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   Chapter 12 MARGY TAKES A RIDE

Six Little Bunkers at Aunt Jo's By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 9112

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04

This was not the first time Violet had been lost. More than once, even in her home town of Pineville, she had wandered away over the fields or out toward the woods, and had not been able to find her way back again. But always, at such times, Norah or Jerry Simms, or Daddy or Mother Bunker had come to find her and take her home.

"But I don't see any of them now," said Vi, as she gazed around her. There were quite a number of persons on the street, for it was the noon hour, but the little girl knew none of them, and none of them seemed to pay any attention to her.

I think, though, almost any one of those who passed by poor little Vi, standing there in the street, if they had known she was lost, would have gone up to her and tried to help her.

But there were many children in the street, and several of them were standing still, looking not very different from Vi, except that she was crying-not a great deal, but enough to make her eyes wet.

"I guess I'd better walk along a little," said Vi to herself, after a bit. "Maybe I'll see Aunt Jo's house, or Russ or Rose or-or somebody that knows me."

Poor little Vi, just then, would have been glad to see even Alexis, the big dog. Alexis would lead her home, Vi felt sure. But the big dog was not in sight.

Vi walked a little way down the street, and then a little way up it. She looked at all the houses and at every one she met, still holding fast to the loaf of bread. But she did not see Aunt Jo's house, and she did not know any of the men or women or boys or girls that passed her.

"Oh, I'm worse lost than ever!" sighed the little girl. "I wonder what I can do. I'm going to ask some one!"

Now the best way for Vi to have done was to have gone up to one of the houses and asked where her Aunt Jo's home was. But the funny thing about it was that Vi wasn't quite sure what her aunt's name was. Her own name, she knew, was Violet Bunker, but she never spoke of Aunt Jo except just by that name, never using the last part and, while it was the same name as her own, Vi didn't know it. She felt she couldn't very well go up to a house and say:

"Where does my Aunt Jo live?"

The person in the house would be sure to ask:

"What is your aunt's last name, my dear, and on what street does she live?"

But Vi didn't know that. So you see she was quite badly lost, though she had only been away from her aunt's home a little while.

And then, as the little girl stood there, the tears coming into her eyes faster than ever, along came a rather tall girl with a pleasant face, who, as soon as she saw Vi, went up to her and asked kindly:

"What is the matter? Did you lose your money?"

"Oh, no," Vi answered, "I didn't lose my money, but I've lost myself. I spent the money for bread for Aunt Jo, but I came on the wrong street, I guess, and I don't know where she lives."

"Where who lives?"

"Aunt Jo. I'm one of the six little Bunkers and we're staying at Aunt Jo's, but I don't know where she lives."

Then this tall, pleasant-faced girl asked, just as any one else would have done:

"What's Aunt Jo's other name?"

And Vi didn't know!

Then the girl tried to get Vi to tell in what sort of house Aunt Jo lived, and near what other houses or big buildings it was. But Vi was only six years old, and she hadn't noticed much about houses. She had been too busy playing.

"But Aunt Jo has a big dog," said Vi. "He's an awful big dog, and he almost knocks you down when he plays with you. If I could find him he'd take me home."

"What's the dog's name?" asked the girl.

"Alexis," answered Vi, "and he--"

"Oh, now I know where your aunt lives!" cried the tall girl. "I often see that big dog, and I have heard the chauffeur call him Alexis. I remember it because it's a sort of Russian name, and I like to read about Russia. Now I can take you home."

"Can you-really?" asked Vi eagerly.

"Surely. I know the very house where Alexis lives, and if you live there with your Aunt Jo I can take you home. It isn't far; come on. My name is Mary Turner, and my mother used to sew for a lady on the same street where your aunt lives. I know the way; come on."

Taking hold of Vi's hand, the kind girl led her along the street, around a corner and down another block and then Vi cried:

"Oh, now I'm all right. I know where I am now. That's Mr. North's house and I see Aunt Jo's house and here comes Daddy to meet me!" And surely enough, along came Mr. Bunker, looking up and down the street for a sight of his little girl, who had been gone

so long for the loaf of bread that he knew she must be lost.

"Well, if you're sure you can find your way I'll let you run along by yourself," said Mary Turner.

"Oh, yes, I'm all right now," said Vi. "My father sees me, and he's waving to me. Thank you for taking care of me."

"I'm glad I could help you a little," said Mary.

"Does your mother sew any more?" asked Vi.

"No," answered Mary, and her voice sounded sad. "She had a great shock, and she's ill in the hospital now. I have to go to work to take care of her. Well, good-bye, and don't get lost again," and Mary turned down a side street and walked on, waving her hand to Violet.

"Well, little girl, what happened to you?" asked Daddy Bunker, as he walked up to his daughter. "We were getting worried about you, so I came out to see what had happened."

"I got lost," Vi answered. "I went down the wrong street, but Mary Turner-she knew where Alexis lived, and she brought me to you."

"Who is Mary Turner?" asked Mr. Bunker.

"That's the nice girl that just went away," said Vi, pointing, for her new friend was still in sight. "Her mother used to sew for somebody on Aunt Jo's street, but she's in the hospital now-I mean her mother is; she's sick."

"That's too bad," said Mr. Bunker. "Aunt Jo might do something for her. But perhaps the girl doesn't like to ask. Anyhow, I'm glad you're not lost any longer. Come along to lunch now."

So that's how Vi was lost and found. And she was soon eating lunch with the other little Bunkers and telling them what had happened.

"What can we do this afternoon to have fun?" asked Russ, as he got up from the table.

"Let's see if we can't make a better harness for Alexis, and have him pull us in the express wagon," suggested Laddie. "I found some strong rope that we can tie on him."

"All right, we'll do that," agreed Russ. "That'll be fun."

"Will you give me a ride?" asked Mun Bun. "I'll help you make the harness if you will."

"Yes, we'll give you a ride," said Russ, "but I guess we can make the harness ourselves. Come on, Laddie."

"I'm going to play with my doll," said Margy. "My rubber doll is all dirty and I'm going to wash her."

"Well, don't turn the hose on her, as Russ and Laddie did to William," laughed Aunt Jo. "Just wash your doll in a basin of water, Margy dear."

"Yes, I'll do that, Aunt Jo," answered the little girl.

"I'm going to make a new dress for my big best doll Sue," announced Rose. "I haven't got my little Lily to love now, so I'll make Sue look nice. You didn't find my doll that went up in the airship, did you, Daddy?" she asked.

"No," answered Mr. Bunker. "And I don't believe I ever shall."

"And we haven't heard who lost that pocketbook with the sixty-five dollars in it," said Mrs. Bunker. "It is very strange no one claims the money."

"Yes," said Aunt Jo, "it is. But some day we may find out who owns it. Though if we don't by the time you folks are ready to go home, it will belong to Rose, for she found it."

"And then I can buy a new doll," said the little girl.

So, while Russ, Laddie and Mun Bun went to the garage to try to make another harness for Alexis, Rose and Margy played with their dolls. Violet said she was tired from having walked around so much when she was lost, though I think it was because she had cried, so her mother put her to bed for a short nap. Then Daddy Bunker went downtown and Aunt Jo and Mrs. Bunker sat on the porch sewing.

It was about half an hour after Margy and Rose had begun to play with their dolls, Margy washing her rubber one in a basin of water, that something happened. Margy got up from the side porch where she was sitting with Rose, and said:

"I'm going to dry her now."

"Dry who?" asked Rose.

"My rubber doll," answered Margy. "She's all wet and I'm going to take her down in the laundry where Parker is, and put my doll by the fire to dry."

"All right," answered Rose, "don't burn yourself."

"I won't," said Margy, as she went toward the laundry, which was in the basement of Aunt Jo's big house.

A little while after this Parker, on going into the kitchen over the laundry, heard a voice crying:

"Oh, I can't get out! I can't get out! I'm stuck in and I can't get out."

"For land sakes! Who are you, and what has happened?" cried the frightened cook. "It's one of the six little Bunkers, I know," she went on, "but what happened?"

"Oh, I went to take a ride," said Margy, "and now I can't get out! Oh, dear!"

And her voice seemed to come from afar.

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