The Bobbsey Twins/chapter3
THE FIRST SNOW STORM
Nan felt greatly relieved to learn that Grace was not dead.
"Oh, mamma, I am so glad!" she said, over and over again.
"I am glad too," answered Mrs. Bobbsey. "Her mamma has told her several times not to jump so much."
"Yes, I heard her." Nan's eyes dropped. "I was wicked to turn the rope for her."
In the end Nan told her mother the whole story, to which Mrs. Bobbsey listened very gravely.
"It was certainly wrong, Nan," she said. "After this I hope my little girl will try to do better."
"I shall try," answered Nan.
It was long after the dinner hour before the excitement died away. Then it was learned that Grace was resting quietly in an easy chair and the doctor had ordered that she be kept quiet for several days. She was very much frightened and had told her parents that she would never jump rope again.
The time was the fall of the year, and that Saturday evening there was a feeling of snow in the air stronger than before.
"Oh, if only it would snow!" came from Bert, several times. "I like winter better than anything."
"I don't," answered Nan. "Think of the nice flowers we have in the summer."
"You can't have much fun with flowers. Nan."
"Yes, you can. And think of the birds——"
"I like the summer," piped in Freddie, "cos then we go to the country where the cows and the chickens are!"
"Yes, and gather the eggs," put in Flossie, who had gathered eggs many times during the summer just past, while on a visit to their Uncle Daniel Bobbsey's farm at Meadow Brook. All of the Bobbsey children thought Meadow Brook the finest country place in all the world.
Bert's wish for snow was soon gratified. Sunday morning found it snowing steadily, the soft flakes coming down silently and covering the ground to the depth of several inches.
"Winter has come after all!" cried the boy, "Wish it was Monday instead of Sunday."
"The snow is not quite deep enough for sleighing yet," returned his father.
Despite the storm, all attended church in the morning, and the four children and Mrs. Bobbsey went to Sunday school in the afternoon. The lady taught a class of little girls and had Flossie as one of her pupils.
To the children, traveling back and forth through the snow was great sport, and Bert couldn't resist the temptation to make several snowballs and throw them at the other boys. The other boys threw back in return and Bert's hat was knocked off.
"Bert, this will not do on Sunday," said Mrs. Bobbsey, and there the snowballing came to an end.
All through that night the snow continued to come down, and on Monday morning it was over a foot deep. The air was crisp and cold and all of the children felt in the best of spirits.
"Nan and Bert can go to school," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "But I think Freddie and Flossie had better stay home. Walking would come too hard on them."
"I want to go out in the snow!" cried Freddie. "I don't want to stay indoors all day."
"You shall go out later on, in the garden," replied his mother.
"They can watch Sam shovel off the snow," put in Mr. Bobbsey. Sam was the man of all work. He and Dinah, the cook, were married and lived in some pleasant rooms over the stable.
"Yes, let us watch him!" cried Flossie, and soon she and Freddie were at the window, watching the colored man as he banked up the snow on either side of the garden walk and the sidewalk. Once Sam made a motion as if to throw a shovelful of snow at the window, and this made them dodge back in alarm and then laugh heartily.
The school was only a few blocks away from the Bobbsey home, but Nan and Bert had all they could do to reach it, for the wind had made the snow drift, so that in some spots it was very deep.
"Better look out or we'll get in over our heads," cried Bert.
"Oh, Bert, wouldn't it be terrible to have such a thing happen!" answered his twin sister. "How would we ever get out?"
"Ring the alarm and have the street-cleaning men dig us out," he said merrily. "Do you know, Nan, that I just love the snow. It makes me feel like singing and whistling." And he broke into a merry whistle.
"I love it because it looks so white and pure, Bert."
They were speedily joined by a number of other boys and girls, all bound for school. Some of the girls were having fun washing each other's faces and it was not long before Nan had her face washed too. The cold snow on her cheek and ear did not feel very nice, but she took the fun in good part and went to washing like the rest.
The boys were already snowballing each other, some on one side of the street and some on the other. The snowballs were flying in all directions and Bert was hit on the back and on the shoulder.
"I'll pay you back!" he cried, to Charley Mason, who had hit him in the back, and he let fly a snowball which landed directly on Charley's neck. Some of the snow went down Charley's back and made him shiver from the cold.
"I wouldn't stand that, Charley," said Danny Rugg, who was close at hand. "I'd pitch into him if I were you."
"You pitch into him," grumbled Charley, "You can throw awfully straight."
Danny prided himself on his throwing, which, however, was no better than the throwing of the other lads, and he quickly made two hard snowballs. With these in hand he ran out into the street and waited until Bert's hands were empty. Then he came up still closer and threw one of the snowballs with all his might. It struck Bert in the back of the head and sent him staggering.
"Hi! how do you like that?" roared Danny, in high glee. "Have another?" And as Bert stood up and looked around he let drive again, this time hitting Bert directly in the ear. The snowball was so hard it made Bert cry out in pain.
"For shame, Danny Rugg, to hit Bert so hard as that!" cried Nan.
"Oh, you keep still, Nan Bobbsey!" retorted Danny. "This is our sport, not yours."
"But you shouldn't have come so close before you threw the snowball."
"I know what I'm doing," growled the big boy, running off.
The whack in the ear made that member ache, and Bert did not feel near so full of fun when he entered the schoolyard. Several of his friends came up to him in sympathy.
"Did he hurt you very much, Bert?" asked one.
"He hurt me enough. It wasn't fair to come so close, or to make the snowballs so hard."
"Let us duck Danny in the snow," suggested one of the boys.
This was considered a good plan, but nobody wanted to start in, for, as I have said before, Danny was a good deal of a bully, and could get very rough at times.
While the boys were talking the matter over, the school bell rang and all had to go to their classrooms. In a little while Bert's ear stopped aching, but he did not forget how Danny Rugg had treated him.
"I'll pay him back when we go home to dinner," Bert told himself, and laid his plans accordingly.
As soon as Bert got out of school he hurried into a corner of the yard and made three good, hard snowballs. These he concealed under his overcoat and then waited for Danny to appear.
The big boy must have known that Bert would try to square matters with him, for as soon as he came out he ran in the direction of one of the main streets of Lakeport, just the opposite direction to that which he usually pursued.
"You shan't get away from me!" cried Bert, and ran after him. Soon he threw one snowball and this landed on Danny's back. Then he threw another and knocked off the bully's cap.
"Hi! stop that!" roared Danny, and stooped to pick up the cap. Whiz! came the third snowball and hit Danny on the cheek. He let out a cry of pain.
"I'll fix you for that, Bert Bobbsey!" he said, stooping down in the street. "How do you like that?"
He had picked up a large chunk of ice lying in the gutter, and now he threw it at Bert's head with all force. Bert dodged, and the ice went sailing past him and hit the show window of a small shoe store, shattering a pane of glass into a hundred pieces.