The Bobbsey Twins at School
LAURA LEE HOPE
I. A CIRCUS TRAIN . . . . . . . . 1 II. SNOOP IS GONE . . . . . . . . 16 III. A QUEER DOG . . . . . . . . . 27 IV. HOME IN AN AUTO . . . . . . . 36 V. SNAP DOES TRICKS . . . . . . . 48 VI. DANNY RUGG IS MEAN . . . . . . 57 VII. AT SCHOOL . . . . . . . . . . 66 VIII. BERT SEES SOMETHING . . . . . 78 IX. OFF TO THE WOODS . . . . . . . 87 X. A SCARE . . . . . . . . . . . 99 XI. DANNY'S TRICK . . . . . . . . 109 XII. THE CHILDREN'S PARTY . . . . . 121 XIII. AN UNPLEASANT SURPRISE . . . . 129 XIV. A COAT BUTTON . . . . . . . . 138 XV. THANKSGIVING . . . . . . . . . 152 XVI. MR. TETLOW ASKS QUESTIONS. . . 161 XVII. THE FIRST SNOW . . . . . . . . 169 XVIII. A NIGHT ALARM . . . . . . . . 178 XIX. WHO WAS SMOKING? . . . . . . . 187 XX. A CONFESSION . . . . . . . . . 195 XXI. THE FAT LADY'S LETTER . . . . 202 XXII. SNAP AND SNOOP . . . . . . . 209
THE BOBBSEY TWINS AT SCHOOL
A CIRCUS TRAIN
"MAMMA, how much longer have we got to ride?" asked Nan Bobbsey, turning in her seat in the railroad car, to look at her parents, who sat behind her.
"Are you getting tired?" asked Nan's brother Bert. "If you are I'll sit next to the window, and watch the telegraph poles and trees go by. Maybe that's what tires you, Nan," he added, and his father smiled, for he saw that Bert had two thoughts for himself, and one for his sister.
"No, I'm not tired of the scenery," answered the brownhaired and browneyed girl, "but you may sit next the window, Bert, if you like."
"Thanks!" he exclaimed as he scrambled over to the place his sister gave up.
"Are you tired, dearie?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey, leaning forward and smoothing out her daughter's hair with her hand. "If you would like to sit with me and put your head in my lap, papa can go to another seat and—"
"Oh, no, mamma, I'm not as tired as that," and Nan laughed. "I was just wondering how soon we'd be home."
"I'd rather be back at the seashore," said Bert, not turning his gaze from the window, for the train was passing along some fields just then, and in one a boy was driving home some cows to be milked, as evening was coming on. Bert was wondering if one of the cows might not chase the boy. Bert didn't really want to see the boy hurt by a cow, of course, but he thought that if the cow was going to take after the boy, anyhow, he might just as well see it. But the cows were very well-behaved, and went along slowly.
"Yes, the seashore was nice," murmured Nan, as she leaned her head back on the cushioned seat, "but I'm glad to be going home again. I want to see some of the girls, and—"
"Yes, and I'll be looking for some of the boys, too," put in Bert. "But school will soon begin, and that's no fun!"
Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey smiled at each other, and Mr. Bobbsey, taking out a timetable, looked to see how much longer they would be on the train.
"It's about an hour yet," he said to Nan, and she sighed. Really she was more tired than she cared to let her mother know.
Just ahead of the two Bobbsey children were another set of them. I say "set" for the Bobbsey children came "in sets."
There were two pairs of twins, Bert and Nan, nearly nine years of age, and Flossie and Freddie, almost five. And, whereas the two older children were rather tall and slim, with dark brown hair and eyes, the littler twins were short and fat, and had light hair and blue eyes. The two pairs of twins were quite a contrast, and many persons stopped to look at them as they passed along the street together.
"No, sir," went on Bert musingly, "school's no fun, and it starts about a week after we get home. No chance to have a good time!"
"We've had fun all summer," replied his sister. "I rather like school."
"Mamma, are we going to school this year?" asked Flossie, as she looked back with a quick turning of her head that set her yellow curls to dancing.
"If we are, I'm going to sit with Flossie—can't I?" asked Freddie, kneeling in the seat so that he could face back to his father and mother.
Indeed his request was not strange, since the two younger twins were always together even more so than their brother and sister.
"Yes, I think you and Freddie will start school regularly this term," said Mrs. Bobbsey, "and, if it can be arranged, you may sit together. We'll see about that. Be careful, Freddie, don't put your head out of the window," she cautioned quickly, for the little chap had turned in his seat again, and was leaning forward to see a horse galloping about a field, kicking up its heels at the sound of the puffing engine.
"It's my turn to sit by the window, anyhow," said Flossie.
"It is not! We haven't passed a station yet," disputed Freddie.
"Oh, we have so!" cried his little sister. "Freddie Bobbsey!" and she pointed her finger at him.
"Children—children," said Mrs. Bobbsey, reprovingly.
"Are you two taking turns?" asked Bert, smiling with an older brother's superior wisdom.
"Yes," answered Flossie, "he was to have the seat next to the window until we came to a station, and then it's to be my turn until we pass another station, and we have passed one, but he won't change over."
"Well, it was only a little station, anyhow," asserted Freddie, "and it came awful quick after the last one. It isn't fair!"
"There's a seat up ahead for you, Bert," suggested Mr. Bobbsey, as a gentleman got up, when the train approached a station. "You can sit there, and let Flossie or Freddie take your place."
"All right," answered Bert goodnaturedly, as he got up.
The train rolled on, the two younger twins each having a window now, and Nan occupying the seat with her little brother. For a time there was quietness, until Mrs. Bobbsey said to her husband:
"Hadn't you better get some of the satchels together, Richard, and tell Dinah what she is to carry?"
"I think I will," he answered, as he went up the car aisle a little way to where a very fat colored woman sat. She was Dinah, the Bobbsey cook, and they took her with them always when going away for the summer. Now they were on their way to their city house, and of course Dinah came back, too.
"Mamma, I'm thirsty," said Flossie, after a bit. "Please may I get a drink?"
"I want one, too," said Freddie quicky. "Come on, Flossie, we'll both go down to the end of the car where the water cooler is."
"There's no cup," Nan said. "I went a little while ago, but a lady let me take her glass."
"And if there was a cup, I would rather they didn't use it," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "One never knows who has last handled a public cup."
"But I want a drink," insisted Flossie, a bit fretfully, for she was tired from the long journey.
"I know it, dear," said her mamma gently, "and I'm getting out the silver cup for you. Only you must be very careful of it, and not drop it, for it is solid silver and will dent, or mar, easily." She was searching in her bag, and presently took out a very valuable drinking cup, gold lined and with much engraving on it. The cup had been presented to Flossie and Freddie on their first birthday, and bore each of their names. They were very proud of it.
"Now be careful," warned Mrs. Bobbsey, as she held out the cup. "Hold on to the seats as you walk along."
"I'll carry the cup," said Freddie. "I'm the biggest."
"You are not!" declared his sister quickly. "I'm just as big."
"Well, anyhow, I'm a boy," went on Freddie, and Flossie could not deny this. "And boys always carries things," her brother went on. "I'll carry the cup."
"Very well, but be careful of it," said his mother with a smile, as she handed it to him. The two children went down the aisle of the car. They stopped for a moment at the seat where Dinah was.
"Is Snoop all right?" asked Freddie, peering into a box that was made of slats, with spaces between them for air.
"'Deed an' he am, honey," said Dinah with a smile, laughing so that she shook all over her big, fleshy body.
"I 'specs he's lonesome; aren't you, Snoop?" asked Flossie, poking her finger in one of the cracks, to caress, as well as she could, a fat, black cat. The cat, like Dinah the cook, went with the Bobbseys on all their summer outings.
"Well, maybe he am lonesome," admitted Dinah, with another laugh, "but he's been real good. He hadn't yowled once—not once!"
"He'll soon be out of his cage; won't you, Snoop?" said Freddie, and then he and his sister went on to the water cooler. Near it they saw something else to look at. This was the sight of a very, very fat lady who occupied nearly all of one seat in the end of the car. She was so large that only a very little baby could have found room beside her.
"Look—look at her," whispered Flossie to Freddie, as they paused. The fat woman's back was toward them, and she seemed to be much interested in looking out of the window.
"She is fat," admitted Freddie. "Did you ever see one so big before?"
"Only in a circus," said Flossie.
"She'd make make two of Dinah," went on her brother.
"She would not," contradicted Flossie quickly. "'Cause Dinah's black, and this lady is white."
"That's so," admitted Freddie, with smile. "I didn't think of that."
A sway of the train nearly made Flossie fall, and she caught quickly at her brother.
"Look out!" he cried. "You 'mos knocked the cup down."
"I didn't mean to," spoke Flossie. "Oh, there goes my hat! Get it, Freddie, before someone steps on it!"
Her brother managed to get the hat just as it was sliding under the seat where the fat lady sat.
After some confusion the hat was placed on Flossie's head, and once more she and her brother moved on toward the water cooler. It was getting dusk now, and some of the lamps in the car had been lighted.
Freddie, carrying the cup, filled it with water at the little faucet, and, very politely, offered it to his sister first. Freddie was no better than most boys of his age, but he did not forget some of the little polite ways his mamma was continually teaching him. One of these was "ladies first," though Freddie did not always carry it out, especially when he was in a hurry.
"Do you want any more?" he asked, before he would get himself a drink.
"Just a little," said Flossie. "The silver cup doesn't hold much."
"No, I guess it's 'cause there's so much silver in it," replied her brother. "It's worth a lot of money, mamma said."
"Yes, and it's all ours. When I grow up I'm going to have my half made into a bracelet."
"You are?" said Freddie slowly. "If you do there won't be enough left for me to drink out of."
"Well, you can have your share of it made into a watch, and drink out of a glass."
"That's so," agreed Freddie, his face brightening. He gave his sister more water, and then took some himself. As he drank his eyes were constantly looking at the very fat lady who filled so much of her seat. She turned from the window and looked at the two children, smiling broadly. Freddie was somewhat confused, and looked down quickly. Just then the train gave another lurch and Freddie suddenly spilled some of the water on his coat.
"Oh, look what you did!" cried Flossie. "And that's your best coat!"
"I—I couldn't help it," stammered Freddie.
"Never mind, little boy," said the fat lady. "It's only clean water. Come here and I'll wipe it off with my handkerchief. I'd come to you, only I'm so stout it's hard enough for me to walk anyhow, and when the train is moving I simply can't do it."
Freddie and Flossie went to her seat, and with a handkerchief, that Flossie said afterward was almost as big as a table cloth, the fat lady wiped the water off Freddie's coat.
The little boy held the silver cup in his hand, and feeling, somehow, that he ought to repay the fat lady's kindness in some way, after thanking her, he asked:
"Would you like a drink of water? I can bring it to you if you would."
"Thank you," she answered. "What a kind little boy you are! I saw you give your sister a drink first, too. Yes, I would like a drink. I've been wanting one some time, but I didn't dare get up to go after it."
"I'll get it!" cried Freddie, eager to show what a little man he was. He made his way to the cooler without accident, and then, moving slowly, taking hold of the seat on the way back, so as not to spill the water, he brought the silver cup brimful to the fat lady.
"Oh, what a beautiful cup," she said, as she took it.
"And it cost a lot of money, too," said Flossie. "It's ours—our birthday cup, and when I grow up I'm going to have a bracelet made from my half."
"That will be nice," said the fat lady, as she prepared to drink.
But she never got more than a sip of the water Freddie had so kindly brought her, for, no sooner did her lips touch the cup than there was a grinding, shrieking sound, a jar to the railway coach, and the train came to such a sudden stop that many passengers were thrown from their seats.
Flossie and Freddie sat down suddenly in the aisle, but they were so fat that they did not mind it in the least. As surprised as he was, Freddie noticed that the fat lady was so large that she could not be thrown out of her seat, no matter how suddenly the train stopped. The little Bobbsey boy saw the water from the cup spill all over the fat lady, and she held the silver vessel in her big, pudgy hand, looking curiously at it, as though wondering what had so quickly become of the water.
"It's a wreck—the train's off the track!" a man exclaimed.
"We've hit something!" cried another.
"It's an accident, anyhow," said still a third, and then every one seemed to be talking at once.
Mr. Bobbsey came running down the aisle to where Flossie and Freddie still sat, dazed.
"Are you hurt?" he cried, picking them both up together, which was rather hard to do.
"No—no," said Freddie slowly.
"Oh, papa, what is it?" asked Flossie, wondering whether she was going to cry.
"I don't know, my dear. Nothing serious, I guess. The engineer must have put the brakes on too quickly. I'll look out and see."
Knowing that his children were safe, Mr. Bobbsey put them down and led them back to where his wife was anxiously waiting.
"They're all right," he called. "No one seems to be hurt."
Bert Bobbsey looked out of the window. Though darkness had fallen there seemed to be many lights up ahead of the stopped train. And in the light Bert could see some camels, an elephant or two, a number of horses, and cages containing lions and tigers strung out along the track.
"Why—why, what's this—a circus?" he asked. "Look, Nan! See those monkeys!"
"Why, it is a circus—and the train must have been wrecked!" exclaimed his sister. "Oh mamma, what can it be?"
A brakeman came into the car where the Bobbseys were.
"There's no danger," he said. "Please keep your seats. A circus train that was running ahead of us got off the track, and some of the animals are loose. Our train nearly ran into an elephant, and that's why the engineer had to stop so suddenly. We will go on I soon."
"A circus, eh?" said Mr. Bobbsey. "Well, well! This is an adventure, children. We've run into a circus train! Let's watch them catch the animals."
SNOOP IS GONE
"PAPA, do you think a tiger would come in here?" asked Freddie, remembering all the stories of wild animals he had heard in his four years.
"Or a lion?" asked Flossie.
"Of course not!" exclaimed Nan. "Can't you see that all the wild animals are still in their cages?"
"Maybe some of 'em are loose," suggested Freddie, and he almost hoped so, as long as his father was there to protect him.
"I guess the circus men can look after them," said Bert. "May I get off, father, and look around?"
"I'd rather you wouldn't, son. You can't tell what may happen."
"Oh, look at that man after the monkey!" cried Nan.
"Yes, and the monkey's gone up on top of the tiger's cage," added Bert.
"Say, this is as good as a circus, anyhow!"
Some of the big, flaring lights, used in the tents at night, had been set going so the circus and railroad men could see to work, and this glare gave the Bobbseys and other passengers on the train a chance to see what was going on.
"There's a big elephant!" cried Freddie. "See him push the lion's cage around. Elephants are awful strong!"
"They couldn't push a railroad train," said Flossie.
"They could too!" cried her little brother, quickly.
"They could not. Could they, papa?"
"What?" asked Mr. Bobbsey, absentmindedly.
"Could an elephant push a railroad train?" asked Flossie.
"I know they could," declared Freddie. "Couldn't they, papa?"
"Now, children, don't argue. Look out of the windows," advised their mother.
And while the circus men are trying to catch the escaped animals I will tell you something more about the Bobbseys, and about the other books, before this one, relating to their doings.
Mr. Richard Bobbsey, and his wife Mary, the parents of the Bobbsey twins, lived in an Eastern city called Lakeport, on Lake Metoka. Mr. Bobbsey was in the lumber business, and the yard, with its great piles of logs and boards, was near the lake, on which the twins often went in boats. There was also a river running into the lake, not far from the saw mill.
Their house was about a quarter of a mile away from the lumber yard, on a fashionable street, and about it was a large lawn, while in the back Sam Johnson, the colored man of all work, and the husband of Dinah, had a fine garden. The Bobbseys had many vegetables from this garden.
There was also a barn near the house, and in this the children had many good times. Flossie and Freddie played there more than did Nan and Bert, who were growing too old for games of that sort.
As I have said, Bert and Nan were rather tall and thin, while Flossie and Freddie were short and fat. Mr. Bobbsey used often to call Flossie his "Fat Fairy," which always made her laugh. And Freddie had a pet name, too. It was "Fat Fireman," for he often played that he was a fireman; putting out makebelieve fires, and pretending he was a fire engine. Once or twice his father had taken him to see a real one, and this pleased Freddie very much.
In the first book of this series, called "The Bobbsey Twins," I told you something of the fun the four children had in their home town. They had troubles, too, and Danny Rugg, one of the few bad boys in Lakeport, was the cause of some. Also about a certain broken window; what happened when the twins went coasting, how they had a good time in an ice boat, and how they did many other things.
Snoop, the fat, black kitten, played a part in the story also. The Bobbsey twins were very fond of Snoop, and had kept him so many years that I suppose he ought to be called cat, instead of a kitten, now.
After the first winter's fun, told of in the book that began an account of the doings of the Bobbseys, the twins and their parents went to the home of Uncle Daniel Bobbsey, and his wife, Aunt Sarah, in Meadow Brook.
In the book called "The Bobbsey Twins in the Country," I wrote down many of the things that happened during the summer.
If they had fun going off to the country, taking Snoop with them, of course, they had many more good times on arriving at the farm. There was a picnic, jolly times in the woods, a Fourth of July celebration, and though a midnight scare alarmed them for a time, still they did not mind that.
But, though the twins liked the country very much, they soon had a chance to see something of the ocean, and in the third book of the series, called "The Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore," my readers will find out what happened there.
There was fun on the sand, and more fun in the water, and once the little ones got lost on an island. A great storm came up, and a ship was wrecked, and this gave the twins a chance to see the life savers, those brave men who risk their lives to help others.
Then came closing days at Ocean Cliff, the home of Uncle William and Aunt Emily Minturn at Sunset Beach. School was soon to open, and Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey were anxious to get back to their town home, for Flossie and Freddie were to start regular lessons now, even though it was but in the kindergarten class.
So goodbyes were said to the ocean, and though Dorothy Minturn cried a little when her cousins Nan and Flossie, and Bert and Freddie, had to leave, still she said she hoped they would come again. And so the Bobbseys were on their way home in the train when the circus accident happened that brought them to a stop.
"And so we nearly ran into an elephant, eh?" said Mr. Bobbsey to the brakeman, who had brought in the news.
"Yes, sir. Our engineer stopped just in time."
"If we had hit him we'd gone off the track," said Freddy.
"No, we wouldn't," declared Flossie, who seemed bound to start a dispute. Perhaps she was so tired that she was fretful.
"Say, can't you two stop disputing all the while?" asked Bert, in a low voice. "You make papa and mamma nervous."
"Well, an elephant is big, anyhow," said Freddie.
"So he is, little Fat Fireman," said Nan, "Come and sit with me, and we can see the men catch the monkeys."
The work of getting the escaped animals back into their cages was going on rapidly. Some of the passengers went out to watch, but the Bobbseys stayed in their seats, Mr. Bobbsey thinking this best. The catching of the monkeys was the hardest work, but soon even this was accomplished.
The wait seemed very tiresome when there was nothing more to watch, and Mr. Bobbsey looked about for some railroad man of whom he could inquire how much longer delay there would be. The conductor came through the car.
"When will we start?" asked Mr. Bobbsey.
"Not for some time, I'm afraid," spoke the tickettaker. "The wreck is a worse one than I thought at first, and some of the cars of the circus train are across the track so we can't get by. We may be here two hours yet."
"That's too bad. Where are we?"
"Just outside of Whitewood."
"Oh, that's near home!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey. "Why can't we get out, Richard, walk across the fields to the trolley line, and take that home? It won't be far, and we'll be there ever so much quicker."
"Well, we could do that, I suppose," said her husband, slowly.
"That's what a number of passengers did," said the conductor. "There's no danger in going out now—all the animals are back in their cages."
"Then that's what we'll do, children," said their father. "Gather up your things, and we'll take the trolley home. The moon is coming up, and it will soon be light."
"I'm hungry," said Freddie, fretfully.
"So am I," added his twin sister.
"Well, I have some crackers and cookies in my bag," replied Mrs. Bobbsey. "You can eat those on the way. Nan, go tell Dinah that we're going to take a trolley. We can each carry something."
"I'll carry Snoop," exclaimed Freddie. He hurried down the aisle to where the cook was now standing, intending to get the box containing his pet cat.
"Where's Snoop, Dinah?" he asked.
"Heah he am!" she said, lifting up the slatbox. "He ain't made a sound in all dis confusion, nuther."
The next moment Freddie gave a cry of dismay:
"Snoop's gone!" he wailed. "He broke open the box and he's gone! Oh, where is Snoop?"
"Ma sakes alive!" cried Dinah. The box was empty!
A hurried search of the car did not bring forth the black pet. Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey, and some of the passengers, joined in the hunt. But there was no Snoop, and a slat that had pulled loose from one side of the box showed how he had gotten out.
"Most likely Snoop got frightened when the train stopped so suddenly, and broke loose," said Mr. Bobbsey. "We may find him outside."
"I—I hope an elephant didn't step on him," said Flossie, with a catch in her breath.
"Ohooo! Maybe a tiger or a lion has him!" wailed Freddie. "Oh, Snoop!"
"Be quiet, dear, we'll find him for you," said Mrs. Bobbsey, as she opened her satchel to get out some cookies. Then she remembered something.
"Freddie, where is that silver cup?" she asked. "You had it to get a drink. Did you give it back to me?"
"No, mamma, I—I"
"He gave the fat lady a drink from it," spoke Flossie, "and she didn't give it back."
"The train stopped just as she was drinking," went on Freddie. "I sat down on the floor—hard, and I saw the water spill on her. The fat lady has our silver cup! Oh, dear!"
"And she's gone—and Snoop is gone!" cried Flossie. "Oh! oh!"
"Is that so—did you let her take your cup, Freddie?" asked his papa.
Freddie only nodded. He could not speak.
"That fat lady was with the circus," said one of the men passengers. "Maybe you can see her outside."
"I'll look," said Mr. Bobbsey, quickly. "That cup is too valuable to lose. Come, children, we'll see if we can't find Snoop also, and then we'll take a trolley car for home."
A QUEER DOG
PAPA BOBBSEY first looked for some of the circus men of whom he might inquire about the fat lady. There was much confusion, for a circus wreck is about as bad a kind as can happen, and for some time Mr. Bobbsey could find no one who could tell him what he wanted to know.
Meanwhile Mrs. Bobbsey kept the four children and Dinah with her, surrounding their little pile of baggage off to one side of The tracks.
Some of the big torches were still burning, and the full moon was coming up, so that there was plenty of light, even if it was night.
"Oh, but if we could only find Snoop!" cried Freddie. "Here, Snoop! Snoop!" he called.
"I had much rather find the fat lady, and get back your lovely silver cup," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "I hope she hasn't taken it away with her."
"She had it in her hand when the train, stopped with such a jerk," explained Flossie. "Oh, but mamma, don't you want us to find Snoop—dear Snoop?"
"Of course I do. But I want that silver cup very much, too. I hope your father finds it."
"But there never could be another Snoop," cried Flossie. "Could there, Freddie? And we could get another silver cup."
"Don't be silly," advised Bert, rather shortly.
"Oh, don't talk that way to them," said Nan. "They do love that cat so. Never mind, Flossie and Freddie. I'm sure we'll find him soon. Here comes papa."
Mr. Bobbsey came back, looking somewhat worried.
"Did you find her?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey anxiously.
"No," he replied, with a shake of his head. "She was the circus fat lady all right. It seems she missed the showtrain, and came on in ours. And, when we stopped she got out, and went up ahead. Part of the circus train, carrying the performers, was not damaged and that has gone on. The fat lady is with that, so one of the men said."
"And, very likely, she has carried off our silver cup," exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey. "Oh dear! Can you find her later, Richard?"
"I think so. But it will take some time. The circus is going to Danville—that's a hundred miles from here. But I will write to the managers there, and ask them to get our cup from the fat lady."
"But where is Snoop?" asked Freddie, with much anxiety.
"I don't know, my dear," answered Mr. Bobbsey. "I asked the circus men if they had seen him, but they were too busy to remember. He may be running around some where. But we can't wait any longer. We must get home. I'll speak to one of the switchmen, who stay around here, and if they see Snoop I'll have them keep him for us. We'll come back tomorrow and inquire."
"But we want Snoop now!" exclaimed Freddie, fretfully.
"I'm afraid we can't get him," said Mrs. Bobbsey, gently. "Come, children, let's go home now, and leave it to papa. Oh, to think of your lovely silver cup being gone!"
"Snoop is worse," said Flossie, almost crying.
"I—I'm sorry I let the fat lady take the cup," spoke Freddie.
"Oh, you meant all right, my dear," said his mamma, "and it was very kind of you. But we really ought to start. We may miss a trolley. Come, Dinah, can you carry all you have?"
"'Deed an' I can, Mrs. Bobbsey. But I suah am sorry 'bout dat ar' Snoop."
"Oh, it wasn't your fault, Dinah," said Nan quickly. "He is getting to be such a big cat that he can easily push the slats off his box, now. We must make it stronger next time."
Flossie and Freddie wondered if there would be a "next time," for they feared Snoop was gone forever. They did not worry so much about the silver cup, valuable as it was.
With everyone in the little party carrying something, the Bobbsey family set off across, the fields toward the distant trolley line that would take them nearly home. The moon was well up now, and there was a good path across the fields. Nan and Bert were talking about the wreck, and recalling some of the funny incidents of catching the circus animals.
Flossie and Freddie were wondering whether they would ever see their pet cat again. They had had him so long that he seemed like one of the family.
"Maybe he ran off and joined the circus," said Flossie.
"Maybe," spoke her brother. "But he can't do any tricks, so they won't want him in a show."
"He can so do tricks! He can chase his tail and almost grab it."
"That isn't a trick."
"It is so—as much as standing on your head."
"Children—children—I don't know what I'll do with you if you don't stop that constant bickering," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "You must not dispute so."
"Well, mamma, but isn't chasing your tail a trick?" asked Flossie. "Freddie says it isn't."
"Well, it isn't a circus trick, anyhow," declared her brother. "I meant a circus trick."
"Well, Snoop is a good cat, anyhow," went on Flossie, "and I wish we had him back."
"Oh, so do I!" exclaimed Freddie, and thus that little dispute ended.
They were walking along through a little patch of woods now, when Bert, who was the last one in line, suddenly called out:
"Something is coming after us!"
"Coming after us? What do you mean?" asked Nan quickly, as she hurried to her father's side.
"I mean I've been listening for two or three minutes now, to some animal following after us along the path. Some big animal, too."
Flossie and Freddie both ran back and took hold of their mother's hands.
"Don't scare the children, Bert," said Mr. Bobbsey, a bit sternly. "Did you really hear something?"
"Yes, father. It's some animal walking behind us. Listen and you can hear it your self."
They all listened. It was very quiet. Then from down the hard dirt path they all heard the "pitpat, pitpat" of the footsteps of some animal. It was coming on slowly.
For a moment Mr. Bobbsey thought of the wild animals of the circus. In spite of what the men had said perhaps one of the beasts might have escaped from its cage. The others in the little party evidently thought the same thing. Mrs. Bobbsey drew her children more closely about her.
"'Deed an' if it's one ob dem elephants," said Dinah, "an' if he comes fo' me I'll jab mah hat pin in his long nose—dat's what I will!"
"It can't be an elephant," said Mr. Bobbsey. "One of the big beasts would make more noise than that. It may be one of the monkeys—I don't see how they could catch them all—they were so lively and full of mischief."
"Oh, if it's a monkey, may we keep it?" begged Flossie. "I just love a monkey."
"Mercy, child! What would we do with it around the house?" cried Mrs. Bobbsey. "Richard, can you see what it is?"
Mr. Bobbsey peered down the road.
"I can see something," he said. "It's coming nearer."
"Oh dear!" cried Nan, trembling with fear.
Just then a bark sounded—a friendly bark.
"It's a dog!" said Mrs. Bobbsey. "Oh, I'm so glad it wasn't an elephant," and she hugged Freddie and Flossie.
"Pooh! I wasn't afraid!" cried Freddie. "If it had been an elephant I—I'd give him a cookie, and maybe he'd let me ride home on his back."
The animal barked louder now, and a moment later he came into sight on a moonlit part of the path. The children could see that it was a big, shaggy white dog, who wagged his tail in greeting as he walked up to them.
"Oh, what a lovely dog!" cried Nan. "I wonder where he belongs?"
The fine animal came on. Bert snapped his fingers, boy-fashion.
Instantly the dog stood up on his hind legs and began marching about in a circle on the path.
"Oh, what a queer dog!" cried Flossie. "Oh I wish he was ours!"
HOME IN AN AUTO
DOWN on his four legs dropped the big white dog, and with another wag of his fluffy tail he came straight for Flossie.
"Be careful!" warned Mamma Bobbsey.
"He won't hurt her!" declared Bert. "That's a good dog, anyone can tell that. Here, doggie; come here!" he called.
But the dog still advanced toward Flossie, who shrank back a bit timidly.
"You never can tell what dogs will do," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "It is best to be careful."
"I guess he knew what Flossie said to him," spoke up Freddie. "He knows we like dogs."
The dog barked a little, and, coming up to where Flossie was, again stood on his hind legs.
"That's a queer trick," said Mr. Bobbsey. "I guess this dog has been trained. He probably belongs around here."
"I wish he belonged to us," sighed Nan. Like Flossie and Freddie she, too, loved animals.
"Maybe we can keep him if we don't find Snoop?" suggested Freddie. "Oh, papa, will you get Snoop back?" and Freddie's voice sounded as though he was going to cry.
"Yes, yes, of course I will," said Mr. Bobbsey quickly. He did not want the children to fret now, with still quite a distance yet to go home, and that in a trolley car. There were bundles to carry, weary children to look after, and Mrs. Bobbsey was rather tired also. No wonder Papa Bobbsey thought he had many things to do that night.
"Come along, children," called Mrs. Bobbsey, "it is getting late, and we are only about half way to the trolley. Oh dear! If that circus had to be wrecked I wish it could have waited until our train passed."
"Are you very tired?" asked her husband. "I can take that valise."
"Indeed you'll not. You have enough."
"Lemme have it, Massa Bobbsey," pleaded Dinah. "I ain't carryin' half enough. I's pow'ful strong, I is."
"Nonsense, Dinah!" said Mr. Bobbsey. "I can manage, and your arms are full."
"I—I wish she had Snoop," said Freddie, but he was so interested in watching the queer dog that he half forgot his sorrow over the lost cat.
The dog seemed to have made great friends with Flossie. She was patting him on the head now, for the animal, after marching about on his hind legs, was down on all fours again.
"Oh, mamma, he's awful nice!" exclaimed Flossie. "He's just as gentle, and he's soft, like the little toy lamb I used to have."
"Indeed he does seem to be a gentle dog," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "But come along now. Don't pet him any more, or he may follow us. Flossie, and whoever owns him would not like it. Come on."
"Forward—march!" called Freddie, strutting along the moonlit path as much like a soldier as he could imitate, tired as he was.
The Bobbseys and their faithful Dinah started off again toward the distant trolley that would take them to their home. The dog sat down and looked after them.
"I—I wish he was ours," said Flossie wistfully, waving her hand to the dog.
The Bobbseys had not gone on very far before Nan, looking back, called out:
"Oh, papa, that dog is following us!"
"He is?" exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey. "That's queer. He must have taken a sudden liking to us. But I guess he'll go back where he belongs pretty soon. Are you getting tired, little Fat Fireman? And you, my Fat Fairy?"
"Oh, no, papa," laughed Flossie. "I sat down so much in the train that I'm glad to stand up now."
"So am I," said Freddie, who made up his mind that he would not say he was tired if his little sister did not. And yet, truth to tell, the little Fat Fireman was very weary.
On and on went the Bobbsey family, and soon Bert happened to look back, and gave a whistle of surprise.
"That dog isn't going home, papa," he said. "He's still after us, and look! now he's running."
They all glanced back on hearing this. Surely enough the big white dog was running after them, wagging his tail joyfully, and barking from time to time.
"This will never do!" exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey. "Whoever owns him may think we are trying to take him away. I'll drive him back. Go home! Go back, sir!" exclaimed Papa Bobbsey in stern tones.
The dog stopped wagging his tail. Then he sat down on the path, and calmly waited. Mr. Bobbsey walked toward him.
"Oh, don't—don't whip him, papa!" exclaimed Flossie.
"I don't intend to," said Mr. Bobbsey. "But I must be stern with him or he will think I'm only playing. Go back!" he cried.
The dog stretched out on the path, his head down between his fore paws.
"He—he looks—sad," said Freddie. "Maybe he hasn't any home, papa."
"Oh, of course a valuable dog like that has a home," declared Bert.
"But maybe they didn't treat him kindly, and he is looking for a new one," suggested Nan, hopefully.
"He doesn't seem illtreated," spoke Mrs. Bobbsey. "Oh, I do wish he'd go back, so we could go on."
Mr. Bobbsey pretended to pick up a stone and throw it at the dog, as masters sometimes do when they do not want their dogs to follow them. This dog only wagged his tail, as though he thought it the best joke he had ever known.
"Go back! Go back, I say!" cried Papa Bobbsey in a loud voice. The dog did not move.
"I guess he won't follow us any more," went on Mr. Bobbsey. "Hurry along now, children. We are almost at the trolley." He turned away from the dog, who seemed to be asleep now, and the family went on. For a minute or two, as Nan could tell by looking back, the dog did not follow, but just as the Bobbseys were about to make a turn in the path, up jumped the animal and came trotting on after the children and their parents, wagging his tail so fast that it seemed as if it would come loose.
"Is he coming?" asked Flossie.
"He certainly is," answered Bert, who was in the rear. "I guess he wants us to take him home with us."
"Oh, let's do it!" begged Flossie.
"Please, papa," pleaded Freddie. "We haven't got Snoop now, so let us have a dog. And I'm sure we could teach him to do tricks—he's so smart."
"And so he's coming after us still!" exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey. "Well, well, I don't know what to do," and he came to a stop on the path.
"Couldn't we take him home just for tonight?" asked Nan, "and then in the morning we could find out who owns him and return him."
"Oh, please do," begged Freddie and Flossie, impulsively.
"But how can we take him on a trolley car?" asked Mr. Bobbsey. "The conductor would not let us."
"Maybe he would—if he was a kind man," suggested Freddie. "We could tell him how it was, and how we lost our cat."
"And our silver cup," added Flossie.
"Well, certainly the dog doesn't seem to want to go home," said Mr. Bobbsey, after he had tried two or three times more to drive the animal back. But it would not go.
"Go on a little farther," suggested Mrs. Bobbsey. "By the time we get to the trolley he may get tired, and go back. And if we want to lose him I think we can, by getting on the car quickly."
"But we don't want to lose him!" cried Freddie.
"No, no!" said Flossie. "We want to keep him. He can run along behind the trolley car. I'll ask the motorman to go slow, papa."
"My! This has been a mixedup day!" sighed Mr. Bobbsey. "I really don't know what to do."
The dog seemed to think that he was one of the family, now. He came up to Flossie and Freddie and let them pat him. His tail kept wagging all the while.
"Well, we'll see what happens where we get to the trolley," decided Mr. Bobbsey, thinking that there would be the best and only place to get rid of the dog. "Come along, children."
Freddie and Flossie came on, the dog between them, and this seemed to suit the fine animal. He had found friends, now, he evidently thought. Mr. Bobbsey wondered why so valuable a dog would leave its home. And he was very much puzzled as to what he should do if the children insisted on keeping the animal, and if it came aboard the trolley car.
"There's the car!" exclaimed Bert, as they went around another turn in the path and came to a road. Down it could be seen the headlight of an approaching trolley, and also the twin lamps of an oncoming automobile.
"Look out for the auto, children!" cried Mrs. Bobbsey.
They stood at the side of the road, and as the auto came up the man in it slowed down his machine. It was a big car and he was alone in it.
"Well, I declare!" exclaimed the autoist, as his engine stopped. "If it isn't the Bobbsey family—twins and all! What are you doing here, Mr. Bobbsey?"
"Why, it's Mr. Blake!" exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey, seeing that the autoist was a neighbor, and a business friend of his. "Oh, our train was held back by a circus wreck, so we walked across the lots to the car. We're homeward bound from the seashore."
"Well, well! A circus wreck, eh? Where did you get the dog?"
"Oh, he followed us," said Mrs. Bobbsey.
"And we're going to keep him, too!" exclaimed Flossie.
"And take him in the trolley with us," added her little brother.
"Well, well!" exclaimed Mr. Blake. "Say, now, I have a better plan than that," he went on. "Why should you folks go home in a trolley, when I have this big empty auto here? Pile in, all of you, and I'll get you there in a jiffy. Come, Dinah, I see you, too."
"Yes, sah, Massa Blake, I'se heah! Can't lose ole Dinah!"
"But we lost our cat, Snoop!" said Flossie regretfully.
"And we nearly ran over an elephant," added Freddie, bound that his sister should not tell all the news.
"Well, get in the auto," invited Mr. Blake.
"Do you really mean it?" asked Mr. Bobbsey. "Perhaps we are keeping you from going somewhere."
"Indeed not. Pile in, and you'll soon be home."
"Can we bring the dog, too?" asked Flossie.
"Yes, there's plenty of room for the dog," laughed Mr. Blake. "Lift him in."
But the strange dog did not need lifting. He sprang into the tonneau of the auto as soon as the door was opened. Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey lifted in Flossie and Freddie, and Nan and Bert followed. Then in got Papa and Mamma Bobbsey and Mr. Blake started off.
"This is lovely," said Mrs. Bobbsey with a sigh of relief. She was more tired than she had thought.
"It certainly is kind of you, Mr. Blake," said Papa Bobbsey.
"I'm only too glad I happened to meet you. Are you children comfortable?"
"Yep!" chorused Freddie and Flossie.
"And the dog?"
"We're holding him so he won't fall out," explained Flossie. She and her little brother had the dog between them.
On went the auto, and with the telling of the adventures of the day the journey seemed very short. Soon the Bobbsey home was reached. There were lights in it, for Sam, the colored man, had been telephoned to, to have the place opened for the family. Sam came out on the stoop to greet them and his wife Dinah.
"Here we are!" cried Papa Bobbsey. "Come, Flossie Freddie we're home."
Flossie and Freddie did not answer. They were fast asleep, their heads on the shaggy back of the big dog.
SNAP DOES TRICKS
"WE'LL have to carry them in," said Mr. Bobbsey, as he looked in the rear of the auto, and saw his two little twins fast asleep on the dog's back.
"I'll take 'em," said Sam kindly. "Many a time I'se carried 'em in offen de porch when dey falled asleep. I'll carry 'em in."
And he did, first taking Flossie, and then Freddie. Then he and Dinah brought in the bundles and valises, while Nan and Bert and Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey followed, having bidden goodnight to Mr. Blake, and thanking him for the ride.
"Where—where are we?" asked Flossie, rubbing her eyes and looking around the room which she had not seen in some months.
"An'—an' where's our dog?" demanded Freddie.
"Oh, bless your hearts—that dog!" cried Mamma Bobbsey. "Sam took him out in the barn. You may see him in the morning, if he doesn't run away in the night."
The twins looked worried over this suggestion, until Sam said:
"Oh, I locked him up good an' proper in a box stall; 'deed an' I did, Mrs. Bobbsey. He won't get away tonight."
"That's—good," murmured Freddie, and then he fell asleep again.
Soon the little twins were undressed and put to bed; Nan and Bert soon followed, but Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey stayed up a little later to talk over certain matters.
"It's good to be home again," said Mr. Bobbsey, as he looked about the rooms of the town house.
"Yes, but we had a delightful summer," spoke his wife, "and the children are so well. The country was delightful, and so was the seashore. But I think I, too, am glad to be back. It will be quite a task, though, to get the children ready for school. Flossie and Freddie will go regularly now, I suppose, and with Nan and Bert in a higher class, it means plenty of work."
"I suppose so," said her husband.
"But Dinah is a great help," went on Mrs. Bobbsey, for she did not mean to complain. Flossie and Freddie had tried a few days in the kindergarten class at school, but Flossie said she did not like it, and, as Freddie would not go without her, their parents had taken them both out in the Spring.
"There will be plenty of time to start them in the Fall," said Mrs. Bobbsey, and so it had been arranged. And now the four twins were all to attend the same school, which would open in about a week.
Flossie and Freddie were both up early the next morning, and, scarcely halfdressed, they hurried out to the barn.
"Whar yo' chillers gwine?" demanded Dinah, as she prepared to get breakfast.
"Out to see our dog," answered Freddie. "Is Sam around?"
"Yes, he's out dere somewheres, washin' de carriage. But don't yo' let dat dog bite yo'."
"We won't," said Freddie.
"He wouldn't bite anyhow," declared Flossie.
Sam opened the box stall for them, and out bounced the big white dog, barking in delight, and almost knocking down the twins, so glad was he to see them.
"What shall we call him?" asked Freddie. "Maybe we'd better name him Snoop, like our cat. I guess Snoop is gone forever."
"No, we mustn't call him Snoop," said Flossie, "for some day our cat might come back, and he'd want his own name again. We'll call our dog Snap, 'cause see how bright his eyes snap. Then if our cat comes back we'll have Snoop and Snap."
"That's a good name," decided Freddie, after thinking it over. "Snoop and Snap. I wonder how we can make this dog stand on his hind legs like he did before?"
"Bert snapped his fingers and he did it," suggested Flossie. "But maybe he'll do it now if you just ask him to."
Freddie tried to snap his fingers, but they were too short and fat. Then he patted the dog an the head and said:
At once the dog, with a bark, did so. He sat up on his hind legs and then walked around. Both the children laughed.
"I wonder if he can do any other tricks?" asked Flossie.
"I'm going to try," said her brother. "What trick do you want him to do?"
"Make him lie down and roll over."
"All right," spoke Freddie. "Now, Snap, lie down and roll over!" he called. At once the fine animal did so, and then sprang up with a bark, and a wag of his tail, as much as to ask:
"What shall I do next?"
"Oh, isn't he a fine dog!" cried Flossie. "I wonder who taught him those tricks?"
"Let's see if he can do any more," said Freddie. "There's a barrel hoop over there. Maybe he'll jump through it if we hold it up."
"Oh, let's do it!" cried Flossie, as she ran to get the hoop. Snap barked at the sight of it, and capered about as though he knew just what it was for, and was pleased at the chance to do more of his tricks. The hoop was a large one, and Freddie alone could not hold it very steady. So Flossie took hold of one side. As soon as they were in position, Freddie called:
"Come on now, Snap. Jump!"
Snap barked, ran back a little way, turned around and came racing straight for the twins. At that moment Sam Johnson came up running, a stick in his hand.
"Heah! heah!" shouted the colored man, "You let dem chillers alone, dog! Go 'way, I tells yo'!"
"That's all right, Sam," said Freddie. "Don't scare him. He's our new dog Snap, and he's going to do a trick," for the colored gardener had supposed the dog was running at Flossie and Freddie to bite them.
Snap paid no attention to Sam, but raced on. When a short distance from where Flossie and Freddie held the hoop, Snap jumped up into the air, and shot straight through the wooden circle, landing quite a way off.
"Mah gracious sakes alive!" gasped Sam. "Dat's a reg'lar circus trick—at's what it am!"
He scratched his head in surprise, and the stick he had picked up, intending to drive away the dog with, stuck straight out. In a moment Snap raced up, and jumped over the stick.
"Oh, look!" cried Flossie.
"Another trick!" exclaimed Freddie.
"Mah gracious goodness!" cried Sam. "Dat suah am wonderful!"
Snap ran about barking in delight. He seemed happy to be doing tricks.
"Let's go tell papa," said Freddie. "He'll want to know about this."
"Oh, I do hope he lets us keep him," said Flossie.
Mr. Bobbsey had not yet gone to his lumber office. He listened to what the little twins had to tell them about Snap, who lay on the lawn, seeming to listen to his own praises.
"A trick dog; eh?" exclaimed Mr. Bobbsey. "I wonder who owns him?"
"Maybe he escaped from the circus," suggested Bert, who came out just then to see how his pigeons were getting along.
"That's it!" cried Mr. Bobbsey. "I wonder I did not think of it before. The dog must have escaped from the wrecked circus train, and he followed us, not knowing what else to do. That accounts for his tricks."
"But we can keep him; can't we?" begged Flossie.
"Hum! I'll have to see about that," said Mr. Bobbsey slowly. "I suppose the circus people will want him back, for he must be valuable. Perhaps some clown trained him."
"But if we can't have Snoop, our cat, we ought to have a dog," asserted Freddie.
"I'll try to get Snoop back," said Mr. Bobbsey. "I'll have one of my men go down to the place where the wreck was, today, and inquire of the railroad men. He may be wandering about there."
"Poor Snoop!" said Nan, coming out to feed some of her pet chickens, that Sam had looked after all summer.
"And while you are about it," suggested Mrs. Bobbsey, who was on the front porch, "I wish, Richard, that you would see if you can locate that fat lady, and get back the children's silver cup."
"I will," replied Mr. Bobbsey. "I will have to write to them anyhow, about the dog, and at the same time I'll ask about the cup. Though I don't believe the fat lady meant to keep it."
"Oh, no," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "Probably she just held it, in the excitement over the wreck, and she may have left it in the car. But please write about it."
"I will," promised Mr. Bobbsey, as he started for the office, while the twins gathered about the new dog, who seemed ready to do more tricks.
DANNY RUGG IS MEAN
THAT afternoon a small fire broke out in Mr. Bobbsey's lumber yard. The alarm bell rang, and Mrs. Bobbsey, hearing it, and knowing by the number that the blaze must be near her husband's place of business, came hurrying down stairs.
"Oh, I must go and see how dangerous it is," she said to Dinah. "It is too bad to have it happen just after Mr. Bobbsey comes back from his summer vacation."
"'Deed it am!" cried the fat, colored cook. "But maybe it am only a little fire, Mrs. Bobbsey."
"I'm sure I hope so," was the answer.
As Mrs. Bobbsey was hurrying down the front walk Flossie and Freddie saw her.
"Where are you going, mamma?" they called.
"Down to papa's office," she answered. "There's a fire near his place, and—"
"Oh, a fire! Then I'm going!" cried Freddie. "Fire! Fire! Ding, dong! Turn on the water!" and he raced about quite excitedly.
"Oh, I don't know," said Mrs. Bobbsey, in doubt. "Where are Nan and Bert?" she asked.
"They went down to the lake," said Flossie. "Oh, mamma, do take us to the fire with you. We'll bring Snap along."
"Sure," said Freddie. "Hi, Snap!" he called.
The trick dog came rushing from the stable, barking and wagging his tail.
"Well, I suppose I might as well take you," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "But you must stay near me. We'll leave Snap home, though."
"Oh, no!" cried Freddie.
"He might get lost," said Mrs. Bobbsey.
That was enough for Freddie. He did not want the new pet to get lost, so he did not make a fuss when Sam came hurrying up to lock Snap in the stable. Poor Snap howled, for he wanted very much to go with the children.
The fire was, as I have said, a small one, in part of the planing mill. But the engines puffed away, and spurted water, and this pleased Freddie. Flossie stayed close to her mother, and Mrs. Bobbsey, once she found out that the main lumber yard was not in danger, was ready to come back home. But Freddie wanted to stay until the fire was wholly out.
Mr. Bobbsey came from his office to give some directions to the firemen, and saw his wife and the two twins. Then he took charge of them, and led them as close to the blaze as was safe.
"It will soon be out," he said. "It was only some sawdust that got on fire."
"I wish I could squirt some water!" sighed Freddie.
"What's that? Do you want to be a fireman?" asked one of the men in a rubber coat and a big helmet. He smiled at Mr. Bobbsey, whom he knew quite well.
"Yes, I do," said Freddie.
"Then come with me, and I'll let you help hold the hose," said the fireman. "I'll look after him," he went on, to Mrs. Bobbsey, and she nodded to show that Freddie could go.
What a good time the little fellow had, standing beside a real fireman, and helping throw real water on a real fire! Freddie never forgot that. Of course the fire was almost out, and it was only one of the small hose lines that the fireman let the little fellow help hold, but, for all that, Freddie was very happy.
"Did you write to the circus people today about our silver cup, and that trick dog?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey of her husband, that night.
"I declare, I didn't!" he exclaimed. "The fire upset me so that it slipped my mind. I'll do it the first thing tomorrow. There is no special hurry. How is the dog, by the way?"
"Oh, he's just lovely!" cried Flossie.
"And I do hope we can keep him forever!" exclaimed Freddie. "'Specially since Snoop is gone."
"Did you hear anything about our cat?" asked Nan, of her father.
"No. I sent a man to the railroad company, but no stray cat had been found. I am afraid Snoop is lost, children."
"Oh dear!" cried Flossie.
The next day, having learned from the railroad company where the circus had gone after the wreck, Mr. Bobbsey sent a letter to the manager, explaining about the lost silver cup, and the found circus dog. He asked that the fat lady be requested to write to him, to let him know if she had taken the cup by accident, and Mr. Bobbsey also wanted to know if the circus had lost a trick dog.
"There!" he exclaimed as he sent the letter to be mailed, "now we'll just have to wait for an answer."
Nan and Bert, and Flossie and Freddie were soon having almost as much fun as they had had at the seashore and in the country. Their town playmates, who had come back from their vacations, called at the Bobbsey home, and made up games and all sorts of sports.
"For," said Grace Lavine, with whom Nan sometimes played, "school will soon begin, and we want to have all the fun we can until then."
"Let's jump rope," proposed Nan.
"All right," agreed Grace. "Here comes Nellie Parks, and we'll see who can jump the most."
"No, you mustn't do that," said Nan. "Don't you remember how you once tried to jump a hundred, and you fainted?"
"Indeed I do," said Grace. "I'm not going to be so silly as to try that again. We'll only jump a little."
Soon Nan and her chums were having good time in the yard.
Charley Mason, with whom Bert sometimes played, came over, and the two boys went for a row on the lake, in Bert's boat. Some little friends of Flossie and Freddie came over, and they had fun watching Snap do tricks.
For the circus dog, as he had come to be called, seemed to be able to do some new trick each day. He could "play dead," and "say his prayers," besides turning a back somersault. The little twins, who seemed to claim more share in Snap than did Nan and Bert, did not really know how many tricks their pet could do.
"Maybe you'll have to give him back to the circus," said Willie Flood, one of Freddie's chums.
"Well, if we do, papa may buy him, or get another dog like him," spoke Flossie.
A few days after this, when Bert was out in the front yard, watering the grass with a hose, along came Danny Rugg. Now Danny went to the same school that Bert did, but few of the boys and none of the girls, liked Danny, because he was often rough, and would hit them or want to fight, or would play mean tricks on them. Still, sometimes Danny behaved himself, and then the boys were glad to have him on their baseball nine as he was a good hitter and thrower, and he could run fast.
"Hello, Bert!" exclaimed Danny, leaning on the fence. "I hear you have a trick circus dog here."
"Who told you?" asked Bert, wondering what Danny would say next.
"Oh, Jack Parker. He says you found him."
"I didn't," spoke Bert, spraying a bed of geranium flowers. "He followed us the night of the circus wreck."
"Well, you took him all the same. I know who owns him, too; and I'm going to tell that you've got him."
"Oh, are you?" asked Bert. "Well, we think he belongs to the circus, and my father has written about it, so you needn't trouble yourself."
"He doesn't belong to any circus," went on Danny. "That dog belongs to Mr. Peterson, who lives over in Millville. He lost a trick dog, and he adverstised for it. He's going to give a reward. I'm going to tell him, and get the money."
"You can't take our dog away!" cried Freddie, coming up just then. "Don't you dare do it, Danny Rugg."
"Yes, I will!" exclaimed the mean boy, who often teased the smaller Bobbsey twins. "You won't have that dog after today."
"Don't mind him, Freddie," said Bert in a low voice. "He's trying to scare you."
"Oh, I am eh?" cried Danny. "I'll show you what I'm trying to do. I'll tell on you for keeping a dog that don't belong to you, and you'll be arrested—all of you."
Freddie looked worried, and tears came into his eyes. Bert saw this, and was angry at Danny for being so mean.
"Don't be afraid, Freddie," said Bert, "Look, I'll let you squirt the hose, and you can pretend to be a fireman."
"Oh, fine!" cried Freddie, in delight, as he took the nozzle from his older brother.
Just how it happened neither of them could tell, but the stream of water shot right at Danny Rugg, and wet him all over in a second.
"Hi there!" he cried. "Stop that! I'll pay you back for that, Fred Bobbsey," and he jumped over the fence and ran toward the little fellow.
FREDDIE saw Danny coming, and did the most natural thing in the world. He dropped the hose and ran. And you know what a hose, with water bursting from the nozzle will sometimes do if you don't hold it just right. Well, this hose did that. It seemed to aim itself straight at Danny, and again the rough boy received a charge of water full in the face.
"Ha! ha! here! You quit that!" he gasped. "I'll fix you for that!"
The water got in his eyes and mouth, and for a moment he could not see. But with his handkerchief he soon had his eyes cleared, and then he came running toward Bert.
Danny Rugg was larger than Bert, and stronger, and, in addition, was a bullying sort of chap, almost always ready to fight some one smaller than himself.
But what Bert lacked in size and strength he made up in a bold Spirit. He was not at all afraid of Danny, even when the bully came rushing at him. Bert stood his ground manfully. He had taken up the hose where Freddie had dropped it, and the water was spurting out in a solid stream. Freddie, having gotten a safe distance away, now turned and stood looking at Danny.
Danny, too, had halted and was fairly glaring at Bert, who looked at him a bit anxiously. More than once he and the bully had come to blows, and sometimes Bert had gotten the best of it. Still he did not like a fight.
"I'll get you yet, Freddie Bobbsey!" cried Danny, shaking his fist at the little fellow. Whereupon Freddie turned and ran toward the house. Danny saw that he could not catch him in time, and so he turned to Bert.
"You put him up to do that—to douse me with water!" cried Danny angrily.
"I did not," said Bert quietly. "It was just an accident. I'm sorry."
"You are not! I say you did that on purpose or you told Freddie to, and I'm going to pay you back!"
"I tell you it was an accident," insisted Bert. "But if you want to think Freddie did it on purpose I can't stop you."
"Well, I'm going to hit you just the same," growled Danny, and he stepped toward Bert.
"You'd better look out," said Bert, with just a little smile. "There's still a lot of water in this hose," and he brought the nozzle around in front, ready to squirt on Danny if the bad boy should come too near.
Danny came to a stop.
"Don't you dare put any more water on me!" cried the bully. "If you do, I'll—" He doubled up his fists and glared at Bert.
"Then don't you come any nearer if you don't want to get wet," said Bert. "This hose might sprinkle you by accident, the same as it did when Freddie had it," he added.
"Huh! I know what kind of an accident that was!" spoke Danny, with a sneer.
"You'd better get out of the way," went on Bert quietly. "I want to sprinkle that flower bed near where you are, and if you're there you might get wet, and it wouldn't my fault."
"I'll fix you!" growled Danny, springing forward. Bert got ready with the hose, and there might have been more trouble, except that Sam, the colored man, came out on the lawn. He saw that something out of the ordinary was going on, and breaking into a run he called out:
"Am anything de mattah, Massa Bert? Am yo' habin' trouble wif anybody?"
"Well, I guess it's all over now," said Bert, as he saw Danny turn and walk toward the gate.
"If yo' need any help, jest remembah dat I'm around," spoke Sam, with a wide grin that showed his white teeth in his black, but kindly face. "I'll be right handy by, Massa Bert, yes, I will!"
"All right," said Bert, as he went on watering the flowers.
"Huh! You needn't think I'm afraid of you!" boasted Danny, but he kept on out of the gate just the same. Sam went back to his work, of weeding the vegetable garden and Bert watered the flowers. Pretty soon Freddie came back.
"Did—did Danny do anything to you?" the little fellow wanted to know.
"No, Freddie, but the hose did something to him," said Bert.
"Oh, did it wet him again?"
"That's what it did."
"Ha! Ha!" laughed Freddie. "I wish I'd been here to see it, Bert."
"Well, why did you run?"
"Oh, I—I thought maybe—mamma might want me," answered Freddie, but Bert understood, and smiled. Then he let Freddie finish watering the flowers, after which Freddie played he was a fireman, saving houses from burning by means of the hose.
Snap, the trick dog came running out, followed by Flossie, who had just been washed and combed, her mother having put a clean dress on her.
"Oh, Freddie," said the little girl, "let's make Snap do some tricks. See if he will jump over the stream of water from the hose."
"All right," agreed her little brother. "I'll squirt the water out straight, and you stand on one side of it and call Snap over. Then he'll jump."
Flossie tried this, but at first the dog did not seem to want to do this particular trick. He played soldier, said his prayers, stood on his hind legs, and turned a somersault. But he would not jump over the water.
"Come, Snap, Snap!" called Flossie. "Jump!"
Snap raced about and barked, and seemed to be having all sorts of fun, but jump he would not until he got ready. Then, when he did Freddie accidentally lowered the nozzle and Snap was soaked.
But the dog did not mind the water in the least. In fact he seemed to like it, for the day was warm, and he stood still and let Freddie wet him all over. Then Snap rolled about on the lawn, Freddie and Flossie taking turns sprinkling.
And, as might be expected, considerable water got on the two children, and when Snap shook himself, as he often did, to get some of the drops off his shaggy coat, he gave Flossie and her clean dress a regular shower bath.
Nan, coming from the house saw this. She ran up to Flossie, who had the hose just then, crying:
"Flossie Bobbsey! Oh, you'll get it when mamma sees you! She cleaned you all up and now look at yourself!"
"She can't see—there's no looking glass here," said Freddie, with a laugh.
"And you're just as bad!" cried Nan. "You'd both better go in the house right away, and stop playing with the hose."
"We're through, anyhow," said Freddie. "You ought to see Snap jump over the water."
"Oh, you children!" cried Nan, with a shake of her head. She seemed like a little mother to them at times, though she was only four years older.
Mrs. Bobbsey was very sorry to see Flossie so wet and bedraggled, and said:
"You should have known better than to play with water with a clean dress on, Flossie. Now I must punish you. You will have to stay in the house for an hour, and so will Freddie."
Poor little Bobbsey twins! But then it was not a very severe punishment, and really some was needed. It was hard when two of their little playmates came and called for them to come out. But Mrs. Bobbsey insisted on the two remaining in until the hour was at an end.
Then, when they had on dry garments, and could go out, there was no one with whom to play.
"I'm not going to squirt the hose ever again," said Freddie.
"Neither am I," said his sister. "Never, never!"
Snap didn't say anything. He lay on the porch asleep, being cooled off after his sport with the water.
"I—I wish we had our cat, Snoop, back," said Flossie. "Then we wouldn't have played in the water."
"That's so," agreed Freddie. "I wonder where he can be?"
They asked their father that night if any of the railroad men had seen their pet, but he said none had, and added:
"I'm afraid you'll have to get along without Snoop. He seems to have disappeared. But, anyhow, you have Snap."
"But some one may come along and claim him," said Freddie. "That Danny Rugg says he belongs to Mr. Peterson in Millville, father," said Bert.
"Well, I'll call Mr. Peterson up on the telephone tomorrow, and find out," spoke Mr. Bobbsey. "That much will be settled, at any rate."
"Did you hear anything from the circus people about the fat lady?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey.
"Yes, but no news," was her husband's answer. "The circus has gone to Cuba and Porto Rico for the winter, and I will have to write there. It will be some time before we can expect an answer, though, as I suppose the show will be traveling from place to place and mail down there is not like it is up here. But we may find the fat lady and the cup some day."
"And Snoop, too," put in Nan.
"Yes, Snoop too."
One fact consoled the Bobbseys in their trouble over their lost pet and cup. This was the answer received by Mr. Bobbsey from Mr. Peterson. That gentleman had lost a valuable dog, but it was a small poodle, and unlike big Snap. So far no one had claimed the trick dog, and it seemed likely that the children could keep him. They were very glad about this.
"Oh dear!" exclaimed Bert, one afternoon a few days following the fun with the hose, "school begins Monday. Only three more days of vacation!"
"I think you have had a long vacation," returned Mrs. Bobbsey, "and if Freddie and Flossie are going to do such tricks as they did the other day, with the hose, I, for one, shall be glad that you are in school."
"I like school," said Nan. "There are lot of new girls coming this term, I hear."
"Any new fellows?" asked Bert, more interested.
"I don't know. There is a new teacher in the kindergarten, though, where Flossie and Freddie will go. Nellie Parks has met her, and says she's awfully nice."
"That's good," spoke Flossie. "I like nice teachers."
"Well, I hope you and Freddie will get along well," said Mamma Bobbsey.
"You are getting older you know, and you must soon begin to study hard."
"We will," they promised.
The school bell, next Monday morning, called to many rather unwilling children. The long vacation was over and class days had begun once more. The four Bobbseys went off together to the building, which was only a few blocks from their home. Mr. Tetlow was the principal, and there were half a dozen lady teachers.
"Hello, Nan," greeted Grace Lavine. "May I sit with you this term?"
"Oh, I was going to ask her," said Nellie Parks.
"Well, I was first," spoke Grace, with a pout.
"We'll be in the room where there are three seated desks," said Nan with a smile. "Maybe we three can be together."
"Oh, we'll ask teacher!" cried Nellie. "That will be lovely!"
"I'm going to sit with Freddie," declared Flossie. "We're to be together—mamma said so."
"Of course, dear," agreed Nan. "I'll speak to your teacher about it."
Bert was walking in the rear with Charley Mason, when Danny Rugg came around a corner.
"I know what I'm going to do to you after school, Bert Bobbsey!" called the bully. "You just wait and see."
"All right—I'll wait," spoke Bert quietly. "I'm not afraid."
By this time they were at the school, and it was nearly time for the last bell to ring. Danny went off to join some of his particular chums, shaking his fist at Bert as he went.
BERT SEES SOMETHING
LESSONS were not very well learned that first day in school, but this is generally the case when the Fall term opens after the Summer vacation.
Just as were the Bobbsey twins, nearly all the other pupils were thinking of what good times they had had in the country, or at the seashore, and in consequence little attention was paid to reading, spelling, arithmetic and geography.
But Principal Tetlow and his teachers were prepared for this, and they were sure that, in another day or so, the boys and girls would settle down and do good work. Many of the children were in new rooms and different classes, and this did not make them feel so much "at home" as before vacation.
Nan Bobbsey's first duty, after reporting to her new teacher, was to go to the kindergarten room, and ask the teacher there if Flossie and Freddie might sit together.
"You see," Nan explained, "this is really their first real school work. They attended a few times before, but did not stay long."
"I see," spoke the pretty kindergarten instructor with a laugh, "and we must make it as pleasant for them this time as we can, so they will want to stay. Yes, my dear, Flossie and Freddie may sit together, and I'll look after them as much as I can. But, oh, there are such a lot of little tots!" and she looked about the room that seemed overflowing with small boys and girls.
Some were playing and talking, telling of their summer experiences. Others seemed frightened, and stood against the wall bashfully, little girls holding to the hands of their little brothers.
Nan looked for Freddie and Flossie. She saw her little sister trying to comfort a small girl who was almost ready to cry, while Freddie, like the manly little fellow he was, had taken charge of a small chap in whose eyes were two large tears, just ready to fall. It was his first day at school.
"Oh, I am sure your little twin brother and sister will get along all right," said the kindergarten teacher, with a smile to Nan, as she saw what Flossie and Freddie were doing. "They are too cute for anything—the little dears!"
"And they are very good," said Nan, "only of course they do—things—sometimes."
"They wouldn't be real children if they didn't," answered the teacher.
This was during a recess that had come after the classes were first formed. On her way back to her room, to see if she could arrange to sit with Grace and Nellie at one of the new big desks, Nan saw her brother Bert. He looked a little worried, and Nan asked at once:
"What is the matter, Bert? Haven't you got a nice teacher?"
"Oh, yes, she's fine!" exclaimed Bert "There's nothing the matter at all."
"Yes there is," insisted Nan. "I can tell by your face. It's that Danny Rugg; I'm sure. Oh, Bert, is he bothering you again?"
"Well, he said he was going to."
"Then why don't you go straight and tell Mr. Tetlow? He'll make Danny behave. I'll go tell him myself!"
"Don't you dare, Nan!" cried Bert. "All the fellows would call me 'sissy,' if I let you do that. Never mind, I can look out for my self. I'm not afraid of Danny."
"Oh, Bert, I hope you don't get into fight."
"I won't, Nan—if I can help it. At least I won't hit first, but if he hits me—"
Bert looked as though he knew what he would do in that case.
"Oh dear!" cried Nan, "aren't you boys just awful!"
However, she made up her mind that if Danny got too bad she would speak to the principal about him, whether her brother wanted her to or not.
"He won't know it," thought Nan.
She had no trouble in getting permission from her teacher for herself and her two friends to sit together, and soon they had moved their books and other things to one of the long desks that had room for three pupils.
Meanwhile Flossie and Freddie got along very well in the kindergarten. At first, just as the others did, they gave very little attention to what the teacher wanted them to learn, but she was very patient, and soon all the class was gathered about the sand table, in the little low chairs, making fairy cities, caves, and even makebelieve seashore places.
"This is like the one where we were this Summer," said Flossie, as she made a hole in her sand pile to take the place of the ocean. "If I had water and a piece of wood I could show you where there was a shipwreck," she said to the girl next to her.
"That isn't the way it was," spoke Freddie, from the other side of the room. "There was more sand at the seashore than on this whole table—yes, on ten tables like this."
"There was not!" cried Flossie.
"There was too!" insisted her brother.
"Children—children!" called the teacher. "You must not argue like that—ever—in school, or out of it. Now we will sing our worksong, and after that we will march with the flags," and she went to the piano to play. All the little ones liked this, and the dispute of Flossie and Freddie was soon forgotten.
Bert kept thinking of what might happen between himself and Danny Rugg when school was out, and when his teacher asked him what the Pilgrim Fathers did when they first came to settle in New England Bert looked up in surprise, and said:
"Fought!" exclaimed the teacher. "The book says they gave thanks."
"Well, I meant they fought the—er—the Indians," stammered Bert.
Poor Bert was thinking of what might take place between himself and the bully.
"Well, yes, they did fight the Indians," admitted the teacher, "but that wasn't what I was thinking of. I will ask you another question in history."
But I am not going to tire you with an account of what went on in the classrooms. There were mostly lessons there, such as you have yourselves, and I know you don't care to read about them.
Bert did not see Danny Rugg at the noon recess, when the Bobbsey twins and the other children went home for lunch. But when school was let out in the afternoon, and when Bert was talking to Charley Mason about a new way of making a kite, Danny Rugg, accompanied by several of his chums, walked up to Bert. It was in a field some distance from the school, and no houses were near.
"Now I've got you, Bert Bobbsey!" taunted Danny, as he advanced with doubledup fists. "What did you want to squirt the hose on me that time for?"
"I told you it was an accident," said Bert quietly.
"And I say you did it on purpose. I said I'd get even with you, and now I'm going to."
"I don't want to fight, Danny," said Bert quietly.
"Huh! he's afraid!" sneered Jack Westly, one of Danny's friends.
"Yes, he's a coward!" taunted Danny.
"I'm not!" cried Bert stoutly.
"Then take that!" exclaimed Danny, and he gave Bert a push that nearly knocked him down. Bert put out a hand to save himself and struck Danny, not really meaning to.
"There! He hit you back!" cried one boy.
"Yes, go on in, now, Dan, and beat him!" said another.
"Oh, I'll fix him now," boasted Danny, circling around Bert. Bert was carefully watching. He did not mean to let Danny get the best of him if he could help it, much as he did not like to fight.
Danny struck Bert on the chest, and Bert hit the bully on the cheek. Then Danny jumped forward swiftly and tried to give Bert a blow on the head. But Bert stepped to one side, and Danny slipped down to the ground.
As he did so a white box fell from his pocket. Bert knew what kind of a box it was, and what was in it, and he knew now, what had stained Danny's fingers so yellow, and what made his clothes have such a queer smell. For the box had in it cigarettes.
Danny saw where it had fallen, and picked it up quickly. Then he came running at Bert again, but a boy called:
"Look out! Here comes Mr. Tetlow, the principal!"
This was a signal for all the boys, even Bert, to run, for, though school was out, they still did not want to be caught at a fight by one of the teachers, or Mr. Tetlow.
"Anyhow, you knocked him down, Bert," said Charley Mason, as he ran on with Bert. "You beat!"
"He did not—I slipped," said Danny. "I can fight him, and I will, too, some day."
"I'm not afraid of you," answered Bert.
Mr. Tetlow did not appear to have seen the fight that amounted to so little. Perhaps he pretended not to.
OFF TO THE WOODS
WHETHER Danny Rugg was afraid the principal had seen him trying to force a fight on Bert, or whether the unexpected fall that came to him, caused it, no one knew, but certainly, for the next few days, Danny let Bert alone. When he passed him he scowled, or shook his fist, or muttered something about "getting even," but this was all.
Perhaps it was the thought of what Bert had seen fall from Danny's pocket that made the bully less anxious to keep up the quarrel. At any rate, Bert was left alone and he was glad of it. He was not afraid, but he liked peace.
The school days went on, and the classes settled down to their work for the long Winter term. And the thought of the snow and ice that would comparatively soon be with them, made the Bobbsey twins rejoice.
"Charley Mason and I are going to make a dandy big bob this year," said Bert one day. "It's going to carry ten fellows."
"And no girls?" asked Nan with a smile. She was walking along behind her brother, with Grace and Nellie.
"Sure, we'll let you girls ride once in a while," said Charley, as he caught up to his chum. "But you can't steer."
"I steered a bob once," said Grace, who was quite athletic for her age. "It was Danny Rugg's, too."
"Pooh! His is a little one alongside the one Charley and I are going to make!" exclaimed Bert. "Ours will be hard to steer, and it's going to have a gong on it to tell folks to get out of the way."
"That's right," agreed Charley. "And we'd better start it right away, Bert. It may soon snow."
"It doesn't feel so now," spoke Nan. "It is very warm. It feels more like ice cream cones."
"And if you'll come with me I'll treat you all to some," exclaimed Nellie Parks, whose father was quite well off. "I have some of my birthday money left."
"Oh, but there are five of us!" cried Nan, counting. "That is too much—twenty-five cents, Nellie."
"I've got fifty, and really it is very hot today."
It was warm, being the end of September, with Indian Summer near at hand.
"Well, let's go to Johnson's," suggested Nellie. "They have the best cream."
"Oh, here comes Flossie and Freddie!" exclaimed Nan. "We don't want to take them, Nellie. That means—"
"Of course I'll take them!" exclaimed Nellie, generously. "I've got fifty cents, I told you."
"I'll give them each a penny and let them run along home," offered Bert.
"No, I'm going to treat them, too," insisted Nellie. "Come on!" she called to the little twins, "we're going to get ice cream cones, it's so warm."
"Oh, goodie!" cried Flossie. "I was just wishing for one."
"So was I," added her brother.
"And I'll ask you to my party next week," the little girl went on. "I'm going to have one on my birthday."
"Oh, are you really, Flossie?" asked Nan. "I hadn't heard about it."
"Yep—I am. Mamma said I could, but she told me not to tell. I don't care, I wanted Nellie to know, as she's going to treat us to cones."
"And it's half my party, 'cause my birthday's the same day," explained Freddie. "So you can come to my party at the same time, Nellie."
"Thank you, dear, I shall. Now let's hurry to the store, for it's getting warmer all the while."
The ice cream in the funny little cones was much enjoyed by all. Bert and Charley walked on together eating, and talking of the bob sled they were going to make. They passed Danny Rugg, who looked rather enviously at them.
"Hey, Charley," called Danny, "come here, I want to speak to you."
"I'm busy now," answered Charley. "Bert and I have something to do."
"So have I. I've got a dandy plan."
"Well, I'll see you later," spoke Charley.
He had once been quite friendly with Danny, but he grew not to like his ways, and so became more chummy with Bert, who was very glad, for he liked Charley.
The two boys went on to Bert's barn, where they were going to build the bob sled. The girls, with Flossie and Freddie, went on the Bobbsey lawn, where there were some easy chairs. They sat in the shade of the trees, and Freddie had Snap do some of his tricks for the visitors.
"Can he jump through a hoop, covered with paper as they do in the circus?" asked Nellie.
"Oh, we never thought to try that," said Freddie. "I'm going to make one," and, filled with this new idea, he hurried into the house.
"Dinah," he said, "I want some paper and paste."
"Land sakes, chile! what yo' gwine t' do now?" asked the colored cook.
"Make a kite, an' take Snoop up in de air laik yo' brother Bert done once?"
"No, we're not going to do that," answered the little boy. "We're going to cover a hoop with paper, and make Snap jump through it, like in a circus."
"Mah goodness mustard pot!" cried Dinah. "What will yo' all be up to next?"
"I don't know," answered Freddie. "But will you make me some paste, Dinah? And you know we haven't got Snoop, anyhow, so we couldn't send him up on a kite tail," added Freddie.
"Deah me! Yo' chilluns done make me do de mostest wuk!" complained Dinah, but she laughed, which showed that she did not really mean it, and set at mixing some flour and water for the paste.
Flossie and Freddie insisted on making the paper covered hoop themselves. They started, but they got so much of the sticky stuff on their hands and faces that Nan feared they would soil their clothes, so she insisted on being allowed to do the pasting for them.
"But we can help, can't we?" asked Freddie.
"Yes," said Nan.
Even for Nan covering a hoop with paper was not as easy as she thought it would be. Grace and Nellie helped, but sometimes the wind would blow the paper away just as they were ready to fold it around the rim of the hoop. Then the paste would get on the girls' hands.
"What are you doing?" asked Bert, as he and Charley came from the barn. They had to stop work on their job, as they could not find a long enough plank. They decided to get one from Mr. Bobbsey's lumber yard, later.
"We're going to have Snap do the circus trick of jumping through a paper hoop," explained Nan. "Only we can't seem to get the hoop made."
"I'll do it," offered Bert, and as he and Charley had often pasted paper on their kite frames they had better luck, and soon the hoop was ready.
"Come, Snap!" called Freddie, it having been settled that he and Flossie were to hold the hoop for the dog to leap through. Snap, always ready for fun, jumped up from the grass where he had been sleeping, and frisked about, barking loudly.
"Now you hold him there, Charley," directed Bert, pointing to a spot back of where Freddie and Flossie stood. "Then I'll go over here and call him. He'll come running, and when he gets near enough, Freddie, you and Flossie hold up the paper hoop. He'll go right through it."
It worked out just as the children had planned. Snap raced away from Charley, when he heard Bert calling. He ran right between Flossie and Freddie, who raised the hoop just in time.
"Rip! Tear!" burst the paper, and Snap sailed through the hoop just as he probably had often done in the circus, perhaps from the back of a horse.
"Oh, that was fine!" cried Flossie. "Let's make another hoop!"
"Let's make a lot of 'em, and have a circus with Snap, and charge money to see him, and then we can buy a lot of ice cream for our party!" said Freddie.
"Oh, yes!" agreed his sister.
Well, they did make more hoops, and Snap seemed to enjoy jumping through them. But when Mrs. Bobbsey heard about the circus plans she decided it would make too much confusion.
"Besides, you have to help me get ready for your party," she said to the two little twins.
This took their mind off the proposed circus, but for several days after that they had much fun making hoops for Snap to jump through.
Bert and Charley got a long plank from the lumber yard, and spent much time after school in the Bobbsey barn, working over their bob sled. It was harder than they had thought it would be, and they had to call in some other boys to help them. Mr. Bobbsey, too, gave his son some advice about how to build it.
Flossie and Freddie liked it very much in school. The kindergarten teacher was very kind, and took an interest in all her pupils. "Oh, mamma!" cried Flossie, coming in one day from school, "I've learned how to make a house."
"And I can make a lantern, and a chain to hang it on, and I can put it in front of Flossie's house!" exclaimed Freddie. "And, please, mother, may I have some bread and jam. I'm awful hungry."
"Yes, dear, go ask Dinah," said Mrs. Bobbsey, with a smile. "And then you may show me how you make houses and lanterns and a chain. Are they real?"
"No," said Flossie, "they're only paper, but they look nice."
"I'm sure they must," said their mother.
After each of the twins had been given a large slice of bread and butter and jam, they showed the latest thing they had learned at school. Flossie did manage to cut out a house, that had a chimney on it, and a door, besides two windows.
Freddie took several little narrow strips of paper, and pasting the ends together, made a lot of rings. Each ring before being pasted, was slipped into another, and soon he had A paper chain. To make the lantern he used a piece of paper made into a roll, with slits all around the middle of it where the light would have come out had there been a candle in it. And the handle was a narrow slip of paper pasted over the top of the lantern.
"Very fine Indeed," said Mamma Bobbsey. "Run out now to play. If you stay in the house too much you will soon lose all the lovely tan you got in the country, and at the seashore."
"Children," said the principal to the Bobbseys and all the others in school the next day, "I have a little treat for you. Tomorrow will be a holiday, and, as the weather is very warm, we will close the school at noon, and go off in the woods for a little picnic."
"Oh, good!" cried a number of the boys and girls, and, though it was against the rules to speak aloud during the school hours, none of the teachers objected.
"But I expect you all to have perfect marks from now until Friday," Mr. Tetlow went on. "You may bring your lunches to school with you Friday morning, if your parents will let you, and we will leave here at noon, and go to Ward's woods."
It was rather hard work to study after such good news, but, somehow, the pupils managed it. Finally Friday came, and nearly every boy and girl came to school with a basket or bundle holding his or her lunch. Mrs. Bobbsey put up two baskets for her children, Nan taking one and Bert the other.
"Oh, we'll have a lovely time!" cried Freddie, dancing about on his little fat legs.
Twelve o'clock came, and with each teacher at the head of her class, and Mr. Tetlow marching in front of all, the whole school started off for the woods.
THE way to the woods where the little school outing was to be held ran close to the road on which the Bobbsey house stood. As Freddie and Flossie, with Nan and Bert, marched along with the others, Freddie cried out:
"Oh, I hope we see mamma, and then we can wave to her."
"Yes, and maybe she'll come with us," suggested Flossie. "Wouldn't that be nice?"
"Pooh!" exclaimed Bert. "Mamma's too busy to come to a picnic today. She's expecting company."
"Yes," added Nan, "the minister and his wife are coming, and mamma's cooking a lot of things."
"Why, does a minister eat more than other folks?" asked Freddie. "If they does, I'm going to be a minister when I grow up."
"I thought you were going to be a fireman," said Bert.
"Well, I can be a fireman week days and a minister on Sundays," said the little fellow, thus solving the problem. "But do they eat so much, Nan?"
"No, of course not, only mamma wants to be polite to them, so she has a lot of things cooked up, so that if they don't like one thing they can have another. Folks always give their best to the minister."
"Then I'm surely going to be one, too," declared Flossie. "I like good things to eat. I hope our minister isn't very hungry, 'cause then there'll be some left for us when we come home from this picnic."
"Why, Flossie!" cried Nan. "We have a lovely lunch with us; plenty, I'm sure."
"Well, I'm awful hungry, Nan," said the little girl. "Besides, Sammie Jones, and his sister Julia, haven't any lunch at all. I saw them, and they looked terrible hungry. Couldn't we give them some of ours; if we have so much at home?"
"Of course we could, and it is very kind of you to think of them," said Nan, as she patted her little sister on her head. "I'll look after Sammie and Julia when we get to the grove."
In spite of what Nan and Bert had said about Mrs. Bobbsey being very busy, Flossie and Freddie looked anxiously in the direction of their house as they walked along. But no sight of their mother greeted them. They did see a friend, however, and this was none other than Snap, their new dog, who, with many barks and wags of his fluffy tail, ran out to meet his little masters and mistresses.
"Here, Snap! Snap!" called Freddie. "Come on, old fellow!" and the dog leaped all about him.
"Let's take him to the picnic with us," suggested Flossie. "We can have lots of fun."
"And he can eat the scraps," said Nan. "Shall we, Bert?"
"I don't care. But maybe Mr. Tetlow wouldn't like it."
"You ask him, Bert," pleaded Flossie.
"Tell him Snap will do tricks to amuse us."
Bert goodnaturedly started ahead to speak to the principal, who was talking with some of the teachers, planning games for the little folk. Flossie and Freddie were patting their pet, when Danny Rugg, and one of his friends came along.
"That dog can't come to our picnic!" said Danny, with a scowl. "He might bite some of us."
"Snap never bites!" cried Freddie.
"Of course not," said Flossie.
"Well, he can't come to this picnic!" spoke Danny, angrily. "Go on home!" he cried, sharply, stooping to pick up a stone. Snap growled and showed his teeth.
"There!" cried Danny. "I told you he'd bite."
"He will not, Danny Rugg!" exclaimed Nan, who had gone up front for a minute to speak to some of the older girls. "He only growled because you acted mean to him. Now you leave him alone, or I'll tell Mr. Tetlow on you."
"Pooh! Think I care? I say no dog can come to our picnic. Go on home!" and with raised hand Danny approached Snap. Again the dog growled angrily. He was not used to being treated in this way.