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Six Little Bunkers at Aunt Jo's By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 10683

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04

The little dog that Alexis was racing after must have thought the puddle of water Russ and Laddie had made would be a good place in which to hide. For right into it he ran, and he splattered some of the muddy water over the two boys, who stood near the hole they had dug. William was over at the garage, turning off the faucet, so he did not get wet this time. And it was a good thing, too, as he was quite wet enough already.

The little dog kept on paddling in the puddle, but big Alexis did not stop when he came to the edge. With a loud bark, in he jumped, and as he was almost as big as a small Shetland pony you can easily imagine what a big splash he made.

"Oh! Oh!" cried Russ, as he felt the muddy water shower all over him.

In the puddle floundered Alexis after the smaller dog, and as the water was not deep enough for Aunt Jo's Great Dane to swim in, he just ran through it, really making more of a splash than if he had swum. And he splashed a lot of muddy water over Russ and Laddie.

"Oh, look at me!" cried Laddie, as he glanced down at his suit, which was speckled and checkered with wet and brown spots.

"I'm the same way," said Russ. "But I don't care! We couldn't help it, and these are our old clothes, anyhow."

Just then the little dog scrambled out on the far side of the hole, and Alexis, with a bark, sprang after him.

"Oh, stop him, William!" cried Laddie. "Stop him! Alexis will bite the little dog all to pieces."

"No, he won't do that," replied the chauffeur. "The two dogs are good friends. The little one lives down the street a way, and he and Alexis often play together this way, and race all over the yard. But I never saw 'em go into a mud-puddle before. Say, but you two youngsters are sights! Look at the mud!"

He had shut off the water by this time, and come back to the hole. Meanwhile Alexis was rolling on the grass, letting the little dog pretend to bite his ears.

"The mud'll brush off," said Russ.

"These are our old clothes," added his brother.

"Well, that's a good thing," said the chauffeur. "We're all in the same boat, I guess. But don't dig any more holes in the yard, and don't play with the hose unless your aunt says you may. She may blame me as it is."

When Mrs. Bunker and Aunt Jo came home, the mud had pretty well dried on the clothes of Russ and Laddie, and they did not look so dirty. But of course they told what had happened.

"You must never do it again!" said their mother. "Don't make any more fountains in Aunt Jo's yard."

"We won't," promised Laddie.

"Could we make one over in Mr. North's yard?" asked Russ. "Maybe he'd like one."

"No, not over there, either," his mother said, trying not to laugh.

So that was how Russ made a fountain, and what happened afterward, and for many a day he and Laddie had fun telling the other little Bunkers what they had done.

As the summer days went by the children had lots of fun at Aunt Jo's. They went downtown to see the sights of Boston, including Bunker Hill monument, saw some nice moving-picture shows and went on excursions.

Meanwhile, Daddy Bunker and others had looked in the paper to see if any one had advertised for a lost pocketbook with sixty-five dollars in it. But no one had.

And to make sure of finding the owner Mr. Bunker put an advertisement in himself, stating that such a purse had been found, and offering to give it to the real owner.

But no one came to claim it. The shabby wallet, with the roll of bills and the sad little letter, was locked in Aunt Jo's safe, waiting for the owner to come. But no one came.

"And can I keep the money?" asked Rose, who inquired, each day, whether any one had yet come for it.

"We'll see," promised her mother.

"I'd like to have the money to spend," went on Rose.

"Oh, my dear! What would you spend so much money for?" asked Aunt Jo.

"I'd buy a lot of circus balloons," answered Rose. "I know a store, about two blocks down the street, that sells 'em. And I want some."

"Oh, well, if you only want money for a toy balloon I'll give you that," said her mother.

"May I have one, too?" asked Vi.

"And me?" added Margy.

"And me?" said Mun Bun. "What is it?"

He always wanted what the others had, whether or not he knew what it was.

"Let's all get one!" exclaimed Russ, who seemed to have an idea. "Let's all get a balloon, and then we can tie strings to 'em and see which one goes the highest."

"We can have a race!" suggested Laddie.

"That's right!" agreed Russ. "We'll have a race."

Thinking this would be harmless fun for the children, Mrs. Bunker gave them money enough so each one could buy a good ten-cent toy balloon, for Rose wanted that kind.

"The tenners are bigger than the fivers," she said, "and they go higher and last longer."

With shouts of glee and laughter the six little Bunkers went down the street to get the toy balloons. It was not far, and their mother knew they would not get lost.

"I'm afraid the children aren't having as much fun here at my house in Boston as they had at Grandma Bell's," said Aunt Jo, as the youngsters went down the street after the balloons.

"Oh, they are indeed!" said Mother Bunker. "They always have a good time, wherever they go. Don't worry about them."

"If the weather keeps nice we'll go down to Nantasket B

each some day," said Aunt Jo. "I think they'll like it there. It is a seaside resort."

"They'll be sure to," said Mrs. Bunker. "I do wish we could find the person who owned that sixty-five dollars. I have an idea it must be the savings of some poor woman, or rather, from the letter, money some one sent her. It must be hard for her to lose it, but we can't seem to find to whom it belongs."

"Perhaps we shall, some day," said Aunt Jo. And they were to, in a very strange way, as you shall hear in due time.

Down the street ran the six little Bunkers, to get the toy balloons. They saw them in the store window-red, green and blue ones, and they picked out different colors.

"Don't they look pretty?" cried Vi, as they marched back with the blown-up rubber bags floating in the air over their heads.

As yet the balloons had only short strings on them, and Rose, to make sure the toys of Mun Bun and Margy would not get away, tied the strings to their wrists.

"They look like big plums or apples," said Laddie. "Maybe I could think up a riddle about the balloons."

"Well, you can be thinking about it when we have a race to see which one goes highest in the air," said Russ. "When we get to Aunt Jo's house, we'll get string and let the balloons sail away up."

Mother Bunker said strong thread would be better than string, as it would not be so heavy, and soon the six little Bunkers were out in the front yard, letting their toys sail high above their heads.

"Mine's the highest!" cried Russ, as he looked at his green balloon floating high above the trees.

"That's 'cause you let out all the thread," said Laddie. "I'm not going to let all mine unwind."

And neither did the other children, for they were afraid their toys might get away. For some time they had fun in this way, pulling the balloons down when they got very far up in the air, and then letting them float upward again.

Then came a call from the house. It was Mother Bunker, saying:

"Here is some bread and jam for hungry children. How many of you want it?"

There was no question as to how many did. Each of the six little Bunkers was hungry.

"Let's tie our balloons to the fence and leave 'em here until we get back," said Russ, and this was done, he and Rose tying the threads of Mun Bun and Margy, who could not make very good knots as yet.

And so, with the balloons floating out in front, the children went back to sit under the grape-arbor and eat bread and jam that Parker spread for them.

It was so good that some of them had two slices, and then William brought the automobile out of the garage and began to get it ready for a run. Aunt Jo was to take the children for a ride.

"What's William doing to the auto?" asked Vi.

"Come on! Let's watch him!" proposed Russ, and he and Laddie, with Vi, Mun Bun and Margy, ran over to where the chauffeur was doing something to the car.

"Will our balloons be all right?" asked Laddie.

"Yes, they can't get away," said Russ.

Well, that was true enough. The balloons could not have gotten away by themselves, but something happened to them.

Rose did not go with her brothers and sisters over to watch William. Instead, she went into the house, got Lily, one of her dolls, and a small basket. Rose had a queer idea in her little head, and she was going to carry it out.

A day or so before an airship had flown over Boston, circling around the Back Bay section, and right over Aunt Jo's house. The children were much excited by it, and at first Russ was going to make one. But he found it harder than he supposed, so he gave it up.

"But I can make an airship," said Rose to herself. "Anyhow I can make something to give my doll a ride in the air in a basket."

And that is what the little girl was going to do. She had felt how hard one balloon pulled-for they were filled with gas just as a real balloon is-and Rose thought that if one balloon pulled so strongly six would pull harder yet.

"I'll tie all six balloons to the basket, and put Lily in and give her an airship ride," said Rose.

So, while her brothers and sisters were watching the chauffeur, this is what Rose did. She carefully loosed each balloon, besides her own, from the fence, and tied the strings to the handle of the basket in which she put Lily.

Lily was not heavy like Sue, the doll about which I told you before, the one the lady once thought was her baby in the car. The basket was not heavy, either. So that when Rose had tied the last balloon to the handle, she found that it rose into the air with her doll, and would have floated off, only Rose tied a cord to the bottom of the basket, and kept hold of that.

"Now I've got an airship for my doll!" exclaimed the little girl, and, really, she did have one kind of airship.

Up above her head floated the basket with Lily in it, and Rose was quite pleased.


Six Little Bunkers at Aunt Jo's.-Page 102

"I can make things as good as Russ, even if I can't whistle like him," she said. "This is fun! Don't you like it, Lily?"

Of course Lily couldn't answer and say that she did, but if dolls like airship rides I'm sure this one of Rose's did.

Up and along floated the balloons, lifting the basket, and then, all of a sudden, something happened.

* * *

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