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The Bobbsey Twins at Home/Chapter 8



Some of the children laughed. Some screamed. Others looked as if they wanted to cry. Of course the play came to an end almost before it had started.

"Oh Johnnie, why did you do that?" cried Miss Earle, hurrying out in her Mother Goose dress, and picking up the little fellow. "How did it happen?"

Johnnie had started to cry, but, finding that he was not hurt much except on his thumb, he stopped his tears, and said: "I climbed up on the pile of boxes so I could see better, and they fell over with me."

"They weren't put there to be climbed on," the teacher said with a smile. "I'm glad it is no worse. You came on the stage before it was your turn, Johnnie. Now we'll try it over again."

By this time the other children had become quieter, having seen that nothing much had happened. The janitor was sent for and he put the boxes up again, this time nailing them together so they would not fall over.

"But you must not climb on top of them again," said Miss Earle.

"No'm, I won't," promised Johnnie.

"Now start over again, Freddie," the teacher told the little blue-eyed chap, and once more he walked out and pretended to look for Mary. Then Flossie walked out, and this time the play went off very well. Mother Goose came on when it was her turn and she helped Boy Blue and Miss Muffet look for Mary and the lost horn. It was finally found in Jack Horner's pie, which was a big one made of a shoe box. And Johnnie, as Jack Horner, pulled out the horn instead of a plum. His sore thumb did not bother him much.

"Well, did you like the play?" the teacher asked the other children, who had only looked on.

"It was fine!" they all said. "We'd like to see it again."

"Well, perhaps you may," returned Miss Earle. "Would you like to act it before the whole school?" she asked of Flossie, Freddie and the other little actors and actresses.

"Yes, teacher!" they said in a chorus.

"Then you shall."

A week later the play was given on the large stage in the big room where there was a real curtain and real scenery. The little Mother Goose play went off very well, too, for the children knew their parts better. And Johnnie Wilson did not fall down off a pile of boxes.

The only thing which happened, that ought not to, was when Flossie sang a little song Miss Earle wrote for her.

When she had finished, Flossie, seeing Nan out in the audience, stepped to the edge of the stage and asked: "Did I sing that all right, Nan?" for Nan had been helping her little sister learn the piece.

Every one laughed when Flossie asked that, for, of course, she should not have spoken, but only bowed. But it was all right, and really it made fun, which, after all, was what the play was for.

"We'll have to get up a play ourselves, Nan," said Bert to his sister when school was out, and the Mother Goose play had ended. "I like to act."

"So do I," said Nan.

"I'd like a play about soldiers and pirates," went on Bert.

"I know something about pirates," cried Tommy Todd. "My father used to tell me about them."

"Say, you'd do fine for a pirate!" cried Bert "You know a lot about ships and things; don't you?"

"Well, a little," said Tommy. "I remember some of the things my father told me when he was with us. And my grandmother knows a lot. Her husband was a sailor and she has sailed on a ship."

"Then we'll ask her how to be pirates when we get ready for our play," Bert decided.

"How is your grandma?" Nan inquired.

"Well, she's a little better," said Tommy, "but not very well. She has to work too hard, I guess. I wish I were bigger so I wouldn't have to go to school. Then I could work."

"Do you still run errands for Mr. Fitch?" asked Bert.

"I do when he has any. And I did some for your father. He says I have earned the quarter he gave me, and I'm glad, for I don't want to owe any money. I'm hoping your father will have more errands for me to do after school. I'm going to stop in and ask him on Saturday. I like Saturdays for then I can work all day."

"Don't you like to play?" asked Nan.

"Oh, yes, of course. But I like to earn money for my grandmother too, so she won't have to work so hard."

Bert and Nan felt sorry for Tommy, and Bert made up his mind he would ask his father to give the fresh air boy some work to do so he could earn money.

It was now October, and the weather was beautiful. The Bobbsey twins had much fun at home and going to and from school. The leaves on the trees were beginning to turn all sorts of pretty colors, and this showed that colder weather was coming.

"We'll have lots of fun this Winter," said Bert one day, as he and his brother and sisters went home from school together, kicking their way through the fallen leaves. "We'll go coasting, make snow men and snow forts and go skating."

"I'm going to have skates this year. Mother said so," cried Freddie.

"You're too little to skate," declared Bert.

"Oh, I'll show him how, and hold him up," offered Nan. "Skating is fun."

"It isn't any fun to fall in the ice water though," Flossie said.

"Well, we won't go skating until the ice is good and thick," said Bert, "then we won't break through and fall in."

When the children reached the house they found Mrs. Bobbsey and Dinah busy taking the furniture out of the parlor, and piling it in the sitting room and dining room.

"What's the matter?" asked Bert in surprise. "Are we going to move?"

"No. But your father has sent up a man to varnish the parlor floor, and we have to get the chairs and things out of his way," said Mrs. Bobbsey.

"An' yo' chilluns done got t' keep outen dat parlah when de varnish-paint is dryin'," said Dinah, shaking her finger at the twins. "Ef yo' done walks on de varnished floors when dey's not dry, yo' all will stick fast an' yo' can't get loose."

"That's right," laughed the children's mother. "You will have to keep out of the parlor while the floors are drying."

The Bobbsey twins watched the painter put the varnish on the floor. The varnish was like a clear, amber paint and made the floor almost as shiny as glass, so it looked like new.

"There!" exclaimed the painter when he had finished. "Now don't walk on the floor until morning. Then the varnish will be dry and hard, and you won't stick fast. Don't any of you go in."

"We won't," promised the twins. Then they had to study their lessons for school the next day, and, for a time, they forgot about the newly varnished floor.

It was after supper that Flossie asked if Nan could not pop a little corn to eat.

"Yes," answered Mother Bobbsey. "A little popped corn will not be harmful, I think. I'll get the popper."

Nan shelled some of the white kernels of corn into the wire popper, and shook it over the stove. Pretty soon: Pop! Pop! Poppity-pop-pop! was heard, and the small kernels burst into big ones, as white as snow.

Nan was just pouring the popped corn out into a dish when there sounded through the house a loud:


"What's that?" asked Flossie.

"It sounded like Snoop," said Bert.

"It is Snoop!" declared Freddie.

"Meaou!" was cried again, and in such a queer way that the children knew their cat was in some kind of trouble.

"Snoop! Where are you?" called Nan.

"Meaou! Meaou!" came the answer.

"She's down cellar and wants to come up," Bert said.

But when the cellar door was opened no cat popped up, as Snoop always did if she happened to be shut down there. Then they heard her crying voice again.

"Oh, I know where she is!" exclaimed Mother Bobbsey.

"Where?" asked the children.

"In the parlor—on the newly varnished floor! That's what makes her voice sound so funny—it's the empty room."

"Well, if Snoop is in the parlor she's stuck fast! That's what's the matter!" cried Bert.

"Oh! oh!" exclaimed Freddie. "Our cat caught fast!"

"Poor Snoop!" wailed Flossie.

"We must help her!" Nan said.

The whole family hurried to the parlor. There, in the light from the hall, they saw the cat. Snoop was indeed in trouble. She stood near the parlor door, all four feet held fast in the sticky varnish, which, when half dry, is stickier than the stickiest kind of fly-paper.

Snoop, in wandering about the house as she pleased, which she always did, had come to the parlor. The door had been left open so the varnish would dry more quickly, and Snoop had gone in, not knowing anything about the sticky floor.

The big black cat had taken a few steps and then, her paws having become covered with the sticky varnish, she had become stuck fast, just far enough inside the room so she could not be reached from the door.

"Oh, will she have to stay stuck there forever?" asked Freddie.

"Pull her loose, Mother!" begged Flossie.

"If you step on the floor to get her, you'll stick fast too," warned Bert.

"Wait a minute, children," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "I must think what is best to do. I wish your father were home."

Snoop, seeing her friends near, must have known she would now be taken care of, for she stopped meaouing.