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Six Little Bunkers at Cousin Tom's By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 9662

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:03

Laddie Bunker looked up at his mother as she finished reading the letter. Then he shook his head and said:

"We can't go to Cousin Tom's!"

"Can't go to Cousin Tom's!" repeated his mother. "Why not, Laddie, my boy?"

"'Cause we're going to dig for gold here. Sammie Brown's father is a sea captain, and he has divers. He knows a lot about digging gold on desert islands, Sammie's father does, and we're going to make believe Aunt Jo's back yard is a desert island, and we're going to dig for gold there."

"But there isn't any," replied Mrs. Bunker, wanting to laugh, but not doing it, as she did not want to hurt Laddie's feelings.

"Well, we're going to dig, just the same," insisted Laddie. "We can go to Cousin Tom's after we find the gold."

"Oh, I see," said Mrs. Bunker with a smile. "Well, don't you think it would be nice to go to the seashore? There is plenty of sand there, and perhaps there may be a desert island, or something like that, near Cousin Tom's. Couldn't you dig for gold and treasure at the seashore?"

"Oh, maybe we could!" cried Laddie. "I guess that would be nice, Mother. I'll go and tell the others. We're going to Cousin Tom's! We're going to Cousin Tom's!" he sang joyously, as he raced back to where he had left Sammie Brown telling his story, and the other little Bunkers who wanted to dig for gold.

"I think it will be just lovely for the children at Cousin Tom's," said Mrs. Bunker to her husband, who came out to see if there were any letters for him. "They can play in the sand and never get a bit dirty."

"Yes, they can do that," said Mr. Bunker. "So Cousin Tom wrote, did he? Well, I suppose that means we will soon be leaving Aunt Jo's."

"I shall be sorry to see you go," said Aunt Jo herself-Miss Josephine Bunker, to give her complete name and title. She was Daddy Bunker's sister, and had never married, but she had a fine home in the Back Bay section of Boston, and the six little Bunkers, with their father and mother, had been spending some weeks there.

While Mr. and Mrs. Bunker are talking about the coming trip to the seashore, and while Laddie is hurrying back to tell his brothers and sisters the good news, there will be a chance for me to let my new readers hear something about the children who are to have the largest part in this story.

This book is complete in itself, but it forms one of a series about the six children, and the first volume is called "Six Little Bunkers at Grandma Bell's." In that I introduced the boys and girls.

First there was Russ, aged eight years. He had dark hair and eyes, and was very fond of whistling and making things to play with, such as an automobile out of a soap box or a steamboat out of a broken chair. Rose, who was next in size, was seven years old. She often helped her mother about the house and looked after the younger children. And that she was happy when she worked you could tell because she nearly always sang. Rose had light hair and blue eyes.

Vi, or Violet, was six years old. As you have noticed, she was very fond of asking questions, and she looked at you with her gray eyes until you answered. Laddie, her twin brother, was as persistent in making up queer little riddles as Vi was with her questions, and between the two they kept their father and mother busy.

Margy, or Margaret, was five years old, and almost as dark as a little Gypsy girl. Margy and Mun Bun usually played together, and they had a great deal of fun. Lest you might think "Mun Bun" was some kind of candy, I will say that it was the pet name of Munroe Ford Bunker, and it was shortened to Mun Bun as the other was too long to say. Mun Bun was rather small, even for his age of four years. He had blue eyes and golden hair and looked almost as I have an idea fairies look, if there are any real ones.

So there you have the six little Bunkers. When they were at home, they lived in the town of Pineville, on the Rainbow River. Mr. Bunker was a real estate dealer, whose office was about a mile from his home.

In the first book of the series I told you of a trip the Bunkers took to Grandma Bell's at Lake Sagatook, in Maine. Grandma Bell was Mrs. Bunker's mother, and in the Maine woods the children had so many good times that it was years before they forgot them. They had quite an adventure, too, with a tramp lumberman, who had a ragged coat, but I will not spoil that story by telling it to you here.

Before the Bunkers left Grandma Bell's they received an invitation to visit Aunt Jo in Boston, and they were at her Back Bay home when the present story opens.

There had been adventures in Boston, too, and the pocketbook which Rose found, with sixty-five dollars in it, was quite a mystery for a time. But, finally, the real owner was discovered, and very glad she was to get the money back.

"Well, we have had good times here at Aunt Jo's," said Mrs. Bunker to her husband, when they had read all the letters that had come in the mail. "And now it is time for us to go. I think we shall enjoy our stay at Cousin Tom's."

"It will be fine for the children," said their father.

"Yes, they are already counting on digging gold out of the sand," said Mrs. Bunker with a laugh. "Sammie Brown has been telling them some story about buried treasure his father found."

"Well, I believe that is a true story," said Mr. Bunker. "I heard my sister say something about Mr. Brown having been shipwrecked on an island once, and coming back with gold. But if we go to Cousin Tom's we shall have to begin packing soon, shall we not?" he went on.

"Yes," agreed his wife. "We are to leave about the middle of next week."

"We have been doing a great deal of traveling so far this summer," went on Mr. Bunker. "Here it is about the middle of August, and we have been at Grandma Bell's, at Aunt Jo's and we are now going to Cousin Tom's. I had a letter from Grandpa Ford, saying that he wished we'd come there."

"And my brother Fred is anxious to have us come out to his western ranch," said Mrs. Bunker. "If we accept all the invitations we shall be very busy."

So Mr. and Mrs. Bunker talked over the time of leaving, what they would need to take, and the best way of going. Meanwhile Laddie had run back to tell his brothers and sisters the good news.

"We're going to the real seashore!" he exclaimed. "It's down to Seaview where Cousin Tom lives, and we can dig for treasure there!"

"Can we really?" asked Violet. "What's treasure, Russ? Is any of it good to eat? And look at that robin! What makes him waggle his tail that way? And look at the cat! What's she lashing her tail so for?"

"Wait a minute, Vi!" cried Russ with a laugh. "You mustn't ask so many questions all to once."

"Treasure isn't good to eat!" said Laddie. "But if you find a lot of gold you can buy ice-cream sodas with it."

"Maybe the robin is flitting its tail to scare the cat," suggested Rose, who remembered Violet's second question.

"Well, I know why the cat is lashing her tail," said Russ. "Cats always do that when they think they're going to catch a bird. This cat thinks she's going to catch the robin. But she won't!"

"Why not?" asked Rose.

"'Cause I'm going to throw a stone at it-at the cat, I mean," explained Russ. He tossed a pebble at the cat, not hitting it, and the furry creature slunk away. The robin flew off, also, so it was not caught, at least not just then.

"I know a riddle about a robin!" said Laddie. "Only I can't think of it now," he added. "Maybe I shall after a while. Then I'll tell it to you. Go on, Sammie. Tell us more about how your father got the gold on the desert island."

"He dug for it," Sammie answered. "He and the other sailors just dug in the sand for it."

"With shovels?"

"No, they used big shells. It's easy to dig in the sand."

"Is sand the best place to dig for gold?" Rose wanted to know.

"I guess so," answered Sammie. "Anyhow there's always sand on a desert island, like that one where my father was."

"There's sand down at Cousin Tom's," put in Laddie. "I heard my mother say so. I'm going to dig for gold, and if I get a lot, Sammie, I'll send you some."

"I hope you find a big lot!" exclaimed the visiting boy with a laugh.

They talked over their hopes of finding treasure in the seashore sand, forgetting all about the soap bubbles they had been blowing.

"I'll be lonesome when you go away," said Sammie to Russ. "I like you Bunkers."

"And we like you," said Russ. "Maybe if we dig for gold down at Cousin Tom's, and can't find any, you'll come down and help us."

"Sure I will!" exclaimed Sammie, as if that would be the easiest thing in the world. "I'll ask my father the best way, and then I'll come down."

"Could you bring a diving suit?" asked Laddie. "Maybe the gold would be down on the bottom of the ocean, and we'd have to dive for it. Would your father let you take a diving suit?"

"No, I don't guess he would," said Sammie, shaking his head. "They are only for big men, and you have to have air pumped down to you all the while. It makes bubbles come up, and as long as the bubbles come up the diver is all right."

"Did a shark ever bite your father?" asked Rose.

"No, I guess not," Sammie answered. "Anyhow he never told me about it. But I must go now, 'cause it's time for my lunch. I'll come over after lunch and we can have some more fun."

Sammie said good-bye to the six little Bunkers and started down the side path toward the front gate of Aunt Jo's home. Hardly had he reached the sidewalk when Russ and the others heard him yelling:

"Oh, come here! Come here quick, and look! Hurry!"

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