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   Chapter 18 THE SPINNING TOPS

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

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04


Rose was not able to stop the skate wagon, on which she was coasting down the sidewalk hill in front of Aunt Jo's house. Nor did the little dog seem to want to get out of the way. He just stood in front of Rose, while she was coasting toward him, and barked and wagged his tail. And it was almost as if he said:

"Well, what's all this? Are you coming to give me a ride?"

"Get out of the way! Get out of the way-please!" begged Rose. "I'll bump into you, same as I bumped into the curbstone, if you don't get out of the way, little dog; and then I'll run over you! Get out of the way!"

But the little dog just stayed right there.

Of course, if Rose had thought about it, she might have jumped off the skate wagon, and let that go on by itself, shoving it to one side.

But she was coasting down the stone sidewalk hill quite rapidly now, and she was so excited that she never once thought of getting off or even trying to turn the skate wagon aside. Straight for the barking little dog she coasted.

"Oh, we must stop her!" cried Mrs. Bunker, running down the slope after the little girl.

"I'll get her, Mother!" cried Russ. "I guess I can run faster than you can."

But there was no chance for either of them to catch Rose before something happened. And the something that happened was that Rose ran right into the little dog. Right into him she ran with the skate wagon.

"Ki-yi-yi-yip! Ki-yi! Yip! Yip!" yelled the little dog.

"Oh, dear! Oh, dear!" sobbed Rose, for she was crying.

Bang! went the skate wagon over into the gutter.

The little dog-Well, I was almost going to say he laughed to see so much sport, but that little dog is in Mother Goose, if I remember rightly, and this little dog didn't laugh. He was very much frightened, and he was hurt a little, and so was Rose. So the little dog just tucked his tail in between his hind legs, and back he ran into the yard out of which he had come to see what was going on when he heard the skate wagon rattling down the sidewalk hill.

By this time Russ, Laddie, and their mother had come up to Rose.

"Are you much hurt?" asked Mrs. Bunker. "There now, don't cry. We'll take care of you!"

"It-it's my knees!" sobbed Rose. "I scraped 'em! And is my skate wagon all busted?"

"No, it's all right," said Laddie, as he picked it up from the gutter where it had rolled after Rose fell off. "It's as good as ever."

"And your knees aren't hurt much-only scratched," said Mrs. Bunker, as she looked. Rose wore socks, and her legs, above her shoes, and partly above her knees were bare. "See if you can't stand up," urged Mrs. Bunker, for Rose was as limp as a rag in her arms.

"Stand up and have some more rides!" exclaimed Russ.

"No, I don't want any more rides on the old skate wagon!" cried his sister. "I don't like it."

"Then we can have it all ourselves, Russ!" exclaimed Laddie.

"No, you can't either!" said Rose, and she suddenly stopped crying. "You can't have my skate wagon. I want it myself!"

"But if you can't stand up you can't ride on it--" began Mrs. Bunker.

"But I can stand up, Mother!" cried Rose, and she did, showing that nothing much was the matter with her.

"See, then you're not hurt," said her mother. "Now don't begin to cry again, and you can have some more rides. But perhaps you had better not coast down any more hills. Just ride along the sidewalk as you did on your roller skates. That will be best."

"Yes, maybe I'll do that," said Rose. "Where's the dog that made me run into him?"

The little dog was safely behind his own fence now, looking out through the pickets and barking. Perhaps he wondered what it was all about, and what had happened to him. He had been knocked about a bit, and bruised, but not much hurt. Only he was "all mussed up," as Russ said, after a look at him.

"Well, I guess he won't get in the way of your roller-skate wagon again," said Mrs. Bunker. "Now you can take some more rides, Rose. Your knees are all right."

And so they were, after they had been washed off with a little warm water. Then Rose and her brothers, with Violet taking a turn now and then, had fine fun on the skatemobile. They rode down the hill though, as they found they could steer better when going fast.

Mun Bun and Margy came from the yard, where they had been playing in the sand pile, and they, too, wanted rides. Russ and Laddie held them on, for the smaller children were hardly old enough to coast alone, though Mun Bun did drive off in the junk cart, as I have told you. But that was dif

ferent. The roller-skate wagon went faster than the junkman's horse.

So the six little Bunkers had fun on the skate wagon, and as the days went on they were more and more glad they had come to Aunt Jo's house to spend a part of their vacation.

It was early in August, and there was much of the summer before them. The weather was hot, but there was plenty of shade around Aunt Jo's house, so that it was almost as nice as it had been at Grandma Bell's.

"Are we going to stay here until vacation is all over?" asked Russ of his father one day.

"Well, I'm not sure," he said. "Cousin Tom spoke once of having us come down to see him."

"Down to the seashore, do you mean?" asked Rose.

"Yes, down to Seaview, New Jersey."

"Oh, it would be dandy there!" cried Russ. "I could go swimming in the ocean, couldn't I?"

"Well, you might go in if the water wasn't too deep," his father said with a smile. "But we'll talk about that later. Rose, where is that pocketbook you found?" he asked.

"Why? Do you know who owns it?" the little girl asked.

"No, but I want to look at it again. Perhaps there may be a card, or something, that will tell the address of the person who lost it and the sixty-five dollars."

"But we did look," said Russ, "and we couldn't find any."

"I thought perhaps the card or paper might have slipped through a hole in the lining," said Mr. Bunker, "as the real estate papers I searched for so long slipped inside the lining of the old coat I gave the lumberman. Where is the pocketbook?"

"Mother has it," answered Rose. "I'll get it for you, Daddy!"

She ran to her mother, and soon returned with the purse. The sixty-five dollars had been put in a safe in Aunt Jo's house, but the sad little letter was still in the wallet.

Mr. Bunker read it over again, and then carefully looked through the pocketbook. It was an old one, and the lining was torn, but there was no slip of paper or card in any hole that would tell to whom the pocketbook should be returned.

"I'll advertise once more," said Mr. Bunker, "and then, if no one claims it, I guess the money will belong to you, Rose."

"And can I spend it?"

"Oh, no indeed! Not all of it. A little, perhaps; but the rest will be put away for you, until you grow to be a young lady. Still I would rather give it to whoever owns it."

"So should I," said Rose softly. "I'd like to get back my lost doll, that I sent up in the balloon airship, and I guess the pocketbook lady would like to get her money back."

They all thought the pocketbook belonged to a poor woman. They got this idea from the letter-that is, the grown-up folks and the older children did. Mun Bun and Margy didn't think much about it, one way or the other. All they cared about was having fun.

And the six little Bunkers certainly had fun at Aunt Jo's. They played in the yard or around the garage; they went for auto rides, on little excursions and picnics, they played with Alexis, the big dog, and they rode on the skatemobile.

One day a boy named Tom Martin, who lived about half a block from Aunt Jo's house, came up in front and called:

"Hi, Russ! Ho, Laddie! Come on out and play tops!"

The two older Bunker boys had become acquainted with Tom, and liked to play with him. Now they heard him calling and Russ answered:

"We'll be out in a minute; soon as we've had some bread and jam."

"Bring Tom a piece, too," suggested Laddie, for Parker, the good-natured cook, was giving the boys a little treat.

"Yes, I'll give you a slice for your friend," she said.

So she spread him a nice slice of bread and jam, and Russ and Laddie, carrying their own, which they ate on the way, also took one to their new playmate.

"Let's play tops," suggested Tom. "We can go down the street where the sidewalk is big and smooth, and spin 'em there."

"All right," agreed Russ. "We'll have some fun."

Down the street they went, to a corner, where a big apartment house stood close to the sidewalk. There the pavement was smooth, just the place for spinning tops.

"There, mine's spinning first!" cried Tom, as he flung his top down, quickly pulling the string away, and thus making the top whirl around very fast. "Let's see if either of you can hit my top with yours."

"I can!" said Russ, and he threw his top at Tom's with all his might.

Russ didn't hit his playmate's top, but he did hit something else. Up into the air bounced Russ's top, and, the next moment, there was a crash of glass.

"Oh!" cried Tom. "You've broken a window!"

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