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   Chapter 17 THE SKATE WAGON

Six Little Bunkers at Aunt Jo's By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 7158

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04

While Rose and her mother were looking at the little girl's broken roller skate, Russ came along. He had been in the yard, playing with Alexis, and his clothes were covered with grass, some of it green and some of it dried.

"But I had lots of fun," said Russ, as he whistled a merry tune. "And grass doesn't hurt my old clothes."

"Alexis always has on his old clothes. He doesn't have to change his to play," said Laddie, who was with Russ.

Just then the two boys saw their mother and Rose looking at the broken skate.

"What's the matter?" Russ wanted to know.

"Oh, I bumped my foot on the curbstone," answered Rose. "And now look!"

She held out the skate that was broken in two parts.

"Perhaps Russ can fix it," said Mrs. Bunker with a smile. "He makes so many things that he might mend this."

Russ took the pieces of the skate in his hand. Rose still had the other, the unbroken one, on her foot.

"I could push myself along on one skate," said the little girl, "but it isn't much fun. Can you fix it, Russ?"

Her brother shook his head.

"I don't guess anybody could fix that broken skate," he said.

"Oh, dear!" exclaimed Rose.

"But," went on Russ, "I know how to make something that you can have lots of fun with; and so can I!"

"Can I, too?" asked Laddie.

"We all can," said Russ. "We can take turns."

"On what?" asked Rose.

"A skate wagon," answered Russ. "I saw a boy downtown have one-the day we went to the movies. You take a good roller skate, and pull it apart. Then you put two of the wheels on the front end of a board, and the two other wheels on the back end."

"Well, then what do you do?" asked Laddie, for Russ had come to a pause.

"Well, then you nail a stick up on the front end of the board, for a handle, and you stand on it-you stand on the board, I mean-and you ride downhill on the sidewalk on the skate wagon. It's fun!"

"Say, let's do it!" cried Laddie. "I'll help you, Russ! Give us that one skate that isn't busted, Rose, and we'll make a skate wagon."

Laddie knelt down and began to unfasten the strap of the one good skate, which was still on Rose's left foot.

"Stop! Stop it!" cried the little girl, pulling back her leg.

"Hold still!" exclaimed Laddie. "I can't get your skate off if you wiggle so much."

"I don't want my skate off!" insisted Rose.

"Then how am I going to make a skate wagon?" asked Russ in some surprise.

"I can push myself along on one foot, and skate that way," went on Rose. "If I let you boys take my skate to make a wagon of, you'll be riding all the time and I won't have any fun. I'm going to keep my own skate. So there!"

"We'll give you some rides; won't we, Russ?" asked Laddie.

"'Course we will! Lots of 'em!" added the older boy.

"I'd let them take my skate, if I were you," said Mrs. Bunker. "One skate is not of much use to you, Rose, and if Russ can make a sort of wagon, or skatemobile, as I have heard them called, it will be fun for all of you."

"All right," said Rose, after thinking over what her mother said. "But I got to have my turns."

"Yes, you may all have turns," said Mother Bunker, who usually settled disputes in this gentle way. "Now, Russ and Laddie, let us see you make the funny coaster wagon."

Rose let Laddie take the roller skate off her foot, and then Russ took the two front wheels from the two back ones. He had looked at a "skatemobile" a few days before, and, being a clever little chap, he remembered how it was made.

"I can get the pieces of board out in the garage," said Russ. "I saw Wil

liam have some, and he said I could take them."

Russ did not find it quite so easy to make the coaster wagon as he had thought. To fasten the wheels of the skate to the board he used many nails, and bent most of them. Then William, who had been doing something to Aunt Jo's automobile, came out and watched Russ at work.

"Ouch!" Russ suddenly exclaimed.

"What's the matter?" asked the chauffeur.

"I pounded my finger!" said the little boy, as he popped it into his mouth. "It hurts!" But he did not cry.

"Yes, it generally does hurt when you hit your finger or thumb with a hammer," said William. "Better let me finish that for you. I can put the wheels on so they won't come off."

"I wish you would then," said Russ. "We want to see how it works."

William did not take long to fasten the four wheels to the long, narrow board, two wheels on each end, so that it could easily coast down the sidewalk hill in front of Aunt Jo's house. Then, to the front of the narrow board, just as Russ had explained, William nailed a handle, making it stick straight up, so it could be grasped by whoever was taking a ride.

"Now your skate wagon is done," he said.

"Let's go out and try it!" cried Laddie.

"But I've got to have a turn," insisted Rose. "It's my skate."

"You shall all have turns," put in Mother Bunker, who had come out to the garage to see how matters were going. "That is, all except Mun Bun and Margy. I'm afraid they're too little to coast. They might fall off."

"I'll hold 'em on and give 'em a ride," offered Russ, who was very kind to his little brother and sister.

"You can have the first ride," said Laddie to Rose, "'cause it's your roller skate."

"I can't go first," answered the little girl. "I don't know how you do it. You go first, Russ."

Russ was very willing to do this. So he took the skate wagon to the top of the sidewalk "hill," as the little Bunkers called it, and then he put one foot on the flat board, to which were fastened the roller-skate wheels.

"You have to push yourself along with one foot, just the same as when you're skating on one skate," explained Russ. "Then when you get to going fast you put the other foot on the board and stand there, and you hold on tight and down you go."

"Show me!" begged Rose, jumping up and down because she was so excited and pleased.

And then Russ went riding downhill, almost as nicely as he coasted on the snow in winter.

"Is it fun?" shouted Laddie, from where he stood with Rose at the top of the hill-only almost no one would have called such a slight grade a "hill."

"Lots of fun!" answered Russ.

Down to the bottom of the hill he rode, and then he walked up.

"Now it's your turn, Rose," he said, as he handed her the skatemobile. But the little girl shook her head.

"I'll watch a little more," she said. "Let Laddie go."

So Laddie coasted down. Then Rose took her turn. Down the sidewalk hill she coasted on the skate wagon, and she was just turning around to wave to her mother and her brothers, who were watching her, when all of a sudden out from a gate ran a little dog. Right in front of Rose, and a little ahead of her he ran, and then he stood on the sidewalk and barked at her.

"Look out, Rose! Look out!" cried her mother.

"Steer to one side! Turn out for him!" yelled Russ.

"Stick out your foot and stop the skate wagon, same as you stop yourself on roller skates," cried Laddie.

But Rose, it seemed, could do none of these things. Straight for the little dog she coasted.

What was going to happen?

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