The Bobbsey Twins at the County Fair – Laura Lee Hope

“Aren’t you glad, Nan? Aren’t you terrible glad?” “Why, of course I am, Flossie!” “And aren’t you glad, too, Bert?” Flossie Bobbsey, who had first asked this question of her sister, now paused in front of her older brother. She looked up at him smiling as he cut away with his knife at a soft piece of wood he was shaping into a boat for Freddie. “Aren’t you terrible glad, Bert?” “I sure am, Flossie!” Bert answered, with a laugh. “What makes you ask such funny questions?” “Well, if you’re glad why doesn’t you wiggle like I do?” asked Flossie, without answering Bert. “I feel just like wigglin’ and squigglin’ inside and outside!” she added. “Well, wiggle as much as you please, dear, but don’t get your dress dirty, whatever you do,” advised Nan, with the air of a little mother, for she felt that she must look after her smaller sister, since Mrs. Bobbsey was not there to do it. “Oh, I won’t get my dress dirty!” laughed Flossie. “‘Cause if I do——” “‘Cause if you do you can’t go to the picnic!” finished Freddie, who was so interested in watching brother Bert make the little wooden ship that he forgot all about talking. “I’m just goin’ to wiggle standin’ up,” Flossie said, and she did so, squirming about in delight at the fun which was soon to come. “Don’t forget your ‘g’ letters!” called Nan, shaking her finger at her sister. “You must say ‘going’ and ‘standing’ not ‘goin’,’ my dear, or ‘standin’,’ you know.” “Yes, I know. But when you feel like wigglin’—I mean wigglING,” and Flossie said the last syllable very loudly, “why, then you don’t think about ‘g’ letters; do you, Freddie?” “I don’t guess so,” he answered, not taking his eyes off the knife that was flashing in Bert’s hand, making the white slivers of wood scatter over the green grass. “Oh, I just can hardly wait till the auto truck comes; can you, Nan?” asked Flossie, dancing over the lawn like a fairy in a play.

“Oh, I’m so glad it doesn’t rain!” and she looked anxiously up at the sky as if some cloud might float across the wonderful blue and spoil the day of pleasure. “Yes, the weather is lovely,” agreed Nan. “And if you don’t think so much about it, Flossie, the truck will get here all the sooner.” “But I like to think about it!” cried Flossie. “It’s the same as Christmas! The more you think about it the more fun it is! Oh, I’m going to look down the road and see if the truck is coming!” Down toward the front gate she skipped, the big bow of ribbon on her hair flapping up and down like the wings of some great blue butterfly. “Be careful about climbing on the gate!” warned Nan. “If you get rusty spots on your white dress they won’t come out!” “I’ll be careful,” Flossie promised, calling back over her shoulder, and, as she tripped along she sang: “We’re going to a picnic! We’re going to a picnic!” “I think I’d better watch her so she won’t soil her clothes,” said Nan, getting up from a bench, where she had been sitting beside the boxes and baskets of lunch. “It would be too bad if she should get her dress dirty and couldn’t go.” “I’m not going to get my clothes dirty, am I, Nan?” asked Freddie, as he looked at his white blouse. “I hope not,” Nan answered.

Suddenly there was an exclamation from Bert, as Nan started down the path toward Flossie. “Ouch!” cried Bert. “What’s the matter?” Nan asked quickly. “Cut myself!” “Oh! Oh, dear!” screamed Freddie, who did not like the sight of the red blood which oozed from the end of his brother’s finger. “Oh, don’t get any on my clean blouse, else I can’t go to the picnic!” Bert, who had popped the cut finger into his mouth as soon as he felt the hurt, now took it out to laugh. “That’s all you care about me, Freddie!” he joked. “I cut my finger, while making you a little boat, and all you care about is that I mustn’t dirty your white blouse! I’ll make you a lot more ships—I guess not!” “Oh, but I am sorry for you!” Freddie declared. “Only I do so want to go to the picnic!” “Yes, I know,” Bert went on, seeing that Freddie was taking his talk too seriously. “I won’t get any blood on you!” “Is it much of a cut?” asked Nan “Do you want me to get the iodine?” Their Mother had taught the Bobbsey twins not to neglect hurts of this kind, and iodine, they knew, was good to “kill the germs,” whatever that meant. Iodine smarted when put into a cut, but it was better to stand a little smart at first than a big pain afterward, so Daddy Bobbsey had said.

“Oh, it isn’t much of a cut,” Bert said. “I guess I don’t need any iodine. You’d better go look after Flossie. The trucks may be along any time now, and we don’t want to keep them waiting.” “All right. But you’d better not whittle any more on that boat or you may cut yourself so bad you can’t go to the picnic.” “Let the boat go!” advised Freddie. “It’s good enough, anyhow, and I want you to go to the picnic, Bert.” “All right. The little ship is almost finished, anyhow.

I just have to make about three more cuts and then I’m done.” His finger had stopped bleeding—indeed the cut was a very small one—and Bert was soon putting the last touches to the tiny craft which Freddie wanted to sail in the little lake at the picnic grounds. Just as Bert handed the homemade toy to his brother, and when Nan reached Flossie, in time to stop her from climbing on the gate, a noise of honking horns was heard down the street. “Oh, here they come! Here come the trucks!” cried Flossie, dancing up and down. “Get the lunch!” called Freddie, to make sure they would not go hungry on the picnic. “I’ll go in and tell mother we’re going,” called Nan to Bert, who shut up his knife, brushed the whittlings off his clothes, and began to gather up the boxes and baskets of lunch. “Watch Flossie!” Nan added, for there was no telling what the excitable little “fairy” might do at the last moment. “All right,” Bert answered. “Here, Freddie!” he called. “Don’t run with that sharp-pointed boat in your hand.

If you fall on it you’ll get hurt.” “But I’m not going to fall!” said Freddie. “You can’t tell what you’re going to do! Go easy!” Bert advised, and Freddie walked as slowly as he could to the gate where Flossie was eagerly gazing down the road. The noise of the auto horns sounded more loudly, and soon two big trucks, filled with children and gay with flags, came into view. Boxes had been placed in the trucks for seats, and on these boxes, laughing, shouting, waving their hands and flags, were scores of happy, smiling boys and girls. One of the trucks drew up at the gate of the house where lived the Bobbsey twins, the other auto keeping on, as it was well filled. But room had been saved in this one for Bert, Nan, Flossie and Freddie. “Come on, Nan! Come on!” cried Flossie, still jumping up and down. “Tell Nan to hurry!” added Freddie to his brother. “She’s coming,” Bert said, as he walked down to the gate with the packages of lunch.

“Hello, Bert!” called Charlie Mason, from the truck. “Got enough to eat?” “I guess so,” Bert answered his chum, holding up the boxes and baskets. “Enough for two picnics I should say!” “You can eat a lot when you’re off in the woods,” added Dannie Rugg. “It’s like camping out.” “Here comes Nan!” exclaimed Grace Lavine, a particular chum of the older Bobbsey girl. Nan, having hurried in to tell her mother the trucks had arrived, now hastened down the path, her hair flying in the wind. “Have you everything? Take good care of Flossie and Freddie! Have a good time, and don’t fall into the water!” Mrs. Bobbsey said, as she waved good-by to her twins while they clambered up into the truck. “We will!” they answered. “Good-by, Mother! Good-by!” “Good-by, children!” “Honk! Honk!” tooted the auto horn.

“All aboard!” called Nellie Parks. “All aboard!” “I want to sit on the end!” declared Freddie, struggling to get in this position. “You might fall out going up hill,” said Bert. “I’ll sit there, Freddie, and you can sit next me.” The little fellow had to be content with this. With children laughing, children singing, children shouting and children smiling, with flags flying and the horn tooting, the big auto started off, having taken aboard the Bobbsey twins; and soon the two trucks were out of sight around a turn in the road, bound for Pine Grove, on the outskirts of the town of Lakeport. It was the yearly picnic of one of the Lakeport Sunday schools. “Isn’t it a wonderful day?” asked Grace of Nan. The two friends and Nellie were sitting together. “Yes, beautiful.

We nearly always have a good day for the picnic.” “Did you bring any olives in your lunch. Nan?” “Yes, and some dill pickles, too!” “Oh, I just love dill pickles!” exclaimed Grace, “and we didn’t have one in the house.” “I’ll give you some of mine,” offered Nan. Flossie and Freddie were too excited, looking at sights along the road, to talk much, but they were as happy as if they had been chattering away like the others. “Did your dog Snap bite your finger, Bert?” asked Dannie Rugg. “No, my knife slipped when I was making Freddie a boat. Say, Freddie,” he asked the little fellow, “did you lose your boat?” “Nope, I have it here,” and he held it up. “Oh, all right.” On rumbled the trucks, raising clouds of dust.

On each big auto were several grown folks, officers of the Sunday school, who were looking after the children. Some were fathers and mothers of the boys and girls. Pine Grove was several miles outside the town of Lakeport, on the shores of a little lake. It was there the yearly picnics of the Sunday schools were always held, and the Bobbsey twins, as well as the other young people of the town, looked forward with pleasure to the outings. “What you say we get up a ball game?” asked Dannie of Bert, when they were all settled in their places. “Sure we will,” Bert agreed. “Have we got enough fellows?” “If you haven’t, some of us girls will play,” offered Nan. “Pooh! Girls can’t play ball!” sneered Charlie Mason. “I can! I can bat a ball as far as you!” declared Nellie Parks. “Maybe you can—if you can hit it!” admitted Charlie.

“I want to play ball!” chimed in Freddie. “I know how!” “I guess if you sail your boat it will be all you want to do,” said Bert, looking at his cut finger to see if it would hinder him from taking part in a game. He decided that it would not. “We’ll have lots of fun,” said Dannie. “If we haven’t enough for two nines we’ll play a scrub game.” “Sure!” agreed Bert. They were well out in the country now, and almost at the Grove. To reach it the trucks had to cross a bridge over a creek that flowed into Pine Lake, as the body of water was called. The first truck passed over this bridge with a rumble like thunder. As it reached the other side Bert saw the driver of it lean from his seat, look back, and shout something to the driver of the truck on which the Bobbsey twins rode.

What the man said Bert could not hear, and as he was wondering about it the second truck started over the bridge. Suddenly there was a cracking of wood, a splintering, breaking sound, and the heavy truck, loaded with children, the Bobbsey twins among them, seemed to be sinking down. “Oh, the bridge is breaking!” screamed Grace. “We’ll fall in the creek!” added Nellie. There was a thundering sound as the auto driver turned on full power, and then, with another loud cracking noise, the truck came to a stop, and seemed to be sinking down through the breaking bridge!


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