The Bobbsey Twins/chapter6
COASTING, AND WHAT CAME OF IT
It was a long walk back to the top of the hill, but Nan and Bert did not mind it.
"So you won, did you?" said one of the boys to Bert. "Good enough."
"We are going to try it over again," put in Charley. "Come on."
In the crowd was Danny Rugg, who had a brand-new sled.
"I guess I can beat anybody!" cried Danny boastfully. "This new sled of mine is bang-up."
"What slang!" whispered Nan, to Bert. "If I were you I shouldn't race with him."
"I'm going to race with Charley," answered her twin brother, and took no notice of Danny's challenge.
Bert and Charley were soon ready for the
test, and away they went amid a cheer from their friends.
"I think Charley will win this time," said Nellie.
"And I think that Bert will win," answered Nan.
"Oh, you think your brother is wonderful," sniffed Nellie, with a shrug of her shoulders.
"He is just as good as any boy," said Nan quickly.
Down the hill swept the two sleds, keeping side by side as before. They were but a foot apart, for each owner wished to keep on the hardest part of the slide.
"Keep on your side, Bert Bobbsey!" shouted Charley warningly.
"And you keep on yours, Charley Mason!" returned Bert.
All of the others on the hill had stopped coasting to witness the contest, but now with a whoop Danny Rugg swept forward with his new sled and came down the hill at top speed.
The bottom of the hill was barely reached when Charley's sled made an unexpected turn and crashed into Bert's, throwing Bert over on his side in the snow.
"What did you do that for?" demanded Bert angrily.
"I—I—didn't do it," stammered Charley, "I guess you turned into me."
"No, I didn't."
Bert arose and began to brush the snow from his clothes. As he did so he heard a rushing sound behind him and then came a crash as Danny Rugg ran into him. Down he went again and his sled had a runner completely broken off. Bert was hit in the ankle and badly bruised.
"Why didn't you get out of the way!" roared Danny Rugg roughly. "I yelled loud enough."
"Oh, my ankle!" groaned Bert. For the moment the wrecked sled was forgotten.
"I didn't touch your ankle," went on the big boy.
"You did so, Danny—at least, the point of your sled did," answered Bert.
"You ran into me in the first place," came from Charley.
"Oh, Charley, you know better than that." Bert tried to stand, but had to sit down. "Oh, my ankle!"
"It wasn't my fault," said Danny Rugg, and began to haul his sled away. Charley started to follow.
"Don't leave me, Charley," called out Bert. "I—I guess I can't walk."
Charley hesitated. Then, feeling in his heart that he was really responsible for running into Bert in the first place, he came back and helped Bert to his feet.
"The sled is broken," said Bert, surveying the wreck dismally.
"That was Danny's fault."
"Well, then, he ought to pay for having it fixed."
"He never pays for anything he breaks, Bert,—you know that."
Slowly and painfully Bert dragged himself and his broken sled to the top of the hill. Sharp, hot flashes of pain shooting through his bruised ankle. Nan ran to meet him.
"Oh, Bert, what is the matter? Are you hurt?" she asked.
"Yes,—Danny ran into me, and broke the sled."
"It wasn't my fault, I say!" blustered the big boy. "You had a right to get out of the way."
"It was your fault, Danny Rugg, and you will have to have my sled mended," cried Bert.
Throwing down the rope of his own sled, Danny advanced and doubled up his fists as if to fight.
"Don't you talk like that to me," he said surlily. "I don't like it."
Bert's ankle hurt too much for him to continue the quarrel. He felt himself growing dizzy and he fell back.
"Let us go home," whispered Nan.
"I'll ride you home if you can't walk," put in Charley, who was growing alarmed.
In the end Bert had to accept the offer, and home he went, with Charley and Nan pulling him and with the broken sled dragging on behind.
It was all he could do to get into the house, and as a consequence Mrs. Bobbsey was much alarmed. She took off his shoe and stocking and found the ankle scratched and swollen, and bathed it and bound it up.
"You must lie down on the sofa," she said. "Never mind the broken sled. Perhaps your papa can fix it when he comes home."
Bert detested playing the part of an invalid, but he soon discovered that keeping the ankle quiet felt much better than trying to walk around upon it. That night Mr. Bobbsey carried him up to bed, and he remained home for three days, when the ankle became as well as ever. The broken sled was sent to a nearby cabinet maker, and came back practically as good as new.
"You must not have anything to do with Danny Rugg," said Mrs. Bobbsey to her son. "He is very rough and ungentlemanly."
"I'll leave him alone, mamma, if he'll leave me alone," answered Bert.
During those days spent at home, Nan did her best to amuse her brother. As soon as she was out of school she came straight home, and read to him and played games. Nan was also learning to play on the piano and she played a number of tunes that he liked to hear. They were so much attached to each other that it did not seem natural for Nan to go out unless her twin brother could go out too.
The first snow storm had been followed by another, so that in the garden the snow lay deeper than ever. This was a great delight to Freddie and Flossie, who worked hard to build themselves a snow house. They enlisted the services of Sam, the stableman, who speedily piled up for them a heap of snow much higher than their heads.
"Now, chillun, dar am de house," said the colored man. "All yo' hab got to do is to clear out de insides." And then he went off to his work, after starting the hole for them.
Flossie wanted to divide the house into three rooms, "dining room, kitchen, and bedroom," as she said, but Freddie objected.
"'Taint big enough," said the little boy. "Make one big room and call it ev'rything."
"But we haven't got an ev'rything," said Flossie.
"Well, then, call it the parlor," said Freddie. "When it's done we can put in a carpet and two chairs for us to sit on."
It was hard work for such little hands to dig out the inside of the heap of snow, but they kept at it, and at last the hole was big enough for Freddie to crawl into.
"Oh, it's jess beautiful!" he cried, "Try it, Flossie! "And Flossie did try, and said the house was going to be perfect.
"Only we must have a bay window," she added. "And a curtain, just like mamma."
They continued to shovel away, and soon Freddie said he could almost stand up in the house. He was inside, shoveling out the snow, while his twin sister packed what he threw out on the outside, as Sam had told them to do.
"Where shall I put the bay window?" asked the little boy, presently.
"On this side," answered Flossie, pointing with the shovel she held.
At once Freddie began to dig a hole through the side of the pile of snow.
"Be careful, or the house will come down!" cried Flossie, all at once, and hardly had she spoken when down came the whole top of the snow pile and poor Freddie was buried completely out of sight!