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   Chapter 19 FLYING A KITE

Six Little Bunkers at Aunt Jo's By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 9143

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04

That was just what had happened. When Russ threw his top down so hard, it had bounced up again from the sidewalk, and had gone sailing through the air against one of the lower windows of the apartment house which stood so close to the pavement. And the top went right through the glass.

The three little boys were so surprised that they just stood there, looking at the shower of broken glass on the pavement. Then Tom cried:

"Oh, we'd better run!"

"What for?" asked Russ.

"'Cause you broke the window. The lady or the man'll come out an' they'll get a policeman."

Russ said nothing for two or three seconds. Laddie, who was just going to bounce down his top, to spin it, still held it in his hand. He didn't want to break a glass.

"Come on!" cried Tom in a whisper. "Come on 'fore they catch us!"

Russ shook his head.

"No," he answered. "I'm not going to run. I'll stay here, and when they come out I'll tell 'em I busted it and my father will pay for it. That's what we always do; don't we, Laddie?"

"Yep," answered the smaller boy.

"Did you ever break windows before?" asked Tom, who had started to run away, but who came back when he saw that his two friends were not coming with him.

"We broke one at Grandma Bell's," said Russ.

"But she didn't make us pay for it," said Laddie.

"Tom Hardy, the hired man, put a new glass in," went on Russ. "And once we broke a window back home when we were playing ball. I threw the ball, and Laddie didn't grab it, and it went through a candy-store window, but we didn't run."

"What did you do?" asked Tom, to whom this seemed something new. He looked up at the place where the window had been smashed. As yet no one had thrust a head out of the window or threatened to send for a policeman. "What did you do?" asked Tom again.

"Well, the lady who owned the candy store knew us," answered Russ, "and she knew our father would pay for the glass."

"Did he?"

"Why, of course he did!" exclaimed Laddie.

"But he said we each had to save up and give him back five cents-a penny at a time," added Russ. "That was to help pay for the glass, and make us-make us more careful, I guess he called it.

"Anyhow, that's what I'm going to do now. We'll wait, and when somebody comes out I'll tell 'em my father'll pay for the glass my top broke."

"Here comes somebody now!" whispered Tom, and surely enough a man, wearing blue overalls and looking as though he had been cleaning out a cellar, came from the basement door of the big apartment house.

"Who broke that glass?" he asked, and his voice was rather harsh.

"I-I did-with my top," spoke up Russ, but his voice trembled a little.

"Well, you'll have to pay for it!" went on the janitor, for such he was. "I've told you boys to keep away from here spinning your tops, and yet you will come! Now you've got to pay for it!"

"I never spun my top here before," said Russ.

"And I didn't either," added Laddie.

"That's right, Mr. Quinn," put in Tom, who seemed to know the janitor. "I brought 'em here. It's part my fault."

"Hum!" said the janitor. "This is something new, to have boys own up to it when they break windows, and not run away. Who did you say was going to pay for the glass?" he asked. "It'll cost about a dollar. Lucky for you Mr. Tanzy wasn't at home. It's in his parlor you broke the window, and he's awful cross."

Russ had thought the janitor himself was cross, at first, but now he did not think so, for the dusty man smiled.

"I'm going to pay for the glass-I am, and my brother," Russ went on. "I broke it."

"Have you got the money with you?" asked Mr. Quinn, the janitor.

"No," answered Russ. "I've only five cents. But you can have that, and my father'll give you the rest when I tell him."

"Who's your father?" asked the janitor.

"They're staying with their Aunt Jo," explained Tom Martin. "She lives on this street-Miss Bunker, you know."

"We're two of the six little Bunkers," said Russ.

"Oh, I'm glad to know that," and Mr. Quinn smiled again. "Well, as it happens, I used to be your aunt's furnace man, so I know her. If you're related to her you must be all right. I'll let you two little Bunkers go now, but your father must come and pay for the window."

"He will," promised Russ, who was glad no policeman had come along, though he had made up his mind to be brave, and not be afraid if one should happen to be called in by the janitor. But none was.

"I'll help pay for the window, too," said Tom. "It was part my fault, 'cause I asked Russ and Laddie to co

me down here to play tops."

"Good-bye, boys!" the janitor called after them. "I'm sorry you had this accident, but I like the way you acted."

Russ, Laddie and Tom were sorry, too, for they knew their fathers would feel bad, not so much at having to pay out fifty cents each, as because the boys had played tops in a place where they might, almost any time, break a window.

Tom ought to have known better than to go down by the apartment house, for, more than once, he had been told to keep away, but Russ and Laddie had not. However, neither Mr. Martin nor Daddy Bunker scolded very much. They sent the money to the janitor, and told the boys just what Mr. Quinn had told them-to play tops on some other pavement. And this the boys did.

"But we got to have some fun," grumbled Russ.

"Oh, there are lots of other places where you can spin your tops without going down near the apartment house," said Mr. Bunker. "Windows will get broken, once in a while, but I don't like it to happen too often."

"Did you get any answers to the advertisement about the lost pocketbook?" asked Mrs. Bunker of her husband that night, for he had said he would stop at the newspaper office and inquire.

"No," he replied. "I'm afraid whoever owns it does not read the papers. I wish I knew who it was."

"So do I," said Rose.

For, even though she would like to keep the money for herself, she knew it was better that the poor person, whose it was, should have it. But, so far, no one had come to claim the wallet and the sixty-five dollars.

After dinner one day Aunt Jo said:

"Who wants to go on an auto ride?"

"I do!" cried Rose and Violet.

"Me, too!" added Margy, and Mun Bun said something, though they could not be sure just what it was, as he was still chewing on a bit of cracker he had carried from the table with him.

"I guess he means he'll go, too," said his mother. "But after this, Mun Bun, my dear, finish your eating at the table, and don't be dropping cracker crumbs all over Aunt Jo's floor."

"I get Alexis, and he pick 'em up," said Mun Bun; and he started for the door to let in the big dog.

"No, don't!" laughed Aunt Jo. "Alexis has just been given a bath by William, and our dog pet is wet. He'd be worse for the floor than a few crumbs are. I'll have them swept up, Mun Bun. But come, let's get ready for the auto ride."

When the time to go came, Russ and Laddie said they wanted to stay at home. This was unusual. Generally they were the first to want to go.

"Why aren't you coming?" asked Rose of Russ. "Maybe we might find my doll that sailed away with the balloons."

"Oh, I don't guess you will," said Russ.

"Anyhow, Laddie and I are going to make some things when you're gone. We've got to make 'em so we can fly 'em with Tom Martin. He's going to make one, too."

"Will it fly?" asked Rose. "Oh, is it an airship?"

"No, it's just a kite," said Russ. "I started to make one, but I didn't finish. Now I'm going to make a good one so it will fly away up high. And so are Laddie and Tom. That's why we don't want to go in the auto."

"All right, then we'll leave you and Laddie at home with your father and William," said Aunt Jo, for she was going to run the car herself.

"Be good boys," begged Mrs. Bunker.

"We will!" promised Russ.

"And you won't spin tops and break any more windows, will you?" inquired Aunt Jo.

"Nope!" agreed Laddie. "We'll just fly kites, and they can't break windows, or do any thing else."

But you just wait and see what happens.

After Aunt Jo and the others had gone off in the car, Russ and Laddie got their paste, paper and string, and began making kites. Russ knew how pretty well, and he showed Laddie. They made kites with tails on them, as these are easier for small boys to build, though they are not so easy to fly as the kind without tails. The tails of kites get tangled in so many things.

"Now mine's done," said Russ, as he held up his finished toy.

"I wish mine was," replied Laddie.

"I'll help you," offered his brother, and he did.

The two boys were soon ready to go to a vacant lot not far from Aunt Jo's house, to fly their kites.

"A city's no place to fly kites," said Laddie. "We ought to be in the country."

"We ought to be at Grandma Bell's," agreed Russ. "That was a dandy place to fly kites-big fields and no telegraph wires to tangle the tail in."

However, they managed, after some hard work, to get their kites up into the air, and then they sat in the lot, holding the strings and sending up messengers.

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