home here," said Nan, "for school will soon open."
"Yes, and I'll be sort of glad," said Bert. "We're going to have a football team this year."
"We'll come to see you play; won't we, Ellen?" said Nan.
"Yes, but I like baseball better than football."
As Nan and Bert reached home, after visiting with their little friends, they heard screams from the side porch where Flossie and Alice had been playing dolls.
"Oh, make him come back with it! Make him come back!" cried Flossie.
"Something has happened!" exclaimed Bert, running around to the side of the house, followed by Nan.
Bert saw his sister and her playmate, Alice Boyd, standing on the porch, looking very much frightened. Alice had her doll held tightly in her arms, but Flossie's doll could not be seen.
"What's the matter?" Bert asked.
"It's a dog! A strange dog!" cried Flossie. "Oh, dear! He——"
"Did he bite you?" Nan asked quickly. "If he did——"
"No, he didn't bite me," answered the little girl. "But he ran up on the porch and took my best doll away in his mouth. Now he's gone around to the back yard, and I'm afraid he'll bite her. I called to him to come back, but he wouldn't."
"Was it some dog Snap was playing with?" asked Bert.
"No, it was a new dog. I'd never seen him before. Oh, dear! He'll bite my doll!"
"It won't hurt her to be bitten a little," said Bert with a laugh. "You can't hurt dolls."
"You can so!" sobbed Flossie, who was crying real tears now. "And I don't want my best doll bitten."
"Don't laugh at her, Bert," said Nan in a low voice. "Try to get her doll back for her."
"I will," promised Bert. "Which way did the dog go, Flossie? Tell me."
"He went around back of the house."
"Maybe he thought your doll was a bone, and he's going to bury it," Bert said. "Was she a thin doll, Flossie; thin like a bone?"
"No, she wasn't! She was a nice fat doll, with red cheeks! And I want her back. Oh dear!"
"I'll get her for you," Bert said again.
"I'm glad the dog didn't take my doll," broke in Alice. "I'll let you play with mine, Flossie."
"Thank you, but I—I want my own dear doll!" and Flossie sobbed harder than before.
"Never mind, Brother Bert will get her from the dog," said Nan. "Don't cry."
"I—I can't help it," Flossie said, though she did try to stop crying. Bert ran around the corner of the house. Then he laughed so loudly that Nan knew it must be all right and she said:
"Come on, Flossie and Alice. We'll go and see what Bert has found."
They found Bert looking at the strange dog, who was standing in front of Snoop. And Snoop had her back arched up round; her tail was as large as a sausage, and her fur stuck out all sorts of ways, while she made a hissing sound like a steam radiator.
"What's the matter, Bert?" asked Nan.
"Why, I guess the strange dog was running through our yard with Flossie's doll in his mouth when Snoop saw him and ran at him," said Bert. "Snoop doesn't like strange dogs, and she must have made quite a fuss at this one, for he dropped the doll. I'll get her for you, Flossie."
The little twin's doll lay on the grass where the dog had dropped it when the cat chased after him. For all I know he may have thought it was a bone and have wanted to bury it.
Bert picked up the doll from the grass.
"There she is, Flossie," he said. "Not hurt a bit, and as good as ever."
"Thank you," Flossie answered, hugging her doll close in her arms. "Now we can go on playing, Alice."
They went back on the porch, and the strange dog gave a bark. This seemed to make Snoop angry, for she hissed louder than ever and made her tail even larger than before. Then she walked toward the dog. But he did not wait even to rub noses with her, as Snap did. With a howl the dog ran back and jumped over the fence.
"Snoop drove him away," laughed Nan. "She is as good at driving strange dogs away as Snap would be. Wasn't it funny the dog should go up on the porch, and take Flossie's doll?"
"It was better to do that than bite her," said Bert.
When Freddie came back from the lumber yard that day he told of Tommy's visit, and Mrs. Bobbsey told of having helped his grandmother. Mrs. Bobbsey also told what Mrs. Todd had said of her missing son, who was shipwrecked.
"Bert, please hand me down my bank," said Freddie to his brother after supper.
"What for?" Bert asked.
"I must count my money and see if I have enough to help buy a ship for Tommy Todd. He and I are going off in a ship to look for his father."
"Now look here, Freddie," said Mr. Bobbsey. "I want you to have all the fun you can, and play with Tommy whenever you can, and I want you to be kind and to help people. I also wish, as much as you, that we could find Tommy's father, if he is still alive. But you must not run off to sea without telling us."
Sometimes Freddie, and Flossie too, used to get queer ideas about what they wanted to do, and once or twice they had run away together. Once it was to go to the circus, away on the other side of the city, and again it was to follow a hand-organ man and a monkey. Freddie's father, hearing him talk so much about getting a ship in which to search for Mr. Todd, thought the little boy might be too much in earnest and would really go off where he ought not.
"So don't start off on any voyage without telling us," said Mr. Bobbsey.
"I won't," promised Freddie. "First I must see how much money I have saved up."
His bank was a kind that could be opened and closed, and for some time Freddie and Flossie were busy counting the pennies.
"Well, how much have you?" asked Bert.
"Flossie says there are only fifty-six cents," Freddie answered, "but I counted seventy. Flossie can't count as high as I can, anyhow."
"I can so!" cried the fat little girl.
"Now children, be nice," begged Mother Bobbsey.
"I'll count the money for you," offered Bert.
"Seventy-nine cents," he told Freddie, after he had finished. "And here's a penny of mine I'll give you. That makes eighty cents."
"Is that 'most enough to buy a ship, Daddy?" asked the little fellow.
"Oh no, my dear boy. You'll need lots more money than that. So keep on saving, and don't go off without letting us know."
"All right," Freddie said with a sigh. "Do you think I'll have enough saved in a week?"
"I can tell you better when the week is up," laughed Mr. Bobbsey.
"School begins in a week," said Nan. "You can't go off on a ship when you have to go to school, Freddie."
"That's so. Well, I'll keep on saving, and when school is out again Tommy and I will go off in the ship to find his father."
The Bobbsey twins had as much fun as they could in the week of vacation that remained. They and their playmates met together and went on little walks in the woods, or rowed on the river. Bert and Nan were allowed to go out in a safe boat, near their father's lumber dock, and Flossie and Freddie were allowed to go also, for they sat very still, and never tried to change seats when the boat was out in the water. This is very dangerous to do, and often boats are upset that way.
Then, one morning, as Freddie awoke in his little bed, he heard his mother calling:
"Come on, little fireman. Time to get up!"
"Is there a fire?" asked Freddie, eagerly.
"No, but school begins to-day and you don't want to be late. Come on then, get up. You too, Flossie."
"Aren't Nan and Bert going?" asked Freddie.
"Yes, but they were up long ago. I let you two little twins sleep longer. But now it is time to get up."
After breakfast Flossie and Freddie started for school together. They were in the same class, and had just left the kindergarten. So Flossie and Freddie set off together, ahead of Nan and Bert. The smaller twins had to do this because their legs were shorter than either Nan's or Bert's and they could not walk as fast.
"Ding-dong!" rang the school bell, calling the Bobbsey twins and other children back to their lessons, after the long, Summer vacation.
"Oh, there's Susie Simmon!" cried Flossie, as she saw a girl she knew. "I'm going to walk with her, Freddie."
"All right. I see Jimmie Brooks. I'll go with him."
The four little ones hurried along together, talking of the fun they had had that Summer.
A little behind came Nan and Bert. With them walked Ellen Moore and Ned Barton, who lived near the Bobbsey house.
There were merry times in the school yard before it was time for the last bell to ring. The boys and girls played tag, and ran about. Some boys had tops and spun them, or played marbles. The girls did not bring their dolls or toys to school, and the reason for this is that girls don't have pockets in their dresses. Or, if they do have a pocket, it is too small to hold more than a handkerchief. I think the girls ought to get together and insist on having pockets made in their dresses. It isn't fair for the boys to have so many.
"Ding-dong!" rang the bell again.
"Come in, children!" called the teacher, and in went the Bobbsey twins and the others.
"Oh look, Freddie! There goes Tommy Todd!" whispered Flossie to her brother, as they marched to their room. The teacher heard Flossie, and said:
"You must not whisper in school."
"I won't any more," promised Flossie. "I haven't been in school for so long that I forgot," and all the other children laughed.
Tommy Todd was in a class ahead of Flossie and Freddie. He looked across at them and smiled, for the teacher did not mind any one's smiling in school. But when one whispered it disturbed those who wanted to study their lessons.
It was almost time for the morning recess, and Flossie and Freddie were saying their lessons, when from the next room, where Bert and Nan sat, came a sound of laughter. Then sounded a loud bark—"Bow-wow!"
"Oh, it's a dog!" exclaimed Flossie aloud, before she thought.
"That sounds like our Snap!" said Freddie, almost at the same time.
"Children, you must be quiet!" called the teacher.
Just then the door between the two rooms was pushed open, and in walked Snap, wagging his tail. He looked at the teacher, he looked at the other children, and then, with a joyful bark, he ran up to Flossie and Freddie.
THE SCHOOL PLAY
"Snap! Snap!" cried Freddie, as he left his seat and put his arms around the dog's neck. "Good dog, Snap!"
Snap liked to be petted, and he wagged his tail faster than before and barked. Flossie saw a queer look on her teacher's face, and the little girl said:
"Snap, you must be quiet. You musn't bark in school any more than we must whisper. I didn't want to speak out loud," she said to the teacher, "but I had to, or Snap wouldn't hear me."
"Oh, that part's all right, my dear," the teacher said kindly. "But how did your dog get here?"
"I—I don't know," answered Flossie, while Freddie kept on petting Snap.
Just then the door of the other school room, in which Nan and Bert studied, opened, and the teacher from there came in. She was a new one.
"Is that dog here?" she asked. Then she could see that Snap was there. The children in Flossie's room were laughing now. Some of the pupils from the other room were standing in the doorway behind the teacher, looking in.
"Whose dog is that?" the new teacher asked.
"He's ours, if you please," said Bert.
"Did you bring him to school?"
"No, ma'am. He must have got loose," answered Nan. "He was chained up when we left for school this morning, and he must have got lonesome and come to find us."
"Well, he found you all right," said Flossie's teacher with a laugh. "The doors are open, because it is so warm," she said to the new teacher, "so Snap had no trouble in getting in. He never came to school before, though."
"He's like Mary's little lamb, isn't he?" asked Freddie.
"Well, he must be put out," said the new teacher, smiling. "Of course it wasn't the fault of you children that he came in. But you had better take him home I think, Bert. And see that he is well chained. I'll excuse you from class long enough to take your dog home. Now, children, go back to your seats."
"Say, Bert," whispered Ned Barton, "I'll help you take Snap home if you want me to."
"No, indeed!" laughed the new teacher. "One boy is enough to have out of the class at a time. I think Bert can manage the dog alone."
"Yes ma'am, I can," said Bert. "Come on, Snap!"
Snap barked and wagged his tail again. He was happy as long as he was with one of the children.
"Our dog can do tricks," said Freddie. "Make him do a trick, Bert, before you take him home. Snap used to be in a circus," Freddie told the teacher, "and he can turn somersaults. Don't you want to see him do a trick, teacher?"
"Oh, yes, please let him," begged Flossie.
The other children looked eager, and the teacher smiled. The new teacher had gone back to her classroom with her pupils, except Bert, who had stayed to look after Snap.
"Well, as it is almost time for recess, I don't mind if Bert makes Snap do one or two tricks," Flossie's teacher said, smiling. "But only two. School isn't just the place for dogs."
"Ready Snap!" called Bert. "March like a soldier!"
"You may take my blackboard pointer for a gun," the teacher said.
Snap stood up on his hind legs, and in one paw he held the long pointer. Then he marched around the room as nearly like a soldier as a dog can march. The children laughed and clapped their hands.
"Now turn a somersault!" ordered Bert. This Snap did, too. This was one of his best tricks. Over and over he went around the school room, outside the rows of desks. This made the children laugh more than before.
"I think that will be enough, thank you, Bert," the teacher said. "You had better take the dog home now."
Bert did so, and saw to it that Snap was well chained.
"We like to see you," said Bert as he was leaving to go back to his class, "but you must not come to school after us, Snap."
At recess, which was nearly over when Bert got back to school, the children talked and laughed about Snap's visit.
"I wish your dog would come to school every day," said Alice Boyd to Flossie.
"Yes, wouldn't it be fun to have him do tricks," cried Johnnie Wilson.
But Snap did not get loose again, and he soon got used to having the children away most of the day. But how glad he was when they came home, and he could romp and play with them!
One day Flossie's teacher said to the class:
"Now, children, you have been very good this week, and you have known your lessons well, so I think it is time we had a little fun."
"Oh, are you going to let Snap come to school again?" asked Edna Blake.
"No, hardly that," the teacher answered with a smile, "but we shall have a little play. I'll fix some curtains across the platform where my desk stands, and that will be the stage. You children—at least some of you—will be the actors and actresses. It will be a very simple little play, and I think you can do it. If you do it well perhaps we may give our play out on the large platform in the big room before the whole school."
"We had a play in Uncle Dan's barn once in the country," said Flossie.
"I was in it, too," spoke up Freddie, "and I fell down in a hen's nest and got all eggs."
Even the teacher laughed at this.
"Well, we hope you'll not fall in any hen's nest in our little school play," said the teacher.
She picked out Flossie, Freddie, Alice Boyd, Johnnie Wilson and some others to be in the play, and they began to study their parts.
The play was to be called "Mother Goose and her Friends," and the children would take the parts of the different characters so well known to all. The teacher was to be Mother Goose herself, with a tall peaked hat, and a long stick.
"And will you ride on the back of a goosey-gander?" Freddie asked. "It's that way in the book."
"No, I hardly think I shall ride on the back of a gander," answered the teacher. "But we will have it as nearly like Mother Goose as we can. You will be Little Boy Blue, Freddie, for you have blue eyes."
"And what can I be?" asked Flossie.
"I think I'll call you Little Miss Muffet."
"Only I'm not afraid of spiders," Flossie said. "That is I'm not afraid of them if they don't get on me. One can come and sit down beside me and I won't mind."
"I guess for the spider we'll get a make-believe one, from the five-and-ten-cent store," said Miss Earle, the teacher. "Now I'll give out the other parts."
There were about a dozen children who were to take part in the little play. They were to dress up with clothes which they could bring from home. Freddie had a blue suit, so he looked exactly like Boy Blue.
One Friday afternoon the little play was given in the school room. The teacher had strung a wire across in front of her platform, and had hung a red curtain on this. Flossie, Freddie and the other players were behind the curtain, while the remaining children sat at their desks to watch the play.
"Are you all ready now?" asked Miss Earle of the children behind the curtain. "All ready! I'm going to pull the curtain back in a minute. Remember you are to walk out first, Freddie, and you are to make a bow and then look to the left, then to the right and say: 'Oh, I wonder where she can be?' Then along comes Flossie, as Little Miss Muffet, and she asks you whom you are looking for."
"Yes, and then I say I'm looking for Mary, who had a little lamb, for I lent her my horn, and she went away with it to help Bo-Peep find her sheep; and now I can't blow my horn to get the cows out of the corn," Freddie said.
"That's it!" exclaimed the teacher in a whisper, for they had all talked in low voices behind the curtain, so the other children would not hear them. "You remember very well, Freddie. Now we will begin."
The curtain was pulled back, and Freddie walked out from one side where some boxes had been piled up to look like a house.
"Oh, I wonder where she can be," said Freddie, looking to the left and to the right. "Where can she be?"
"Whom are you looking for?" asked Flossie, coming out from the other side of the platform.
"For Mary, who had a little lamb," went on Freddie. "I lent her my horn and——"
But just then there was a crash, and down tumbled the pile of boxes that was the make-believe house, and with them tumbled Johnnie Wilson, who was dressed up like Little Jack Horner.
"Oh, I've hurt my thumb! I've hurt my thumb!" he cried. "Now I can't pull the plum out of the pie!"
SNOOP IN TROUBLE
Some of the children laughed. Some screamed. Others looked as if they wanted to cry. Of course the play came to an end almost before it had started.
"Oh Johnnie, why did you do that?" cried Miss Earle, hurrying out in her Mother Goose dress, and picking up the little fellow. "How did it happen?"
Johnnie had started to cry, but, finding that he was not hurt much except on his thumb, he stopped his tears, and said:
"I climbed up on the pile of boxes so I could see better, and they fell over with me."
"They weren't put there to be climbed on," the teacher said with a smile. "I'm glad it is no worse. You came on the stage before it was your turn, Johnnie. Now we'll try it over again."
By this time the other children had become quieter, having seen that nothing much had happened. The janitor was sent for and he put the boxes up again, this time nailing them together so they would not fall over.
"But you must not climb on top of them again," said Miss Earle.
"No'm, I won't," promised Johnnie.
"Now start over again, Freddie," the teacher told the little blue-eyed chap, and once more he walked out and pretended to look for Mary. Then Flossie walked out, and this time the play went off very well. Mother Goose came on when it was her turn and she helped Boy Blue and Miss Muffet look for Mary and the lost horn. It was finally found in Jack Horner's pie, which was a big one made of a shoe box. And Johnnie, as Jack Horner, pulled out the horn instead of a plum. His sore thumb did not bother him much.
"Well, did you like the play?" the teacher asked the other children, who had only looked on.
"It was fine!" they all said. "We'd like to see it again."
"Well, perhaps you may," returned Miss Earle. "Would you like to act it before the whole school?" she asked of Flossie, Freddie and the other little actors and actresses.
"Yes, teacher!" they said in a chorus.
"Then you shall."
A week later the play was given on the large stage in the big room where there was a real curtain and real scenery. The little Mother Goose play went off very well, too, for the children knew their parts better. And Johnnie Wilson did not fall down off a pile of boxes.
The only thing which happened, that ought not to, was when Flossie sang a little song Miss Earle wrote for her.
When she had finished, Flossie, seeing Nan out in the audience, stepped to the edge of the stage and asked:
"Did I sing that all right, Nan?" for Nan had been helping her little sister learn the piece.
Every one laughed when Flossie asked that, for, of course, she should not have spoken, but only bowed. But it was all right, and really it made fun, which, after all, was what the play was for.
"We'll have to get up a play ourselves, Nan," said Bert to his sister when school was out, and the Mother Goose play had ended. "I like to act."
"So do I," said Nan.
"I'd like a play about soldiers and pirates," went on Bert.
"I know something about pirates," cried Tommy Todd. "My father used to tell me about them."
"Say, you'd do fine for a pirate!" cried Bert "You know a lot about ships and things; don't you?"
"Well, a little," said Tommy. "I remember some of the things my father told me when he was with us. And my grandmother knows a lot. Her husband was a sailor and she has sailed on a ship."
"Then we'll ask her how to be pirates when we get ready for our play," Bert decided.
"How is your grandma?" Nan inquired.
"Well, she's a little better," said Tommy, "but not very well. She has to work too hard, I guess. I wish I were bigger so I wouldn't have to go to school. Then I could work."
"Do you still run errands for Mr. Fitch?" asked Bert.
"I do when he has any. And I did some for your father. He says I have earned the quarter he gave me, and I'm glad, for I don't want to owe any money. I'm hoping your father will have more errands for me to do after school. I'm going to stop in and ask him on Saturday. I like Saturdays for then I can work all day."
"Don't you like to play?" asked Nan.
"Oh, yes, of course. But I like to earn money for my grandmother too, so she won't have to work so hard."
Bert and Nan felt sorry for Tommy, and Bert made up his mind he would ask his father to give the fresh air boy some work to do so he could earn money.
It was now October, and the weather was beautiful. The Bobbsey twins had much fun at home and going to and from school. The leaves on the trees were beginning to turn all sorts of pretty colors, and this showed that colder weather was coming.
"We'll have lots of fun this Winter," said Bert one day, as he and his brother and sisters went home from school together, kicking their way through the fallen leaves. "We'll go coasting, make snow men and snow forts and go skating."
"I'm going to have skates this year. Mother said so," cried Freddie.
"You're too little to skate," declared Bert.
"Oh, I'll show him how, and hold him up," offered Nan. "Skating is fun."
"It isn't any fun to fall in the ice water though," Flossie said.
"Well, we won't go skating until the ice is good and thick," said Bert, "then we won't break through and fall in."
When the children reached the house they found Mrs. Bobbsey and Dinah busy taking the furniture out of the parlor, and piling it in the sitting room and dining room.
"What's the matter?" asked Bert in surprise. "Are we going to move?"
"No. But your father has sent up a man to varnish the parlor floor, and we have to get the chairs and things out of his way," said Mrs. Bobbsey.
"An' yo' chilluns done got t' keep outen dat parlah when de varnish-paint is dryin'," said Dinah, shaking her finger at the twins. "Ef yo' done walks on de varnished floors when dey's not dry, yo' all will stick fast an' yo' can't get loose."
"That's right," laughed the children's mother. "You will have to keep out of the parlor while the floors are drying."
The Bobbsey twins watched the painter put the varnish on the floor. The varnish was like a clear, amber paint and made the floor almost as shiny as glass, so it looked like new.
"There!" exclaimed the painter when he had finished. "Now don't walk on the floor until morning. Then the varnish will be dry and hard, and you won't stick fast. Don't any of you go in."
"We won't," promised the twins. Then they had to study their lessons for school the next day, and, for a time, they forgot about the newly varnished floor.
It was after supper that Flossie asked if Nan could not pop a little corn to eat.
"Yes," answered Mother Bobbsey. "A little popped corn will not be harmful, I think. I'll get the popper."
Nan shelled some of the white kernels of corn into the wire popper, and shook it over the stove. Pretty soon: Pop! Pop! Poppity-pop-pop! was heard, and the small kernels burst into big ones, as white as snow.
Nan was just pouring the popped corn out into a dish when there sounded through the house a loud:
"What's that?" asked Flossie.
"It sounded like Snoop," said Bert.
"It is Snoop!" declared Freddie.
"Meaou!" was cried again, and in such a queer way that the children knew their cat was in some kind of trouble.
"Snoop! Where are you?" called Nan.
"Meaou! Meaou!" came the answer.
"She's down cellar and wants to come up," Bert said.
But when the cellar door was opened no cat popped up, as Snoop always did if she happened to be shut down there. Then they heard her crying voice again.
"Oh, I know where she is!" exclaimed Mother Bobbsey.
"Where?" asked the children.
"In the parlor—on the newly varnished floor! That's what makes her voice sound so funny—it's the empty room."
"Well, if Snoop is in the parlor she's stuck fast! That's what's the matter!" cried Bert.
"Oh! oh!" exclaimed Freddie. "Our cat caught fast!"
"Poor Snoop!" wailed Flossie.
"We must help her!" Nan said.
The whole family hurried to the parlor. There, in the light from the hall, they saw the cat. Snoop was indeed in trouble. She stood near the parlor door, all four feet held fast in the sticky varnish, which, when half dry, is stickier than the stickiest kind of fly-paper.
Snoop, in wandering about the house as she pleased, which she always did, had come to the parlor. The door had been left open so the varnish would dry more quickly, and Snoop had gone in, not knowing anything about the sticky floor.
The big black cat had taken a few steps and then, her paws having become covered with the sticky varnish, she had become stuck fast, just far enough inside the room so she could not be reached from the door.
"Oh, will she have to stay stuck there forever?" asked Freddie.
"Pull her loose, Mother!" begged Flossie.
"If you step on the floor to get her, you'll stick fast too," warned Bert.
"Wait a minute, children," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "I must think what is best to do. I wish your father were home."
Snoop, seeing her friends near, must have known she would now be taken care of, for she stopped meaouing.
NAN BAKES A CAKE
"Come on, Snoop! Come on out!" called Flossie to the pet, black cat.
Snoop tried to raise first one paw, and then the other to come to her little mistress, but the sticky varnish held her fast.
"You'll have to pull her loose, Mother," said Bert. "It's the only way."
"I guess she's stuck so fast that if you pulled her up you'd pull her paws off and leave them sticking to the floor," observed Nan.
"Oh, don't do that!" begged Freddie. "We don't want a cat without any paws."
"Don't worry, dear," his mother said. "I'll not pull Snoop's paws off. But I wonder how I'm going to get her loose. I don't want to step in there and make tracks with my shoes all over the newly varnished floor.
"Snoop has made some marks as it is," went on Mrs. Bobbsey, "but perhaps the painter can go over them with his brush in the morning so they won't show. We ought to have shut Snoop up, I suppose. Let me see now, how can I get her loose?"
"Telephone to papa," suggested Bert. "He'll know of a way."
"I believe I will do that," Mrs. Bobbsey said.
Mr. Bobbsey had gone down to the office that evening to look over some books and papers about his lumber business, and he had not yet come back. In a few minutes Mrs. Bobbsey was talking to him over the telephone.
"What's that?" cried Mr. Bobbsey. "Snoop stuck fast on the varnished floor? I'll be home at once. It won't hurt her, but of course we must get her loose. Don't worry, and tell the twins not to worry. I'll make it all right."
And this is how Mr. Bobbsey did it. When he got home he found a can of turpentine which had been left by the painter. Turpentine will soften varnish or paint and make it thin, just as water will make paste soft. Mr. Bobbsey laid a board on the floor from the door-sill over close to where poor Snoop was held fast. Then he poured a little turpentine around each of the four feet of the cat, where her paws were held fast in the varnish.
In a little while the varnish had softened, and Mr. Bobbsey could lift Snoop up and hand her to his wife. Then he took up the board, and washed from Snoop's paws what remained of the varnish. She was all right now, and purred happily as Flossie and Freddie took turns holding her.
"But the floor is spoiled—or that part is where you poured the turpentine," said Mrs. Bobbsey.
"The painter will varnish that part over when he comes in the morning," said Mr. Bobbsey. "Then we must keep Snoop out of the way until it dries."
And this was done. The floor was gone over again with the varnish brush, and the marks of Snoop's paws did not show. Nor did the cat again go into the parlor until the floor was hard and dry.
"Mother," asked Nan one day, about a week after Snoop had been stuck fast in the varnish, "may I have a little party?"
"A party, Nan?"
"Yes, just a few boys and girls from my class in school. The parlor looks so nice now, with the new floor, that I'd like to give a party. May I?"
"Well, yes, I guess so," answered Mrs. Bobbsey. "How many would you invite?"
"About a dozen. We could have sandwiches, ice cream and cake. I could bake a cake myself."
"Well, you might try. I have showed you how to make a simple cake, that is not too rich for little stomachs. You might bake a sponge cake, and put icing on top. Yes, I think you may have a party, Nan."
"Oh, thank you, Mother. Now I'll write the invitations."
"I'll help you," offered Flossie.
"I'm afraid, dear, you can't write quite well enough," said Nan with a smile. "But you may seal the envelopes for me, and put on the postage stamps."
"Oh, I like to do that!" cried Flossie. "The sticky stuff on the stamps tastes so nice on your tongue."
"It is better to wet the envelope flaps and the sticky side of the stamps with a damp cloth or a sponge than with your tongue," said Mother Bobbsey. "I'll show you the way."
So when Nan had written out the invitations on some cards, she and Flossie put them in envelopes. Then Mrs. Bobbsey gave them each a little sponge, which they dampened in water, and with that they moistened the sticky places, both of the stamps and the envelopes. And so the invitations were made ready to mail.
"Have you invited any boys to the party?" asked Bert.
"Yes, some," answered Nan. "But only a few."
"Then I'll come," he said. "I don't like a party with just nothing but girls."
"And I'll help Nan bake her cake," offered Flossie.
"So will I," added Freddie. "I like to clean out the cake dishes, and eat the sweet dough and the icing."
"Oh, I want to do some of that, too!" cried Flossie.
"I can see what kind of a time you're going to have making your cake!" laughed Bert, "with those two youngsters hanging around."
"Oh, I'll take care of them," said Nan, smiling.
"Goin' t' bake a cake, is yo'?" asked Dinah, when Nan came out in the kitchen the next Saturday, which was the date of the party. "Don't yo' all t'ink yo'd bettah let me make it fo' yo'?"
"No, thank you, Dinah, I want to make it myself," said Nan. "I want to show the girls and boys that I know how to make a cake almost, if not quite, as well as you and mother make them."
"Well, honey, ef yo' makes a cake as good as yo' ma, den yo' will suttinly be a fine cook," returned Dinah. "Fo' yo' ma is suah a prime cake-maker!"
"Oh, I don't suppose the cake will be as good as mother's," said Nan, "but still I'll never learn if I don't try."
So Nan began her cake. Flossie and Freddie were playing out in the yard, but when they saw Nan in the kitchen, in they came, running.
"I'm going to help!" cried Freddie.
"So'm I," added his sister.
"Well, there's not much you can do," said Nan, "except to hand me the things I need. First I'm going to get everything together on the table, and then I won't have to fuss around, and get in Dinah's way."
"Oh, yo' won't be in mah way, honey-lamb!" said the loving old colored woman. "Jest make yo'se'f right t' home."
Nan got from the pantry the eggs, the flour, the sugar, and the other things that were needed to make a sponge cake. Then when she had the brown bowl ready in which the cake batter would be mixed she sat down on a high stool at the table, with Flossie on one side and Freddie on the other.
"Now, Flossie, you hand me an egg," said Nan, and Flossie picked one up from the dish. She was handing it over to her sister, but her chubby fingers slipped and—crack! went the egg down on the floor, breaking, of course.
"Oh dear!" cried Flossie. "Now the cake is spoiled!"
"Oh, no, not because one egg is broken," said Nan. "But still we must be more careful. Perhaps I had better handle the eggs myself."
"You had if you want any cake," called Bert, looking in through the window on his way to play ball with Ned Barton and Charley Mason.
"Oh, I guess we'll make out all right," laughed Nan. She broke the eggs into the dish, and then she let Flossie and Freddie take turns in handing her the flour, sugar, and other things she needed; things that could not be broken if little hands dropped them. But nothing more was dropped, though Nan herself did spill a little flour on the floor.
"Is this batter right now, Dinah?" Nan asked, when she had stirred up the cake mixture with a long spoon. The cook looked in the brown bowl.
"Jest a leetle mo' flour," she said, "den it'll be stiff enough an' ready fo' de oven. An' after it's baked yo' kin mix up de sugar-icin' t' go on de top."
Nan stirred in more flour and then poured the batter into a pan to be baked in the oven of the stove. She carried the pan carefully across the kitchen.
"Don't fall and spill it," called Flossie.
"I'll try not to," Nan said.
Just then into the kitchen with a rush came Snap. He saw Nan with a pan in her hands, and he must have thought she had something for him to eat, for with a joyful bark he made straight for her.
"Oh, hold him back! Don't let him come near me or I'll spill my cake before it's baked!" cried Nan. "Hold Snap, Flossie—Freddie!"
"We will!" cried the smaller twins.
Both of them made a rush for Snap, and caught him by the collar. But the dog thought this was some funny game, and, wagging his tail, he pulled the two children across the slippery oilcloth of the kitchen floor.
"Hold him back! Hold him!" begged Nan. She was almost at the oven now. If she could get the cake safely in it she would be all right, for Snap would not go near the stove.
"We—we can't hold him!" panted Freddie. "He's pulling us too—too hard!"
Snap, indeed, was dragging the little Bobbsey twins right across the room toward Nan, who was moving slowly toward the stove. She could not move fast for fear of spilling the cake batter, or dropping the pan.
"Dinah! Dinah!" called Flossie, to the colored cook who had gone into the dining room for a moment. "Come quick, or Nan won't have any cake. Snap wants it!"
I don't suppose that the dog really wanted the cake batter, though he liked sweet things. But he thought Nan had his dinner in the pan.
However, before he could get near enough to her to "jiggle" her arm, and make her drop the pan, Dinah came in.
"Heah, you Snap!" cried the cook with a laugh. "Yo' done got t' git outen dish yeah kitchen when cake-bakin' am goin' on!"
She reached for Snap's collar, and, as Dinah was very strong, she managed to hold the big dog, who was barking and wagging his tail faster than ever. He thought they were all playing with him.
"Hurry, honey!" called Dinah to Nan. "Snap's pullin' away from me a little."
Nan reached the oven, and put the cake in, closing the door.
"There!" she cried. "Now it's all right, and you can let go of Snap!"
"An' he'd bettah git outdoors where he kin romp around t' suit hisse'f," added Dinah. "Kitchens ain't no place fo' dogs when bakin's goin' on."
So Snap was put outside, with a nice bone to gnaw, and he did not feel unhappy. Flossie and Freddie cleaned out the brown bowl, on the sides and bottom of which were bits of the sweet cake batter. And after Nan had mixed up sugar and water to make icing to go on top of the cake, the two little twins cleaned out that dish also.
Finally Nan's cake was done. It was taken from the oven, being a lovely brown in color, and, after it had cooled, the icing was put on top. Then the cake was put away for the party.
Everyone, whom Nan had invited, came that night. There were more than a dozen, counting the Bobbsey twins, and they all had a good time. They played a number of games, ending with hide-and-go-seek.
Freddie wanted to "blind" and look for the others, so they let him do it. One after another the others stole away on tiptoe, while Freddie stood with his head in a corner that he might not see where they hid. Each boy and each girl picked out a place where he thought Freddie would not see him.
"Ready or not I'm coming," called the little boy at last.
Then he opened his eyes and started to look for the hidden children. The piano in the parlor stood out a little way from the wall, and Freddie thought that would be a good place for some one to hide. He thrust his head behind it, to see if any one was back of it, there being just about room enough for him to do his. No one was there, but when Freddie tried to pull his head out again it would not come.
"Oh! oh!" he cried, and his voice sounded queer, coming from behind the piano. "Oh. I'm stuck! I'm caught fast just like Snoop, only worse! Papa! Mamma! Come and get me out of the piano!"
IN THE LUMBER YARD
From all sorts of hiding places came running the boys and girls who had been playing hide-and-seek. Freddie's voice told every one that he was in trouble.
"Oh, Freddie!" cried Flossie, who had hidden under the couch in the dining room. "What's the matter? Where's your head?" For she saw only her brother's little fat legs and plump body near the piano. "Where's your head, Freddie?" she cried.
"It's in behind here!" the chubby little fellow replied. "I can't get it out from behind the piano! My ears stick out so far they catch on the edge of the piano."
By this time Nan had come from her hiding place, and she made her way through the crowd of children who were looking in wonder at the sight of Freddie so caught.
"Oh, Freddie, how did it happen?" asked Nan.
"Don't ask him how it happened," said Bert. "Let's get him out, and he'll tell us afterward."
"Yes, do get me out!" begged Freddie.
Bert and Nan took hold of their little brother and tried to pull him out backward. But he seemed stuck quite fast.
"Can't you push yourself out?" asked Bert.
"I'll try," said Freddie bravely. So he pushed backward as hard as he could, while Bert and Nan pulled.
"Let me help, too!" begged Flossie. "I want to get Freddie out!"
But there was no room for Flossie to get hold of her brother. Nan and Bert pulled once more, while Freddie himself pushed, but his head was still held fast between the back of the piano and the wall of the room.
"Oh! Oh! Can't you get me loose?" wailed the little "fireman."
"We'd better call mother!" cried Nan.
But there was no need of this for Mrs. Bobbsey came hurrying into the room just then. She had heard Freddie's cries while she was upstairs, and, guessing that something was wrong, she had come to see what it was.
"Oh Freddie!" she exclaimed as soon as she saw what had happened. "You poor little boy!"
"Oh, please get me out, Mamma!" he begged.
"I will, in just a minute. Now stand still, and don't push or squirm any more, or you'll hurt yourself."
Then Mrs. Bobbsey, instead of trying to pull or push Freddie out, just shoved on the piano, moving it a little way out from the wall, for it had little wheels under it, and, as the floor was smooth, it rolled easily.
"There, now you can pull your head out," said Mrs. Bobbsey, and, surely enough, Freddie could. The trouble had been, just as he had said, his ears. His head went in between the piano and wall all right, but when he went to pull himself loose, after seeing that no one was hiding there, his ears sort of bent forward and caught him.
"I—I'll never do that again!" Freddie said, his face very red, as he straightened up.
"No, I wouldn't if I were you," returned his mother with a smile. "Never put your head or your arm in any place unless you are sure you can get it out again. Sometimes a cat will put her head in a tin can to get whatever there may be in it to eat. And the edges of the tin catch on her ears just as yours were caught, Freddie. So be careful after this."
Freddie promised that he would, and then the hiding game went on. Only Freddie, you may be sure, did not look behind the piano again, and no one hid there.
"Oh, your party was perfectly lovely, Nan!" said the girls and boys when they had finished their games, and had eaten the good things Mrs. Bobbsey set on the table.
"Wasn't the cake good?" asked Freddie, looking as though he wanted a second piece.
"Indeed it was, dear," said Ellen Moore.
"We helped Nan make it," declared Flossie. "Didn't we, Nan?"
"Oh, yes, you helped some—by cleaning out the dishes."
"And Snap nearly made Nan spill the cake when she was putting it in the oven," went on Freddie. "Only we helped hold him; didn't we, Nan?"
"Yes, you certainly helped there."
At last the party was over, and Nan's cake, as well as the other good things, was all eaten up. Then the children went home.
About a week after this the postman left some letters at the home of the Bobbsey twins. Mrs. Bobbsey smiled when she read one, and when Bert and Nan, Flossie and Freddie came home from school their mother said to them:
"I have a surprise for you. See if you can guess what it is."
"Freddie and I are going to have a party!" guessed Flossie.
"No, dear. No more parties right away."
"We're going on a visit!" guessed Nan.
"No indeed. We just came back from one."
"Then some one is coming here," guessed Bert.
"That's it," his mother answered. "Uncle William Minturn and Aunt Emily, from Ocean Cliff, are coming to pay us a little visit."