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   Chapter 5 ALEXIS IS SPLASHED

Six Little Bunkers at Aunt Jo's By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 9490

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04


"Well, well! Oh, I'm so glad to see you! Now stand still, please, while I look at you to make sure you're all here!"

This is what Aunt Jo said as she stood smiling on the steps of her beautiful house in the fashionable Back Bay section of Boston. The six little Bunkers, with Daddy and Mother, had arrived in a big automobile that Mr. Bunker had engaged at the steamer dock. It needed a large machine to take the whole family, with their baggage, through the city. And when they had rung the bell Aunt Jo was waiting to answer it herself, as she expected her visitors.

"One, two, three, four, five, six!" she counted, pointing her finger, first at Russ, as he was the oldest, and ending with Mun Bun, who was the youngest. "All here! And I'm so glad to see you," she went on.

"And we're glad to see you!" added Daddy Bunker as he kissed his sister, for Aunt Jo was his sister, you remember. "I'm afraid you won't find room for us all."

"Oh, yes, I shall," said Aunt Jo, and she laughed and looked so jolly that the six little Bunkers loved her at once. "I've got lots of room in this big house," she went on.

Just then a big dog, the kind called a Great Dane, came stalking into the hall where the Bunker family was gathered. The dog seemed pleased when he saw the children, and wagged his tail.

"I can sleep with the dog if you haven't got room for me anywhere else," said Margy, as she went up to Alexis, which was the dog's name. "I did sleep with a dog on the boat, and he did love me and I did love him."

"Has you got a cat?" asked Mun Bun. "I want to love something, too," and he looked at Aunt Jo with big, round eyes.

"No," answered Daddy's sister, "I haven't a cat, but Alexis is large enough for all you six little Bunkers to love, I guess," and truly the Great Dane seemed so.

"What makes Alexis so big?" asked Vi.

"Because he's a Great Dane."

"What makes a Great Dane be so big?"

"Vi, Vi!" protested her mother. "Don't ask any more questions now."

"But come in and get your things off," went on Aunt Jo. "I'm keeping you standing in the hall as if I didn't have room for you inside. Come in, make yourselves at home and I'll have Parker hurry the lunch. You must be starved."

"We had breakfast, but it wasn't much," said Russ. "I guess it's on account of war times." Russ had really eaten a big breakfast, but, of course, that had been a long time before.

"Well, of course we must all help with the war," said Aunt Jo, "but I think Parker can give you enough to eat."

"Is Parker a cat?" asked Vi.

"Oh, no!" laughed Aunt Jo. "Parker is my cook. I call her by her last name instead of her first name, as it is the same as mine. Parker is a very good cook, you'll find."

"If Parker was a cat maybe I could think up a riddle about her," put in Laddie. "Anyhow, I know a new riddle, Aunt Jo."

"Do you? Well, I must hear it," she said, as she opened the door to the sitting-room.

"Oh, Laddie, can't you wait to ask riddles until we get our things off?" asked his mother.

"I-I'm afraid I might forget it," said the little boy. "It's a hard riddle."

"Well, let me hear it," said Aunt Jo with a laugh. "I used to be pretty good at guessing them."

"This is it," said Laddie. "I didn't make it up, but I asked one of the sailors on the steamer for a good riddle, and he told me this one. It's, 'What can you put in your left hand that you can't put in your right hand?' That's the riddle."

"Pooh! there can't be any answer to that," said Russ. "If you can put anything in your left hand you can put it in your right, too. Look!"

He took his knife from his pocket, and put it first in his right hand and then in his left.

"But I don't mean a knife," said Laddie. "'Tisn't what you can put in both hands, it's what you can't."

"Let me hear the riddle again," begged Aunt Jo.

"What can you put in your left hand that you can't put in your right?" asked Laddie. "It's awful hard-you'll never guess it," he went on, laughing at the puzzled look on Aunt Jo's face.

They all tried to guess the riddle-that is all except the smallest children-Mun Bun and Margy, and they were too much taken up with loving the dog Alexis. Aunt Jo tried several things, but she found she could put them in one hand as easily as she could in the other, so that couldn't be the answer.

"Do you give up?" asked Laddie.

"Yes," said his father, "we all give up. Tell us the answer."

"It's your right elbow," said the little boy with a laugh.

"Your right elbow?" cried Russ.

"Yes," Laddie went on. "Look! You can hold your right elbow in your left hand, but you can't put your right elbow in your right hand. Nobody can!"

And, surely enough, when they tried, no one could

do it. And you can quickly prove it for yourself to make sure Laddie was right. You can easily rest your right elbow in the palm of your left hand. But try to put your left elbow in your left hand, or the right elbow in the right hand, and see how hard it is.

"Well, that's a good riddle!" laughed Aunt Jo. "I shall have to put on my thinking cap when you ask me any more, Laddie."

"Oh, I know lots more riddles," cried Laddie eagerly. "Some I made up myself. I know one about why don't the railroad tickets get mad when the conductor punches 'em, but I never can think of an answer for that riddle."

"Well, a riddle isn't much fun unless you know the answer," agreed Aunt Jo. "And now I'll show you to your rooms, and you can get ready for lunch."

They went upstairs, Alexis following, for he seemed to like children. And the six little Bunkers certainly liked the big dog.

"Does he like dolls?" asked Rose, as she held her Sue close in her arms.

"Well, I never saw him bite any," said Aunt Jo.

"I don't want to put my doll down where he could get her if he would carry her off," went on the little girl.

"Would Alexis do that?" asked Vi.

"No, I don't believe Alexis would hurt the doll," said Aunt Jo. "Here, we will try him. Come to me, Alexis!" she called.

The dog managed to get away from Mun Bun and Margy, who were trying to see who could hug him the hardest, and he stood near his mistress.

"Do you see this doll, Alexis?" went on Aunt Jo, holding Sue out for him to see. "Look at her!"

"Bow-wow!" barked Alexis, and that meant: "Yes, I see her, what about it?"

"You must be very nice to her, and not chew her nor carry her off and put her in some hiding-place, as you do your bones," went on Aunt Jo. Alexis waved his big tail, sniffed at Rose's doll, and then barked again.

"He will never hurt your toy, Rose," said Aunt Jo. "You may safely leave her anywhere in the house."

"She's my best doll, and she's been lost in the woods and had lots of adventures," Rose said. "But I wouldn't like a dog to carry her off-'specially not such a big dog."

"Well, don't worry about Alexis," said Aunt Jo. "He won't hurt your Sue."

The visitors were shown to their different rooms, and their baggage was carried up so the children could change their clothes.

"Why do we have to change our clothes?" asked Vi.

"We want to put on some old things so we can have some fun," returned Russ.

"Can we sail a boat anywhere around here?" asked Laddie.

"I'm afraid not," said Aunt Jo. "You see this is a big city, and not the country, as at Grandma Bell's, where you have been staying. True, we are near the bay, but you couldn't very well sail boats there. I shall have to think up some other fun for you."

"We like fun," added Violet.

By this time Mun Bun and Margy had been fitted out with their "play clothes" as they called them; clothes that could not easily be soiled. Russ and Rose had dressed themselves, and Mrs. Bunker was seeing to Laddie and Violet.

"And when you're all ready I'll have Parker serve the lunch," said Aunt Jo. "If you'll just excuse me now, I'll run down and see about it," she added to her brother.

"Go ahead," said he. "We'll be right down."

"Can Alexis stay up here with us?" asked Mun Bun.

"Oh, yes, he likes to be with children," said Miss Bunker, for that really was Aunt Jo's name, she being Daddy Bunker's sister.

So Aunt Jo went downstairs to see that the cook got a nice lunch ready for the six little Bunkers.

Mr. and Mrs. Bunker, now that they had the children ready, could stop and "get their breaths," as Mother Bunker said. Really it is a good deal of work to look after six children.

"Come on!" called Daddy Bunker, when he had helped his wife put the baggage away in the rooms they were to have while at Aunt Jo's house. "Come down to lunch, children!"

Russ, Rose, Violet and Laddie came from the windows, out of which they had been looking at scenes in the street.

"Where is Mun Bun?" asked Mrs. Bunker.

"And Margy?" added her husband.

"I saw 'em a minute ago," answered Rose.

And just then, from down the hall, came strange sounds.

"Now it's my turn, Mun Bun! It's my turn to splash him!" shouted Margy.

"No, it's mine!" insisted her brother. "You splashed him a lot, an' I'm goin' to do it now. You let me pull it!"

"Oh, what are those children doing now?" asked Mrs. Bunker.

"I'll go and see," offered her husband.

And then, from a room down the hall, came the sound of splashing water and the barking of Alexis, the big dog, while Mun Bun could be heard calling:

"Let me pull it! Let me pull it! I want to splash him, too!"

"What are Mun and Margy Bunker doing?" asked Vi.

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