The Bobbsey Twins in the Country
Laura Lee Hope
Part 1 out of 3
Prepared by Diane and Don Nafisemail@example.com
THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN THE COUNTRY
BY LAURA LEE HOPE
I. THE INVITATION
II. THE START
III. SNOOP ON THE TRAIN
IV. A LONG RIDE
V. MEADOW BROOK
VII. A COUNTRY PICNIC
VIII. FUN IN THE WOODS
IX. FOURTH OF JULY
X. A GREAT DAY
XI. THE LITTLE GARDENERS
XII. TOM'S RUNAWAY
XIII. PICKING PEAS
XIV. THE CIRCUS
XV. THE CHARIOT RACE
XVI. THE FLOOD
XVII. A TOWN AFLOAT
XVIII. THE FRESH-AIR CAMP
XIX. SEWING SCHOOL
XX. A MIDNIGHT SCARE
XXI. WHAT THE WELL CONTAINED
XXII. LITTLE JACK HORNER--GOOD-BYE
THE BOBBSEY TWINS IN THE COUNTRY
"There goes the bell! It's the letter carrier! Let me answer!" Freddie
"Oh, let me! It's my turn this week!" cried Flossie.
"But I see a blue envelope. That's from Aunt Sarah!" the brother cried.
Meanwhile both children, Freddie and Flossie, were making all possible
efforts to reach the front door, which Freddie finally did by jumping
over the little divan that stood in the way, it being sweeping day.
"I beat you," laughed the boy, while his sister stood back,
"Well, Dinah had everything in the way and anyhow, maybe it was your
turn. Mother is in the sewing room, I guess!" Flossie concluded, and so
the two started in search of the mother, with the welcome letter from
Aunt Sarah tight in Freddie's chubby fist.
Freddie and Flossie were the younger of the two pairs of twins that
belonged to the Bobbsey family. The little ones were four years old,
both with light curls framing pretty dimpled faces, and both being just
fat enough to be good-natured. The other twins, Nan and Bert, were
eight years old, dark and handsome, and as like as "two peas" the
neighbors used to say. Some people thought it strange there should be
two pairs of twins in one house, but Nan said it was just like four-
leaf clovers, that always grow in little patches by themselves.
This morning the letter from Aunt Sarah, always a welcome happening,
was especially joyous.
"Do read it out loud," pleaded Flossie, when the blue envelope had been
opened in the sewing room by Mrs. Bobbsey.
"When can we go?" broke in Freddie, at a single hint that the missive
contained an invitation to visit Meadow Brook, the home of Aunt Sarah
in the country.
"Now be patient, children," the mother told them. "I'll read the
invitation in just a minute," and she kept her eyes fastened on the
blue paper in a way that even to Freddie and Flossie meant something
"Aunt Sarah wants to know first how we all are."
"Oh, we're all well," Freddie interrupted, showing some impatience.
"Do listen, Freddie, or we won't hear," Flossie begged him, tugging at
"Then she says," continued the mother, "that this is a beautiful summer
at Meadow Brook."
"Course it is. We know that!" broke in Freddie again.
"Freddie!" pleaded Flossie.
"And she asks how we would like to visit them this summer." "Fine,
like it--lovely!" the little boy almost shouted, losing track of words
in his delight.
"Tell her we'll come, mamma," went on Freddie. "Do send a letter quick
won't you, mamma ?"
"Freddie Bobbsey!" spoke up Flossie, in a little girl's way of showing
indignation. "If you would only keep quiet we could hear about going,
but--you always stop mamma. Please, mamma, read the rest," and the
golden head was pressed against the mother's shoulder from the arm of
the big rocking chair.
"Well, I was only just saying--" pouted Freddie.
"Now listen, dear." The mother went on once more reading from the
letter: "Aunt Sarah says Cousin Harry can hardly wait until vacation
time to see Bert, and she also says, 'For myself I cannot wait to see
the babies. I want to hear Freddie laugh, and I want to hear Flossie
"say her piece," as she did last Christmas, then I just want to hug
them both to death, and so does their Uncle Daniel.'"
"Good!--goody!" broke in the irrepressible Freddie again. "I'll just
hug Aunt Sarah this way," and he fell on his mother's neck and squeezed
until she cried for him to stop.
"I guess she'll like that," Freddie wound up, in real satisfaction at
his hugging ability.
"Not if you spoil her hair," Flossie insisted, while the overcome
mother tried to adjust herself generally.
"Is that all?" Flossie asked.
"No, there is a message for Bert and Nan too, but I must keep that for
lunch time. Nobody likes stale news," the mother replied.
"But can't we hear it when Bert and Nan come from school?" coaxed
"Of course," the mother assured her. "But you must run out in the air
now. We have taken such a long time to read the letter."
"Oh, aren't you glad!" exclaimed Flossie to her brother, as they ran
along the stone wall that edged the pretty terrace in front of their
"Glad! I'm just--so glad--so glad--I could almost fly up in the air!"
the boy managed to say in chunks, for he had never had much experience
with words, a very few answering for all his needs.
The morning passed quickly to the little ones, for they had so much to
think about now, and when the school children appeared around the
corner Flossie and Freddie hurried to meet Nan and Bert, to tell them
"We're going! we're going!" was about all Freddie could say.
"Oh, the letter came--from Aunt Sarah!" was Flossie's way of telling
the news. But it was at the lunch table that Mrs. Bobbsey finished the
"'Tell Nan,'" she read, "'that Aunt Sarah has a lot of new patches and
tidies to show her, and tell her I have found a new kind of jumble
chocolate that I am going to teach her to make.' There, daughter, you
see," commented Mrs. Bobbsey, "Aunt Sarah has not forgotten what a good
little baker you are."
"Chocolate jumble," remarked Bert, and smacked his lips. "Say, Nan, be
sure to learn that. It sounds good," the brother declared.
Just then Dinah, the maid, brought in the chocolate, and the children
tried to tell her about going to the country, but so many were talking
at once that the good-natured colored girl interrupted the confusion
with a hearty laugh.
"Ha! ha! ha! And all you-uns be goin' to de country!"
"Yes, Dinah," Mrs. Bobbsey told her, "and just listen to what Aunt
Sarah says about you," and once more the blue letter came out, while
Mrs. Bobbsey read:
"'And be sure to bring dear old Dinah! We have plenty of room, and she
will so enjoy seeing the farming.'"
"Farming! Ha! ha! Dat I do like. Used to farm all time home in
Virginie!" the maid declared. "And I likes it fuss-rate! Yes, Dinah'll
go and hoe de corn and" (aside to Bert) "steal de watermelons!"
The prospects were indeed bright for a happy time in the country, and
the Bobbseys never disappointed themselves when fun was within their
With so much to think about, the few weeks that were left between
vacation and the country passed quickly for the Bobbseys. As told in
any first book, "The Bobbsey Twins," this little family had a splendid
home in Lakeport, where Mr. Bobbsey was a lumber merchant. The mother
and father were both young themselves, and always took part in their
children's joys and sorrows, for there were sorrows sometimes.
Think of poor little Freddie getting shut up all alone in a big store
with only a little black kitten, "Snoop," to keep him from being scared
to death; that was told of in the first book, for Freddie went shopping
one day with his mamma, and wandered off a little bit. Presently he
found himself in the basement of the store; there he had so much
trouble in getting out he fell asleep in the meantime. Then, when he
awoke and it was all dark, and the great big janitor came to rescue
him--oh!--Freddie thought the man might even be a giant when he first
heard the janitor's voice in the dark store.
Freddie often got in trouble, but like most good little boys he was
always saved just at the right time, for they say good children have
real angels watching over them. Nan, Bert, and Flossie all had plenty
of exciting experiences too, as told in "The Bobbsey Twins," for among
other neighbors there was Danny Rugg, a boy who always tried to make
trouble for Bert, and sometimes almost succeeded in getting Bert into
"hot water," as Dinah expressed it.
Of course Nan had her friends, as all big girls have, but Bert, her
twin brother, was her dearest chum, just as Freddie was Flossie's.
"When we get to the country we will plant trees, go fishing, and pick
blackberries," Nan said one day.
"Yes, and I'm going with Harry out exploring," Bert announced.
"I'm just going to plant things," prim little Flossie lisped. "I just
love melons and ice cream and--"
"Ice cream! Can you really plant ice cream?" Freddie asked innocently,
which made the others all laugh at Flossie's funny plans.
"I'm going to have chickens," Freddie told them. "I'm going to have one
of those queer chicken coops that you shut up tight and when you open
it it's just full of little 'kippies.'"
"Oh, an incubator, you mean," Nan explained. "That's a machine for
raising chickens without any mother."
"But mine are going to have a mother," Freddie corrected, thinking how
sad little chickens would be without a kind mamma like his own.
"But how can they have a mother where there isn't any for them?"
Flossie asked, with a girl's queer way of reasoning.
"I'll get them one," Freddie protested. "I'll let Snoop be their
"A cat! the idea! why, he would eat 'em all up," Flossie argued.
"Not if I whipped him once for doing it," the brother insisted. Then
Nan and Bert began to tease him for whipping the kitten after the
chickens had been "all eaten up."
So the merry days went on until at last vacation came!
"Just one more night," Nan told Flossie and Freddie when she prepared
them for bed, to help her very busy mother. Bert assisted his father
with the packing up, for the taking of a whole family to the country
meant lots of clothes, besides some books and just a few toys. Then
there was Bert's tool box--he knew he would need that at Meadow Brook.
The morning came at last, a beautiful bright day, a rare one for
traveling, for a fine shower the evening before had washed and cooled
things off splendidly.
"Now come, children," Mr. Bobbsey told the excited youngsters. "Keep
track of your things. Sam will be ready in a few minutes, and then we
must be off."
Promptly Sam pulled up to the door with the family carriage, and all
hurried to get in.
"Oh, Snoop, Snoop!" cried Freddie. "He's in the library in the box!
Dinah, get him quick, get him!" and Dinah ran back after the little
"Here you is, Freddie!" she gasped, out of breath from hurrying. "You
don't go and forget poor Snoopy!" and she climbed in beside Sam.
Then they started.
"Oh, my lan' a-massy!" yelled Dinah presently in distress. "Sam
Johnson, you jest turn dat hoss around quick," and she jerked at the
reins herself. "You heah, Sam? Quick, I tells you. Get back to dat
house. I'se forgot to bring--to bring my lunch basket!"
"Oh, never mind, Dinah," Mrs. Bobbsey interrupted. "We will have lunch
on the train."
"But I couldn't leab dat nice lunch I got ready fo' de chillen in
between, missus," the colored woman urged. "I'll get it quick as a
wink. Now, Sam, you rush in dar quick, and fetch dat red and white
basket dat smells like chicken!"
So the good-natured maid had her way, much to the delight of Bert and
Freddie, who liked nothing so well as one of Dinah's homemade lunches.
The railroad station was reached without mishap, and while Mr. Bobbsey
attended to getting the baskets checked at the little window in the big
round office, the children sat about "exploring." Freddie hung back a
little when a locomotive steamed up. He clung to his mother's skirt,
yet wanted to see how the machine worked.
"That's the fireman," Bert told him, pointing to the man in the cab of
"Fireman!" Freddie repeated. "Not like our firemen. I wouldn't be that
kind," He had always wanted to be a fireman who helps to put out fires.
"Oh, this is another kind," his father explained, just then coming up
in readiness for the start.
"I guess Snoop's afraid," Freddie whispered to his mother, while he
peeped into the little box where Snoop was peacefully purring. Glad of
the excuse to get a little further away, Freddie ran back to where
Dinah sat on a long shiny bench.
"Say, chile," she began, "you hear dat music ober dar? Well, a big fat
lady jest jumped up and down on dat machine and it starts up and plays
"That's a weighing machine," Nan said with a laugh. "You just put a
penny in it and it tells you how much you weigh besides playing a
"Lan' o' massy! does it? Wonder has I time to try it?"
"Yes, come on," called Bert. "Father said we have plenty of time," and
at the word Dinah set out to get weighed. She looked a little scared,
as if it might "go off" first, but when she heard the soft strain of
an old melody coming out she almost wanted to dance.
"Now, ain't dat fine!" she exclaimed. "Wouldn't dat be splendid in de
kitchen to weigh de flour, Freddie ?"
But even the interesting sights in the railroad station had to be given
up now, for the porter swung open a big gate and called: "All aboard
for Meadow Brook!" and the Bobbseys hurried off.
SNOOP ON THE TRAIN
"I'm glad Dinah looks nice," Flossie whispered to her mother, when she
saw how beautiful the parlor car was. "And isn't Freddie good?" the
little girl remarked anxiously, as if fearing her brother might forget
his best manners in such a grand place.
Freddie and Bert sat near their father on the big soft revolving chairs
in the Pullman car, while Nan and Flossie occupied the sofa at the end
near their mother. Dinah sat up straight and dignified, and, as Flossie
said, really looked nice, in her very clean white waist and her soft
black skirt. On her carefully parted hair she wore a neat little black
turban. Bert always laughed at the number of "parts" Dinah made in her
kinky hair, and declared that she ought to be a civil engineer, she
could draw such splendid maps even on the back of her head.
The grandeur of the parlor car almost overcame Freddie, but he clung to
Snoop in the pasteboard box and positively refused to let the kitten go
into the baggage car. Dinah's lunch basket was so neatly done up the
porter carried it very carefully to her seat when she entered the
train, although lunch baskets are not often taken in as "Pullman car
"I'm going to let Snoop out!" whispered Freddie suddenly, and before
anyone had a chance to stop him, the little black kitten jumped out of
the box, and perched himself on the window sill to look out at the
"Oh!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey, "the porter will put him off the train!"
and she tried to catch the now happy little Snoop.
"No, he won't," Mr. Bobbsey assured her. "I will watch out for that."
"Here, Snoop," coaxed Nan, also alarmed. "Come, Snoop!"
But the kitten had been captive long enough to appreciate his liberty
now, and so refused to be coaxed. Flossie came down between the velvet
chairs very cautiously, but as soon as Snoop saw her arm stretch out
for him, he just walked over the back of the highest seat and down into
the lap of a sleeping lady!
"Oh, mercy me!" screamed the lady, as she awoke with Snoop's tail
whisking over her face. "Goodness, gracious! what is that?" and before
she had fully recovered from the shock she actually jumped up on the
chair, like the funny pictures of a woman and a mouse.
The people around could not help laughing, but Freddie and the other
Bobbseys were frightened.
"Oh, will they kill Snoop now?" Freddie almost cried. "Dinah, please
help me get him!"
By this time the much scared lady had found out it was only a little
kitten, and feeling very foolish she sat down and coaxed Snoop into her
lap again. Mr. Bobbsey hurried to apologize.
"We'll have to put him back in the box," Mr. Bobbsey declared, but that
was easier said than done, for no sooner would one of the Bobbseys
approach the cat than Snoop would walk himself off. And not on the
floor either, but up and down the velvet chairs, and in and out under
the passengers' arms. Strange to say, not one of the people minded it,
but all petted Snoop until, as Bert said, "He owned the car."
"Dat cat am de worst!" Dinah exclaimed. "'Pears like it was so stuck up
an' fine dar ain't no place in dis 'yere Pullin' car good 'nough fer
"Oh, the porter! the porter!" Bert cried. "He'll surely throw Snoop out
of the window."
"Snoop! Snoop!" the whole family called in chorus, but Snoop saw the
porter himself and made up his mind the right thing to do under the
circumstances would be to make friends.
"Cat?" exclaimed the good-looking colored man. "Scat! Well, I declare!
What you think of that?"
Freddie felt as if he were going to die, he was so scared, and
Flossie's tears ran down her cheeks.
"Will he eat him?" Freddie blubbered, thinking of some queer stories he
had heard like that. Mr. Bobbsey, too, was a little alarmed and hurried
to reach Snoop.
The porter stooped to catch the offending kitten, while Snoop
walked right up to him, sniffed his uniform, and stepped upon the
outstretched black hand.
"Well, you is a nice little kitten," the porter admitted, fondling
Snoop in spite of orders.
"Oh, please, Mr. Porter, give me my cat!" cried Freddie, breaking away
from all restraint and reaching Snoop.
"Yours, is it? Well, I don't blame you, boy, for bringing dat cat
along. An' say," and the porter leaned down to the frightened Freddie,
"it's against orders, but I'd jest like to take dis yer kitten back in
de kitchen and treat him, for he's--he's a star!" and he fondled Snoop
"But I didn't know it was wrong, and I'll put him right back in the
box," Freddie whimpered, not quite understanding the porter's
"Well, say, son!" the porter exclaimed as Mr. Bobbsey came up. "What do
you say if you papa let you come back in de kitchen wid me? Den you can
jest see how I treat de kitty-cat!"
So Freddie started off after the porter, who proudly carried Snoop,
while Mr. Bobbsey brought up the rear. Everybody along the aisle wanted
to pet Snoop, who, from being a little stowaway was now the hero of the
occasion. More than once Freddie stumbled against the side of the big
seats as the cars swung along like a reckless automobile, but each time
his father caught him by the blouse and set him on his feet again,
until at last, after passing through the big dining car, the kitchen
"What you got dar? Somethin' fer soup?" laughed the good-natured cook,
who was really fond of cats and wouldn't harm one for the world.
Soon the situation was explained, and as the porters and others
gathered around in admiration, Snoop drank soup like a gentleman, and
then took two courses, one of fish and one of meat, in splendid
"Dat's de way to drink soup on a fast train," laughed the porter. "You
makes sure of it dat way, and saves your clothes. Ha! ha! ha!" he
laughed, remembering how many men have to have their good clothes
cleaned of soup after a dinner on a fast train. Reluctantly the men
gave Snoop back to Freddie, who, this time, to make sure of no further
adventures, put the popular black kitten in his box in spite of
protests from the admiring passengers.
"You have missed so much of the beautiful scenery," Nan told Freddie
and her father when they joined the party again. "Just see those
mountains over there," and then they sat at the broad windows gazing
for a long time at the grand scenery as it seemed to rush by.
A LONG RIDE
The train was speeding along with that regular motion that puts many
travelers to sleep, when Freddie curled himself on the sofa and went to
"Poor little chap!" Mr. Bobbsey remarked. "He is tired out, and he was
so worried about Snoop!"
"I'm glad we were able to get this sofa, so many other people like a
rest and there are only four sofas on each car," Mrs. Bobbsey explained
to Dinah, who was now tucking Freddie in as if he were at home in his
own cozy bed. The air cushion was blown up, and put under the yellow
head and a shawl was carefully placed over him.
Flossie's pretty dimpled face was pressed close to the window pane,
admiring the big world that seemed to be running away from the train,
and Bert found the observation end of the train very interesting.
"What a beautiful grove of white birch trees!" Nan exclaimed, as the
train swung into a ravine. "And see the soft ferns clinging about them.
Mother, the ferns around the birch tree make me think of the fine lace
about your throat!"
"Why, daughter, you seem to be quite poetical!" and the mother smiled,
for indeed Nan had a very promising mind.
"What time will we get there, papa?" Bert asked, returning from the
"In time for dinner Aunt Sarah said, that is if they keep dinner for us
until one o'clock," answered the parent, as he consulted his watch.
"It seems as if we had been on the train all night," Flossie remarked.
"Well, we started early, dear," the mother assured the tired little
girl. "Perhaps you would like one of Dinah's dainty sandwiches now?"
A light lunch was quickly decided on, and Dinah took Flossie and Nan to
a little private room at one end of the train, Bert went with his
father to the smoking room on the other end, while the mother remained
to watch Freddie. The lunch was put up so that each small sandwich
could be eaten without a crumb spilling, as the little squares were
each wrapped separately in waxed paper.
There was a queer alcohol lamp in the ladies room, and other handy
contrivances for travelers, which amused Flossie and Nan.
"Dat's to heat milk fo' babies," Dinah told the girls, as she put the
paper napkins carefully on their laps, and got each a nice drink of
icewater out of the cooler.
Meanwhile Bert was enjoying his lunch at the other end of the car, for
children always get hungry when traveling, and meals on the train are
only served at certain hours. Two other little girls came into the
compartment while Flossie and Nan were at lunch. The strange girls wore
gingham aprons over their fine white dresses, to keep the car dust off
their clothes, and they had paper caps on their heads like the favors
worn at children's parties. Seeing there was no stool vacant the
strangers darted out again in rather a rude way, Nan thought.
"Take you time, honeys," Dinah told her charges. "If dey is very hungry
dey can get ice cream outside."
"But mother never lets us eat strange ice cream," Flossie reminded the
maid. "And maybe they can't either."
Soon the lunch was finished, and the Bobbseys felt much refreshed by
it. Freddie still slept with Snoop's box close beside him, and Mrs.
Bobbsey was reading a magazine.
"One hour more!" Bert announced, beginning to pick things up even that
"Now we better all close our eyes and rest, so that we will feel good
when we get to Meadow Brook," Mrs. Bobbsey told them. It was no task to
obey this suggestion, and the next thing the children knew, mother and
father and Dinah were waking them up to get them ready to leave the
"Now, don't forget anything," Mr. Bobbsey cautioned the party, as hats
and wraps were donned and parcels picked up.
Freddie was still very sleepy and his papa had to carry him off, while
the others, with some excitement, hurried after.
"Oh, Snoop, Snoop!" cried Freddie as, having reached the platform, they
now saw the train start off. "I forgot Snoop! Get him quick!"
"Dat kitten again!" Dinah exclaimed, with some indignation. "He's more
trouble den--den de whole family!"
In an instant the train had gotten up speed, and it seemed Snoop was
gone this time sure.
"Snoop!" cried Freddie, in dismay.
Just then the kind porter who had befriended the cat before, appeared
on the platform with the perforated box in his hand.
"I wanted to keep him," stammered the porter, "but I knows de little
boy 'ud break his heart after him." And he threw the box to Mr.
There was no time for words, but Mr. Bobbsey thrust a coin in the man's
hand and all the members of the Bobbsey family looked their thanks.
"Well, I declare, you can't see anybody," called out a good-natured
little lady, trying to surround them all at once.
"Aunt Sarah!" exclaimed the Bobbseys.
"And Uncle Dan!"
"Hello! How do? How are you? How be you?" and such kissing and
handshaking had not for some time entertained the old agent at the
Meadow Brook station.
"Here at last!" Uncle Daniel declared, grabbing up Freddie and giving
him the kind of hug Freddie had intended giving Aunt Sarah.
The big wagon from the Bobbsey farm, with the seats running along each
side, stood at the other side of the platform, and into this the
Bobbseys were gathered, bag and baggage, not forgetting the little
"All aboard for Meadow Brook farm!" called Bert, as the wagon started
off along the shady country road.
"Oh, how cool the trees are out here!" Flossie exclaimed, as the wagon
rumbled along so close to the low trees that Bert could reach out and
pick horse-chestnut blossoms.
"My, how sweet it is!" said Dinah, as she sniffed audibly, enjoying the
freshness of the country.
Freddie was on the seat with Uncle Dan and had Snoop's box safe in his
arms. He wanted to let the cat see along the road, but everybody
"No more Snoop in this trip," laughed Mr. Bobbsey. "He has had all the
fun he needs for to-day." So Freddie had to be content.
"Oh, do let me get out?" pleaded Nan presently. "See that field of
"Not now, dear," Aunt Sarah told her. "Dinner is spoiling for us, and
we can often walk down here to get flowers."
"Oh, the cute little calf! Look!" Bert exclaimed from his seat next to
Harry, who had been telling his cousin of all the plans he had made for
a jolly vacation.
"Look at the billy-goat!" called Freddie.
"See, see, that big black chicken flying!" Flossie cried out excitedly.
"That's a hawk!" laughed Bert; "maybe it's a chicken hawk."
"A children hawk!" Flossie exclaimed, missing the word. Then everybody
laughed, and Flossie said maybe there were children hawks for bad girls
and boys, anyway.
Aunt Sarah and Mrs. Bobbsey were chatting away like two schoolgirls,
while Dinah and the children saw something new and interesting at every
few paces old Billy, the horse, took.
"Hello there, neighbor," called a voice from the field at the side of
the road. "My horse has fallen in the ditch, and I'll have to trouble
you to help me."
"Certainly, certainly, Peter," answered Uncle Daniel, promptly jumping
down, with Mr. Bobbsey, Bert, and Harry following. Aunt Sarah leaned
over the seat and took the reins, but when she saw in what ditch the
other horse had fallen she pulled Billy into the gutter.
"Poor Peter!" she exclaimed. "That's the second horse that fell in that
ditch this week. And it's an awful job to get them out. I'll just wait
to see if they need our Billy, and if not, we can drive on home, for
Martha will be most crazy waiting with dinner."
Uncle Daniel, Mr. Bobbsey, and the boys hurried to where Peter Burns
stood at the brink of one of those ditches that look like mud and turn
out to be water.
"And that horse is a boarder too!" Peter told them. "Last night we said
he looked awful sad, but we didn't think he would commit suicide."
"Got plenty of blankets?" Uncle Daniel asked, pulling his coat off and
preparing to help his neighbor, as all good people do in the country.
"Four of them, and these planks. But I couldn't get a man around. Lucky
you happened by," Peter Burns answered.
All this time the horse in the ditch moaned as if in pain, but Peter
said it was only because he couldn't get on his feet. Harry, being
light in weight, slipped a halter over the poor beast's head.
"I could get a strap around him!" Harry suggested, moving out
cautiously on the plank.
"All right, my lad, go ahead," Peter told him, passing the big strap
over to Bert, who in turn passed it on to Harry.
It was no easy matter to get the strap in place, but with much tugging
and splashing of mud Harry succeeded. Then the ropes were attached and
everybody pulled vigorously.
"Get up, Ginger! Get up, Ginger!" Peter called lustily, but Ginger only
seemed to flop in deeper, through his efforts to raise himself.
"Guess we'll have to get Billy to pull," Uncle Daniel suggested, and
Mr. Bobbsey hurried back to the road to unhitch the other horse.
"Don't let Billy fall in!" exclaimed Nan, who was much excited over the
"Can't I go, papa?" Freddie pleaded. "I'll stay away from the edge!"
"You better stay in the wagon; the horse might cut up when he gets
out," the father warned Freddie, who reluctantly gave in.
Soon Billy was hitched to the ropes, and with a few kind words from
Uncle Daniel the big white horse strained forward, pulling Ginger to
his feet as he did so.
"Hurrah!" shouted Freddie from the wagon. "Billy is a circus horse,
isn't he, Uncle Dan?"
"He's a good boy," the uncle called back patting Billy affectionately,
while Mr. Bobbsey and the boys loosened the straps. The other horse lay
on the blankets, and Peter rubbed him with all his might, to save a
chill as he told the boys.
Then, after receiving many thanks for the help given, the Bobbseys once
more started off toward the farm.
"Hot work," Uncle Daniel remarked to the ladies, as he mopped his
"I'm so glad you could help Peter," Aunt Sarah told him, "for he does
seem to have SO much trouble."
"All kinds of things happen in the country," Harry remarked, as Billy
headed off for home.
At each house along the way boys would call out to Harry, asking him
about going fishing, or berrying, or some other sport, so that Bert
felt a good time was in store for him, as the boys were about his own
age and seemed so agreeable.
"Nice fellows," Harry remarked by way of introducing Bert.
"They seem so," Bert replied, cordially.
"We've made up a lot of sports," Harry went on, "and we were only
waiting for you to come to start out. We've planned a picnic for
"Here we are," called Uncle Daniel as Billy turned into the pretty
driveway in front of the Bobbseys' country home. On each side of the
drive grew straight lines of boxwood, and back of this hedge were
beautiful flowers, shining out grandly now in the July sun.
"Hello, Martha!" called the visitors, as the faithful old servant
appeared on the broad white veranda. She was not black like Dinah, but
looked as if she was just as merry and full of fun as anyone could be.
"Got here at last!" she exclaimed, taking Dinah's lunch basket.
"Glad to see you, Martha," Dinah told her. "You see, I had to come
along. And Snoop too, our kitty. We fetched him."
"The more the merrier," replied the other, "and there's lots of room
"Starved to death!" Harry laughed, as the odor of a fine dinner reached
"We'll wash up a bit and join you in a few minutes, ladies," Uncle
Daniel said, in his polite way. The horse accident had given plenty of
need for a washing up.
"Got Snoop dis time," Freddie lisped, knocking the cover off the box
and petting the frightened little black cat. "Hungry, Snoopy?" he
asked, pressing his baby cheek to the soft fur.
"Bring the poor kitty out to the kitchen," Martha told him. "I'll get
him a nice saucer of fresh milk." And so it happened, as usual, Snoop
had his meal first, just as he had had on the Pullman car. Soon after
this Martha went outside and rang a big dinner bell that all the men
and boys could hear. And then the first vacation dinner was served in
the long old-fashioned dining room.
Although they were tired from their journey, the children had no idea
of resting on that beautiful afternoon, so promptly after dinner the
baggage was opened, and vacation clothes were put on. Bert, of course,
was ready first; and soon he and Harry were running down the road to
meet the other boys and perfect their plans for the picnic.
Nan began her pleasures by exploring the flower gardens with Uncle
"I pride myself on those zinnias," the uncle told Nan, "just see those
yellows, and those pinks. Some are as big as dahlias, aren't they?"
"They are just beautiful, uncle," Nan replied, in real admiration. "I
have always loved zinnias. And they last so long?"
"All summer. Then, what do you think of my sweet peas?"
So they went from one flower bed to another, and Nan thought she had
never before seen so many pretty plants together.
Flossie and Freddie were out in the barnyard with Aunt Sarah.
"Oh, auntie, what queer little chickens!" Flossie exclaimed, pointing
to a lot of pigeons that were eagerly eating corn with the chickens.
"Those are Harry's homer pigeons," the aunt explained. "Some day we
must go off to the woods and let the birds fly home with a letter to
Dinah and Martha."
"Oh, please do it now," Freddie urged, always in a hurry for things.
"We couldn't to-day, dear," Aunt Sarah told him. "Come, let me show you
our new little calf."
"Let me ride her?" Freddie asked, as they reached the animal.
"Calfs aren't for riding, they're for milk," Flossie spoke up.
"Yes, this one drinks plenty of milk," Aunt Sarah said, while Frisky,
the calf, rubbed her head kindly against Aunt Sarah's skirts.
"Then let me take her for a walk," Freddie pleaded, much in love with
the pretty creature.
"And they don't walk either," Flossie persisted. "They mostly run."
"I could just hold the rope, couldn't I, Aunt Sarah?"
"If you keep away from the barnyard gate, and hold her very tight," was
the consent given finally, much to Freddie's delight.
"Nice Frisky," he told the calf, petting her fondly. "Pretty calf, will
you let Snoop play with you?" Frisky was sniffing suspiciously all the
time, and Aunt Sarah had taken Flossie in the barn to see the chickens'
"Come, Frisky, take a walk," suggested Freddie, and quite obediently
the little cow walked along. But suddenly Frisky spied the open gate
and the lovely green grass outside.
Without a moment's warning the calf threw her hind legs up in the air,
then bolted straight for the gate, dragging Freddie along after her.
"Whoa, Frisky! whoa!" yelled Freddie, but the calf ran right along.
"Hold tight, Freddie!" called Flossie, as she and Aunt Sarah appeared
on the scene.
"Whoa, whoa!" yelled the little boy constantly, but he might as well
have called "Get app," for Frisky was going so fast now that poor
little Freddie's hands were all but bleeding from the rough rope.
"Look out, Freddie! Let go!" called Aunt Sarah as she saw Frisky
heading for the apple tree.
The next minute Frisky made a dash around the tree, once, then again,
winding the rope as she went, and throwing Freddie out with force
against the side of the terrace.
"Oh," Freddie moaned feebly.
"Are you dead?" cried Flossie, running up with tears in her eyes.
"Oh," moaned the boy again, turning over with much trouble as Aunt
Sarah lifted him.
"Oh," he murmured once more, "oh--catch--Frisky!"
"Never mind her," Aunt Sarah said, anxiously. "Are you hurt, dear!"
"No--not--a bit. But look! There goes Frisky! Catch her!"
"Your poor little hands!" Flossie almost cried, kissing the red
blisters. "See, they're cut!"
"Firemen have to slide on ropes!" Freddie spoke up, recovering himself,
"and I'm going to be a fireman. I was one that time, because I tried to
save somebody and didn't care if I got hurted!"
"You are a brave little boy," Aunt Sarah assured him. "You just sit
here with sister while I try to get that naughty Frisky before she
spoils the garden."
By this time the calf was almost lost to them, as she plunged in and
out of the pretty hedges. Fortunately Bert and Harry just turned in the
"Runaway calf! Runaway calf!" called the boys. "Stop the runaway!" and
instantly a half-dozen other boys appeared, and all started in pursuit.
But Frisky knew how to run, besides she had the advantage of a good
start, and now she just dashed along as if the affair was the biggest
joke of her life.
"The river! The river!" called the boys
"She'll jump in!" and indeed the pretty Meadow Brook, or river, that
ran along some feet lower than the Bobbseys' house, on the other side
of the highway, was now dangerously near the runaway calf.
There was a heavy thicket a few feet further up, and as the boys
squeezed in and out of the bushes Frisky plunged into this piece of
"Oh, she's gone now, sure!" called Harry "Listen!"
Sure enough there was a splash!
Frisky must be in the river!
It took some time to reach the spot where the fall might have sounded
from, and the boys made their way heavy-hearted, for all loved the
pretty little Frisky.
"There's footprints!" Bert discovered emerging from the thick bush.
"And they end here!" Harry finished, indicating the very brink of the
"But how could she drown so quickly?" Bert asked.
"Guess that's the channel," Tom Mason, one of the neighbors' boys,
"Listen! Thought I heard something in the bushes!" Bert whispered.
But no welcome sound came to tell that poor Frisky was hiding in the
brushwood. With heavy hearts the boys turned away. They didn't even
feel like talking, somehow. They had counted on bringing the calf back
When Flossie and Freddie saw them coming back without Frisky they just
had to cry and no one could stop them.
"I tried to be a fireman!" blubbered Freddie. "I didn't care if the
rope hurted my hands either!"
"If only I didn't go in to see the chickens nests," Flossie whimpered,
"I could have helped Freddie!"
"Never you mind, little 'uns," Dinah told them. "Dinah go and fetch dat
Frisky back to-morrer. See if she don't. You jest don't cry no more,
but eat you supper and take a good sleep, 'cause we're goin' to have a
picnic to-morrer you knows, doesn't youse?"
The others tried to comfort the little ones too, and Uncle Daniel said
he knew where he could buy another calf just like Frisky, so after a
little while Freddie felt better and even laughed when Martha made the
white cat Fluffy and Snoop play ball in the big long kitchen.
"I'm goin' to pray Frisky will come back," Nan told her little brother
when she kissed him good-night, "and maybe the dear Lord will find her
"Oh, yes, Nannie, do ask Him," pleaded Freddie, "and tell Him--tell Him
if He'll do it this time, I'll be so good I won't never need to bother
Him any more."
Freddie meant very well, but it sounded strange, and made Aunt Sarah
say, "The Lord bless the little darling!" Then night came and an
eventful day closed in on our dear little Bobbseys.
"Seems as if something else ought to happen to-night," Bert remarked to
Harry as they prepared to retire. "This was such a full day, wasn't
"It's early yet," Harry answered, "and it's never late here until it's
time to get early again."
"Sounds so strange to hear--those--those--"
"Crickets," Harry told him, "and tree toads and katydids. Oh, there's
lots to listen to if you shouldn't feel sleepy."
The house was now all quiet, and even the boys had ceased whispering.
Suddenly there was a noise in the driveway!
The next minute someone called out in the night!
"Hello there! All asleep! Wake up, somebody!"
Even Freddie did wake up and ran into his mother's room.
"Come down here, Mr. Bobbsey," the voice continued.
"Oh, is that you, Peter? I'll be down directly," called back Uncle
Daniel, who very soon after appeared on the front porch.
"Well, I declare!" Uncle Daniel exclaimed, loud enough for all the
listeners at the windows to hear. "So you've got her? Well, I'm very
glad indeed. Especially on the boys' account."
"Yes," spoke out Peter Burns, "I went in the barn a while ago with the
lantern, and there wasn't your calf asleep with mine as cozy as could
be. I brought her over to-night for fear you might miss her and get to
lookin', otherwise I wouldn't have disturbed you."
By this time the man from the barn was up and out too, and he took
Frisky back to her own bed; but not until the little calf had been
taken far out on the front lawn so that Freddie could see her from the
window "to make sure."
"The Lord did bring her back," Freddie told his mamma as she kissed him
good-night again and put him in his bed, happier this time than before.
"And I promised to be awful good to pay Him for His trouble," the
sleepy boy murmured.
Flossie had been asleep about two hours when she suddenly called to her
"What is it, my dear?" asked Mrs. Bobbsey.
"Somebody is playing the piano," answered the little girl. "Who is it?"
"Nobody is playing. You must be dreaming," answered the mother, and
smiled to herself.
"No, I am sure I heard the piano," insisted Flossie.
Mother and daughter listened, but could hear nothing.
"You were surely dreaming," said Mrs. Bobbsey. "Come, I will tuck you
in again," and she did so.
But was Flossie dreaming? Let us wait and see.
A COUNTRY PICNIC
When morning came everyone was astir early, for not only was a happy
day promised, but there was Frisky, the runaway, to be looked over. Mr.
Richard Bobbsey, Freddie's father, left on an early train for Lakeport,
and would not come back to Meadow Brook until Saturday afternoon.
"Let me go out and see Frisky," Freddie insisted, even before his
breakfast had been served. "I want to be sure it's her."
"Yes, that's her," Freddie admitted, "'cause there's the rope that cut
my hands when I was a real fireman!"
But Frisky didn't seem to care a bit about ropes or firemen, but just
chewed and chewed like all cows do, as if there was nothing in this
world to do but eat.
"Come on, sonny," called Dinah. "You can help me pick de radishes fo'
breakfast," and presently our little boy, with the kind-hearted maid,
was up in the garden looking for the best radishes of the early crop.
"See, Freddie," said Dinah. "De red ones show above de ground. And we
must only pull de ones wid de big leaves, 'cause dey're ripe."
Freddie bent down so close to find the radishes that a disturbed toad
hopped right up at his nose.
"Oh!" he cried, frightened. "Dinah, was that--a--a--a snake?"
"Snake, chile; lan' sakes alive! Dat was a poor little toady--more
scare' den you was," and she pointed to the big dock leaf under which
the hop-toad was now hiding.
"Let's pick beans," Freddie suggested, liking the garden work.
"Not beans fer breakfast," laughed Dinah.
"That stuff there, then," the boy persisted, pointing to the soft green
leaves of early lettuce.
"Well, I dunno. Martha didn't say so, but it sure does look pretty.
Yes, I guess we kin pick some fo' salad," and so Dinah showed Freddie
how to cut the lettuce heads off and leave the stalks to grow again.
"Out early," laughed Uncle Daniel, seeing the youngest member of the
family coming down the garden path with the small basket of vegetables.
"Is it?" Freddie asked, meaning early of course, in his queer way of
saying things without words.
"See! see!" called Nan and Flossie, running down the cross path back of
"Such big ones!" Nan exclaimed, referring to the luscious red
strawberries in the white dish she held.
"Look at mine," insisted Flossie. "Aren't they bigger?"
"Fine!" ejaculated Dinah.
"But my redishes are-are--redder," argued Freddie, who was not to be
outdone by his sisters.
"Ours are sweeter," laughed Nan, trying to tease her little brother.
"Ours are--ours are--"
"Hotter," put in Dinah, which ended the argument.
Bert and Harry had also been out gathering for breakfast, and returned
now with a basket of lovely fresh water-cress.
"We can't eat 'em all," Martha told the boys, "But they'll go good in
the picnic lunch."
What a pretty breakfast table it was! Such berries, such lettuce, such
water-cress, and the radishes!
"Too bad papa had to go so early," Bert remarked. "He just loves green
"So does Frisky," put in Freddie, and he wondered why everyone laughed.
After breakfast the lunch baskets were put up and while Bert and Harry,
Nan and Aunt Sarah, went to invite the neighboring children, Flossie
and Freddie were just busy jumping around the kitchen, where Dinah and
Martha were making them laugh merrily with funny little stories.
Snoop and Fluffy had become good friends, and now lay close together on
the kitchen hearth. Dinah said they were just like two babies, only not
so much trouble.
"Put peaches in my basket, Dinah," Freddie ordered.
"And strawberries in mine," added Flossie.
"Now, you-uns jest wait!" Dinah told them; "and when you gets out in de
woods if you hasn't 'nough to eat you kin jest climb a tree an' cut
"Wood!" put in Freddie innocently, while Martha said that was about all
that could be found in the woods in July.
The boys had come in from inviting the "other fellers," when Uncle
Daniel proposed a feature for the picnic.
"How would you like to take two homer pigeons along?" he asked them.
"You can send a note back to Martha to say what time you will be home."
"Jolly!" chorused the boys, all instantly making a run for the pigeon
"Wait!" Harry told the visitors. "We must be careful not to scare
them." Then he went inside the wire cage with a handful of corn.
"See--de--coon; see--de--coon!" called the boys softly, imitating the
queer sounds made by the doves cooing.
Harry tossed the corn inside the cage, and as the light and dark homers
he wanted tasted the food Harry lowered the little door, and took the
birds safely in his arms.
"Now, Bert, you can get the quills," he told his cousin. "Go into the
chicken yard and look for two long goose feathers. Tom Mason, you can
go in the kitchen and ask Dinah for a piece of tissue paper and a spool
of silk thread."
Each boy started off to fulfill his commission, not knowing exactly
what for until all came together in the barnyard again.
"Now, Bert," went on Harry, "write very carefully on the slip of paper
the message for Martha. Have you a soft pencil?"
Bert found that he had one, and so following his cousin's dictation he
wrote on one slip:
"Have dinner ready at five." And on the other he wrote: "John, come for
us at four."
"Now," continued Harry, "roll the slips up fine enough to go in the
This was done with much difficulty, as the quills were very narrow, but
the task was finally finished.
"All ready now," concluded Harry, "to put the letters in the box," and
very gently he tied with the silken thread one quill under the wing of
each pigeon. Only one feather was used to tie the thread to, and the
light quill, the thin paper, and the soft silk made a parcel so very
small and light in weight that the pigeons were no way inconvenienced
by the messages.
"Now we'll put them in this basket, and they're ready for the picnic,"
Harry announced to his much interested companions. Then all started for
the house with Harry and the basket in the lead.
John, the stableman, was at the door now with the big hay wagon, which
had been chosen as the best thing to take the jolly party in.
There was nice fresh hay in the bottom, and seats at the sides for the
grown folks, while the little ones nestled in the sweet-smelling hay
like live birds.
"It's like a kindergarten party," laughed Nan, as the "birds' nests"
reminded her of one of the mother plays.
"No, 'tain't!" Freddie corrected, for he really was not fond of the
kindergarten. "It's just like a picnic," he finished.
Besides the Bobbseys there were Tom Mason, Jack Hopkins, and August
Stout, friends of Harry. Then, there were Mildred Manners and Mabel
Herold, who went as Nan's guests; little Roy Mason was Freddie's
company, and Bessie Dimple went with Flossie. The little pigeons kept
cooing every now and then, but made no attempt to escape from Harry's
It was a beautiful day, and the long ride through the country was
indeed a merry one. Along the way people called out pleasantly from
farmhouses, for everybody in Meadow Brook knew the Bobbseys.
"That's their cousins from the city," little boys and girls along the
way would say.
"Haven't they pretty clothes!" the girls were sure to add.
"Let's stop for a drink at the spring," suggested August Stout, who was
stout by name and nature, and always loved a good drink of water.
The children tumbled out of the wagon safely, and were soon waiting
turns at the spring.
There was a round basin built of stones and quite deep. Into this the
clear sprinkling water dropped from a little cave in the hill above. On
top of the cave a large flat stone was placed. This kept the little
waterfall clean and free from the falling leaves.
"Oh, what a cute little pond!" Freddie exclaimed, for he had never seen
a real spring before.
"That's a spring," Flossie informed him, although that was all she knew
The big boys were not long dipping their faces in and getting a drink
of the cool, clear water, but the girls had to take their hats off,
roll up their sleeves, and go through a "regular performance," as Harry
said, before they could make up their minds to dip into the water.
Mabel brought up her supply with her hands, but when Nan tried it her
hands leaked, and the result was her fresh white frock got wet.
Flossie's curls tumbled in both sides, and when she had finished she
looked as if she had taken a plunge at the seashore.
"Let me! Let me!" cried Freddie impatiently, and without further
warning he thrust his yellow head in the spring clear up to his neck!
"Oh, Freddie!" yelled Nan, grabbing him by the heels and thus saving a
more serious accident.
"Oh! oh! oh!" spluttered Freddie, nearly choked, "I'm drowned!" and the
water really seemed to be running out of his eyes, noses and ears all
"Oh, Freddie!" was all Mrs. Bobbsey could say, as a shower of clean
handkerchiefs was sent from the hay wagon to dry the "drowned" boy.
"Just like the flour barrel!" laughed Bert, referring to the funny
accident that befell Freddie the winter before, as told in my other
book "The Bobbsey Twins."
"Only that was a dry bath and this a wet one," Nan remarked, as
Freddie's curls were shook out in the sun.
"Did you get a drink?" asked August, whose invitation to drink had
caused the mishap.
"Yep!" answered Freddie bravely, "and I was a real fireman too, that
time, 'cause they always get soaked; don't they, Bert?"
Being assured they did, the party once more started off for the woods.
It was getting to be all woods now, only a driveway breaking through
the pines, maples, and chestnut trees that abounded in that section.
"Just turn in there, John!" Harry directed, as a particularly thick
group of trees appeared. Here were chosen the picnic grounds and all
the things taken from the wagon, and before John was out of sight on
the return home the children had established their camp and were flying
about the woods like little fairies.
"Let's build a furnace," Jack Hopkins suggested.
"Let's," said all the boys, who immediately set out carrying stones and
piling them up to build the stove. There was plenty of wood about, and
when the fire was built, the raw potatoes that Harry had secretly
brought along were roasted, finer than any oven could cook them.
Mrs. Bobbsey and Aunt Sarah had spread the tablecloth on the grass, and
were now busy opening the baskets and arranging the places. There were
so many pretty little nooks to explore in the woods that Mrs. Bobbsey
had to warn the children not to get too far away.
"Are there giants?" Freddie asked.
"No, but there are very dark lonely places the woods and little boys
might find snakes."
"And bears!" put in Freddie, to which remark his mother said,
"perhaps," because there really might be bears in a woods so close to
FUN IN THE WOODS
"Dinner served in the dining car!" called Bert through the woods,
imitating the call of the porter on the Pullman car.
"All ready!" echoed the other boys, banging on an old boiler like the
Turks do, instead of ringing a bell.
"Oh, how pretty!" the girls all exclaimed, as they beheld the "feast in
the forest," as Nan put it. And indeed it was pretty, for at each place
was set a long plume of fern leaves with wood violets at the end, and
what could be more beautiful than such a decoration?
"Potatoes first!" Harry announced, "because they may get cold," and at
this order everybody broke the freshly roasted potatoes into the paper
napkins and touched it up with the extra butter that had come along.
"Simply fine!" declared Nan, with the air of one who knew. Now, my old
readers will remember how Nan baked such good cake. So she ought to be
an authority on baked potatoes, don't you think?
Next came the sandwiches, with the watercress Harry and Bert had
gathered before breakfast, then (and this was a surprise) hot
chocolate! This was brought out in Martha's cider jug, and heated in a
kettle over the boys' stone furnace.
"It must be fun to camp out," Mabel Herold remarked.
"Yes, just think of the dishes saved," added Mildred Manners, who
always had so many dishes to do at home.
"And we really don't need them," Nan argued, passing her tin cup on to
"Think how the soldiers get along!" Bert put in.
"And the firemen'" lisped Freddie, who never forgot the heroes of flame
Of course everybody was either sitting on the grass or on a "soft
stump." These latter conveniences had been brought by the boys for Aunt
Sarah and Mrs. Bobbsey.
"What's that!" exclaimed little Flossie, as something was plainly
moving under the tables cloth.
"A snake, a snake!" called everybody at once, for indeed under the
white linen was plainly to be seen the creeping form of a reptile.
While the girls made a run for safety the boys carefully lifted the
cloth and went for his snakeship.
"There he is! There he is!" shouted Tom Mason, as the thing tried to
crawl under the stump lately used as a seat by Mrs. Bobbsey.
"Whack him!" called August Stout, who, armed with a good club, made
straight for the stump.
"Look out! He's a big fellow!" Harry declared, as the snake attempted
to get upright.
The boys fell back a little now, and as the snake actually stood on the
tip of his tail, as they do before striking, Harry sprang forward and
dealt him a heavy blow right on the head that laid the intruder flat.
"At him, boys! At him!" called Jack Hopkins, while the snake lay
wriggling in the grass; and the boys, making good use of the stunning
blow Harry had dealt, piled on as many more blows as their clubs could
All this time the girls and ladies were over on a knoll "high and dry,"
as Nan said, and now, when assured that the snake was done for they
could hardly be induced to come and look at him.
"He's a beauty!" Harry declared, as the boys actually stretched the
creature out to measure him. Bert had a rule, and when the snake was
measured up he was found to be five feet long!
"He's a black racer!" Jack Hopkins announced, and the others said they
guessed he was.
"Lucky we saw him first!" remarked Harry, "Racers are very poisonous!"
"Let's go home; there might be more!", pleaded Flossie, but the boys
said the snake hunt was the best fun at the picnic.
"Goodness!" exclaimed Harry suddenly, "we forgot to let the pigeons
loose!" and so saying he ran for the basket of birds that hung on the
low limb of a pretty maple. First Harry made sure the messages were
safe under each bird's wing, then he called:
Snap! went something that sounded like a shot (but it wasn't), and then
away flew the pretty birds to take the messages home to John and
Martha. The shot was only a dry stick that Tom Mason snapped to imitate
a gun, as they do at bicycle races, but the effect was quite startling
and made the girls jump.
"It won't take long for them to get home!" said Bert, watching the
birds fly away.
"They'll get lost!" cried Freddie.
"No, they won't. They know which way we came," Nan explained.
"But they was shut up in the basket," argued Freddie.
"Yet they could see," Nan told him.
"Can pigeons see when they're asleep?" inquired the little fellow.
"Maybe," Nan answered.
"Then I'd like to have pigeon eyes," he finished, thinking to himself
how fine it would be to see everything going on around and be fast
"Oh, mamma, come quick!" called Flossie, running along a path at the
edge of the wood. "There's a tree over there pouring water, and it
isn't raining a drop!"
Everybody set out now to look at the wonderful tree, which was soon
discovered where Flossie had found it.
"There it is!" she exclaimed. "See the water dropping down!"
"A maple tree," Harry informed them, "and that sap is what they make
maple sugar out of."
"Oh, catch it!" called Freddie, promptly holding his cap under the
"It would take a good deal to make a sugar cake," Harry said, "but
maybe we can get enough of it to make a little cake for Freddie."
At this the country boys began looking around for young maples, and as
small limbs of the trees were broken the girls caught the drops in
their tin cups. It took quite a while to get a little, but by putting
it all together a cupful was finally gathered.
"Now we will put it in a clean milk bottle," Mrs. Bobbsey said, "and
maybe we can make maple syrup cake to-morrow."
"Let's have a game of hide-and-seek," Nan suggested.
In a twinkling every boy and girl was hidden behind a tree, and Nan
found herself "It." Of course it took a big tree to hide the girls'
dresses, and Nan had no trouble in spying Mildred first. Soon the game
was going along merrily, and the boys and girls were out of breath
trying to get "home free."
"Where's Roy?" exclaimed Tom Mason, the little boy's brother.
"Hiding somewhere," Bessie ventured, for it only seemed a minute before
when the little fat boy who was Freddie's companion had been with the
"But where is he?" they all soon exclaimed in alarm, as call after call
brought no answer.
"Over at the maple tree!" Harry thought.
"Down at the spring," Nan said.
"Looking for flowers," Flossie guessed.
But all these spots were searched, and the little boy was not found.
"Oh, maybe the giants have stoled him!" Freddie cried.
"Or maybe the children's hawk has took him away," Flossie sobbed.
Meanwhile everybody searched and searched, but no Roy could they find.
"The boat!" suddenly exclaimed Tom, making a dash for the pond that ran
along at the foot of a steep hill.
"There he is! There he is!" the brother yelled, as getting over the
edge of the hill Tom was now in full view of the pond.
"And in the boat," called Harry, close at Tom's heels.
"He's drifting away!" screamed Bert. "Oh, quick, save him!"
Just as the boys said, the little fellow was in the boat and drifting.
He did not seem to realize his danger, for as he floated along he ran
his little fat hand through the water as happily as if he had been in a
steam launch, talking to the captain.
"Can you swim?" the boys asked Bert, who of course had learned that
useful art long ago.
"She's quite a long way out," Tom said,
"But we must be careful not to frighten him. See, he has left the oars
here. Bert and I can carry one out and swim with one hand. Harry and
Jack, can you manage the other?"
The boys said they could, and quickly as the heaviest clothes could be
thrown off they were striking out in the little lake toward the baby in
the boat. He was only Freddie's age, you know, and perhaps more of a
baby than the good-natured Bobbsey boy.
"Sit still, Roy," called the anxious girl from the shore, fearing Roy
would upset the boat as the boys neared him. It was hard work to swim
and carry oars, but our brave boys managed to do it in time to save
Roy. For not a great way down the stream were an old water wheel and a
dam. Should the boat drift there what would become of little Roy?
Mrs. Bobbsey and Aunt Sarah were worrying over this as the boys were
making their way to the boat.
"Easy now!" called Bert. "Here we are," and at that moment the first
pair of swimmers climbed carefully into the boat, one from each side,
so as not to tip it over. Jack and Harry were not long in following,
and as the boys all sat in the pretty green rowboat with their white
under-clothing answering for athletic suits, they looked just like a
crew of real oarsmen.
"Hurrah, hurrah!" came shout after shout from the bank. Then as the
girls heard the rumble of wheels through the grove they all hurried off
to gather up the stuff quickly, and be ready to start as soon as the
boys dressed again. The wet under-clothing, of course, was carried home
in one of the empty baskets that Freddie ran back over the hill with to
save the tired boys the extra walk.
"Here they are! Here they are!" called the girls as the two little
fellows, Roy and Freddie, with the basket of wet clothes between them,
marched first; then came the two pairs of athletes who proved they were
good swimmers by pushing the heavy oars safely to the drifting boat.
"And all the things that happened!" exclaimed Flossie, as John handed
her into the hay wagon.
"That made the picnic lively!" declared, John, "and all's well that
ends well, you know." So the picnic was over, and all were happy and
tired enough to go to bed early that night, as Nan said, seeing the
little ones falling asleep in hay wagon on their way home.
FOURTH OF JULY
The day following the picnic was July third, and as the Meadow Brook
children were pretty well tired out from romping in the woods, they
were glad of a day's rest before entering upon the festivities of
"How much have you got?" Tom Mason asked the Bobbsey boys.
"Fifty cents together, twenty-five cents each," Harry announced.
"Well, I've got thirty-five, and we had better get our stuff early, for
Stimpson sold out before noon last year," concluded Tom.
"I have to get torpedoes for Freddie and Flossie, and Chinese fire-
crackers for Nan," Bert remarked, as they started for the little
country grocery store.
"I guess I'll buy a few snakes, they look so funny coiling out," Tom
"I'm going to have sky rockets and Roman candles. Everybody said they
were the prettiest last year," said Harry.
"If they have red fire I must get some of it for the girls," thoughtful
But at the store the boys had to take just what they could get, as
Stimpson's supply was very limited.
"Let's make up a parade!" someone suggested, and this being agreed upon
the boys started a canvass from house to house, to get all the boys
along Meadow Brook road to take part in the procession.
"Can the little ones come too?" August Stout asked, because he always
had to look out for his small brother when there was any danger like
"Yes, and we're goin' to let the girls march in a division by
themselves," Bert told him. "My sister Nan is going to be captain, and
we'll leave all the girls' parts to her."
"Be sure and bring your flag," Harry cautioned Jack Hopkins.
"How would the goat wagons do?" Jack asked.
"Fine; we could let Roy and Freddie ride in them," said Bert. "Tell any
of the other fellows who have goat teams to bring them along too."
"Eight o'clock sharp at our lane," Harry told them for the place and
time of meeting. Then they went along to finish the arrangements.
"Don't tell the boys," Nan whispered to Mildred, as they too made their
way to Stimpson's.
"Won't they be surprised?" exclaimed Mabel.
"Yes, and I am going to carry a real Betsy Ross flag, one with thirteen
stars, you know."
"Oh, yes, Betsy Ross made the first flag, didn't she?" remarked
Mildred, trying to catch up on history.
"We'll have ten big girls," Nan counted. "Then with Flossie as Liberty
we will want Bessie and Nettie for her assistants."
"Attendants," Mabel corrected, for she had seen a city parade like that
It was a busy day for everybody, and when Mr. Bobbsey came up on the
train from Lakeport that evening he carried boxes and boxes of
fireworks for the boys and girls, and even some for the grown folks
The girls could hardly sleep that night, they were so excited over
their part, but the boys of course were used to that sort of thing, and
only slept sounder with the fun in prospect.
"Are you awake, Bert?" called Harry, so early the next morning that the
sun was hardly up yet.
"Yep," replied the cousin, jumping out of bed and hastily dressing for
the firing of the first gun.
The boys crept through the house very quietly, then ran to the barn for
their ammunition. Three big giant fire-crackers were placed in the road
directly in front of the house.
"Be careful!" whispered Bert; "they're full of powder."
But Harry was always careful with fireworks, and when he touched the
fuses to the "cannons" he made away quickly before they exploded.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
"Hurrah!" shouted Freddie, answering the call from his window, "I'll be
All the others too were aroused by the first "guns," so that in a very
short time there were many boys in the road, firing so many kinds of
fire-crackers that Meadow Brook resounded like a real war fort under
"Ouch!" yelled Tom Mason, the first one to bum his fingers. "A sisser
caught me right on the thumb."
But such small accidents were not given much attention, and soon Tom
was lighting the little red crackers as merrily as before.
"Go on back, girls!" called Bert. "You'll get your dresses burnt if you
The girls were coming too near the battlements then, and Bert did well
to warn them off.
Freddie and Flossie were having a great time throwing their little
torpedoes at Mr. Bobbsey and Uncle Daniel, who were seated on the
piazza watching the sport. Snoop and Fluffy too came in for a scare,
for Freddie tossed a couple of torpedoes on the kitchen hearth where
the kittens were sleeping.
The boys were having such fun they could hardly be induced to come in
for breakfast, but they finally did stop long enough to eat a spare
"It's time to get ready!" whispered Nan to Bert, for the parade had
been kept secret from the grown folks.
At the girls' place of meeting, the coach house, Nan found all her
company waiting and anxious to dress.
"Just tie your scarfs loose under your left arm," ordered Captain Nan,
and the girls quickly obeyed like true cadets. The broad red-white-and-
blue bunting was very pretty over the girls' white dresses, and indeed
the "cadets" looked as if they would outdo the "regulars" unless the
boys too had surprises in store.
"Where's Nettie?" suddenly asked Nan, missing a poor little girl who
had been invited.
"She wouldn't come because she had no white dress," Mildred answered.
"Oh, what a shame; she'll be so disappointed! Besides, we need her to
make a full line," Nan said. "Just wait a minute. Lock the door after
me," and before the others knew what she was going to do, Nan ran off
to the house, got one of her own white dresses, rolled it up neatly,
and was over the fields to Nettie's house in a few minutes. When Nan
came back she brought Nettie with her, and not one of her companions
knew it was Nan's dress that Nettie wore.
Soon all the scarfs were tied and the flags arranged. Then Flossie had
to be dressed.
She wore a light blue dress with gold stars on it, and on her pretty
yellow curls she had a real Liberty crown. Then she had the cleanest,
brightest flag, and what a pretty picture she made!
"Oh, isn't she sweet!" all the girls exclaimed in admiration, and
indeed she was a little beauty in her Liberty costume.
"There go the drums!" Nan declared. "We must be careful to get down the
lane without being seen." This was easily managed, and now the girls
and boys met at the end of the lane.
"Hurrah! hurrah!" shouted the boys, beating the drums and blowing their
horns to welcome the girls.
"Oh, don't you look fine!" exclaimed Harry, who was captain of the
"And don't you too!" Nan answered, for indeed the boys had such funny
big hats on and so many flags and other red-white-and-blue things, that
they too made a fine appearance.
"And Freddie!" exclaimed the girls. "Isn't he a lovely Uncle Sam!"
Freddie was dressed in the striped suit Uncle Sam always wears, and had
on his yellow curls a tall white hat. He was to ride in Jack Hopkins'
"Fall in!" called Harry, and at the word all the companies fell in
"Cadets first," ordered the captain.
Then Flossie walked the very first one. After her came Nan and her
company. (No one noticed that Nettie's eyes were a little red from
crying. She had been so disappointed at first when she thought she
couldn't go in the parade.) After the girls came Freddie as Uncle Sam,
in the goat wagon led by Bert (for fear the goat might run away), then
fifteen boys, all with drums or fifes or some other things with which
to make a noise. Roy was in the second division with his wagon, and
last of all came the funniest thing.
A boy dressed up like a bear with a big sign on him:
He had a gun under his arm and looked too comical for anything.
It was quite warm to wear a big fur robe and false face, but under this
was Jack Hopkins, the bear Teddy, and he didn't mind being warm when he
made everybody laugh so.
"Right foot, left foot, right foot, forward march!" called Nan, and the
procession started up the path straight for the Bobbsey house.
"Goodness gracious, sakes alive! Do come see de childrens! Ha, ha! Dat
sure am a parade!" called Dinah, running through the house to the front
door to view the procession.
"Oh, isn't it just beautiful!" Martha echoed close at Dinah's heels.
"My!" exclaimed Mrs. Bobbsey; "how did they ever get made up so
"And look at Flossie!" exclaimed Aunt Sarah.
"And see Freddie!" put in Uncle Daniel.
"Oh, we must get the camera!" Mr. Bobbsey declared, while the whole
household, all excited, stood out on the porch when the parade
Such drumming and such tooting of fifes and horns!
Freddie's chariot was now in line with the front stoop, and he raised
his tall hat to the ladies like a real Uncle Sam.
"Oh, the bear! the bear!" called everybody, as they saw "Teddy" coming
"That's great," continued Uncle Daniel.
By this time Mr. Bobbsey had returned with the camera.
"Halt!" called Harry, and the procession stood still.
"Look this way. There now, all ready," said Mr. Bobbsey, and snap went
the camera on as pretty a picture as ever covered a plate.
"Right wheel! forward march!" called Nan again, and amid drumming and
tooting the procession started off to parade through the center of
A GREAT DAY
Never before had such a parade been seen in the little country place,
and all along the road cheer after cheer greeted our young friends, for
even the few old soldiers who lived in Meadow Brook enjoyed the
children's Fourth of July fun.
By lunch time the procession had covered all the ground planned, so
from the postoffice the cadets and regulars started back over the shady
And at home they found a surprise awaiting them!
Ice cream on the lawn for everybody in the parade.
Aunt Sarah and Uncle Daniel had set out all the garden benches, and
with the two kinds of ice cream made by Dinah and Martha, besides the
cookies and jumbles Aunt Sarah supplied, with ice-cold lemonade that
John passed around, surely the tired little soldiers and cadets had
"My goat almost runned away!" lisped Freddie. "But I held on tight like
a real fireman."
"And mine wanted to stop and eat grass in the middle of the big
parade," Roy told them.
"Now eat up your ice cream. Nettie, have some more? Jack, you surely
need two plates after carrying that bear skin," said Uncle Daniel.
The youngsters did not have to be urged to eat some more of the good
things, and so it took quite a while to "finish up the rations," as
Uncle Daniel said.
"They're goin' to shoot the old cannon off, father," Harry told Uncle
Daniel, "and we're all going over on the pond bank to see them, at
"They're foolish to put powder in that old cracked gun," remarked Uncle
Daniel. "Take care, if you go over, that you all keep at a safe
It was not long until three o'clock, and then when all the red-white-
and-blue things had been stored away for another year, the boys hurried
off to see Peter Burns fire the old cannon.
Quite a crowd of people had gathered about the pond bank, which was a
high green wall like that which surrounds a reservoir.
Peter was busy stuffing the powder in the old gun, and all the others
looked on anxiously.
"Let's go up in that big limb of the willow tree," suggested Bert. "We
can see it all then, and be out of range of the fire."
So the boys climbed up in the low willow, that leaned over the pond
"They're almost ready," Harry said, seeing the crowd scatter.
"Look out!" yelled Peter, getting hold of the long string that would
fire the gun.
Peter gave it a tug, then another.
Everybody held their breath, expecting to hear an awful bang, but the
gun didn't go off.
Very cautiously Peter stepped nearer the cannon to see what might be
the matter, when the next instant with a terrific report the whole
cannon flew up in the air!
Peter fell back! His hat seemed to go up with the gun!
"Oh, he's killed!" yelled the people.
"Poor Peter!" gasped Harry.
"He ought to know better!" said Mr. Mason.
"Father said that cannon was dangerous," Harry added.
By this time the crowd had surrounded Peter, who lay so still and
looked so white. The Bobbsey boys climbed down from the tree and joined
the others. "He's only unconscious from the shock," spoke up Mr.
Mason, who was leaning down very close to Peter. "Stand back, and give
The crowd fell back now, and some of the boys looked around to find the
pieces of cannon.
"Don't touch it," said Tom Mason, as a little fellow attempted to pick
up a piece of the old gun. "There might be powder in it half lighted."
Mrs. Burns had run over from her home at the report of the accident,
and she was now bathing Peter's face with water from the pond.
"He's subject to fainting spells," she told the frightened people, "and
I think he'll be all right when he comes to."
Peter looked around, then he sat up and rubbed his eyes.
"Did it go off?" he smiled, remembering the big report.
"Guess it did, and you went off with it," Mr. Mason said. "How do you
"Oh, I'll be all right when my head clears a bit. I guess I fainted."
"So you did," said Mrs. Burns, "and there's no use scolding you for
firing that old gun. Come home now and go to bed; you have had all the
fireworks you want for one day."
Quite a crowd followed Peter over to his home, for they could not
believe he was not in any way hurt.
"Let us go home," Harry said to his cousin. "We have to get all our
fireworks ready before evening."
The boys found all at home enjoying themselves. Freddie's torpedoes
still held out, and Flossie had a few more "snakes" left. Nan had
company on the lawn, and it indeed was an ideal Fourth of July.
"Look at the balloon!" called John from the carriage house. "It's going
to land in the orchard." This announcement caused all the children to
hurry up to the orchard, for everybody likes to "catch" a balloon.
"There's a man in it," John exclaimed as the big ball tossed around in
"Yes, that's the balloon that went up from the farmers' picnic," said
The next minute a parachute shot out from the balloon; and hanging to
it the form of a man could be seen.
"Oh, he'll fall!" cried Freddie, all excited. "Let's catch him--in
"He's all right," John assured the little boy. "That umbrella keeps him
from coming down too quickly."
"How does it?" Freddie asked.
"Why, you see, sonny, the air gets under the umbrella and holds it up.
The man's weight then brings it down gently."
"Oh, maybe he will let us fly up in it," Freddie remarked, much
"Here he comes! here he comes!" the boys called, and sure enough the
big parachute, with the man dangling on it, was now coming right down--
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