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   Chapter 23 THE MERRY-GO-ROUND

Six Little Bunkers at Aunt Jo's By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 8602

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04

"Oh, look over here!"

"See this funny boat!"

"Look, Daddy! What's that man doing?"

"Oh, I hear some music!"

These were some of the things the six little Bunkers said and shouted as they were on the boat going to Nantasket Beach. The day was a fine, sunny one, and they had started early in the morning to have as long a time as possible at the playground, for that is what Nantasket Beach really is.

Russ and Rose, Violet and Laddie, and Margy and Mun Bun ran here and there on the boat, finding different things to look at and wonder over on the vessel itself, or in the waters across which they were steaming.

Mother and Daddy Bunker sat with Aunt Jo in a shady place on deck, and watched the children at their play.

Russ and Laddie and the two older girls were standing near the rail, toward the front, or bow, of the boat, and they had to hold their hats on to keep them from being blown away.

"I would like a kite here," Laddie said. Then he watched some boats moving back and forth in the water, big ones and little ones, and, suddenly turning to his brother, said:

"I've got a new riddle."

"What is it?" Russ asked. "I can guess it."

"Nope! You can't!" Laddie went on. "And it's an easy one, too."

"Go on and tell it!" exclaimed Russ. "I know I can guess it."

"Why is this boat like a duck?" asked Laddie. "Now, you can't answer that."

"I can so!" cried Russ, as he thought for a moment. "That's easy. This boat is like a duck 'cause it goes in water."

"Nope!" said Laddie, shaking his head with vigor.

"It is so!" cried Russ. "I'm going to ask Mother."

The two boys went in search of their mother, leaving Rose and Vi up in front.

"What is it now?" Mrs. Bunker wanted to know, as the two boys ran up to her.

"Laddie made up a riddle about 'why this boat is like a duck,' and when I told him 'cause it goes in water like a duck, he says that isn't the answer. It is, isn't it?"

"That isn't the answer I mean!" exclaimed Laddie, before his mother had a chance to speak.

"Well, I suppose Laddie can pick out the one answer he wants to his own riddles, if he makes them up," said Mrs. Bunker to the two boys.

"I have an answer," said Laddie, "and Russ didn't guess it right."

"Give me another chance," pleaded the older boy. "I know why the boat is like a duck-'cause it swims in water! That's it!"

"Nope!" said Laddie again, shaking his head harder than before.

"Then there isn't any answer!" declared Russ.

"Yes, there is, too," insisted Laddie. "I'll tell you. This boat is like a duck because it paddles! See? A duck paddles its feet in water and this boat paddles its wheels in water. I saw the paddle-wheels when we came on board."

"Huh!" exclaimed Russ. "I could have thought of that if you'd given me one more turn."

"Isn't that a good riddle?" demanded Laddie, smiling.

"Pretty good," admitted Russ. "I'm going to think up one now, and I'm sure there can't anybody answer it. You wait!" and he went off by himself to think up his riddle.

Margy and Mun Bun, after running about a bit, had heard some music being played on board, and had teased their mother to take them to hear it. This Mrs. Bunker was glad to do, as it gave her a chance to sit quietly with the smaller children.

Across the waters steamed the boat, and Russ finally gave up trying to think of a hard riddle, and walked here and there with Laddie, finally getting to a place where they could watch the engines.

Russ did not find it as easy to think up a hard riddle as he had thought he would, but he said he was going to try after they got back to Aunt Jo's house.

"'Cause," he said, "there's so much to see now that I don't want to miss any of it."

It was a ride of about an hour and a half from Boston to Nantasket Beach, and that pleasure spot was reached long enough before noon for the children to play about and have fun before lunch.

They had brought some things to eat with them, but Daddy Bunker said they would also have something to eat at a restaurant. It was a good thing Mrs. Bunker and Aunt Jo did provide sandwiches, for the children were hungry as soon as they left the boat and insisted on eating.

And then the fun began. There was plenty to do at Nantasket Beach, smooth slides to coast down on

, funny tricks that could be played, and phonographs that one could listen to by putting the ends of rubber tubes in the ears after having dropped a penny in the machine. There were moving pictures and other things to enjoy.


Six Little Bunkers at Aunt Jo's.-Page 223

Best of all the children liked the merry-go-rounds, and they had so many rides on the prancing horses, the lions, the tigers, the ostriches and the other animals and birds that Daddy Bunker said:

"My! I'm afraid we'll all go to the poorhouse if I spend all my pennies."

"You can take some of the sixty-five dollars I found in the pocketbook," said Rose.

"No," and her father shook his head. "We mustn't touch that money yet. I haven't given up the hope of finding who owns it, though it certainly takes them a long while to find out about it. But there must be something wrong. Either they have not seen our advertisements, or they have gone far away."

"Can't we ever spend any of the money?" asked Russ.

"Well, maybe, some day, if we don't find the owner," said his father.

The children went in bathing, and then had lunch at an open-air restaurant. And such appetites as they had! The salt air seemed to make them hungry, even if they had eaten the sandwiches brought from home.

"Now I want some more rides on the merry-go-round," said Margy, after they had taken in some other amusements. "I want to ride on the rooster this time. He's bigger than the rooster at Grandma Bell's, but he's nice and red."

Among the creatures in the merry-go-round machine was a big, wooden rooster, painted red, with his beak open just as if he were going to crow. Margy had ridden on a horse and on a lion, and now she wanted the rooster.

"Well, you may have just one more ride," said her mother. "But don't tease for any more."

"Why not?" Margy wanted to know.

"Because it might make you ill, my dear," said Mrs. Bunker. "Too much riding, when you go around in a circle that way, may upset your stomach. One ride more will be enough, I think."

Margy agreed to be content with one, but when that was over she had enjoyed it so much that she teased and begged for just one more.

"Oh, let her have it, Mother!" suggested Rose. "We'd all like another ride. And I'll sit beside Margy in one of the seats, and then maybe it won't make her sick."

Margy didn't look ill, and she seemed to be enjoying herself.

"Well, this is a sort of play-day," said Daddy Bunker, "and I want you children to have a good time. I don't suppose one more ride will do any harm," he said to his wife. "And, I'll try to keep out of the poorhouse until we can use the sixty-five dollars in the pocketbook Rose found," and he laughed.

"Well, if you say it's all right I suppose it is," agreed his wife. "But this is, positively, the last ride!"

So the children got their tickets, and Margy and Rose took their seats in a little make-believe chariot, drawn by a green camel.

The music began to play, the merry-go-round began to turn and once more the children were having a good time. In chairs near the big machine Daddy and Mother Bunker and Aunt Jo waved to the children each time they came around.

The turn was almost over when Mrs. Bunker happened to see Margy leaning up against Rose. And the mother noticed that her littlest girl's face was very white. Rose, too, seemed frightened.

"Oh, I'm sure Margy is ill!" cried Mrs. Bunker. "She has ridden too much! Oh, Charles! Have them stop the machine!"

"It's stopping now," he said. He, too, had noticed the paleness of Margy's face.

Slowly the merry-go-round came to a stop, but even before it had altogether ceased moving Daddy Bunker had jumped on and hurried to where Rose sat holding Margy.

"Oh, Daddy!" exclaimed Rose, "she says she feels terribly bad."

"What's the matter with Daddy's little girl?" asked Mr. Bunker, as he took Margy in his arms and started to get off the machine. "Did you become frightened?"

"Oh, no! No, Daddy!" answered Margy in a weak voice. "But I feel funny right here," and she put her hand on her stomach. "And my head hurts and I feel dizzy-and-and--"

Then poor little Margy's head fell back and her eyes closed. She was too ill to talk any more.

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