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   Chapter 4 IN BOSTON

Six Little Bunkers at Aunt Jo's By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 9271

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04

Daddy Bunker and Mother Bunker were used to having things happen to the six little Bunkers. Not that they liked to have things happen-that is, unpleasant things-but the father and the mother knew they could not travel around with half a dozen children and not find a bit of trouble now and then.

And now trouble had come! Margy was not to be found!

"I'm sure she came on the boat with us," said Daddy Bunker.

"Yes, I know that," said his wife, as she looked quickly around the deck. "I saw her with the rest not a minute ago."

"Then where can she have gone?" asked Mr. Bunker. "As the steamer has not moved away from the dock, maybe she ran back to shore to get something, or look at something."

"Why'd Margy go away?" asked Vi.

"Margy is too little to go off by herself," said Mrs. Bunker.

"Do you mean some one took her-maybe a gypsy?" asked Russ.

"Oh, dear!" exclaimed Rose. "Are there gypsies here?"

"Nonsense! Of course not!" answered Mr. Bunker, seeing that what Russ had said might frighten the children. "No one has taken Margy. Maybe she is just playing hide-and-go-seek!"

Mr. Bunker didn't really believe Margy was doing this, but he said it to make the children feel better.

"You take the children down to the stateroom," said Mr. Bunker to his wife, "and I'll look for Margy. I'll find her in a jiffy, which is very quick time, indeed," he told the children. "Run along now, Mun Bun, and you too, Vi and Laddie. Rose, you go with your mother and help take care of Mun Bun."

"Shall I come with you, Daddy?" asked Russ.

"Yes," answered Mr. Bunker, "you may come with me, Russ. You can run faster than I can, and if we find Margy playing tag with some of the other little boys and girls on the steamer you can catch her more easily than I can."

Mr. Bunker said this for fun. He didn't really think Margy was playing tag. But he had to say something so the others would not be frightened. And, to tell the truth, Mr. Bunker was a little bit frightened himself, and so was his wife.

"Where do you suppose Margy can be?" Mrs. Bunker asked her husband, as she started down the stairs for the staterooms, or bedrooms, where they were to spend the night.

"Oh, she's around somewhere," he answered. "She may be watching the men load the steamer." Boxes and barrels were still being put into the hold, or "cellar," of the steamer, which would soon start for Boston. Margy, from the upper deck, might have seen this work going on, and have stepped out of sight to watch.

"Come on, Russ, we'll find her," said Mr. Bunker.

Many people were now coming on board the steamer. There were some boys and girls, and certainly a number of them were tired and sleepy. As Mrs. Bunker went down the stairs with the four little Bunkers, she looked at every other child she saw, hoping it might be Margy. But she did not see her smallest daughter.

Russ and his father walked around the upper deck. They met several men who worked on the steamer, and asked them if they had seen a little girl about five years old, with dark hair and eyes, for that is how Margy looked.

Each of the men Mr. Bunker asked said he had not seen the little lost girl, and then Mr. Bunker said:

"Well, Russ, we'll go down on the next deck. Maybe she is there."

There were several decks to the steamer, just as there are several floors in a large house. Russ and his father went downstairs, and as they started to look on the lower deck they met a man who had shiny gold braid on the sleeves of his coat, and also on his cap.

"Are you looking for some one?" asked this man, who was a mate, or helper, to the captain.

"We are looking for my little girl," said Mr. Bunker. "She has wandered away since we came on board."

"Was she a very little girl?" asked the mate.

"Rather small," answered Daddy Bunker.

"And did she have dark hair?"

"Yes!" exclaimed Russ eagerly. "Oh, have you seen her? She's my sister Margy."

"Well, I just happened to pass a stateroom, where I chance to know no little girl belongs on this trip. The door was open, and I looked in," went on the mate. "On the bunk, which is what we call the beds on a steamer," he told Russ, "I saw a little girl with dark hair curled up in a heap. She seemed to be asleep, and there was a little white poodle dog with her."

"A little white poodle dog!" exclaimed Mr. Bunker. "Then I'm afraid it can't be my little girl. We have no white poodle dog."

"Maybe Margy found one, Daddy, and that's why she didn't come with us," said Russ.

"Better take a look at this little girl," went on the mate. "She seems to be all alone in th

is stateroom, and she may be yours."

"We'll look," said Mr. Bunker. "But I hardly think it can be Margy."

He followed the mate, holding Russ by the hand so the little boy would not get lost, though Russ was almost too big for this.

"Here she is," said the mate, as he came to a stop at an open door of a stateroom. And there, on the clean, white bunk, curled up with one arm around a white poodle dog was a little girl, whose dark hair mingled with the white coat of the poodle.

"Oh, it is Margy!" exclaimed Russ.

"Yes, so it is," said Mr. Bunker. "Thank you," he added to the captain's helper. "Now we are all right. We have found our lost little girl."

"I was wondering to whom she belonged," said the mate. "And I was going to tell the captain about her. Now I won't have to."

When Mr. Bunker and Russ went into the room, the little poodle dog raised up his head, opened one eye, and wagged his little stump of a tail, as if he were saying:

"It's all right. You don't need to worry. I'm taking care of Margy and she's taking care of me."

And it was Margy asleep in the bunk! Poor, tired, sleepy little Margy Bunker.

"My dear little girl," said Daddy Bunker softly, as he took her up in his arms. "We were so worried about you. Where have you been?"

"I-I founded a little dog," said Margy sleepily, as she put her head down on her father's shoulder. "He was a little white dog an' I loved him an' I went with him an' we went to-went to-we--"

And then Margy herself went to where she was trying to tell her daddy she had gone-to sleep.

"We'll ask her about it in the morning," said Mr. Bunker. "I'll carry her to her mother now, so she won't be anxious any more."

Margy was in slumberland once more, and so was the little white poodle dog. He just looked up, with one eye, when he saw Mr. Bunker carrying his little girl away, and then doggie went to sleep again also.

"Aren't you glad we found Margy?" asked Russ, as he walked back with his father to where Mrs. Bunker and the other children were waiting.

"Indeed I am," said Margy's daddy.

"Where was she?" asked Mrs. Bunker, as she saw her lost little girl.

"She had wandered into some other stateroom, and had gone to sleep," Mr. Bunker answered.

"And the little poodle dog was asleep with her," added Russ.

"Where's the little poodle dog?" demanded Laddie, who was almost asleep himself.

"Oh, we couldn't bring him," Russ said. And then his father told how Margy had been found.

The little girl was still too sleepy to talk, so her mother undressed her and put her to bed.

"We can ask her in the morning what happened," she said.

Now the six little Bunkers were together again, and happy once more, and Mr. and Mrs. Bunker were no longer worried. They all went to bed, and then the steamer traveled through the night, getting to Boston the next day.

The children were awake early, and when they were dressed they went out on deck. They had breakfast on board, in the big dining-saloon.

"When shall we get to Aunt Jo's?" asked Rose, as she helped her mother pick up some of the things the other children had scattered about the stateroom.

"We'll be there in time for dinner," said Mr. Bunker. "But we haven't yet heard what happened to Margy. Why did you go to sleep in the strange bed?" he asked his little girl.

"'Cause I wanted the doggie," she answered. And then she told how it had happened, though they had to ask her many questions to get the whole story.

Soon after coming on board the steamer Margy, walking a little distance apart from the other little Bunkers, had seen the white poodle dog running about the deck. She made friends with him, and when the dog, who belonged to an elderly lady passenger, went off by himself, Margy followed.

The poodle went into the stateroom where his mistress was to sleep, and jumped up on the bed. Margy did the same thing, and then they both fell asleep. Through the open door the mate saw them and then Mr. Bunker came and got his little girl.

"But you mustn't do it again, Margy," he said.

"No, Daddy. I won't," she promised. "But he was an awful nice little dog."

"Could we have him?" Mun Bun wanted to know, for they had seen the white poodle running about the deck that morning.

"Oh, no," replied Mrs. Bunker. "We're going to Aunt Jo's, and she may have a dog herself."

"That'll be fun!" laughed Margy. "I likes a dog!"

"Has Aunt Jo a dog, really?" asked Vi.

"Well, maybe," returned her mother.

A little later the six little Bunkers were riding through the Boston streets on their way to Aunt Jo's house.

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