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   Chapter 20 THE JUMPING ROPE

Six Little Bunkers at Aunt Jo's By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 10393

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04


"My kite's higher than yours," said Laddie, as he looked at his plaything, away up in the air, and then at his brother's.

"Well, I haven't let out all my string yet," Russ answered. "I can make mine go up a lot higher than yours when I unwind some more cord, and I'm going to."

"I'm going to send up another messenger," said Laddie. "I haven't got any more string to let out, but maybe I could get some."

He took a small piece of paper, put a hole in it, and then slipped through this hole the stick to which his kite cord was tied. Then the piece of paper went sailing up the kite string, twirling around and around until it was half way to the kite itself.

"Look at my messenger go!" cried Laddie, as the piece of paper whirled around and around in a brisk breeze. "Why don't you send up one, and we can have a race?"

"I will!" exclaimed Russ. "We'll have a race with the paper messengers, and then I'll get some more string, and send my kite higher."

"So'll I," decided Laddie. "Oh, Russ, we can even have a race with the kites!" he went on. "We'll see whose kite will go highest."

"Yes, we can do that," agreed the older boy. "Now I'll make a messenger."

So Russ did that, and as the messenger Laddie had put on was, by this time, nearly up to his kite, he put another on the string. The boys held them from going up until both were ready, and then, just as when they sometimes had a foot race, Russ cried:

"Go!"

They took their hands off the paper messengers, and up the strings they shot, the wind blowing them very fast.

"Look at 'em go! Look at 'em!" cried Laddie, dancing about in delight.

"And you'd better look out and not let go of your kite string, or that'll go, too," said Russ. "Your kite'll fly away same as Rose's balloon airship did."

"I wonder if they'd go to the same place," said Laddie. "If my kite would be sure to fly to where Rose let the balloons fly to I'd let it go."

"Why would you?" asked Russ.

"'Cause then I could find Rose's doll for her. I could walk along by my kite string and keep on going and going and going, and then I'd come to the place where the kite was and there would be the basket with the doll in it."

"Yes, that would be nice," said Russ. "But I don't guess they'd go to the same place. You'd better hold on to your kite."

"I will," agreed Laddie. "I wonder how high we could let our kites go up?" he went on, as he watched the messengers whirling around the strings. "How far would they go?"

"They'd go as far as you had cord for," said Russ.

"Could they go away up to the sky?" asked Laddie.

"'Course they could," said Russ.

"The sky's awful far," went on Laddie, looking up at the blue part, across which the white, fleecy clouds were flying.

"Yes, it's far," assented Russ. "But we could get an awful lot of string, and let the kites go up."

"Could we do it now?" the smaller boy wanted to know. "I'd like to see my kite go up to the sky."

"Well, we could do it," Russ said. "But look! My messenger beat yours!" he suddenly cried. "It's away ahead!"

"So it is," assented Laddie. "Well, anyhow, I've got more of 'em up than you have."

"Now I'm going to get a lot of cord and send my kite up high," announced Russ, as he got up from the grass where he was sitting.

"Are you going to take your kite down?" his brother wanted to know.

Russ shook his head.

"I'm going to tie my kite string to a stone," he said. "That'll keep it from blowing away while I go into the house to get more cord. You watch my kite while I'm gone."

"I will," promised Laddie. "I'll tie my kite, too."

Russ tied the end of his cord to a heavy stone in the vacant lot near Aunt Jo's house, in which the boys were flying their kites. Laddie sat down on the grass, and looked up at the kites, which were like two birds, high in the air. Russ was gone some little time. It was harder than he thought it would be to find the right kind of cord. But he had made up his mind to send his kite up in the air as high as it would go, and he wanted plenty of string.

Suddenly Laddie, who was watching his own and his brother's kites, noticed that Russ's was acting very strangely. It bobbed and fluttered about a bit, and then began to sink down.

"I've got to pull on the cord," thought Laddie. Though he was younger than Russ he knew enough for this-when a kite starts to come down, to run with it, or to wind the cord in quickly. There wasn't much room in the vacant city lot to run, so Laddie began winding in the string of Russ's kite.

Then Laddie noticed that his own kite was bobbing about and coming down also.

"Oh, dear!" exclaimed the little boy. "I can't wind 'em both in at once. I wish Russ would come!"

But Russ was still back at Aunt Jo's house, and Laddie, much as he wanted to save his brother's kite, wanted even more to save his own.

So Laddie let go of the string of his brother's kite, and began to pull in on his own. As he did so Russ's sank lower and lower, falling like a leaf, from side to side.

But as Laddie pulled on his cord his kite went higher and higher into the air, until, getting to a place higher up, where the wind was blowing stron

ger, it was out of danger.

But Russ's kite floated lower and lower, and Laddie dared not let go his own string to pull in his brother's. Just then Russ came running back with the cord he at last had found.

"Where's my kite?" he cried, as he reached the lot, and did not see his kite in the air.

"It started to come down, and so did mine, but I couldn't pull 'em both," said his brother. "I'm sorry, but--"

"Oh, well, maybe I can pull it up," said Russ, who was not going to find fault with Laddie for what could not be helped. "I'll wind up the string as fast as I can."

So he did this, and at last he saw his kite come into sight above the houses in the next street. But the wind, low down, was not strong enough to carry the kite up again, and Russ saw that it was of no use. His kite still fluttered from side to side.

"I can't get it up again this way," he said to Laddie. "I've got to pull it all the way down, and then send it up again. And I'll make it go terrible high this time, 'cause I've got a lot of string."

"When mine comes down I'm going to send it up higher," said Laddie. But his kite was still well up in the air.

Russ pulled and pulled on his string, and finally he had his kite where he could see it. It was floating over the street near the vacant lot, and Russ was pulling it toward him, when, all of a sudden, something happened.

A woman, with a large hat on, was walking along the street, right under Russ's kite. Suddenly the kite swooped down, until the dangling tail touched the woman's hat. Russ, not seeing what had taken place, kept on pulling on the string, winding it in. And, of course, you can easily guess what happened.

"Stop! Stop it, little boy!" called the woman. "Stop pulling on your kite string!"

"What for?" asked Russ, who had been looking at the stick on which he was winding his cord, wondering if it would be large enough to hold it all.

"Because you're pulling off my hat!"

And that is just what Russ was doing. The tail of the kite had become tangled in the trimming on the woman's hat, and Russ was pulling it off her head.

"Oh, please stop, little boy!" she cried, and she had to run along, following the kite across the street.

Then Russ stopped winding the string, and the woman, putting up her hands, took hold of the kite tail, so it did not quite pull off her hat. But it almost did.

"I-I'm sorry," Russ said, as he saw what had happened.

"Oh, that's all right," the woman answered with a laugh. "You couldn't help it. I have a little boy of my own, and he likes to fly his kite, but he never got it tangled in my hat, that I remember. But it's all right. No harm is done. I can pin my hat on again, but my hair is rather mussed up, I'm afraid."

"You could go into my Aunt Jo's house and fix it," said Russ politely. "She has a looking-glass."

"Has she? That's nice," said the lady with another laugh. "But I have a little one of my own. See!" She opened her purse and showed a tiny, round mirror fastened inside. "If you'll hold that up, so I can see myself in it, I can put my hat on again and it will be all right," she went on.

This Russ did. His kite had fallen to the street, but it was not torn and was all right for putting up again. So he held the woman's mirror, which was in her pocketbook, as well as he could, while she smoothed out her hair and straightened her hat. Then, with a smile and a bow, she said:

"There! Is it all right?"

"It looks nice-just like my mother's," answered Russ, and the woman laughed as she took back her purse.

"Did you lose a pocketbook?" asked Russ.

"No," was the answer. "Why do you ask?"

"'Cause my sister Rose found one, and it had some money in, but nobody ever came to get it."

"Well, I hope you can fly your kite again," said the woman, as she walked away.

Russ picked up his kite and went back to the vacant lot with it. He tried to fly it, but the wind had gone down, and the toy would not rise. Laddie's, too, had begun to bob about, and he said:

"I guess I'll pull mine down before it falls."

"Well, we had some fun, anyhow," remarked Russ.

It was the next day, a fine, sunny one, that Rose and Violet, having played with their dolls until they were tired, wanted to do something else. Daddy Bunker had taken Russ and Laddie to a moving picture show, but as Rose and Violet had seen it once, they did not want to go again. Margy and Mun Bun were asleep, and the two girls didn't know what to play.

"I know how to have some fun," said Rose at last.

"How?" asked her sister.

"We can jump rope. I know where there's a piece of clothesline that Aunt Jo'll let us take."

"How can two of us jump rope?" asked Vi. "We'd both have to turn, so who could jump?"

"We can tie one end to a tree, and take turns turning," said Rose. "Then one of us can jump, and whoever misses has to turn for the other."

"Oh, yes, we can do it that way," assented Vi. So the two little girls ran to get the clothesline and soon they were jumping rope.

"It's lots of fun," said Vi, when it was her turn to have "three slow-pepper," while Rose turned, the other end of the rope being fast to a tree.

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