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   Chapter 11 VI IS LOST

Six Little Bunkers at Aunt Jo's By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 8540

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04

Rose said, afterward, that it was not the fault of Alexis, though the barking of the big dog made her jump and lose her hold on the string that was fast to the basket in which the doll Lily rode as if in an airship. But that is what happened.

As Rose was walking along, letting the balloons float over her head, and giving a ride to Lily, the big dog came bounding out of the side yard. He wanted to play with Rose, and he raced toward her, jumping up and down. Rose was afraid he would jump up and put his paws on her, and Alexis was so big that when he did this to any of the six little Bunkers he almost always knocked them down. In fact, he had knocked Mun Bun and Margy down more than once, but only in fun, and he had not hurt them.

"Go away, Alexis! Now go away!" exclaimed Rose, as she held the string above her head. "I can't play with you now, because I got to give Lily an airship ride. Go away, Alexis!"

But Alexis didn't want to go away! He barked and he danced around, and he kept coming closer and closer to Rose, until he really almost bumped into her. And then it happened.

Rose let go of the string, by which she was holding the basket that had Lily in it, and up it shot, high in the air, pulled by the gas-filled toy balloons. There were six of them, extra big ten-cent ones, and they could easily lift the small doll in the basket.

"Oh! Oh! Oh!" cried Rose, three times. "Look what you made me do, Alexis! Oh! Oh!"

And yet, afterward, Rose said it wasn't the dog's fault.

"I oughtn't to have taken anybody's balloon but mine, and then they wouldn't be lost," said the little girl sadly.

For that is what happened.

Up and up into the air, high above Rose's head, shot the six balloons-red, green and blue-carrying the doll. When she first felt the string pulling out of her hand Rose did not know what to do. Then, as she saw the balloons sailing away, she jumped up into the air and tried to grab them. But it was too late. Away over the trees sailed the airship Rose had made, carrying her doll on an unknown voyage.

"Oh, dear!" cried the little girl again, as she saw that, no matter how high she jumped, she could not get hold of the string again. "Oh, dear!"

She looked at the six floating balloons, hoping they might get caught in a tree, as once one did that Mun Bun had.

But no such good luck as this happened. The balloons sailed clear of the trees and went on and on and up and up, becoming smaller and smaller.

"Oh, my poor, dear Lily!" sobbed Rose, and she was really crying now. "My dear, darling Lily!"

"Why, what is the matter, my dear?" asked Aunt Jo, who came along, just then. "Has anything happened? Did Alexis hurt you?" for she saw the big dog standing near Rose, and thought perhaps, in his play, he might have scratched the little girl.

"No, it wasn't the fault of Alexis," said Rose, "though he did bump into me and make me let go of the string. But I ought never to have taken the balloons."

"The balloons?" asked Aunt Jo, not exactly understanding at first.

"Yes," said Rose. "They're gone. I made an airship of 'em for my doll, and-there she goes!"

She pointed up into the air. Aunt Jo saw the toy balloons, tied to the handle of the basket, and they were getting smaller and smaller.

"Oh, my dear little girl!" said she. "And you have taken all the balloons! That's too bad!"

And Rose cried harder than ever. Really she had not done just right, but of course she had not meant to spoil the fun of her brothers and sisters, and lose their toys. But she had.

Pretty soon Russ, Laddie and the others came from having watched William get the automobile ready.

"Where are our balloons?" demanded Laddie, not seeing them tied to the fence.

"They're gone," said Aunt Jo softly, as she put her arms around Rose.

"Gone?" cried Russ. "Where? Did they bust?"

"I made an airship of 'em," confessed Rose, "and let go the cord when Alexis bumped me, and-and there they go!" and she pointed to the sky.

Well, you can easily imagine that the five little Bunkers felt quite bad at losing their balloons. Margy and Mun Bun cried, being the smallest. Vi looked as if she wanted to, and so did Laddie. But Laddie felt he was too big, and Vi didn't want to do anyth

ing her twin brother didn't do; especially crying.

Russ swallowed what seemed to be a lump in his throat, and then, learning that his sister's doll had been carried off in the "airship" and seeing how bad Rose felt, and noticing the tears on her cheeks, he said:

"Oh, well, maybe the balloons would have busted anyhow. I don't care 'cause you lost mine, Rose."

"I don't either," said Laddie bravely.

Then Vi said the same thing. Wasn't that good of them? I think so.

Of course Margy and Mun Bun, being little, felt worse over the loss of their balloons than the others did. But Aunt Jo found some pieces of candy for the little tots, and promised they could have new balloons in a few days.

"And now we'll all go for an auto ride," she said.

That made Margy and Mun Bun smile, and the other little Bunkers also felt better.

"Will you take us out the way the balloons are blowing?" asked Russ, for the "airship" could still be seen, a faint speck in the sky.

"Why do you want to go that way?" asked Aunt Jo.

"Because maybe then we can get the balloons back," Russ said.

"And my doll, too, and the basket!" added Rose eagerly.

"Maybe," said Russ. "You know balloons and airships have always got to come down. They can't sail on forever, and when this one you made, Rose, comes down, we can get it, and your doll, too."

"Oh, won't that be good!" cried the little girl. "I do hope we can!"

"Well, of course you may find it," said Aunt Jo; "but I'm afraid you never will, Rose. Of course I know, around the Fourth of July, sometimes fire balloons, that burn out and don't burn up, come down. Once one came down in our yard, and William got it. And this may happen to the balloons you sent up, or that you let get away from you. The gas may all go out of them, as it probably will, and the basket and the doll will come down."

"I'd like to get Lily again, awful much," said Rose. "'Course she wasn't my best doll, but I love her just the same."

"Well, we'll take an automobile ride," said her aunt, "and if we see the airship down anywhere we'll get it."

"Maybe some other little girl will find it, as you did the pocketbook, and want to keep it," suggested Russ.

"Well, if she knew it was my doll wouldn't she give it back to me?" asked Rose.

"I'm sure she would," put in Aunt Jo. "But don't set your heart too much on it, my dear. I'm afraid your doll is gone forever."

But you just wait and see what happens.

They all went for an automobile ride, and, though they looked in the direction the balloons had floated, they did not see the "airship." Rose and Russ even asked several policemen they passed if they had seen the balloons and basket with the doll in it come down, but none had.

Of course Rose felt bad, and so did the other little Bunkers, about losing their balloons, but there was no help for it. They were gone.

It was a day or so after this, and the children were talking about a trip to Nantasket Beach Aunt Jo was to take them on, when just as lunch was about to be served, Parker came in to say:

"We are all out of bread, Miss Bunker. The baker forgot to stop. Shall I send William for some?"

"Oh, let me go!" begged Vi. "I know where there is a bakery, right down the street. It isn't far."

"Are you sure you know the way?" asked Aunt Jo.

"'Course I do," Vi answered.

"Well, you may go," said Aunt Jo. "Only be careful not to get lost. Don't turn around the wrong corners."

"I won't," promised Vi.

But that is just what she did. She got the bread all right, but, on the way back she stopped to pet a kitten that rubbed up against her. And then Vi got turned around, and she went down a side street, and walked two or three blocks before she knew that she was wrong.

"Aunt Jo doesn't live on this street," said the little girl to herself, as she stopped and looked around. "I don't see her house and I don't see Mr. North's. I must have come the wrong way."

So she had, and she turned to go back. But she went wrong again, making a turn around another corner and then Vi didn't know what to do. She stood in front of a house, with the bread under her arm, and tears came into her eyes.

"Oh, dear!" sighed Vi. "It's terrible to be lost so near home!"

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