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The Bobbsey Twins at Cedar Camp By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 10078

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:03

Very still and quiet it was in the home of the Bobbsey twins. There was hardly a sound-that is, of course, except that made by four figures tiptoeing around through the halls and different rooms.

"Hush!" suddenly exclaimed Bert Bobbsey.

"Hush!" echoed his sister Nan.

They were two of the twins.

Again came the shuffling noise made by tiptoeing feet on the front stairs.

"Quiet now, Flossie and Freddie!" whispered Bert. "Go easy, and don't make a racket!"

He turned toward Nan, who was carrying something in a paper that rattled because of its stiffness.

"Can't you be quieter?" asked Bert.

"It isn't me-it's this paper," Nan answered. "I should have taken some of the tissue kind."

"I wish you had," Bert went on. "But it's too late now. We're almost there. As soon as we get everything hidden it will be all right."

Suddenly there was a sound behind Bert and Nan as though someone were choking. It was followed by a smothered laugh.

"What's that?" asked Bert in a sharp whisper. "Do you want to have everybody in the house down here seeing what we're doing? Who did that?"

He spoke a bit sharply, in a tense whisper, but his voice was not really cross. It was as though Bert were the leader of some secret band of soldiers or of Indians, and wanted the men to do just as he had told them.

"Who did that?" he asked again.

"I-I guess I did," answered the voice of his little sister Flossie.

"What did you do?" asked Nan. "You must try to be quiet, dear, else our fun will be spoiled. Better take sister's hand."

"Holdin' your hand won't do any good," answered Flossie, and though she tried to talk in a whisper it was rather a loud one. "Your hand can't stop makin' me sneeze," Flossie went on. "Can it?"

"Oh, did you sneeze, dear?" asked Nan, who, since she and Bert were "growing up," felt that she must take a little more motherly care of Flossie.

"Yes, I did sneeze," Flossie answered. "An' maybe I'll sneeze more again. I feel so, anyhow."

"Don't you dare!" exclaimed Bert.

"She didn't sneeze! Not a reg'lar sneeze!" declared Freddie, who was carrying a cigar box. Did I mention that Freddie and Flossie were the other pair of Bobbsey twins? I meant to, anyhow.

"If she didn't sneeze, what did she do?" asked Nan.

"I did sneeze!" insisted Flossie.

"You did not!" asserted Freddie. "You--"

"Hush! Hush!" cautioned Bert. "You'll spoil everything!"

But Freddie was not to be shut off in that way. He came to a stop in the hall, along which the two pairs of twins were tiptoeing their way through the house, and in the half-darkness, for the light was turned low, he pointed his fat, chubby forefinger at Flossie, holding, the while, his cigar box under his other arm.

"She did not sneeze-not a reg'lar, full, fair sneeze!" he declared. "She put her hand over her mouth an' she choked, an' she made more noise 'n if she had sneezed. Guess I know what she done!"

"Did, dear! Did!" corrected Nan. "You must use right words now that you are in regular classes at school and are out of the kindergarten. Did-not done."

"Well, Flossie did snort and she did not done sneeze," went on the fat little "fireman," as his father sometimes called him.

"I-I could 'a' sneezed if I'd wanted to," said Flossie. "Only I've an awful loud sneeze, I have. It's louder'n yours, Freddie Bobbsey."

"'Tis not!" declared Freddie. "You wait till I tickle my nose, an' I'll sneeze an' I'll show you! I'll show you who can sneeze loudest!"

"No, you will not!" said big brother Bert kindly, but firmly. "You two youngsters must keep quieter, or we can't do what we're going to do. Nan and I will take you back upstairs and mother will make you go to bed! There!"

This was such a dreadful threat, especially as Flossie and Freddie had been allowed to stay up past their regular bedtime hour on their promise to be good, that they at once quieted down.

With Bert and Nan in the lead, the smaller Bobbsey twins followed their older brother and sister. Bert reached a door opening into a large closet near the kitchen. It was in this closet that the children were to hide the things they were carrying, and why they were going to do this you will soon learn.

But just as Bert was about to open the closet door, Flossie gave a little wriggle, and, pulling her hand away from Nan-the hand that did not hold a package-the little Bobbsey girl whispered:

"It-it's goin' to be some more, Nan!"

"What is, dear?"

"My-my ker-snee--!"

The rest was a sort of gurgle, choke, and cough mingled with a sneeze. Flossie had covered her mouth and nose with one hand, and thus tried not to make as much noise as she otherwise would.

"Say! everything will be spoiled," declared Bert. "I never saw such children! We ought to 'a' made them hide their things this afternoon!"

"Flossie can't help it," said Nan kindly. "Maybe she is catching cold. I must tell mother to give her some medicine."

"'Tisn't cold," declared Flossie. "It's some dust got up my nose. There wa

s dust in the closet where Freddie made me crawl to get him a cigar box."

"What did he want of a cigar box?" asked Nan.

"Don't tell!" cautioned Freddie. "You promised you wouldn't tell, Flossie Bobbsey!"

"All right, I won't," she promised. "Anyhow, I don't know, 'cause you didn't tell me. But I got him a box, an' it was dusty an' it makes me sneeze an'--"

"That's enough of this sneezing!" declared Bert. "Let's hide what we have and get out. Dinah's in the kitchen now, and if she hears us scuffling around she'll open the door and see us and she'll think something is going to happen."

"Well, something is going to happen," whispered Nan, with a smile. But you could not see the smile because it was rather dark in the hall. "To-morrow is Dinah's birthday, and, oh! won't she be surprised?"

"She'll be more surprised," said Freddie, though neither Bert nor Nan knew just what he meant just then. Later they did.

True enough, it was the birthday of Dinah Johnson, the fat, jolly, good-natured colored cook of the Bobbsey family, which included the four twins. Dinah's birthday was always celebrated, especially by the twins, who always brought out their presents as a sort of surprise.

This time they were bringing them down from their rooms the night before the birthday, to hide the things in a big closet near the kitchen.

Thus the gifts would be ready the first thing in the morning, to give to Dinah at the breakfast table, when daddy would call her in from the kitchen to be surprised.

It was Bert's plan thus to hide the things ahead of time, and Flossie and Freddie, of course, had begged to be allowed to take part.

"I guess she didn't hear anything," said Bert, after listening a moment, for Dinah was still in the kitchen, finishing her day's work. "The door's shut," Bert added. "Now then," he went on, after a pause, "let's hide our things and go back upstairs. Pass yours to me, Nan."

The older Bobbsey girl did so, and just as Bert had put away his present and hers, there was a loud sound behind him.

"What's that?" sharply whispered Bert.

"It was Freddie," answered Flossie. "An' he didn't sneeze-not at all."

"I stumbled," answered Freddie. "I'm sorry!"

"Well, it's too late for that. But I guess Dinah didn't hear," Bert said, listening a moment. "Pass me your present, Freddie, and I'll hide it with mine."

"I'll hide it myself," said the little fellow, and he made his way to the closet, squirming between Nan and Flossie.

"Oh, well, do as you please," Bert agreed. And thus it was that none of the others saw Freddie put two packages in the closet instead of one. One package was his regular present for Dinah. The other was--

But just a moment, if you please. I want to tell this story as it should be told.

Anyhow, Freddie slipped two packages into the closet without letting Bert see him. One package was a cigar box, tied with a string, and a queer scratching noise seemed to come from within it.

"There! Now everything is hid," said Bert, when Flossie's package had been put on the shelf. "Now I'll lock the door, for mother gave me the key, and Dinah can't open it. In the morning we'll give out the birthday presents."

The Bobbsey twins thought that morning would never come, but it did at last, and Dinah knew nothing of their secrets, they felt sure. With eagerness the four children assembled at the breakfast table.

"Call Dinah in, Daddy, and let us give her the things," begged Nan.

"I want to give mine first!" insisted Freddie.

"And me next," said Flossie.

Fat Dinah came waddling in, her face all smiles.

"I 'clar to goodness! Whut's gwine on now?" she asked. "Did I forgots to make de coffee, or am de toast burned?"

Dinah pretended to be very much alarmed, but I think she knew why she had been called in. At least she knew something of what was going to happen, but not all. She must have known it was her birthday, and the children always gave her something on such occasions.

"Dinah, please sit down a moment," said Mr. Bobbsey, trying not to smile. "I think Freddie has something to say to you."

"I-I got something to give you, Dinah!" cried the little fellow, hurrying out to the closet, which Bert had unlocked.

"Bress yo' heart, honey lamb! Has yo' got suffin' fo' ole Dinah?" she asked with a kind smile.

"You-you'll be s'prised," said Freddie, as he handed the fat black cook a cigar box, tied with string.

"Why, Freddie!" exclaimed Nan. "That isn't your present! Yours is wrapped in blue paper. Don't you remember? I wrapped it up for you."

"I'll give Dinah that present in a minute!" said Freddie, his eyes shining. "I have two for her!"

"Bress his heart!" murmured the cook, as she fumbled with the string.

A moment later it came off, and as the cover of the box flew open out jumped a fat little gray mouse!

"Oh, my! Oh, mah good lan'!" screamed Dinah. "Oh, a mouse! A mouse!" and she jumped up in such a hurry that she knocked over the chair on which she had been sitting.

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