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The Bobbsey Twins at Home/Chapter 13


CHAPTER XIII


THE FIRST FROST


Mrs. Bobbsey was quite surprised when Tommy brought Freddie home, and she was more surprised when she heard what had happened, and how Freddie had been caught under the lumber.

"Dear me, I am glad they found you, Freddie!" she cried, kissing him.

"And so Tommy found you; did he?" asked Nan, smiling at the boy whom they had met in the train the day the fresh air children came home from the country.

"Yes," Tommy answered. "I was going on an errand for my grandmother, and the shortest way was through the lumber yard. I thought it would be a good chance to ask your father for work. And I am to have it—every Saturday and on some other days after school."

"You'll earn a lot of money," Freddie said, "and then we can build our ship."

"He can't get that idea out of his head," remarked Bert to Nan.

"Oh, he's anxious to help Tommy find his father," Nan answered. "I wish it would happen, but I'm afraid he never will be found."

Having seen that Freddie was safe at home, Tommy hurried back to the lumber yard office. Then he went on a number of errands for Mr. Bobbsey. The twins' father said, that night, he had seldom met such a bright and willing boy.

"Tommy will grow up to be a fine man, I'm sure," said Mr. Bobbsey.

One day, a little while after Freddie had been lost under the lumber pile, he and Flossie were standing in the school yard at recess, Alice Boyd came up to them.

"Want some candy?" she asked, holding out some in a paper.

"Thanks," said Freddie, taking some.

"Where did you get it?" Flossie inquired, as she took a piece.

"My sister and I made it," answered Alice.

"How do you make candy?" inquired Freddie.

"Oh, you just put some sugar and water on the stove in a tin dish," Alice answered, "and when it boils you pour it out on a buttered pan—you butter the pan just as you butter a slice of bread."

"Why do you butter the pan?" demanded Flossie.

"So the candy won't stick to it. Candy is awful sticky. Our dog got a lump in his mouth, and it stuck to his teeth so he couldn't open his jaws."

"I wouldn't give a dog candy," declared Freddie. "I'd rather eat it myself."

"Oh, well, we didn't 'zactly give the candy to our dog," said Alice. "A lump of it fell on the floor, and he grabbed it up before we could stop him. Anyhow, we didn't want the candy after it had rolled on the floor."

Flossie and Freddie ate the sweet stuff Alice handed them, and thought it very good. That afternoon when Flossie reached home from school, she marched out into the kitchen and said:

"Dinah, I'm going to make some candy!"

"Make candy, honey lamb! How yo' all gwine t' make candy?"

"Oh, you just put some sugar and water on the stove to boil, and when it boils you butter a pan like a slice of bread, and pour the candy in it so it won't stick. And if a lump falls on the floor—a lump of candy I mean—that belongs to Snap. Though I hope it doesn't make his jaws stick together so they'll never come open, or he can't bark. But I'm going to make some candy."

"Now look yeah!" said Dinah. "Does yo' ma know yo' is gwine t' do dish yeah candy business?"

"No, Dinah, but I'll tell her when she comes home," for on coming in from school Flossie had been told that her mother was not in.

"Yo'll tell her when she comes home?" cried the old colored cook. "Yo' won't need t' tell her, honey lamb. She'll done know dat yo' all has been up t' suffin queer. Make candy! Oh mah gracious! I done guess you'd bettah not!"

"Oh, please, Dinah! It's easy. You can help me."

Dinah gave in, as she usually did, and got out some sugar, some water and a saucepan for the little girl. Dinah knew Flossie was too little to be trusted alone around the stove, so she stood near herself.

"Let me pour in the water," begged Flossie, and she was allowed to do this. Then the sugar and water in the saucepan was soon bubbling on top of the stove. Flossie buttered a pan, getting almost as much butter on her fingers as she did on the tin, but Dinah gave her a wash rag, so that was all right.

Letting the candy boil, Dinah went about her kitchen work, while Flossie sat in a chair near the stove watching. Pretty soon the door bell rang, and Dinah went to answer it. Flossie stayed in the kitchen looking at the steaming pan of candy until she heard a voice calling to her from the yard.

"Flossie! Flossie! Come on out and play!"

It was Stella Janson, a little girl who lived next door.

"I can't come out right away, Stella," answered Flossie. "I'm making candy and I have to watch it. You sit down on the porch and when the candy is done I'll bring some out to you."

Flossie went to the door to tell this to the little girl, and then she saw that Stella had a new doll.

"Oh, isn't she pretty!" cried Flossie. "I must see her!"

Forgetting all about the candy boiling on the stove, Flossie went out on the porch. There she and Stella took turns holding the doll. All this while Dinah was at the front door. A peddler had rung the bell, and it took the colored cook some little time to tell him her mistress did not want to buy a new kind of piano polish.

All at once Dinah gave a cry and quickly closed the door.

"Sumfin's burnin'! Sumfin's burnin'!" she shouted as she hurried back to the kitchen.

At the same time Stella, who was out on the porch with Flossie, began to sniff the air.

"What's that funny smell?" she asked.

Flossie also sniffed.

"Oh, it's my candy burning!" she cried. "My nice candy! I forgot all about it!"

She and Dinah ran into the kitchen at the same time. Over the stove black smoke was curling up from the saucepan of candy.

"Oh, oh!" cried Flossie.

"Keep away, honey lamb—don't touch it!" cried Dinah. "It's hot! I'll lift it off!"

She was just doing that, using an iron holder so she would not burn her hand, when Freddie came rushing in, dragging after him his toy fire engine with which he had been playing out in the yard.

"Fire! Fire!" cried Freddie. "Fire! Fire! I'm a fireman! I put out fires! Look out!"

Freddie's fire engine, though a toy, squirted real water, from a real little rubber hose. The little fireman pointed the hose at Dinah, who was carrying the smoking and burning pan of candy over to the sink.

"Fire! Fire! Pour on water! Pour on water!" shouted Freddie.

"Look out dere, honey lamb! Don't squirt no watah on me!" cried Dinah.

But Freddie had started the pump of his engine, and a stream of water squirted all over Dinah.

"Oh mah good landy!" cried the fat cook. "Stop it, Freddie! Stop it! Dish yeah am awful! It suttinly am turrible!"

Luckily for Dinah, Freddie had been playing so long out in the yard with his engine that there was only a little water left in it. When this had squirted out there was no more until he filled the tank again.

"Oh my!" cried Dinah, as she went on over to the sink, and set down the smoking pan of candy. "Oh my!"

"Is the house on fire?" Freddie demanded.

"No, it isn't," said Flossie. "It's just my nice candy that burned. Oh dear! And I did want it so much!"

"Never mind, I'll make some mo', honey lamb!" promised Dinah, wiping her face on her apron. "But don't yo' squirt no mo' watah on me, Freddie pet."

"No, I won't, Dinah," he promised. "But I saw the smoke coming out of the kitchen, and I knew there was a fire."

"It wasn't 'zactly a fire," said Stella. "But I guess the candy burned up. It's as bad as when we dropped all of ours on the floor."

But good-natured Dinah made another pan of the sweet stuff for Flossie. This did not burn, and it was soon turned out into the buttered tin to cool. And when it was cool Flossie, Freddie and Stella ate it.

Mrs. Bobbsey only laughed when Flossie told her what had happened, but she said she thought the little girl had better not try to make any more candy until she was a little older.

The weather was getting colder day by day now. The children had red cheeks when they went to school, and they ran and romped along to keep warm.

"It will soon be cold enough to have a frost," said Mr. Bobbsey.

"Yes," said his wife, "I wouldn't be surprised if we had one to-night. I have brought in my geraniums and other plants."

"A frost!" cried Bert. "Good! That means the chestnuts will crack out of their burrs. We'll go chestnutting!"

The next morning Bert hopped out of bed earlier than usual. He looked from the window. The ground was white, and so was the roof of the porch.

"Oh, it's snow!" cried Freddie, who also got up.

"No, it's just frost," Bert said. "The first frost of the Winter. Now we'll get ready to have some fun. I'm glad to-day is Saturday. No school, and we can go after chestnuts!"

"Hurrah!" cried Freddie. "May I come, Bert?"

"Yes, we'll all go!"