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   Chapter 7 A SAD LETTER

Six Little Bunkers at Aunt Jo's By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 9436

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04


April fool was something Mrs. Bunker had not thought of as she looked at the pocketbook lying on the sidewalk. As Rose had said, it did seem to have money in it, but perhaps it might be stuffed with paper.

Then, too, there might be a string tied to the wallet, and boys, hidden somewhere near, might pull on the string and yank the pocketbook away just as soon as any one stooped over to pick it up. Still Mrs. Bunker said to Rose:

"This is too late for April fool. This is August, and no boys would think of playing such tricks now."

"Maybe not, Mother," Rose agreed. "I just thought maybe that was what it was there for. But I'll pick it up. I hope it's got a lot of money in it!"

With shining eyes Rose stooped to pick up the purse.

"Open it, Rose, and see what is inside," said Mrs. Bunker. "We may find out the name of the owner, and, if she lives around here-for it looks like a lady's pocketbook-we can take it to her."

"But we don't know the streets, Mother," said Rose.

"We can ask a policeman. If we find the name of the owner, and it is too far for us to go where she lives, we can give the pocketbook to the policeman and he will deliver it for us. But open it and see what is in it," returned Mrs. Bunker.

The pocketbook opened easily enough, and as Rose turned back the flap she gave a cry of surprise.

"What's the matter?" asked the excited child's mother.

"Oh! Oh, it's just full of money!" cried the little girl. "It's piled full of money, Mother! Look!"

She hurried to her mother's side with the opened pocketbook. Surely enough, when Mrs. Bunker looked, she saw a roll of green bills. Just how many were in the pocketbook she could not tell.

"Well, this is quite a find!" said Rose's mother. "The person who lost this will feel bad about it. We must try to find the owner."

"Oh, can't I keep it?" asked Rose.

"Of course not," said her mother. "Whenever we find anything we must try to discover the owner and give the lost thing back. If you lost your doll you'd want whoever found her to give her back; wouldn't you?"

"Oh, of course, Mother! But Sue-she isn't a pocketbook full of money."

"No," agreed Mrs. Bunker with a smile. "If Russ were here I suppose he'd say your doll was full of sawdust. However, no matter what it is, we must give back whatever we have found if we can find the owner. Of course, after we have tried hard, if we can't discover who lost whatever we have found, we may keep it."

"How can we tell who lost this pocketbook and all the money?" asked Rose.

"We'll look inside, and we'll also count the money," said her mother.

"Maybe it's a hundred dollars!" exclaimed the little girl, her eyes shining brightly.

"Perhaps it may be," said Mrs. Bunker. "But we won't count it out here on the street. We have nearly finished shopping, so we will take the pocketbook home with us, and show it to Daddy and Aunt Jo."

Rose had the wallet open, looking at the roll of bills inside. Now her mother gently took it from her and closed it.

"What made you do that?" asked Rose.

"Because the wind might blow some of the money out," was the answer, "and then we could not give it all back to the poor person who owns it."

"What makes you think the pocketbook is a poor person's?" asked Rose, who was asking almost as many questions as would her sister Vi had she been there.

"Well, the pocketbook is rather a shabby one, even though it seems to have quite a lot of money in it," said Mrs. Bunker, as she put it away in her own shopping bag. "The leather is worn and it is torn. But we will go over it more carefully when we get home."

Rose could hardly wait to get back to Aunt Jo's house to look farther into the pocketbook and see what it held. No one on the street had paid the slightest attention to Rose and her mother when the wallet had been found, and no policeman was in sight who could be asked about it. So Mrs. Bunker thought the best thing to do was to take it with her and examine it later.

When Aunt Jo's house was reached Laddie, Vi and Russ had about finished watering the lawn. They had watered themselves a little, also, for they were so eager, and took so many turns with the hose that it splashed on them.

But the day was warm, and, as they had on their old clothes, their father did not mind, as long as they did not get too wet.

"Oh, we had lots of fun!" cried Russ as he saw his mother and Rose coming along.

"We had a dandy time!" added Laddie.

"You don't know what I found!" cried Rose, not thinking so much about her brothers' fun with the hose as she was about what had happened to herself and her mother. "I found something!"

"What?" asked Vi.

"Was it a little kit

tie?" asked Mun Bun, who, with Margy, had finished playing in the sand pile.

"No, it wasn't a kittie, though I wish I could find one," said Rose.

"Did you find a new riddle?" Laddie wanted to know. He thought more of riddles than of many other things that most boys like.

"No, it wasn't a riddle," answered Rose. "You'd never guess, so I'll tell you. I found a pocketbook, and maybe it's got two hundred dollars in it! So there!"

"Oh, you did not! Did she, Mother?" asked Russ, in surprise at what his sister had said.

"Yes, Rose did find a pocketbook," answered Mrs. Bunker. "It was lying on the sidewalk in front of us. But whether it has two hundred dollars in it, or only one hundred, I don't know yet."

"Where is it? Where is it?" cried Vi over and over.

"In my bag. We really did make quite a find," she went on to her husband and Aunt Jo, who came out on the porch just then. "Look!" and Mrs. Bunker took the purse out of her shopping bag, handing it over to her husband.

"See if you can find out who owns it," she suggested.

"And if nobody owns it I'm going to keep it for mine," said Rose.

"Can she, Mother?" Russ wanted to know.

"Well, we'll see," said Mrs. Bunker.

Meanwhile her husband was opening the pocketbook. He saw the roll of bills and whistled.

"Well, there's some money here, anyhow," he said. "I'll count it first, so we'll know just how much it is."

Mr. Bunker was used to counting over bills. He could not do it quite as fast, perhaps, as the cashier in a bank, but he soon had spread out the money in a chair in front of him on the porch, and he said:

"There are just sixty-five dollars here."

"Sixty-five!" exclaimed Rose. "I thought it was two hundred."

"Is sixty-five dollars much money?" asked Vi.

"Well, sixty-five dollars is a lot of money if you lose it," said her father. "And whoever lost this will be very glad to get it back, you may be sure."

"Is there anything else in the pocketbook to tell who may own it?" asked Mrs. Bunker.

"No, there doesn't seem to be anything but just the roll of bills," he answered. "Hold on, though!" he exclaimed, as he looked in another part of the pocketbook, "here is some sort of a paper."

"That may have the owner's name on it," said Aunt Jo. "I always carry in my purse a slip with my name and address on it, so if I lose my pocketbook whoever finds it will know where to bring it back. Probably that is what this is."

"No, it doesn't seem to be," said Mr. Bunker. "This appears to be part of a letter. Of course it isn't nice to read letters that are for other people, but as we are trying to find out to whom this money and pocketbook belong it will be all right. I'll read this."

He took out a folded paper from a compartment in the pocketbook next to where the money had been, and began to read. He read it aloud. It said:

"Dear Mother: I am so glad you have the sixty-five dollars, for then you will not have to work so hard, and can take a little rest. It was so good of Uncle Jack to send it to you. I feel so much better now that you have this money. You will not have to worry so much. I am working hard myself, but I like it, and I will save all I can and send all I can spare to you. Take good care of the money and don't lose it, for you may never have as much again. I am very lonesome and wish I could see you, but I know the rest will do you good. With lots of love."

"Is that all?" asked Mrs. Bunker, as her husband stopped reading.

"That is all," he said.

"Isn't there any name or address to that little letter?" Aunt Jo wanted to know.

"No, nothing like that," answered her brother. "The only name in it is 'Uncle Jack,' and that might mean anybody. There must have been a name signed to the letter, but it has been torn off. You can see where the paper has been torn across. I don't see how we can find who owns the money from this letter."

"Maybe there is something else in the pocketbook," said Russ.

Mr. Bunker looked, and did find a Chinese coin with a square hole in it. There was only the letter, addressed to "Dear Mother," and the sixty-five dollars, and the Chinese coin.

"We'll have to put an advertisement in the paper, saying we have found a pocketbook," said Mr. Bunker. "Whoever has lost it will see the advertisement and call here. And we must look in the 'lost and found' advertisements in the paper to-night."

"Yes, we'll do that," said Aunt Jo. "The poor woman must be very sad over her loss. She will be very glad to get it back, and--"

Just then the telephone in Aunt Jo's house gave a loud ring.

"Oh," cried Rose. "Maybe that's some one now to ask about the pocketbook I found. Oh, maybe it is!"

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