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The Bobbsey Twins at Home/Chapter 17



"Dinah! Dinah!" called Flossie, dropping to the floor the cookies she had gotten to take out to the snow house. "Oh, Dinah! Look at Freddie!"

Dinah hurried to the window.

"Freddie?" she asked. "Freddie? Where am Freddie? I can't see him, so how kin I look at him, Flossie lamb?"

"Oh, you can't see him!" wailed Flossie, "But you can hear him, can't you?"

Dinah listened.

"Help me out! Help me out!" Freddie was crying. His voice was rather faint, for he was under the snow, and it sounded as though he were down in the cellar. But though the snow roof had fallen in when Snap jumped on it, there was a sort of little cave, or hollow around his head so Freddie could call out.

"Don't you hear him?" asked Flossie, who was so excited she did not know what to do. "Don't you hear him, Dinah?"

"Yes, I heahs him all right," replied the colored cook, "but I can't see him, honey lamb."

"He's under the snow! In the snow house!" Flossie went on. "The roof fell on him because Snap jumped on it when I came in here to get the cookies. Oh, Dinah, will you help get him out?"

"Git Freddie lamb out? Course I will! In de snow house wid de roof fell in on him! Oh mah land ob massy!" cried Dinah. "It's jest laik it done happened once befo' when Bert made a bigger house."

She caught up a big spoon, which she used to stir the pancakes, and rushed out to the yard, Flossie running after her. Up to the big pile of snow, which did not look much like a house now, ran the cook. Then, just as she might have stirred a cake with the big spoon, she began digging in the snow. It was almost as good as a shovel.

In a little while Freddie's head was uncovered, and then it was easy to get him out. He wasn't hurt a bit, only a little scared, and he laughed when Dinah and Flossie brushed the snow off him.

"But you can't brush out what's down my neck, inside my coat," he said, squirming about. "It's cold, and it tickles."

"Snow down inside your clo'hes!" exclaimed Dinah. "Den yo' got t' come right in de house an' hab it tucken out. You'll ketch cold ef yo' don't."

"Maybe you could get it out if you stood me on my head and wiggled me," Freddie said, after thinking about it. "Could you try that, Dinah?"

"Try what, honey lamb?"

"Take hold of my feet, you and Flossie, and stand me on my head. Then the snow will run down from under my coat and I won't have to go in and undress. I don't want to do that. I want to build the snow house up again."

Dinah laughed.

"Ho! ho!" she said. "I'm not gwine t' do such t'ing as dat! No, sah! Yo' come, in de house an' git dry t'ings on," and with that she caught Freddie up under one arm and marched him into the house, where he soon changed into dry clothes.

"Now you can go out to play again," his mother said, "but don't go in any snow houses unless you are sure the roof is thick enough to keep from falling in on you. The sun is so warm now, I don't believe it will be safe to make snow houses. Play at something else."

"All right, Mother, we will," promised Flossie and Freddie.

They took the cookies which Flossie had forgotten about in the excitement and, after eating them, the two children made another snow man; for the first one, and his "little boy" as they called him, had melted into mere lumps.

For about a week the weather was warm, and most of the first snow melted. Then came another storm, which covered the ground deep with white flakes, and once more the coasting hill was lively with the shouting, laughing and merry boys and girls.

Flossie and Freddie, as well as Nan and Bert, spent as much time on the coasting hill as their mother would let them. After school every day they were out with their sleds, and on Saturday they were only home for their meals.

Bert and Charley Mason had made a bob-sled, by fastening two sleds together with a long plank. This they covered with a piece of carpet. On this eight or nine boys or girls could sit, while Bert or Charley steered the bob down the hill by a wheel fastened to the front sled.

On the back sled was a bell to warn other coasters out of the way, and sometimes, when there were not many on the hill, Freddie was allowed to sit on the rear sled and ring the bell. He liked that.

Flossie and Freddie each had sleds of their own, and they rode down on them alone, on one side of the hill where the smaller boys and girls kept by themselves.

"For," said Alice Boyd, "we don't want to get run over by the big bob."

"I guess not!" cried Johnnie Wilson. "Some day we'll make a bob ourselves, Freddie."

"That's what we will."

The Bobbsey twins were coasting one day after school, when Freddie saw, walking up the hill, Tommy Todd, the fresh air boy. Tommy looked tired, for he had just been doing some errands for Mr. Bobbsey.

"Hello, Tommy!" called Freddie. "Why don't you get your sled and have a coast? It's lots of fun."

"Yes, I guess it is," said Tommy, with a smile.

"Then go and get your sled," said Freddie again.

"No, I don't believe I will," Tommy said. And he said it in such a queer way that Nan Bobbsey whispered to Bert:

"I don't believe he has a sled, and he doesn't want to say so."

"I guess that's right," Bert replied. "I'll offer him a ride on our bob."

"That will be nice," Nan said. "He can have my place," for she had been coasting with her brother.

"Wouldn't you like to ride down with us?" asked Bert, of Tommy.

"Wouldn't I though?" cried Tommy, his eyes shining. "Well, I guess I would!"

"Come on, then," cried Bert.

"He can ride on my sled, too," said Freddie.

"And on mine!" added Flossie.

"I guess your sleds are too small," Bert said, with a smile, for Tommy was even bigger than Bert, and Bert could not fit on the sleds of his younger brother and sister any more.

"Thank you, just the same," said Tommy to the little Bobbsey twins. "I'll go down on the big bob. But I'll pull your sleds up the hill for you."

"That will be nice," declared Flossie. "I like riding down hill, but I don't like walking up, and pulling my sled."

Room was made for Tommy on the big bob-sled and he was soon gliding down the long hill, Bert steering. Once or twice the smaller boys or girls, on their little sleds, would edge over toward that part of the hill where the big boys and girls, with their sleds or bob-sleds, were coasting.

"Keep out of the way, little folks!" warned Bert. "There's room enough for you on your own side, and you might be hurt."

"And you two be careful," said Nan to Flossie and Freddie. "Stay on your own side."

The two small twins said they would do so.

"Now for a last coast!" cried Bert, when Tommy had been given a number of rides on the bob-sled. "It's time to go home to supper."

"Maybe we can come out after supper," said Nan. "There's going to be a lovely moon, and coasting by moonlight is fine."

"Maybe we can," Bert said. "Come on, Tommy," he called. "This is our last coast before supper."

"All right," Tommy answered. He had walked up the hill, pulling after him the sleds of Flossie and Freddie, who liked to have him help them in this way.

"Last coast, little ones!" Bert called to the small twins. "Then it's time to go home."

"Whose turn is it to steer?" asked Charley Mason.

"Yours, I guess," Bert answered. "Tommy, you can sit right behind Charley and watch how he does it. Then next time you come out on this hill we'll let you steer."

"Thanks!" exclaimed Tommy. He had been anxious to take hold of the wheel himself, but he did not like to ask.

On the bob-sled the boys and girls took their seats. Bert was on the back sled, to push off and ring the bell.

"All ready?" he called.

"All ready," answered Charley.

Bert gave a push and the bob-sled started down hill. On either side were other bob-sleds and single sleds, while farther off, to the right, were streams of smaller boys and girls.

Clang! Clang! went the bell, as Bert rang it.

The bob-sled was about half-way down the hill when Nan, sitting next to Tommy, who was behind Charley, gave a cry.

"Oh, look!" Nan exclaimed. "Flossie and Freddie! They're going to get right in our way! Steer out, Charley!"

The little Bobbseys, in taking their last coast, had come too near the part of the hill where the big sleds were.

"Flossie! Freddie!" cried Nan. "Look out! Steer away!"

But they did not seem able to do it.

"I guess we won't run into them," Charley said. He was trying as hard as he could to keep to one side.

All at once the bob-sled struck a lump of ice, and the front sled jumped into the air. Charley Mason was jarred so hard that he rolled off. The bob-sled swayed from side to side when no one was steering it.

Then Flossie and Freddie, on their sleds, steered right over in the way of the bob-sled. They could not help it, they said afterward, and that was probably true, for they did not know much about steering sleds.

"Oh!" cried Nan. "We'll run right over them."

But Tommy Todd, who was sitting behind Charley, slid forward as the other boy rolled off, and now Tommy grasped the steering wheel with all his might.

He twisted it around, to send the bob-sled away from Flossie and Freddie, who were almost under the runners now. Bert, who saw what was about to happen, was ringing the bell as hard as he could. The other boys were yelling and the girls were screaming.

"Flossie! Freddie! Fall off your sleds! Roll out of the way!" yelled Nan.