The Bobbsey Twins/chapter22
THE LAST OF THE GHOST—GOOD-NIGHT
The rescue of the kitten was the main subject of conversation that evening in the Bobbsey household.
"I never dreamed he would go up with the kite," said Flossie. "After this we'll have to keep him in the house when Bert and Freddie do their kite-flying."
Bert had seen Danny Rugg throw the stone at the kitten and was very angry over it. He had also seen Danny talk to Nan.
"I think he's an awful boy," declared Nan. "And Mr. Roscoe thinks he is bad, too."
"He had better stop throwing things or he'll get himself into trouble before long," said Bert.
"It's queer Mr. Ringley never heard about the window," whispered his twin sister.
"So it is. But it may come out yet," replied the brother.
That evening the Bobbseys had their first strawberry shortcake of the season. It was a beautiful cake—one of Dinah's best—and the strawberries were large and luscious.
"Want another piece," said Freddie, smacking his lips. "It's so good, mamma!"
"Freddie, I think you have had enough," said Mrs. Bobbsey.
"Oh, mamma, just a little piece more!" pleaded Freddie, and received the piece, much to his satisfaction.
"Strawberries is beautiful," he declared. "I'm going to raise a whole lot on the farm this summer."
"Oh, mamma, are we going to Uncle Dan's farm this summer?" burst out Nan eagerly.
"Perhaps, Nan," was the reply. "I expect a letter very shortly."
"Meadow Brook is a dandy place," said Bert. "Such a fine swimming hole in the brook!"
"Oh, I love the flowers, and the chickens and cows!" said Flossie.
"I like the rides on the loads of hay," said Nan.
The children talked the subject over until it was time to go to bed. Their Uncle Dan and Aunt Sarah lived at Meadow Brook, and so did their cousin Harry, a boy a little older than Bert, and one who was full of fun and very good-natured in the bargain.
Bert went to bed with his head full of plans for the summer. What glorious times they could have after school closed if they went to their uncle's farm!
It was a full hour before Bert got to sleep. The room was quite bright, for the moon was shining in the corner window. The moon made him think of the ghost he had once seen and he gave a little shudder. He never wanted to see that ghost again.
Bert had been asleep less than an hour when he awoke with a start. He felt sure somebody had touched him on the foot. He opened his eyes at once and looked toward the end of his bed.
The ghost was standing there!
At first Bert could scarcely believe that he saw aright. But it was true and he promptly dove under the covers.
Then he thought of Danny Rugg's cry, "Afraid of a ghost!" and he felt that he ought to have more courage.
"I'm going to see what that is," he said to himself, and shoved back the covers once more.
The figure in white had moved toward the corner of the room. It made no noise and Bert wondered how it would turn next.
"Wonder what will happen if I grab it, or yell?" he asked himself.
With equal silence Bert crawled out of bed. Close at hand stood his base-ball bat, which he had used a few days before. It made a formidable club, and he took hold of it with a good deal of satisfaction.
"Want another piece of strawberry shortcake," came to his ears. "Please give me another piece of strawberry shortcake."
Bert could hardly believe his ears. It was the ghost that was speaking! It wanted strawberry shortcake!
"Freddie!" he almost shouted. "Freddie, is it you?"
The ghost did not answer, but turned towards the door leading into the hallway. Bert ran after the figure in white and caught it by the arm.
The ghost was really Freddie, and he was walking in his sleep, with his eyes tightly closed.
"Well, I declare!" murmured Bert. "Why didn't we think of this before?"
"Please let me have another piece of strawberry shortcake, mamma," pleaded the sleepwalker, "Just a tiny little piece."
Bert had heard that it was a bad thing to awaken a sleep-walker too suddenly, so he took Freddie's arm very gently and walked the little fellow back to his bedroom and placed him on his bed. Then he shook him very gently.
"Oh!" cried Freddie. "Oh! Wha—what do you want? Let me sleep! It isn't time to get up yet."
"Freddie, I want you to wake up," said Bert.
"Who is talking?" came from across the hallway, in Mr. Bobbsey's voice.
"I'm talking, papa," answered Bert. He ran to the doorway of his parents' bedchamber. "I've just found out who the ghost is," he continued.
"The ghost?" Mr. Bobbsey leaped up. "Where is it?"
"In bed now. It was Freddie, walking in his sleep. He was asking for another piece of strawberry shortcake."
By this time the whole household was wide awake.
"Oh, Freddie, was it really you?" cried Nan, going to the little fellow.
"Wasn't walking in my sleep," said Freddie. "Was dreaming 'bout shortcake, that's all. Want to go to sleep again," and he turned over on his pillow.
"Let him sleep," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "We'll have to consult the doctor about this. He will have to have something for his digestion and eat less before going to bed in the future." And the next day the doctor was called in and gave Freddie something which broke up the sleep-walking to a very large extent.
"I am glad you caught Freddie," said Nan, to her twin brother. "If you hadn't, I should always have believed that we had seen a ghost."
"Glad I don't walk in my sleep," said Flossie. "I might tumble downstairs and break my nose."
"I shall watch Freddie in the future," said Mrs. Bobbsey, and she did.
When Bert went to school the next day he met Danny Rugg and the tall boy glared at him very angrily.
"Think you are smart, don't you?" said Danny. "I'm not going to stand it, Bert Bobbsey."
"Oh, Bert, come along and don't speak to him," whispered Nan, who was with her twin brother.
"Went and saw Ringley, didn't you?" went on Danny, edging closer.
"Keep away, Danny Rugg," answered Bert. "I want nothing to do with you, and I haven't been to see Mr. Ringley."
"Yes, you did go and see him," insisted Danny. "Wasn't he to see my father last night?"
"Did Mr. Ringley come to see your father?" asked Bert curiously.
"Yes, he did. And my father—but never mind that now," broke off the tall boy. He had been on the point of saying that his father had given him a severe thrashing. "I'm going to fix you, Bert Bobbsey."
"Don't you dare to strike my brother, Danny Rugg!" put in Nan, stepping in between them.
How much further the quarrel might have gone, it is impossible to say, for just then Mr. Tetlow put in an appearance, and Danny sneaked off in great haste.
When the children came from school they learned that Mrs. Bobbsey had been down-town, buying some shoes for herself and Flossie.
"Mr. Ringley was telling me about his broken window," said she to her husband. "He found out that Danny Rugg broke it. Old Mr. Roscoe saw Danny do it. He didn't know Danny at the time, but he has found out since who Danny was."
"That Rugg boy is a bad one," answered Mr. Bobbsey. "I suppose Mr. Ringley made the Ruggs pay for the window."
"Oh, yes, and Mr. Rugg said he was going to correct Danny, too."
The children heard this talk, but said nothing at the time. But later Nan called Bert out into the garden.
"I see it all," she whispered to her twin brother. "That's why Mr. Roscoe asked me who Danny was, and that's why he said Danny was such a bad boy."
"I'm glad in one way that Danny has been found out," answered Bert, "for that clears me." And he was right, for he never heard of the broken window again.
The children were still waiting anxiously for a letter from their Uncle Dan or their Aunt Sarah. At last a letter came and they listened to it with great delight.
"Oh, what do you think?" cried Nan, dancing up to Bert. "We are to go to Meadow Brook as soon as vacation begins!"
"Good!" shouted Bert, throwing his cap into the air. " Won't we have the best times ever was!" And this proved to be a fact. What happened to the Bobbsey twins at Meadow Brook will be told in another book which I shall call, "The Bobbsey Twins in the Country." The country is a lovely place, especially in the summer time, and all of my young readers can rest assured that the twins enjoyed themselves at Meadow Brook to the utmost.
"I'll be so glad to see Cousin Harry again," said Bert.
"And I'll be glad to see Aunt Sarah," piped in Freddie. "She makes such beautiful pies!"
"Think of the lovely big barn," put in Flossie. "It's just like a—a palace to play in on wet days!"
"Oh, Flossie, to compare a barn to a palace!" exclaimed Nan. "But it is a nice place after all," she added, after a moment's thought.
That evening, to celebrate the good news, the twins gave a little party to half a dozen of their most intimate friends. There were music and singing, and all sorts of games, and a magic-lantern exhibition by one of the boys. All enjoyed it greatly and voted the little party a great success.
"Good-night! Good-night!" said the young folks to each other, when the party broke up. And here let us say good-night, too, for my little story has reached its end.