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Six Little Bunkers at Aunt Jo's By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 9730

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04

"Take her out in the air," said one of the men in charge of the merry-go-round, as he saw Mr. Bunker carrying Margy across the floor. "They often feel a bit faint from riding too much, or from the motion. The air makes 'em all right. Take her right down to the beach. That would be best, I think."

"I will," said Mr. Bunker.

Tenderly he looked down at the little white face on his arm. Mrs. Bunker and Aunt Jo looked worried, as they hurried after Mr. Bunker, and Rose and Russ, who, with Violet, Mun Bun and Laddie had gotten off the merry-go-round, followed through the crowd.

"What's the matter? What is it? Was any one hurt?" asked several persons.

"No, it's only a little girl sort of fainted," a policeman said, and that was really what had happened to Margy.

"The fresh air down by the beach will bring her around all right," said the man who had first spoken to Mr. Bunker. "I'll look around for a doctor, if you like."

"Oh, I don't think she is as badly off as that," replied Margy's father. "As you say, the fresh air will bring her around."

So the six little Bunkers, with Margy being carried by her daddy, went down near the water. The merry-go-round was not far from the bathing pavilion where they had left their clothes when they went in swimming during the morning.

At the cashier's desk was a young lady, who gave out the tickets and took charge of watches, jewelry, money and other things that the bathing-folk left with her for safe-keeping. This young lady cashier saw Margy being carried by Mr. Bunker, and called to him:

"Bring the little girl up here. She can lie down on a bench in the shade, and feel the fresh ocean air. That will be better than having her out in the sun."

"Indeed it will," said Mrs. Bunker. "Thank you very much."

With some dry bathing-suits and towels, the girl kindly made a sort of bed on a bench for Margy, and there the little girl was tenderly put to rest by her father. Then he looked carefully at her, and listened to the beating of her heart.

"She'll be all right in a little while," he said. "If I could get her a glass of cold water--"

"I'll get you one," offered the bathing cashier. "We have some ice water inside."

"You are very kind," said Mrs. Bunker. "We went in bathing from this place not very long ago, but I did not see you here then."

"No, I come only in the afternoons," said the girl. "Another girl and I take turns, as the work is pretty hard on a hot day when lots of folks go in swimming."

She brought the water for Margy, and then the little girl opened her eyes and looked about her.

"Take a drink," said her mother. "Do you feel better now?"

"Yes," said Margy. "I'm all right. I felt awful funny," she said, and she smiled a little. Her cheeks were not so pale now, and she tried to sit up.

"Better lie down a bit yet," said Daddy Bunker. "Then you'll feel a lot better. Next time you mustn't ride so much on the merry-go-round. Too many trips are not good for any one."

In a short time Margy felt so much better that she could sit up. The cashier came back from her place at the window to ask how the little girl was feeling, and she seemed glad when told that Margy was better.

Russ, Rose and the other children had been asked to stay outside and play in the sand, but now, having been told by Aunt Jo that Margy was nearly recovered, they came in the bathing pavilion office to look at their little sister. Just at this time there were not many people wanting bathing-suits, so the cashier who had been so kind was not very busy.

As Rose and the others stood looking at Margy, and also at the cashier, Vi suddenly exclaimed:

"Why, I know her!"

"Who?" asked Mrs. Bunker.

"Her," went on Vi. She pointed to the cashier. "She found me the day I was lost, when I went after the loaf of bread and I went down the wrong street and I couldn't find Aunt Jo's house. She found the right street for me. I know her-her name's Mary!"

The cashier turned to look at Violet.

"Oh, now I remember you!" she exclaimed. "Yes, I did see you crying on the street in the Back Bay section of Boston one day. I remember now. I could tell where you lived because my mother used to sew in that neighborhood, and I had seen the big dog at your aunt's house. So you got home all right, did you?"

"Yes, she came just as I was starting out to look for her," said Daddy Bunker. "We often wondered who had been so kind as to show Violet the right way, but all she could tell was that it was a girl named 'Mary'. I often thought I'd like to see her, and thank her for being so kind to our little girl, but, only knowing your first name--"

"My name is Mary Turner," said the girl. "I live in Boston, though not at Back Bay, but I come over here every day on the boat to work."

"Do you like it?" asked Aunt Jo.

"Yes, it is very pl

easant, and not too hard. I like the smell of the salt water. I'd be near the ocean all the while if I could. But we can't have all we want," and she smiled. "Shall I get you some more cold water?" she asked Margy.

"Yes, please," answered the little girl. "I feel a lot better now."

"That's good," said Mary Turner, as she went to the water-cooler.

"Wasn't it funny I should see her again?" said Violet. "She was awful nice to me when I was lost."

"She seems like a very nice girl," said Mrs. Bunker, "and she is certainly very kind to us. I'm glad we met her."

Mary came back with more water for Margy, who was now able to walk around, the feeling of illness having passed.

"I want to go down and play in the sand," she said.

"Better not go out in the hot sun right away," advised Aunt Jo. "Stay in the shade a bit, Margy."

"Yes," urged Mary Turner. "Come and see my queer little office, where I sit all day and hand out tickets and take in gold watches and diamond rings and things like that."

"Do you keep 'em?" asked Russ.

"Oh, no! The people who go in bathing leave them with me for safety. I have to give them back when they hand me the check I give them. I keep each person's things separately in little pigeonholes, and there is a man on guard there, too,-a sort of policeman."

"Are there any pigeons in the pigeonholes?" asked Vi.

"Oh, no!" laughed Mary. "They just call them pigeonholes because they are like the openings that pigeons go in and out of at barns, and such places, I suppose. They are like the boxes in a post office, only larger. Come, I'll show them to you."

As this would keep Margy in the shade a while longer, Mrs. Bunker said the children could go with Mary and look at her "office."

"My daddy's got an office," said Rose. "It's a real estate office."

"Well, mine is different from that," Mary said.

They went with her to look. As it was rather soon after the dinner hour, not many persons were in bathing, and the compartments or "pigeonholes" were not all filled. In some, however, were the envelopes in which people sealed their watches, rings and other valuables.

The six little Bunkers were quite pleased at seeing Mary Turner's office, and the "policeman" who was on guard so no one would come in and take the envelopes.

"Did some one leave that when they went in bathing?" asked Mr. Bunker with a smile, as he pointed to something in one of the pigeonholes.

"Oh, no," answered Mary with a smile. "That's mine. It's a doll, and I brought it with me to-day, thinking I would have time to make a new dress for it, and give it to a little girl I know. I don't play with dolls any more, though I used to like them very much, and I still like to make dresses for them. But I've been rather busy this morning, helping Mr. Barton, who owns the bathing pavilion, so I didn't get time to do any sewing."

As she spoke she took down the doll, and held it out for Margy and the others to see. And, as Rose looked at it, she exclaimed:

"Oh, look! Why-why, that's Lily! That's my doll that went up in the airship! That's Lily!"

"It can't be, Rose!" said her mother.

"Yes, it is!" insisted the little girl, as she took the doll from her sister's hand. "Look! Don't you 'member where there was a cut in her and her sawdust insides ran out and Aunt Jo sewed up the place with red thread?" and Rose turned the doll over and showed where, surely enough, the doll was sewed with red thread.

"Is that really your doll?" asked Mary, and there was a queer look on her face.

"It really is," said Rose Bunker. "I sent her up in a basket and there was a lot of balloons tied to it. I called it an airship and it got loose and Lily went away up in the sky, and I couldn't get her down."

"I said she'd come down," cried Russ, "'cause I knew the balloons couldn't stay up forever. But we looked for the doll and couldn't find her."

"Did she drop out of the airship?" asked Rose eagerly.

"No, she came down with the 'airship,' as you call it," went on the bathing-pavilion cashier. "She was in a basket when I found her. And tied to the basket were some toy balloons. A few of them had burst, and the gas had come out of the others, so that they were all flabby and wouldn't keep the airship up any more. Then it came down, and it happened to land right in the back yard of the place where I board, in Boston.

"I saw it in the morning, when I went out to feed the pet cat, and I brought the doll in. She was all wet, and her dress had come off. But I carried her into the house and I've kept her ever since. I've been intending to dress her and give her to a little girl, but I'm glad you have her back," and she smiled at Rose.

"Oh, isn't it just wonderful!" cried the little girl. "To think I have my own darling Lily back after her going up in the airship!"

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