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   Chapter 2 SLEEPY.

Vacation with the Tucker Twins By Nell Speed Characters: 10041

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03

The mass of bed clothes and sweaters and shoes went through a great upheaval, and an arm, encased in a striped pajama sleeve, was thrust forth. We did what girls always do, we screamed and then we giggled.

"Gee, it's hot!" came in muffled tones. "It's hard enough to be waked before daybreak but you fellows might at least wake me like gentlemen and not pull me out of bed, keeping up such an infernal cackling, too, sounding like a lot of fool girls."

Of course, the thing to do was to get out of the room, or rather off the porch, as fast as we could, but, as Dee and I were at the foot of the bed and the floor space was occupied by the squirming mass, we had no chance to make a graceful exit.

A tousled head emerged and then a hot, fat, red face.-Page 19

"Jump!" came in a sibilant whisper from Dum, and we got ready for a feat not very difficult for two girls as athletic as we were; but a fit of giggles attacked us and we were powerless to do anything but cling to each other in limp helplessness.

"I'm afraid we would step on it," I managed to squeak out through my convulsions.

"I just dare you to!" spluttered the owner of the arm, and a tousled head emerged and then a hot, fat, red face. It was a rather good-looking face in spite of the fact that it was swollen with sleep and crimson with heat and distorted with rage at having been "awakened before dawn." I never expect again in all my life to see anything half so ludicrous as that boy's expression when it dawned on him that the rude awakening was not the work of his erstwhile companions, but of a lot of "fool girls." His eyes, half shut with sleep and blinking with the glare of unexpected daylight, were blinded for a moment, but as Dee and I still clung to each other and giggled, the youth's eyes began to widen and the mouth, sullen from heavy slumber, formed itself into a panic-stricken O. His face had seemed as red as a face could get, but, no! It took on several shades more of crimson until it was really painful to behold. He did the wisest thing he could possibly have done under the circumstances: hid his head and burrowed deep under the cover.

"Now, jump!" cried Dum; and jump we did, clearing the hurdle in great shape, and then we raced down to Mrs. Rand to tell her of our ridiculous predicament.

"Well, land's sake! Don't that beat all? And you was fixin' to gather him up with the s'iled clothes! 'Twould 'a' served him right if'n you had a-trunned him down the steps and let him take his chanct with the la'ndry." And the old woman laughed until her Mrs. Wiggs knot came down and she had to put down her scrubbing brush and twist it up. "I'm about through here and I'll go up and 'ten' to him."

"Oh, Mrs. Rand, I am sure he is up by this time, and the poor fellow is embarrassed enough. Don't say anything to him," begged Dee.

"I ain't so sho 'bout that. I spec it's the one they call 'Sleepy,' an' if'n it is, he's mo'n apt to be gone back to bed," and she stalked like a grenadier up the steps to rout out poor "Sleepy."

Two boys came up on the piazza as we turned from viewing the now spotless kitchen, and, caps in hand, asked to see Mrs. Rand. They were what that lady would have called a "likely pair." Both were dressed in white flannels and had the unmistakable look of clean-living athletes.

Mrs. Rand's voice was heard from the balcony as she rapped sharply on the dressing-room door:

"You, there! Git up! This ain't no tramps' hotel."

Then a growl came from the den as from a wounded, sore-headed bear.

"Sleepy!" gasped the boys, and they went off into roars of laughter in which we perforce joined them. "Not up yet!"

Mrs. Rand, coming down the steps from her valiant attack on the back sleeping porch, espied the laughing boys and renewed the offensive:

"Now what's bringing you here? This here cottage ain't yourn no longer. If'n youse after that fat sleepy-head up thar you is welcome to him, but what's the reason you didn't take him with you, I can't see."

"You see, Mrs. Rand, it's this way," said the taller of the two boys, approaching Mrs. Rand with an engaging smile. "We did wake up Sleepy and then piled all his clothes on top of him, thinking the weight and heat of them would make it impossible for him to sleep longer. We had to go get our tents pitched and provision our camp and we couldn't stay to see that our scheme worked. We are mighty sorry if it has caused you any trouble or annoyance."

"No trouble to me," and Mrs. Rand gave a snaggled-tooth smile at the polite young man, "but it was some trouble for these young ladies; which no doubt is the reason, these young ladies, I mean, that t'other young fellow is so busy winking at me about, kinder specting me to hand out a interduction. Well, as I'm what you might call chaperoon 'til their paw comes, I'll favor you and make you acquainted;" which she did with stiff formality. The tall boy was named James Hart, and the other one, the winker, Stephen White, but he was never again t

o be known as Stephen, or even Steve, for on and after that first day of July he was known as "Wink." Boys are quick to give a nickname and slow to relinquish a joke on one of their companions.

"Mrs. Rand," said Wink, (I'll begin now to call these boys by the names we soon knew them by,) "we simply hate to be a nuisance to you and to these young ladies but we can't provision our camp for the reason that we have lost all our money. I was almost sure I had put the money in my pocket, but now that I can't find it, I am hoping maybe I left it here somewhere."

"No, you didn't, young man. Th' ain't no money loose 'round here," and Mrs. Rand got ready for battle.

"Oh, the wallet!" we cried in chorus, and Dee rushed upstairs and came down in a trice bearing the wallet, watch, old cap and shoes.

"My, what a relief!" sighed Wink. "I am supposed to be the careful member of the crowd, so they intrusted me with all the funds, and this is the way I behaved. Your watch, Jim! I fancy your great-grandfather would turn in his grave if he knew how careless you were. And old Rags left his cap and shoes! I am glad I wasn't the only forgetter."

"Well, I'm a-thinking, young men, that it's a good thing this here cottage is owned by a respectable woman an' the July tenants is what they is, or you'd be minus some prop'ty. That there Sleepy up there come mighty near being bundled up in the s'iled linen an' sent to the la'ndry, an' if'n these young ladies hadn't a-been what they is yo' camp never would 'a' been provisioned. But now I must git to work an' clear out that there upstairs," and Mrs. Rand betook herself to the regions above.

"Please tell us about Sleepy," begged Jim Hart. "Did he get mixed up with the laundry?" But the Tuckers and I felt that poor Sleepy had had embarrassment enough and were mum as to our experience with him that morning.

"Come on, Jim, let's go up and see him. Maybe he is too shy to come out," and the two boys went up two steps at a time to rout out their embarrassed friend.

The bird had flown. There was no trace of the poor fat boy. The clothes which had filled the room were gone; the boy was gone; and only a hole in the sand below gave silent witness to his manner of flight.

"Well, poor Sleepy, if he hasn't jumped off the porch and gone, bag and baggage! He almost dug a well in the process of going. That was some jump, I can tell you," and Jim and Wink came down in a broad grin.

"What is Sleepy's real name?" I asked.

"George Massie, a perfectly good name, and he is the best old fellow in the world, especially when he is asleep, which he is on long stretches. In fact, most of the time, except in football season, and then you bet he is awake and up and doing. He is on the University Eleven and is sure to be captain next year," answered Jim.

I was rather glad to hear of his prowess in football as it meant that the poor, sleepy boy could take care of himself if his companions teased him too much in their anxiety to hear what had occurred. A centre rush on a college eleven does not have to submit to much teasing.

"We are certainly obliged to you ladies for your kindness in finding our belongings, and when we get our camp in order we hope you will come to see us. We understand there is to be quite a party of you," said Wink, preparing to depart.

"Yes, besides Miss Cox, our chaperone, there are to be two more girls with us for the whole month and our father is to bring down week-end parties from Richmond. We are to have some boys for part of the time but we can't stand them as steady things," blundered Dum.

"Well, come on, Jim, we don't want to get in bad the first thing. To become popular with this young lady we must make ourselves scarce," and they went gaily off, while we returned to assist Mrs. Rand until our luggage arrived. When it came, we unpacked at once, and then were ready for the lunch which we had brought with us from Richmond.

We had a busy afternoon visiting the little shops, laying in our housekeeping supplies and interviewing the swarm of hucksters and fish mongers that sprang up like magic the moment the word had gone forth that a new tenant had arrived. Our cook was not to come until the next day so we were very cautious in ordering, being well aware of our limitations in the culinary art. Dum wanted to have baked, stuffed red snapper the first night because Zebedee was so fond of it, but Dee and I vetoed it and we got Spanish mackerel to broil instead.

"We simply live on fish at the beach. I hope you like it, Page," said Dee, "because you fare pretty badly down here if you don't."

"Of course I do; and I am going to eat a lot of it so I can become fishy and learn to swim. It is a terrible mortification to me that I can't swim."

"Why, honey, Zebedee can teach you in one lesson, just so you are not timid," and Dee put her arm around me. "There is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. You could hardly have learned to swim in your grandfather's hat-tub."

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