The Bobbsey Twins at School/Chapter 11
Nan Bobbsey stood for a moment, she hardly knew why. Perhaps she wanted to see the big snake of which Freddie spoke. It certainly was not because she liked reptiles.
Then she thought she saw something long and black wiggling toward her, and, with a little exclamation of fright, she, too, turned to follow the others. But, as she did so, she saw their dog Snap come running up the hill, barking and wagging his tail. He seemed to have lost the children for a moment and to be telling them how glad he was that he had found them again.
Straight up the hill, toward where Freddie had said the snake was, rushed Snap.
"Here! Come back! Don't go there!" cried Nan.
"No, don't let him—he may be bitten!" added Flossie. "Come here, Snap!"
But Snap evidently did not want to mind. On up the hill he rushed, pausing now and then to dig in the earth. Nearer and nearer he came to where the little Bobbsey boy had said the snake was hiding in the grass and bushes.
"Oh, Snap! Snap!" cried Freddie. "Don't go there!" But Snap kept on, and Freddie, afraid lest his pet dog be bitten, caught up a stone and threw it at the place. His aim was pretty good, but instead of scaring away the snake, or driving back Snap, the fall of the stone only made Snap more eager to see what was there that his friends did not want him to get.
With a loud bark he rushed on, and the children, turning to look, saw something long and black, and seemingly wiggling, come toward them.
"Oh, the snake! The snake!" cried Nan.
"Run! Run!" shouted Grace.
"Come on!" exclaimed Nellie Parks, in loud tones.
"Freddie! Freddie!" called Flossie, afraid lest her little brother be bitten.
Snap rushed at the black thing so fiercely that he turned a somersault down the hill, and rolled over and over. But he did not mind this, and in an instant was up again. Once more he rushed at the black object, but the children did not watch to see what happened, for they were running away as fast as they could.
Then Freddie, anxious as to what would become of Snap if he fought a snake, looked back. He saw a strange sight. The dog had in his mouth the long, black thing, and was running with it toward the Bobbseys and their friends.
"Oh, Nan! Nan! Look! Look!" cried Freddie. "Snap has the snake! He's bringing it to us!"
"Oh, he mustn't do that!" shouted Nan. "It may bite him or us."
"Run! Run faster!" shrieked Grace.
But even though it was down hill the children could not run as fast as Snap, and he soon caught up to them. Running on a little way ahead he dropped the black thing. But instead of wiggling or trying to bite, it was very still.
"It—it's dead," said Nan. "Snap has killed it."
Freddie was braver now. He went closer.
"Why—why!" he exclaimed. "It isn't a snake at all! It's only an old black root of a tree, all twisted up like a snake! Look, Nan—Flossie!"
Taking courage, the girls went up to look. Snap stood over it, wagging his tail as proudly as though he had captured a real snake. As Freddie had said, it was only a tree root.
"But it did look a lot like a snake in the grass," said the little fellow.
"It must have," agreed Nan. "It looked like one even when Snap had it. But I'm glad it wasn't."
"So am I," spoke Grace, and Nellie made a like remark.
Snap frisked about, barking as though to ask praise for what he had done.
"He is a good dog," observed Freddie, hearing which the animal almost wagged his tail off. "And if it had been a real snake he'd have gotten it; wouldn't you?" went on the little boy.
If barks meant anything, Snap said, with all his heart, that he certainly would—that not even a dozen snakes could frighten a big dog like him.
The children soon got over the little scare, and went back up the hill again to gather more flowers. Snap went with them this time, running about here and there.
"If there are any real snakes," said Freddie, "he'll scare them away. But I guess there aren't any."
"I hope not," said Nan, but she and the others kept a sharp lookout. However, there was no further fright for them, and soon, with their hands filled with blossoms the Bobbseys and the others went back to the main party.
Some of the teachers were arranging games with their pupils, and Nan, Flossie and Freddie joined in, having a good time. Then, when it was almost time to start for home, Mr. Tetlow blew loudly on a whistle he carried to call in the stragglers.
"Where's Bert?" asked Flossie, looking about for her older brother.
"I guess he hasn't come back from fishing yet," said Nan. "Come, Flossie and Freddie, I have a little bit of lunch left, and you might as well eat it, so you won't be hungry on the way home."
The littler Bobbsey twins were glad enough to do this. Then they had to have a drink, and Nan went with them to the spring, carrying a glass tumbler she had brought.
"This isn't like our nice silver cup that the fat lady took in the train," said Freddie, as he passed the glass of water very carefully to Flossie.
"No," she said, after she had taken her drink. "I wonder if papa will ever get that back?"
"He said, the other day," remarked Nan, as she got some water for Freddie, "that he hadn't heard from the circus yet. But I think he will. It isn't like Snoop, our cat. We don't know where he is, but we're pretty sure the fat lady has the cup."
"Poor Snoop!" cried Freddie, as he thought of the fine black cat. "Maybe some of the railroad men have him."
"Maybe," agreed Flossie.
When they got back to where the teachers and principal were, Bert and the boys who had gone fishing had returned. They had one or two small fish.
"I'm going to have mamma cook them for my supper," said Bert, proudly holding up those he had caught.
"They're too small—there won't be anything left of them after they're cleaned," said Nan, who was quite a little housekeeper.
"Oh, yes, there will," declared her brother, "I'm going fishing again to-morrow, and catch more."
Mr. Tetlow was going about among the teachers, asking if all their pupils were on hand, ready for the march back. Danny Rugg and some of his close friends were missing.
"They ought not to have gone off so far," said Mr. Tetlow, as he blew several times on the whistle. Soon Danny and the other boys were seen coming from a distant part of the grove. One of the boys, Harry White, looked very pale, and not at all well.
"What is the matter?" asked Mr. Tetlow, and he looked curiously at Danny and the others, and sniffed the air as though he smelled something.
"I—I guess I ate too many—apples," said Harry, in a faint voice. "We found an orchard, and——"
"I told you not to go into orchards, and take fruit," said Mr. Tetlow, severely.
"The man said we could," remarked Danny, "We asked him."
"Then you should not have eaten so many," said Mr. Tetlow. "I can't see how ripe apples, which are the only kind there are this time of year—could make you ill unless you ate too many," and he looked at Danny and Harry sharply. But they did not answer.
The march home was not as joyful as the one to the grove had been, for most of the children were tired. But they all had had a fine time, and there were many requests of the teachers to have another picnic the next week.
"Oh, we can't have them every week, my dears," said Miss Franklin, who had charge of Flossie, Freddie and some others in the kindergarten Class. "Besides, it will soon be too cool to go out in the woods. In a little while we will have ice and snow, and Thanksgiving and Christmas."
"That will be better than picnics," said Freddie. "I'm going to have a new sled."
"I'm going to get a new doll, that can walk," declared Flossie, and then she and the others talked about the coming holidays.
At school several days in the following week little was talked of except the picnic, the snake scare from the old tree root, the catching of the fish, and the illness of Harry White, for that boy was quite sick by the time town was reached, and Mr. Tetlow called a carriage to send him home.
"And I can guess what made him sick, too," said Bert to Nan, privately.
"What?" she asked.
"How do you know?"
"Because when I and some of the other fellows were fishing we saw Danny and his crowd smoking in the woods. They offered us some, but we wouldn't take any. Harry said he was sick then, but Danny only laughed at him."
"That Danny Rugg is a bad boy," said Nan, severely. But she was soon to see how much meaner Danny could be.
Workmen had recently finished putting some new water pipes, and a place for the children to drink, in the school yard, and one morning, speaking to the whole school, Mr. Tetlow made a little speech, warning the children not to play with the faucets, and spray the water about, as some had done, in fun.
"Whoever is caught playing with the faucets in the yard after this will be severely punished," he said.
As it happened, Flossie and Freddie were not at school that day, Freddie having a slight sore throat. His mother kept him home, and Flossie would not go without him. So they did not hear the warning, and Bert and Nan did not think to tell the smaller children of it.
Two days later Freddie was well enough to go back to class, and Flossie accompanied him. It was at the morning recess when, as Freddie went to get a drink at one of the new faucets, Danny saw him. A gleam of mischief came into the eyes of the school bully.
"Want to see the water squirt, Freddie?" asked Danny. "That's a new kind of faucet. It squirts awful far."
"Does it? " asked Freddie, innocently. "How do you make it?" He had no idea it was forbidden fun.
"Just put your thumb over the hole, and turn the water on," directed Danny. "You, too, Flossie. It won't hurt you."
Danny looked all around, thinking he was unobserved as he gave this bad advice. Naturally, Freddie and Flossie, being so young, suspected nothing. They covered the opening of the faucet with their thumbs, and turned on the water. It spurted in a fine spray, and they laughed in glee. That they wet each other did not matter.
Danny, seeing the success of his trick, walked off as he saw Mr. Tetlow coming. The Bobbsey twins were so intent on spurting the water that they did not observe the principal until he was close to them. Then they started as he called out sharply:
"Freddie! Flossie! Stop that! You know that it is forbidden! Go to my office at once and I will come and see you later. You will be punished for this!"
With tears in their eyes the little twins obeyed. They could not understand it.