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The Bobbsey Twins at Home/Chapter 6


CHAPTER VI


SCHOOL DAYS


Bert saw his sister and her playmate, Alice Boyd, standing on the porch, looking very much frightened. Alice had her doll held tightly in her arms, but Flossie's doll could not be seen.

"What's the matter?" Bert asked.

"It's a dog! A strange dog!" cried Flossie. "Oh, dear! He—"

"Did he bite you?" Nan asked quickly. "If he did—"

"No, he didn't bite me," answered the little girl. "But he ran up on the porch and took my best doll away in his mouth. Now he's gone around to the back yard, and I'm afraid he'll bite her. I called to him to come back, but he wouldn't."

"Was it some dog Snap was playing with?" asked Bert.

"No, it was a new dog. I'd never seen him before. Oh, dear! He'll bite my doll!"

"It won't hurt her to be bitten a little," said Bert with a laugh. "You can't hurt dolls."

"You can so!" sobbed Flossie, who was crying real tears now. "And I don't want my best doll bitten."

"Don't laugh at her, Bert," said Nan in a low voice. "Try to get her doll back for her."

"I will," promised Bert. "Which way did the dog go, Flossie? Tell me."

"He went around back of the house."

"Maybe he thought your doll was a bone, and he's going to bury it," Bert said. "Was she a thin doll, Flossie; thin like a bone?"

"No, she wasn't! She was a nice fat doll, with red cheeks! And I want her back. Oh dear!"

"I'll get her for you," Bert said again.

"I'm glad the dog didn't take my doll," broke in Alice. "I'll let you play with mine, Flossie."

"Thank you, but I—I want my own dear doll!" and Flossie sobbed harder than before.

"Never mind, Brother Bert will get her from the dog," said Nan. "Don't cry."

"I—I can't help it," Flossie said, though she did try to stop crying. Bert ran around the corner of the house. Then he laughed so loudly that Nan knew it must be all right and she said:

"Come on, Flossie and Alice. We'll go and see what Bert has found."

They found Bert looking at the strange dog, who was standing in front of Snoop. And Snoop had her back arched up round; her tail was as large as a sausage, and her fur stuck out all sorts of ways, while she made a hissing sound like a steam radiator.

"What's the matter, Bert?" asked Nan.

"Why, I guess the strange dog was running through our yard with Flossie's doll in his mouth when Snoop saw him and ran at him," said Bert. "Snoop doesn't like strange dogs, and she must have made quite a fuss at this one, for he dropped the doll. I'll get her for you, Flossie."

The little twin's doll lay on the grass where the dog had dropped it when the cat chased after him. For all I know he may have thought it was a bone and have wanted to bury it.

Bert picked up the doll from the grass.

"There she is, Flossie," he said. "Not hurt a bit, and as good as ever."

"Thank you," Flossie answered, hugging her doll close in her arms. "Now we can go on playing, Alice."

They went back on the porch, and the strange dog gave a bark. This seemed to make Snoop angry, for she hissed louder than ever and made her tail even larger than before. Then she walked toward the dog. But he did not wait even to rub noses with her, as Snap did. With a howl the dog ran back and jumped over the fence.

"Snoop drove him away," laughed Nan. "She is as good at driving strange dogs away as Snap would be. Wasn't it funny the dog should go up on the porch, and take Flossie's doll?"

"It was better to do that than bite her," said Bert.

When Freddie came back from the lumber yard that day he told of Tommy's visit, and Mrs. Bobbsey told of having helped his grandmother. Mrs. Bobbsey also told what Mrs. Todd had said of her missing son, who was shipwrecked.

"Bert, please hand me down my bank," said Freddie to his brother after supper.

"What for?" Bert asked.

"I must count my money and see if I have enough to help buy a ship for Tommy Todd. He and I are going off in a ship to look for his father."

"Now look here, Freddie," said Mr. Bobbsey. "I want you to have all the fun you can, and play with Tommy whenever you can, and I want you to be kind and to help people. I also wish, as much as you, that we could find Tommy's father, if he is still alive. But you must not run off to sea without telling us."

Sometimes Freddie, and Flossie too, used to get queer ideas about what they wanted to do, and once or twice they had run away together. Once it was to go to the circus, away on the other side of the city, and again it was to follow a hand-organ man and a monkey. Freddie's father, hearing him talk so much about getting a ship in which to search for Mr. Todd, thought the little boy might be too much in earnest and would really go off where he ought not.

"So don't start off on any voyage without telling us," said Mr. Bobbsey.

"I won't," promised Freddie. "First I must see how much money I have saved up."

His bank was a kind that could be opened and closed, and for some time Freddie and Flossie were busy counting the pennies.

"Well, how much have you?" asked Bert.

"Flossie says there are only fifty-six cents," Freddie answered, "but I counted seventy. Flossie can't count as high as I can, anyhow."

"I can so!" cried the fat little girl.

"Now children, be nice," begged Mother Bobbsey.

"I'll count the money for you," offered Bert.

"Seventy-nine cents," he told Freddie, after he had finished. "And here's a penny of mine I'll give you. That makes eighty cents."

"Is that 'most enough to buy a ship, Daddy?" asked the little fellow.

"Oh no, my dear boy. You'll need lots more money than that. So keep on saving, and don't go off without letting us know."

"All right," Freddie said with a sigh. "Do you think I'll have enough saved in a week?"

"I can tell you better when the week is up," laughed Mr. Bobbsey.

"School begins in a week," said Nan. "You can't go off on a ship when you have to go to school, Freddie."

"That's so. Well, I'll keep on saving, and when school is out again Tommy and I will go off in the ship to find his father."

The Bobbsey twins had as much fun as they could in the week of vacation that remained. They and their playmates met together and went on little walks in the woods, or rowed on the river. Bert and Nan were allowed to go out in a safe boat, near their father's lumber dock, and Flossie and Freddie were allowed to go also, for they sat very still, and never tried to change seats when the boat was out in the water. This is very dangerous to do, and often boats are upset that way.

Then, one morning, as Freddie awoke in his little bed, he heard his mother calling:

"Come on, little fireman. Time to get up!"

"Is there a fire?" asked Freddie, eagerly.

"No, but school begins to-day and you don't want to be late. Come on then, get up. You too, Flossie."

"Aren't Nan and Bert going?" asked Freddie.

"Yes, but they were up long ago. I let you two little twins sleep longer. But now it is time to get up."

After breakfast Flossie and Freddie started for school together. They were in the same class, and had just left the kindergarten. So Flossie and Freddie set off together, ahead of Nan and Bert. The smaller twins had to do this because their legs were shorter than either Nan's or Bert's and they could not walk as fast.

"Ding-dong!" rang the school bell, calling the Bobbsey twins and other children back to their lessons, after the long, Summer vacation.

"Oh, there's Susie Simmon!" cried Flossie, as she saw a girl she knew. "I'm going to walk with her, Freddie."

"All right. I see Jimmie Brooks. I'll go with him."

The four little ones hurried along together, talking of the fun they had had that Summer.

A little behind came Nan and Bert. With them walked Ellen Moore and Ned Barton, who lived near the Bobbsey house.

There were merry times in the school yard before it was time for the last bell to ring. The boys and girls played tag, and ran about. Some boys had tops and spun them, or played marbles. The girls did not bring their dolls or toys to school, and the reason for this is that girls don't have pockets in their dresses. Or, if they do have a pocket, it is too small to hold more than a handkerchief. I think the girls ought to get together and insist on having pockets made in their dresses. It isn't fair for the boys to have so many.

"Ding-dong!" rang the bell again.

"Come in, children!" called the teacher, and in went the Bobbsey twins and the others.

"Oh look, Freddie! There goes Tommy Todd!" whispered Flossie to her brother, as they marched to their room. The teacher heard Flossie, and said:

"You must not whisper in school."

"I won't any more," promised Flossie. "I haven't been in school for so long that I forgot," and all the other children laughed.

Tommy Todd was in a class ahead of Flossie and Freddie. He looked across at them and smiled, for the teacher did not mind any one's smiling in school. But when one whispered it disturbed those who wanted to study their lessons.

It was almost time for the morning recess, and Flossie and Freddie were saying their lessons, when from the next room, where Bert and Nan sat, came a sound of laughter. Then sounded a loud bark—"Bow-wow!"

"Oh, it's a dog!" exclaimed Flossie aloud, before she thought.

"That sounds like our Snap!" said Freddie, almost at the same time.

"Children, you must be quiet!" called the teacher.

Just then the door between the two rooms was pushed open, and in walked Snap, wagging his tail. He looked at the teacher, he looked at the other children, and then, with a joyful bark, he ran up to Flossie and Freddie.