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   Chapter 3 ON THE BOAT

Six Little Bunkers at Cousin Tom's By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 9636

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:03


"What is it? What's the matter?" cried Rose, as she hurried after her brother, who started to run toward Sammie Brown.

"I don't know," Russ answered. "But something has happened!"

"Maybe Sammie found the treasure," suggested Laddie. "Oh, wouldn't that be great? Then we wouldn't have to dig for it down in the sand at Cousin Tom's!"

"Pooh! there couldn't be no treasure out in front of Aunt Jo's house," exclaimed Violet, not being quite so careful of her words as she should have been.

By this time Russ and Rose were in the front yard, but they could not see Sammie, because between the yard and the street were some high bushes, and the shrubbery hid Sammie from sight.

"What's the matter?" asked Rose.

"What happened?" Russ wanted to know.

"A policeman has arrested a big bear!" cried Sammie. "Come on and see it! The policeman has the bear, an' there's a man with gold rings in his ears, and he's got a red handkerchief on his neck, or maybe that's where the bear scratched him, and there's a big crowd and-and-everything!"

Words failed Sammie. He had to stop then.

"Oh-a-a bear!" gasped Rose.

She and Russ, followed by the rest of the six little Bunkers, hurried out to Aunt Jo's front gate. There they saw just what Sammie had said they would-a policeman had hold of a long cord which was fastened about the neck of a bear. And there was an excited man with a red handkerchief tied about his throat, and he had gold rings in his ears. He was talking to the policeman, and there was a crowd of men and children and a few women about the bear, the policeman, and the other man, who seemed to be the bear's owner.

"What happened?" asked Russ of a boy whom he knew, and who lived a few doors from Aunt Jo's house.

"I don't know," was the answer. "I guess the bear bit somebody though, and the policeman arrested it."

"No, that wasn't it," said another boy. "The bear broke into a bake shop and ate a lot of pies. That's why the policeman is going to take it to the station house."

"Here comes the patrol wagon!" some one else cried, and up the street dashed the automobile from the precinct station house, its bell clanging loudly.

"Get in!" the six little Bunkers heard the policeman say to the man with the red handkerchief around his neck. "Get in, you and the bear! I'll teach you to come around here!"

"Oh, maybe the bear bit the policeman," half whispered Rose.

"No, my dears," said Aunt Jo, who, with Mother Bunker, had come out to see what the excitement was about and why the six little Bunkers had run so fast around the side of the house. "Nothing much at all happened, my dears," said Aunt Jo. "But in this part of Boston, at least, they don't allow performing bears in the streets. That is why the policeman is taking this one away. The man, who is an Italian, led his tame bear along the street and started to have the animal do tricks. But we don't allow that in this Back Bay section."

"Will he shoot the bear?" asked Mun Bun breathlessly.

"Oh, no," said Aunt Jo with a laugh. "The poor bear has done nothing, and his master did not know any better than to bring him here. They will just make them go to another part of the city, where, perhaps, performing bears are not objected to. Whether they allow them anywhere in Boston or not, I can't say. But he will be taken away from here."

The automobile patrol, with the bear and man in charge of the policeman, rumbled away. The crowd waited a little while, and then, as nothing more seemed likely to happen, it began to scatter.

"I'm glad we saw it," said Russ, as he turned back into the yard.

"So'm I," added Laddie. "It's 'most as much fun as digging for gold. Say, Russ, I hope we find some, don't you?"

"I sure do! I wish we were at Cousin Tom's right now. I want to start digging for that treasure."

"Don't be too sure of finding any," said Mother Bunker, who heard what her two little boys were saying. "Many persons dig for gold but never get any."

"Oh, we'll get some," declared Russ, and if you read this book through you will find out that what Russ said came true.

After supper that evening, when they had finished talking about the bear that had been arrested, Laddie and Vi wanted to go out into the yard and start digging.

"Oh, no," said their mother. "You have been washed and dressed, and digging will get you dirty again. Better wait until to-morrow."

"I thought we were going to start to pack to-morrow to go to Cousin Tom's," remarked Rose.

"So we are, but I guess you'll have time to dig for a little gold," returned Mother Bunker with a laugh. "Though that doesn't mean you will find any," she went on with another laugh.

The next day Laddie and Vi did start to dig in a place where Aunt Jo said it would do no harm to turn over the groun

d.

"Though if there is a golden treasure in my yard I never knew it," she said. "But dig as much as you like."

"I-I just thought of a riddle," said Laddie, as he and Vi started out.

"Let me hear it," suggested Aunt Jo.

"What is it that's so big you can't put it in anything?" he asked. "That's the riddle. What is it that's so big you can't put it in anything in this world?"

"The ocean," answered Rose, who came along just then.

"Nope!" and Laddie shook his head.

"Well, the ocean is terrible big," Violet stated.

"Yes, it is," agreed Laddie. "But that isn't the answer to my riddle."

"Do you mean the sky?" asked Russ. "That's big, too."

"That isn't the answer," said Laddie. "I'll tell you, 'cause you never could guess it. It's a hole that you dig. You can dig one so big that you couldn't put it in anything. Not even the biggest box that ever was. Isn't that a good riddle?"

"Yes, it's pretty good," agreed Russ; and he commenced to whistle a merry tune. "But you could fill a small box with some dirt, and dig a little hole in that, and you'd have a hole in a box," he added, after a moment.

"Yes, but the answer to my riddle is a big hole," said Laddie. "Now come on out and dig!"

"How big a hole are you going to dig?" Vi wanted to know.

"Oh, not the kind in my riddle," replied her brother. "We'll just dig a little one and make believe we're after treasure."

Of course I need not tell you that Laddie and Violet did not find any. Treasure doesn't usually grow in Boston back yards. But the children had fun, and that was best of all.

During the next few days there was much packing of trunks and valises to do, for the six little Bunkers were getting ready to go to Cousin Tom's at Seaview. This was a place on the New Jersey coast, and none of the Bunkers had ever been there. For Cousin Tom had been only recently married to a very pretty girl, named Ruth Robinson. Cousin Tom and his bride had stopped to pay a visit to Daddy and Mother Bunker when the young couple were on their honeymoon trip, and then Cousin Tom and his wife had said that as soon as they were settled in their new seashore home the Bunkers must come to see them.

"And now we are going," said Mother Bunker, on the morning of the day they were to leave Aunt Jo's. The last trunk had been locked and sent away, and the family of travelers was soon to take the train from Boston to Fall River. There they would get on a boat that would take them to New York, and from New York they could go on another boat to Atlantic Highlands, in New Jersey. Then they would take a train down the coast to Seaview.

"Well, I certainly shall miss you!" said Aunt Jo, as she kissed the big and little Bunkers good-bye. "And I hope, children, that you find lots of treasure in the sand."

"We'll dig deep for it," said Laddie. "Did you hear my riddle, Aunt Jo, about what's so big you can't put it in anything?"

"Yes, dear, I heard it."

"The answer is a big hole," went on Laddie, lest his aunt might have forgotten.

"I remember," she said with a laugh.

The trip to Fall River was not a very long one, and the six little Bunkers, who looked out of the windows at the sights they saw, hardly realized it when they were told it was time to get off the train.

"Where do we go now?" asked Rose, as she helped her mother by carrying a package in one hand and holding to Margy with the other. Rose was a real "mother's helper" that day.

"We go on the boat now," said Daddy Bunker. "And I want you children to be very careful. We are going to ride on the boat all night, and we shall be in New York in the morning."

"Shall we sleep on the boat?" asked Laddie.

"Yes, we'll have cute little beds to sleep in," said Mother Bunker.

A half hour later they were on one of the big Fall River boats that make nightly trips between New York and the Massachusetts city. The Bunkers were shown to their state-rooms. They had three large apartments, with several bunks, or beds, in each one, so there would be plenty of room.

They had their supper on the boat, and then they went out on deck in the evening. There were many sights new and strange to the children, and they looked eagerly at each one. Then it grew dark, and it was decided that the time had come for little folks to "turn in," and go to sleep.

Laddie, who with Russ and his father shared a room together, was looking from the window of the stateroom, out into the dark night, when he suddenly cried out:

"Oh, there's going to be a big thunder storm! I just saw the flash of lightning!"

"Are you sure it was lightning?" asked Mr. Bunker with a smile. "I didn't hear any thunder."

"There it is again!" cried Laddie, and this time a ray of bright, white light shone in the window, full in Laddie's face.

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